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Snowshoes for use with light shoes
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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Snowshoes for use with light shoes on 10/28/2013 11:34:37 MDT Print View

I was in a local flea market and saw a paid of Redfeather snowshoes that had a binding with a neoprene or other rubberized fabric bootie that would cover the front half of your shoes. It got all kinds of wheels turning for bindings to be used with UL shoes. This sort of binding could be extended up the front of the leg, or have something more like a step-in or wrap-around boot of neoprene or similar stuff.

Redfeather snowshoes

Redfeather snowshoes

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Snowshoes are built like tanks. on 10/28/2013 11:58:40 MDT Print View

I think snowshoes suffer from consumerism, where big metal spikes and metal bindings and straps make consumers feel like mountaineers. I would be willing to bet a neoprene cuff with a single webbing strap is more than enough to make a pair of snowshoes that fall well below 2lbs, without sacrificing a few crampon spikes for stability.

I'm a tall guy with sometimes large winter loads, and my snowshoes this season are the Kahtoola MTN 28's. These are heavy-ish at 4lbs 6oz, but I save about 2lbs on not having to carry any crampons since the bindings detach into dedicated crampons that work great. That's the best weight compromise I can come up with for serious winter hikes.

hwc 1954
5 Fingers? on 10/28/2013 12:31:27 MDT Print View

Maybe Vibram will start making Five Fingers snowshoes? :)

One problem with snow shoes and ultralight shoes. How do you keep your feet dry tramping around in snow?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: 5 Fingers? on 10/28/2013 12:35:02 MDT Print View

"One problem with snow shoes and ultralight shoes. How do you keep your feet dry tramping around in snow?"

Waterproof socks.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Re: 5 Fingers? on 10/28/2013 13:53:07 MDT Print View

if feet get wet in snow, such as fording a creek, does not the snow just blot up/off the water in a few minutes.
assuming it's not nasty cold, and you're not near dead in the first place, i've wandered about quite a bit in snow and the feets get dry pretty quick wearing fabric shoes.
snow drying works so well, no longer worry about it.
just my op.


And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
5 fingers on 10/28/2013 14:06:23 MDT Print View

I walk, run (including half marathons and training up for full), and backpack in five fingers. Some kind of crazy five finger friendly micropikes and snowshoes would be pretty awesome. Spending most of the year walking around in five fingers, it's a pain to get used to hiking in regular shoes when the cold rain/snow hits. I was longing for my Spyridons during my overnight into the Enchantment lakes this past weekend.

Those are some nifty snowshoes.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: UL snowshoes on 10/28/2013 15:17:03 MDT Print View

I would want something more like the MSR style anodized aluminum deck with interchangeable tails, so you can have just the amount of flotation needed on your feet and/or tailor them to varied user body weight--- and then this "mitten" like binding.

The "mitten" binding would be great with something like Five Fingers as it would keep the snow from packing between the toes, not to mention the extra insulation.

Another thing that could be done with snowshoes is to use a binding more like a cross-country ski. Having one set of cross-country and snowshoe boots that interchange would be great.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Snowshoes are built like tanks. on 10/28/2013 15:22:54 MDT Print View

"I think snowshoes suffer from consumerism, where big metal spikes and metal bindings and straps make consumers feel like mountaineers."

That and the consumer misuse/durability issues. I'll bet 75% of snowshoes get used once or twice, the consumer finds out that is a very athletic pastime, and that puts an end to it. They get on a snowmobile and pester the rest of us seeking Winter Solitude.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Logistics on 10/28/2013 15:35:50 MDT Print View

I just started hiking in my Vibram FF's after about a year of walking around. I can't run in them yet.

Logistically, I can't see ever snowshoeing in them. I think of snowshoeing the same way I think about cycling; without a firm last underneath the shoe, you're going to get bruising because of all the metal hardwear under your feet.

Could you design ultralight all-soft snowshoes with no crampons and no baseplate? Sure. Will it be useful as soon as the trail gets slightly steep? Likely not. At least, where I hike I've never regretted having crampon spikes, at least some.

No, snowshoeing might be that one time where minimalist footwear needs to be left at home.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
five finger running on 10/28/2013 16:36:00 MDT Print View

If you're gonna work up to running in the five fingers, take it slow. When I started, I laughed at the recommendation to run less than a mile at a time when running in five fingers for the first time, and ran my usual 3 mile morning courses... Can tell you I spent more days recovering then running each week (something like 3-4 days off per day of running). My tendons and ankle muscles weren't used to all that work yet.

Eventually, I was able to run without needing a recovery day, but I feel like that time period of getting used to running in them would have been shorter or more effective if I had actually listened to the advice of taking it slow, even if it doesn't feel like you're getting a workout.

I wear the SeeYa running ones, great breathability so feet don't get all sweaty and light as air. Spyridons are great for hiking, good traction, a bit more sole so that the sharp rocks don't hurt. Doesn't dry out as quickly after crossing streams compared to the KSO or trek multisport.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 10/28/2013 16:42:30 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Logistics on 10/29/2013 00:53:54 MDT Print View

5 fingers aren't good shoes for winter.
You can't shove socks in them.
Your best defense against wet cold is a thick wool sock.
And then in snow you can add waterpoof socks.

Ditch the 5 fingers and switch to something like the trail glove. Good ground feel with more versatility.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Snowshoes for use with light shoes on 10/29/2013 00:59:47 MDT Print View

If your shoes are not halfway rigid, then you tighten down the straps and the shoes will collapse against your feet, inhibiting circulation and making for very cold feet.

Sorels will work, but that is only if they are large enough that you can get plenty thick wool socks in there.


hwc 1954
Hiking boots on 10/29/2013 01:13:04 MDT Print View

I just wear my leather goretex Bean Cresta Hikers for snow shoeing. Plenty big for warm socks and liner socks. Works great with snow shoes or with microspikes.

If it's cold enough that I need the Sorels, I'm probably not going for a very long hike!

Do not see many people trying to hike in Five Fingers and similar footwear in the White Mountains. The rocks will tear your feet to shreds.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Snowshoe length & my "theory of relativiity" on 10/29/2013 17:06:16 MDT Print View

I have the longest MER Lightning Ascent 'shoes (30" I believe) AND the tail extensions. They work "OK" in soft, non-powder snow

As a Nordic skier and backcountry skier I feel that even 36" 'shoes are not very long relative to the length of skis. This is my "Theory of snowshoe relativity".

1. Most backcountry skis provide more flotation than snowshoes therefore get the longest 'shoes you can comfortably handle and you'll get barely adequate flotation in most soft snow conditions.

2. long snowshoes (not the old racquet style W/ long tails) are 36" long and can be more easily managed than 5' skis in rough terrain.

6. If you backcountry ski you can easily handle 30" to 36" 'shoes. Get 'em.

P.S. My idea of "light" boots for snowshoeing are NEOS with feltpac liners. No gaiters needed but you do need a VBL sock of some type to keep the feltpac insulation dry and thus warm. I prefer lightweight neoprene divers' socks that I've seam sealed worn over light poly liner socks.

Edited by Danepacker on 10/29/2013 17:09:20 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Snowshoe length & my "theory of relativiity" on 10/30/2013 10:30:34 MDT Print View

Theory of Floatativity.