Choosing Snowshoe Shape?

Old 09-06-12, 03:04 PM
Group Moderator
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 25,286
Received 904 Votes on 832 Posts
Choosing Snowshoe Shape?

Does anyone have advice for choosing the shape of snowshoe? Size is easy but I'm down to choosing between one pair with a rounded heel and the other has a pointed tail. They will be used on light to moderate hills in forested terrain. I have only tried the different styles years apart so I can't compare them well in my mind but I'm tending toward the rounded heel style thinking it would be better to maneuver in trees & brush and would not hang up so bad when backing up.
Old 09-06-12, 03:06 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,635
Received 98 Votes on 86 Posts
Not a lot of experience with them but I certainly can't fault the logic you used to lean toward the rounded back.
Old 09-06-12, 05:54 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,197
Received 54 Votes on 50 Posts
I like the oval style overall but the wide stride gets pretty tiring in open country.
Old 09-07-12, 05:18 AM
Group Moderator
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 25,286
Received 904 Votes on 832 Posts
I'm mainly looking at 8x25 which I assumed they would be the same width regardless of the tail shape. And, since I'm in a part of NC where snowshoes are useless I'm ordering online so I can't compare very well.
Old 09-07-12, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,743
Received 18 Votes on 16 Posts
Guess this would be my area to speak up...

The "beaver tail" or "tear drop" snowshoes where originally shaped that way because of how the wood was bent. The pointed back really doesn't have any benefit.

The more modern oval shape ones tend to be smaller and lighter.

Myself, I still use the old beaver tail snowshoes. They are better in deep snow (bigger surface area), make a great shovel in a pinch, and mine are very old (given to me by my grandfather). For back country, not on a packed walking trail, these (in my opinion) work better then the modern ones. That being said, with the wider foot print, it takes a bit of getting use to if trecking along a slope.
The modern oval shoes are lighter, and smaller (as noted above). This makes long distance walking easier, and they attach easier to a pack when not needed. The bindings also tend to fit better on modern winter boots where my old beaver tail shoes require smaller boots (I wear hiking boots).
They do however tend to be too small of a foot print when you go off the beaten path. If you are going to get oval shoes, buy bigger then specified for your body weight.

Long story short, if you are looking to walk snow shoe paths, the oval ones will work. If you are looking to go into the back country and play in the deep stuff, stick with the beaver tail shoes.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: