how to put on snowshoes

How To Put On Snowshoes: Step By Step Guide

If you’re looking for a fun winter activity, snowshoeing is definitely it! Not only is it a great workout, but it’s also a lot of fun. However, if you’ve never done it before, the process of how to put on snowshoes can seem a little daunting.

That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help make the process as easy as possible.

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How to put on snowshoes

The easiest way to put on snowshoes is to find some flat ground to put on your snowshoes, especially if it’s your first time.

Once you’ve found a spot, there are only a few steps:

1. Place your snowshoes in front of you with the toe pointing away from you and loosen the straps.

2. Step into the snowshoe, making sure that your foot is placed in the bindings of the snowshoe.  This will allow your foot to flex while walking, providing a comfortable and efficient step.

3. There are a few straps on the snowshoe that will keep your foot in place. First, tighten the toe strap, the instep strap, and lastly the heel strap. This will create a secure and snug fit.

4. Make any necessary adjustments and tuck away any loose straps to prevent you from tripping.

5. Repeat the process with your other foot!

Do snowshoes have a left and a right?

Tubbs Snowshoes showing (L) for left snowshoe
(L) Left snowshoe on my son’s pair of Tubbs

Start by finding which way the snowshoes are supposed to face. This is important, as some manufacturers make left-and right-footed snowshoes.

Look for an “L” or “R” on your snowshoe’s frame or bindings.

If you don’t see any indication of snowshoes being foot specific, it could be that you can wear them on either foot; however, it is crucial that the binding buckles face the outside of each foot for easy removal.

The best way to test if a pair of snowshoes fit well is by doing the following:

Gently lift your foot and shake it around a bit; the shoes should stay securely in place. Another method is to take a few steps while wearing them–they should be easy to maneuver and comfortable on your feet.

If you find that your snowshoes are uncomfortable or too loose, don’t hesitate to readjust the straps until they fit perfectly.

how to put on snowshoes
Make any necessary adjustments while on the trail

Snowshoe basics

Let’s review the basics of snowshoeing:

The size of the snowshoe you need varies based on your weight and what kind of ground you’ll be trekking. It’s essential to factor in your weight (including a backpack if using one) when selecting a pair as those who weigh more need snowshoes with a wider surface area along with supportive frames.

When shopping for snowshoes, it is important to consider the binding system, as this is the most cumbersome part of putting on your snowshoes.

Choosing the right snowshoes can help ensure that your time on the trails is fun and hassle-free.

-A binding system that is easy to adjust and fastens securely to your boots can make a huge difference in your comfort while you are out in the snow. The bindings should fit snugly around your boots–but not too tight. You should be able to wiggle your toes a bit.

– Keep in mind that you’ll be walking with a wider stance than normal when you’re wearing snowshoes. This will help you keep your balance and prevent you from toppling over.

By Josh Eckels

Snowshoe bindings

Now that you know how to put on snowshoes, let’s talk about the bindings.

As we mentioned before, the bindings are what keep your foot in place inside the snowshoe.

There are many different types of bindings available on the market, it’s best to research and try out a style that works best for your needs.

Here are a couple popular styles:

BOA bindings:

These are the newest bindings available and use a dial system to tighten or loosen the bindings. The advantage of these bindings is that they are very easy to adjust on the go, so you can make sure they are always fitting snugly and comfortably.

Atlas Range-MTN Snowshoe ACID GREEN, 26

These men’s Atlas snowshoes feature the Boa Closure System.

TruTrak bindings:

This ratchet-style binding uses flip hook buckles that provide a snug fit. These straps are created with super strong polyurethane and will hold nicely on every boot style. This provides the perfect alignment for any user and eliminates the need to over-tighten or wrench down on the straps. These bindings are very popular among snowshoers as they offer a good balance of ease of use and lightweight properties.

Atlas Snowshoes Helium Bc, Black/red, 23

These Atlas snowshoes feature bindings collapse flat for easy storage in your pack.


The deck is the woven fabric part of the snowshoe that your foot rests on. It’s important to choose a deck that’s made of durable material–especially if you’ll be using your snowshoes on rough terrain.


The frame is the metal or plastic part of the snowshoe that gives it its shape. It’s important to choose a frame that’s lightweight but also sturdy enough to support your weight. Most modern frames are made of aluminum because it’s lightweight but durable.


Crampons are the spikes on the bottom of the snowshoe that provide traction in icy conditions. They come in different sizes and shapes, so you can choose the ones that are best for the type of terrain you’ll be walking on.

How to put on snowshoes
The backside of MSR snowshoes

Pivot point

The pivot point is the joint in the middle of the snowshoe that allows it to flex. This is what helps you walk comfortably and prevents the snowshoes from sticking to the ground too much.

Heel lifts

Heel lifts are metal or plastic bars that are attached to the back of the snowshoe. They help reduce fatigue by keeping your heel from sinking into the snow with each step. Useful

Final thoughts

Now that you know the basics of putting on snowshoes, you’re ready to hit the trails! When starting out snowshoeing look for an easy trail, and take your time. With a little practice, you’ll be snowshoeing like a pro in no time.

Just remember to dress for the weather, and for detailed information see our article How to Dress for Snowshoeing: The Ultimate Guide.

As well as 21 Essential Snowshoeing Safety Tips You Need to Know before you head out.

And once spring arrives and you need to store your snowshoes check out How To Store Snowshoes In The Off-Season.

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