What to Wear Snowshoeing

The good news is there really isnt a lot of specific gear for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Outside of your snowshoes or your skis, if you hike and have gear for colder weather, you probably have most of the gear you need.

Here are a few basic suggestions:

Be sure to choose footwear that matches your snowshoeing style, whether it’s casual walking, backcountry trekking, climbing summits or trail-running. Leather hiking boots work well, especially if they are waterproofed. Insulated boots will work but they usually don’t offer the support for long periods. Some people use plastic mountaineering boots, which are fine, but they aren’t necessary for all but the adventurous snowshoeing. Trail-running snowshoes are designed to be worn with trail-running shoes or cross-trainers. Wool or synthetic socks with wicking liners help keep you feet warm and dry. Gaiters keep snow out of your boots and keep your feet dry.

Wear layers that can be adjusted to your activity level and the weather. Synthetics or wool offer heat retention when wet. Wear a good base layer. Whatever base layer you choose should wick moisture, insulate well and dry quickly. Wearing a zippered top helps you regulate body heat as you stop and go. Fleece makes a good insulating mid-layer since it retains heat when wet and breathes as you exercise. A waterproof, breathable shell jacket and pants keep you dry and protect you from the wind.

Keep your head and hands covered to prevent loss of body heat. A wool or synthetic hat or headband retains heat. A ball cap can shade your eyes on sunny days. Waterproof gloves or mittens are a must to keep your hands dry and warm. On cold days, combine shells with fleece mittens or gloves. In warmer conditions, glove liners may be all you need.

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