Choosing Snowshoes for Your Kids
With all the great kid-friendly snowshoes available, getting out snowshoeing with the family is easy! Here are some tips on finding the best one for your kids:
Age and Foot Size
Kids' snowshoe bindings are usually each designed to fit a certain range of shoe sizes, so be sure to find the binding that fits best for your child. Although the range differs with each snowshoe manufacturer, the snowshoe should have a hangtag that designates the appropriate range of shoe sizes or ages.
Ease-of-Use and Comfort
The snowshoe bindings should be designed so that they are easy to put on, adjust, and then take off at the end of the outing. The binding should also fit comfortably so that kids just have to worry about having fun, not if their snowshoes are uncomfortable.
Just like with adult snowshoes, kids' snowshoes help to increase the surface area of a child's foot, keeping them from sinking too deep into the snow. Kids' snowshoes come in different lengths to accommodate different weight ranges with children. Using a snowshoe that is too short might cause the child to sink deeper into the snow and using a snowshoe that is too long might impede maneuverability. Either situation can cut into the fun factor, so be sure to get the appropriate size snowshoe for your child's weight.
Not only do snowshoes help to keep you aloft in the snow, they also provide traction to keep you from slipping. All kids' snowshoes have traction elements. The differences usually lie in the age for which the snowshoes are designated. As kids grow older they are more likely to explore terrain that would need more traction, so snowshoes designed for older kids usually have more robust traction.
What if my child is in between two age or weight ranges?
As long as the snowshoe fits the child's foot comfortably, go with the larger snowshoe even the child is at the lower end of the weight or age range. This will allow plenty of use as the child grows. An exception to this might be if the larger snowshoe is so large that it would impede maneuverability.
How old does a kid have to be to wear snowshoes?
Snowshoes are designed for a variety of different age levels. If a kid can walk, chances are there's a snowshoe available for him or her!
Which snowshoes are best for young adults?
The best time to transition from a child's snowshoe to an adult snowshoe is different for every kid. Consider the both the weight of the young adult and the terrain on which they will be snowshoeing (see how to choose a snowshoe article). In the long run, if your teenager can fit into it, an adult snowshoe is the best long-term investment.