I am considering buying snow shoes for snowshoeing and like most things these days, there’s more to it than one thinks. Can anyone give me any advice on selecting shoes and recommend uk suppliers? Look forward to hearing to hearing from any snowshoers.
Probably depends a bit on what you want to do. If it's easy trails then go for something light and comfortable. Entry level TSL should be fine. If you are thinking about steeper ground, traversing and icy terrain, then consider something that has a pronounced crampon underneath/alu frame such as one of the higher spec TSL or MSR models.
Also worth considering the depth of snow that you will be using it in, how much float you need etc. Your weight and the weight of your normal rucksack also considerations. Some brands eg MSR produce tails that can be fitted for deeper snow or heavy pack days.
We've got a couple of different pairs of MSR snow shoes (Revo explore and Revo Ascent), which are great on icy snow and steep ground but I have some issues with the durability of the rivets and have retro fitted bolts where rivets are failing.
We have Yowie snowshoes, as we couldn;t justify anything more expensive for the use we expected them to geet. But they've actually been used (and essential) on at least one or two occasions every year since. I've nothing to compare them with other than very old style shoes that I tried about 3 years ago, but are very pleased with them.
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a UK supplier at the moment - we got them from Needlesports who no longer sell them.
Decathlon sell about a dozen TSL models
I got th cheapest pair that decathlon sell. Very happy with them and they have proved very durable for our varied conditions here.
Thanks very much for advice. I was thinking of possibly one of the higher spec ones. It seems that MSR & TSL are the main makes.
Thanks for your post. I haven’t heard of Yowie, I’ll have to check them out. I thought of either MSR or TSL.
Thanks. I think I’ll go to Decathlon to have a look. Not many outdoor retailers stock them.
Thanks for reply.
I got a pair of the mid range TSL ones (I think from EMS) with the heel lock, but not the drop through heel.
Have used them on alpine winter trips and found them to be good allrounders.
Lightweight, and with effective points for use on patches on neve.
Well priced, but I suspect not as durable as the more expensive MSR in the long term.
I'm heavier than I'd like to be, and with a pack I made sure to get the correct size ones. In seem to recall that they are sized according to weight and gender.
Cost effective option.
We have a fleet of a couple of dozen MSRs and so are a little biased. Their main models are the Evo (and Revo) and Lightning. The latter win on hard snow especially on traverses due to their aggresive crampons and the two full length saw-like edges. They do have a slight tendency to ball up due to their rigid construction, though this varies a lot with snow conditions and is rarely too much of a problem. The Lightnings are more aimed at softer snow (though they manage fine on hard) and consist of an alu frame with a soft deck that sheds soft sticky snow very efficiently. Both Evos and Lightnings have an 'ascent' version which means they have a heel lift system - like ski-touring bindings - which makes steep uphill far more comfortable and I consider this almost essential, certainly if that's the terrain you're looking at. As Snoweider says they do or rather did have an issue with rivets popping on the bindings. They are constantly upgrading their binding systems so hopefully have fixed this. A spares kit is a good idea (as it is with ski-touring) with a selection of little nuts and bolts, bits of wire etc etc. It's also worth knowing that the Lightnings come in various sizes so you can choose just the right one for your weight. The Evos have a removeable deck extension to achieve this. The downside of MSRs of course, is the price.
TSLs tend to be much less expensive and generally good value. One little problem I've noticed with them is that (again, just like ski-touring bindings) snow can build up underfoot and continued pressure from walking turns it to a lump of ice and this forms a sort of pivot under the middle of your foot. If you don't take time to clear this it can result in breaking the hinge of the binding due to the huge amount of leverage the ice produces. The bit of plastic that the 'axle' of the hinge fits into is replaceable (I believe on all models) and so it's worth having a couple of spares in your kit. The balling-up comment that I made about the Evos also applies to TSLs for the same reason.
I've got some TSL Symbioz Hiker - I was due to do a winter arctic ultra and did a fair bit of research into the various types. I chose the Symbioz ones because they are very flexible and therefore minimise the risk of inflammation of the anterior tibialis (shin muscle) - a known problem with snowshoes used for long periods. I didn't use them for the race but did try them out in some knee-deep powder whilst in Finland and they worked very well, but its seriously hard work, down to 2kph at times, but without would have been even slower. I also climbed a steep snow bank that was near frozen - the crampons were very effective, up, down and across. Adjustment and mounting / dismounting were very easy too. It was too cold/dry to have any problems with balling.
> Thanks. I think I’ll go to Decathlon to have a look. Not many outdoor retailers stock them.
Check before you travel - selling them is not the same as having them in stock in a UK store, especially given the distinctly limited market for such things in the UK. They seem to have a comprehensive on-line stock though
I've a pair of MSR Denali/Evo (can't remember which) Ascents (off Ebay) and have also used Salewa 999s(?). The MSRs are tough and simple, but also big and heavy. I'm heavy enough (85kg) to have to use the floatation tails in fresh snow and they are useful. The Salewas had a nice heel lift mechanism which could be done purely with pole tips from memory, whereas the MSRs need lifting manually. Only someone living in a flat location would want shoes without heel lifts.
Thanks very much for your reply, much appreciated.
I should have said the 'former' (the Evos) win on hard snow not the latter, sorry!
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