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How To Put On Snowshoes: Step By Step Guide

Maybe you are thinking of going on vacation with your family to the mountains and trying out a new sport or recreational activity like snowshoeing. Before starting to understand the importance of the appropriate footwear and how to put them properly on you to prevent any unwanted accidents or feeling uncomfortable, it is essential to understand the importance of the appropriate footwear.

First, make sure the snowshoes are placed on a flat surface, differentiate the left from right snowshoe, open all straps or bindings, put your foot into the binding making sure your toes doesn’t overlap the deck, and tighten the straps. Shake your foot to verify they are secured and tighten if necessary.

Getting the snowshoe on you is pretty easy if you follow the steps accordingly. There are some tips and tricks on how to make this task faster when you’re going snowshoeing. However, before we get further into this topic, let’s learn about snowshoes’ anatomy.

Snowshoe’s Anatomy

Imagine you just got your first pair of snowshoes, and you observe the footwear’s anatomy with confusion. You search it up on the internet and find countless different styles, which can be frustrating. However, you do not have to worry since we will cover the snowshoe’s most basic design and build so you can become an expert at choosing the perfect fit for you.

Snowshoe Bindings

One of the most fundamental and essential components when it comes to snowshoes. This helps to attach your boots to the footwear and maintain your feet aligned with it for better tracking. This is to prevent constantly having to readjust and tighten the fit, but also it will keep your boots from slipping out.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself before buying a new pair of snowshoes:

  • Does this footwear adjust comfortably and secure my foot into place? Before buying it, make sure that the binding fits your smallest and largest boots, those that are meant to be worn with your snowshoes.
  • Does it hold my foot and prevent it from sliding forward?
  • Is the binding system easy to manipulate when on the snow or with mittens?
  • Can these bindings be easily repaired?

Excellent companies with unique bindings built are MSR, TSL, Tubbs, Crescent Moon, or Atlas.


This is the material used to create the surface of the snowshoe, which means it is the central part of the frame. It connects to the binding to make it easier to spread your weight evenly when snowshoeing.

Snowshoe frames

Sometimes made of wood, expandable polymer, or any other material. It is divided into two parts: the front bit or tip and the back or often called “the tail.” It comes in various shapes, but the critical difference that sets them apart is that it provides excellent flotation if it has an oval shoe. If it is tapered or asymmetrical, it will help to get a natural gait.

Pivot point

This is where the binding can attach to the frame of the snowshoe, and it is essential to place the ball of your foot in this place to help flex it when walking. It allows for excellent comfortable steps and high efficiency.

Crampon or Claw

They are also called “cleats” and are frequently used in icy conditions. They are little spikes on the snowshoe that stick into the snow for traction.

Putting on Snowshoes 101

Snowshoeing is fun, but it is even more when you put your snowshoes correctly. It is necessary to make sure it is secure and comfortable for you to have a pleasant experience.

In the article, we will see a step-by-step guide on putting on your snowshoes properly and some extra tips about the topic. They can be a little challenging to put on at first, but with practice, you will become a master at doing this.

1. Differentiate the left from the right:

depending on the snowshoes you get, some have an “L” and an “R” located on the binding’s base, but this is not always the case, so do not worry if it does not have these indications.

If you buy a universal snowshoe, then both will fit on either side of your foot. It would be best if you made sure that the straps of the binding are towards the outside of your foot. This is to prevent tangling with each other or whacking your ankles when trying to walk in the snow.

2. Place your foot on the binding:

The initial step is making sure all the straps are open so you can have room for your foot to slide in. To do this, you need to position the ball of your foot over the top of the hinge or crampon centered on the snowshoe, so your toes go to the front of the footwear, known as the footplate.

Also, you can use the pivot points to guide yourself. You want all of your weight to go right in the middle because that is where the shoe has more grip. However, it will also allow you the most comfortable and natural gait cycle when you are snowshoeing.

Another tip is to make sure your feet do not overlap the snowshoe’s deck since your foot will pass right through the opening once you walk around.

3. Putting on the straps:

You have to know that there is a different strapping system depending on the snowshoe you get. For example, the MSR snowshoe has three straps that go on your foot and is the most complicated for beginners, but once you give it a try, it will be easy to understand the rest.

First, tighten the toe strap and make sure it is pretty tight but not to the point where it is over-tightened. In other words, verify that this is a comfortable fit.

After you have the first step done, proceed to secure the heel’s strap. Finally, pull the instep strap and tighten it. Now you have secured your foot into the snowshoe.

Something to keep in mind is making sure the metal teeth are all the way through the strap, which prevents it from getting loose and then flopping around when snowshoeing.

4. Stand up and give your snowshoe a shake:

this is to double-check that the foot does not wiggle around too much or that it is not tight enough to cut off circulation, which can cause you to get cold toes faster.

Now that the snowshoe is appropriately on, you start with the next foot and follow the same steps.

You can watch this video for visual demonstrations on how to put them on:

How to attach the snowshoes

Once you have comprehended the snowshoes’ anatomy and adequately placed them on your feet, now we can talk about how to attach your snowshoes to your backpack.

It is pretty simple; all you need is to stack the snowshoes with the cleats facing together or away from the pack. Then, unbuckle the straps and place the footwear on the backpack with the crampons facing each other. Finally, buckle the straps and tighten them.

If you want to attach the poles, you loosen the straps and slide the tip through the loop to lay the poles over the end of the bungee. Then slide the tensioner against it to secure it and finally buckle the straps around the poles.


To sum up, snowshoeing can be a fun and exciting activity when going hiking in the winter. It is most important to learn how to choose the right snowshoes and secure them correctly to prevent unwanted accidents or uncomfortable experiences.

That is why it is necessary first to place your foot on the footplate and adjust the straps but being aware of not over tightening them. Finally, please stand up and feel the fit until you sense it is comfortable enough to suit your preferences.

The best thing is you can pack the footwear with you and attach it either to your backpack or attach the poles to it. Now you are ready to enjoy your new hobby!

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