What are Running Snowshoes?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Running snowshoes are snowshoes which have been designed specifically for snowshoe running. The design of such shoes is lighter and smaller in profile than traditional snowshoes so that runners can move comfortably with the snowshoes on. Outdoor suppliers in regions where there is snow may carry running snowshoes and can order them by request; people can also order them directly through catalogs. One advantage to catalog orders is that people usually get access to a wider array of brands and styles than they might in a store.

Boy playing with a ball
Boy playing with a ball

There are a number of reasons why people might engage in snowshoe running. Some athletes use it for cross training. Runners who live in cold areas may like to be able to run outdoors in the winter, and slightly different muscles can be used for snowshoe running, which will make an athlete stronger and more fit. Some people simple enjoy running in the snow, others may like the challenge of snowshoe running, and some may use running snowshoes for hiking and getting around in the snow, without any particular athletic goals in mind.

Numerous companies manufacture running snowshoes, often working with very sophisticated materials which are chosen for their durability and light weight. People can choose from an array of bindings for their running snowshoes, and it is also possible to buy cleats for good grip. It is advisable to bring the athletic shoes which will be worn with the snowshoes when the shoes are tried on, to confirm that the snowshoes will fir properly.

For people who are interested in competing as snowshoe runners, it is important to look up the regulations for racing. Some meets have minimum or maximum size requirements, as well as other restrictions, and it is a good idea to wear running snowshoes for training which are similar to those worn for racing. Some manufacturers may specify whether or not particular models conform with regulations.

The learning curve for snowshoeing is relatively short, but it is important to learn to walk comfortably in snowshoes before running. People who would like instruction in walking and running can seek out a coach who can help them get started, or be involved in a more prolonged training relationship. Some snowshoe runners also like to seek out other runners to work out with for motivation and companionship. This can also be advisable from a safety perspective, as it is generally safer to run with a buddy.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I don't know much about the best snowshoes for running, I do know that when finding simple the best running shoes, simpler is better. I like to run with Vibram's fivefinger shoes, which are basically like rubber socks for your feet. In terms of snow, of course, you have to consider cold and wet more than with ordinary and warm-weather running.


Running in snowshoes is very popular in snowy areas, I think partly because it is a unique, regional specialty. While only coastal areas can offer beach runs, and other hot areas can offer desert runs or other summery themes, only areas with significant snow can offer snowshoe races. This would also appeal greatly to runners who can afford to travel for their sport, because they could try many things and experience this and other regional offerings.

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