The best snowshoes for trail hiking, running and exploring


July 11, 2023


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For some, winter means hibernation. For others, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a whole new range of fun outdoor activities. Most of the time, you may find that you only need a pair of ice cleats. But for those longer hikes on deep snow or icy conditions, snowshoes are the way to go. They allow you to hike your favourite trails, continue your running regimen or explore new territories. And while putting them on is easy, picking the right pair isn’t. To help you choose, the SAIL experts have come up with a few recommendations. Here are the best snowshoe brands and the best models to look for this year.

In this article, you will discover the following snowshoe brands:

  1. GV snowshoes
  2. MSR snowshoes
  3. TSL snowshoes
  4. SAIL snowshoes
  5. Tubbs snowshoes
  6. FAQ

GV snowshoes

GV is a Quebec brand that’s been around since 1959. It has its roots in the Huron-Wendat reserve, and it is the only manufacturer in the world to produce every type of snowshoe on the market, from traditional wooden snowshoes to lightweight and cutting-edge aluminum models.

GV’s Active Winter SPIN

The Active Winter SPIN (available for both men and women) is amongst the brand’s best-selling models and was designed specifically for recreational users. It is a great option for those who enjoy casual hikes or want to go out walking with family or friends. Designed with a solid aluminum frame and a decking that resists harsh temperatures and wear and tear, the Active Winter SPIN snowshoes are tough and durable, while the SPIN™ bindings make them comfortable to walk in.

Main use: recreational
Type of terrain: compacted trails, shallow snow, flat or low incline terrains


GV Active Winter Spin

MSR snowshoes

Founded over 50 years ago in Seattle, the MSR brand has one clear goal: to unlock greater adventures by producing safe, reliable, and high-performance outdoor gear. In addition to camping equipment, sports apparel and more, the company has an extensive snowshoe range for all types of terrain.

Evo Trail

The Evo is the perfect choice for those looking for maximum traction. The model features steel crampons as well as traction rails for extra grip. The Paraglide™ bindings are easy to operate even while wearing gloves, so you can get in and out of your snowshoes fast, even in the bitter cold. As a bonus, you can add a flotation tail to your snowshoes for increased flotation when the conditions require it or when carrying a particularly heavy pack.

Main use: mountaineering, backcountry exploration
Type of terrain: rugged terrain, flat trails or rolling hills

Lightning Ascent

Looking for an ultralight, ultra-grippy pair of performance snowshoes for some serious backcountry exploration? Look no further than the Lightning Ascent. The tough decking material makes them a durable option when going over rugged terrain, and the Paragon™ bindings gently hug your feet without creating pressure points, thus increasing feet comfort during longer expeditions. The heel lifts are also a welcome feature when climbing steep hills as they reduce calf fatigue.

Main use: mountaineering, backcountry pursuits
Type of terrain: rugged, mountaineering terrain

MSR Lightning Ascent

TSL snowshoes

If there’s a brand that knows a thing or two about mountaineering, it’s TSL. Created in 1981 in the middle of the French Alps, TSL combines technical knowledge with sustainable manufacturing practices. The company focuses on local production and creates durable and repairable products that stand the test of time.

Symbioz Instinct

The technical details that make up the unisex Symbioz Instinct model are almost too many to list! Its traction features include a sharp front grip, interchangeable lateral grips around the edges of the frame, as well as stainless steel crampons beneath the foot. When it comes to comfort, the snowshoes’ hourglass frame allows for an easier stride, while the BOA® Fit System holds your feet in without creating painful pressure points. Lightweight, comfortable, and with enough grip to tackle up- and downhill sections: the Symbioz Instinct are the ideal snowshoes for backcountry exploration.

Main use: suitable for experienced hikers looking for technicality, grip and comfort
Type of terrain: rugged, mountaineering terrain

TSL Symbioz Instinct


The Smart TSL snowshoes are light and minimalist and provide a good mix of flotation and grip, allowing you to handle mixed surfaces. The brand even goes as far as describing the model as “the perfect compromise between snowshoes and crampons.” The small frame allows for good ease of movement, while the wide decking area provides enough flotation to walk over deeper snow.

Main use: hiking
Type of terrain: mixed surfaces

SAIL snowshoes

The SAIL brand has an extensive line of outdoor equipment, from clothing to camping, hunting, and fishing gear. Its snowshoe range comprises both lightweight aluminum options for performance-oriented athletes and wooden models for enthusiasts looking for that traditional look.

Summit 2.0 Unisex Snowshoes

The Summit 2.0 model provides excellent value for money. With great traction on any surface and a solid cable attachment system for strong adjustment, it is a sturdy choice for those who want to have the option to both stay on compacted trails or step off to explore beyond. The snowshoes come with a carrier bag, so you can easily take them with you everywhere you go looking for winter adventures.

Main use: multi-use
Type of terrain: packed, icy, or thick and powdery snow

SAIL Summit 2.0

Peak Series Women’s Snowshoes

Another versatile model of recreational snowshoes that allows its wearers to explore many terrains, the Peak Series has one particularity: it was designed specifically for women. Its frame is narrower, and its tapered rear is tailored to a woman’s stride. The one-pull binding system also fits smaller boot sizes.

Main use: recreational
Type of terrain: packed, icy, or thick and powdery snow

SAIL Peak Series

Tubbs snowshoes

Tubbs has been around for over 100 years, and the American company is solely focused on manufacturing snowshoes and snowshoe accessories. It was even the first company to engineer women-specific snowshoes – over 25 years ago – and has a long-standing tradition of innovation.


Tubbs has designed the VRT as its premium backcountry exploration model. Featuring aggressive traction, the snowshoes bite into the snow while the heel lifts support your calves on steep ascents. The company also claims that its Flex Torsion Deck technology reduces the amount of stress on joints, while the bindings use EVA foam to give you a secure yet comfortable fit. The VRT snowshoes were truly designed for high-performance expeditions.
Main use: backcountry exploration
Type of terrain: varying terrain and snow conditions of the backcountry


The Wayfinder is Tubbs’s best-selling snowshoe model. It is perfect for beginners or seasoned hikers looking to hit the trails. Available in both men’s and women’s sizes, it features BOA® Fit System bindings, which can be much easier to tighten and loosen with gloves or mittens on than most other attachment systems. It is also made with a recreational heel crampon for moderately rolling terrain or icy sections, and it is ideal for days out exploring the trails after a fresh batch of snow.

Main use: trail walking
Type of terrain: level terrain, packed snow

Tubbs Wayfinder

If you would like more tips on choosing the right snowshoes, have a look at our article. Or, to find more activities to do with snowshoes, head to the SAIL blog.


How do I choose the right size snowshoes?

How do I choose the right snowshoe brands?


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