Take a Walk on the Wintry Side: How to Snowshoe

Snowshoeing has come a long way since its wood-and-leather days. While traditional snowshoes are still available, lighter modern snowshoes are ideal for walking, running and hiking in the winter months. The natural cushioning of snow beneath each step makes snowshoeing an excellent form of low-impact exercise. According to the American Hiking Society, snowshoeing can burn more than 600 calories an hour!

We’ve put together a beginner’s guide to help get you started with this fun and easy-to-learn sport.

Tête de Fonteinte in the Alps. Credit: Richard Allaway, Flickr.

Gear to get you started:


L.L.Bean Winter Walker Snow Shoes – Choose a pair based on your weight and activity. There are options for beginners, day hikes, and backcountry trips.


A good pair of insulated, water-resistant boots is essential for keeping feet warm and dry while trekking through the snow. Hiking boots, snowboarding boots and everyday winter boots are all great options.

Wool socks

Wool helps insulate and wick away moisture, and its thickness helps provide extra protection for your feet.


Made of water-resistant coated nylon, gaiters keep snow out of boots and pants.


Poles are optional, but provide extra balance and support while working your upper body.

Going for a day hike or extended backcountry trip? Don’t forget a map, compass or GPS device, first-aid kit, extra layers for warmth, flashlight, snacks, and plenty of drinking water.

Snowshoeing in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska. Credit: Paxson Woelber, Flickr.


Tips for the Trail
How-to-Snowshoe: Learn the basics from the experts at L.L.Bean

To avoid stepping on the snowshoe frames, start off with a bit wider stance than you have while walking normally.


Beginners should start on packed snow before attempting to snowshoe on powder.


When going uphill, step toe first and use the snowshoe crampons for traction.


When going downhill, step heel first with your weight toward your back. Make sure to keep your knees bent and relaxed.


Give cross-country skiers the right of way when sharing a trail.


Try to follow in the footsteps of the person in front of you when snowshoeing in a group.


That’s it!  Snowshoeing can be enjoyed nearly anywhere that’s covered in snow. Use our ParkFinder to find a great snowshoeing destination near you – and check out L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools for guided day hikes, custom adventures, and starlight snowshoe tours!

Do you have a favorite place to snowshoe? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Louise | January 26, 2015 | 10:57 am

    Hello Madame/Sir,

    I have a question regarding snowshoeing in winter 55th parelle up north -40 to -50 for a month, which snowshoes and boots, should i buy ?

    • Laurie | L.L.Bean | January 29, 2015 | 10:13 am

      Hello, Please email one of our product specialist at ask@llbean.com and we’ll being able to fit you to the proper snowshoe. Thanks ^LB

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