Choosing your snowshoe hiking equipment - teaser

How do you choose your snowshoe hiking equipment?

Check out our advice to help you choose the appropriate equipment and outfit for your snowshoe excursions!

You want to go snowshoeing, but you don't know what to wear? Using your ski suit won't be ideal... check out our tips to help you choose the right equipment and outfit for your snowshoeing trips!

choose the right equipment when snowshoeing


The bearing capacity of a snowshoe, i.e. its capacity to stay on the surface of the snow, is a function of the weight of the walker (plus the weight of their backpack). This is the first criteria you should take into account when choosing your pair of snowshoes.

Your level and intensity of practice, the type of terrain on which you are going to walk in snowshoes, will then help you choose between many snowshoe models. Support, ease of use, comfort, safety, lightness, each model has advantages to be favoured according to your needs.

Please ask for advice to help you find the ideal pair of snowshoes!

hiking snowshoes banner

If you are hiking on groomed trails, you may want to use a model with a smaller deck (which will be lighter and easier to handle) as your need for lift will be less than when off-piste in powder.

Some pairs of snowshoes have a left and a right shoe (so the 2 snowshoes are not interchangeable). This makes it possible to offer deck shapes with a narrower inner face, which will help your approach.

For better support, some models are fitted with an integrated boot and tightening straps. Remember to check that the boot fits your shoe size.

If you're planning on walking in hilly terrain, opt for snowshoes with heel lifts (such as the Inuit 450): this equipment, which is inspired by ski touring equipment, compensates for the gradient of the slope, up to an angle of roughly 10 degrees. The result: you'll feel like you're walking on the flat and will expend less energy.

Hiking poles banner


For improved balance, we strongly advise using a pair of hiking poles. Especially, if you're planning to go walking on uneven terrain, which may be slightly steeper, or in powder where you risk sinking into the snow more.

On snowy terrain, be sure to have large baskets to prevent them from sinking into the snow.

Adjustable height poles can be very useful for adapting to snow conditions. There are also poles with longer handles so you can adjust the position of your hands, depending on how far the poles sink into the powder. This is the case with the Forclaz 550 all-season poles.


choose the right equipment when snowshoeing

·        A snowshoeing outfit should be warm and breathable

Even if you are in the snow, snowshoeing is an activity where you warm up quickly, so there’s no point in dressing in clothes that are too warm.

The best thing to do is adopt « the “3-layer technique"» and regulate heat supply in accordance with energy expenditure: removing an item of clothing when it's warm and putting it back on when it's colder or when you stop for a break. If you're too hot, you will produce more perspiration which will cool you down when you stop. You will quickly learn to listen to your sensations and to take layers off or put them on according to your effort and how you feel.

How do you choose your snowshoe hiking equipment?

·       What kind of underwear should I wear to stay warm?

First of all, wear a base layer close to the skin, made from a warm, breathable fabric that will wick away perspiration and help keep you dry. We also advise you to bring a change of underwear to change into at the end of the outing.

On top of this, a warm layer such as a zipped fleece, which is easier to take off and remove, made from brushed fleece which retains heat better, or a compact padded jacket.

Finally, a waterproof, breathable and, if possible, ventilated protective layer.

These last two layers can be removed or put back on depending on the weather and your effort. Choose them with care: they should be efficient, practical and compact so that they can be easily stored in your bag if you get too hot.

How do you choose your snowshoe hiking equipment?

·       Which trousers to choose for snowshoeing?

The ideal trousers for snowshoeing are warm, made from brushed inner fabric for example, stretchy for better freedom of movement and water-repellent to protect you from the snow. Some trousers have integrated gaiters which prevent snow getting into your shoes. We recommend that you wear trousers with ventilation zips which are very useful in case you overheat! And you'll really appreciate waterproof inserts on the seat if you sit down in the snow for a short break. You can also choose classic hiking trousers with some leggings underneath to stop you from getting cold.

choose the right equipment when snowshoeing

·        How to protect the extremities when walking on snowshoes in winter?

We lose 8% of our body heat through our head, hands and feet, so remember to keep them warm. We recommend warm but thin gloves, which won’t bother you when you want to handle your snowshoes, your shoes, or open your backpack.

For the head, a thin cap or headband is ideal to protect you without keeping you too warm. Woollen hats are very practical when you’re static, but less so when you are making a sustained effort.

For your feet, you should choose warm, breathable socks to wick away perspiration and prevent your feet from getting wet. Note that the choice of socks is not trivial! To avoid wrinkles and blisters, it’s important to choose socks that are designed for hiking and that will complement your hiking boots perfectly. If you want to know more, we have the article you need here on how to choose the right hiking socks.

choose the right equipment when snowshoeing

How to choose the right shoes for snowshoeing?

When snowshoeing, you need high-cut hiking shoes that are warm, breathable and waterproof and offer good support. Go for shoes with good grip for the areas where you will remove your snowshoes (in the car park or possible parts of the road if there is not enough snow, etc.).

We recommend the SH520 X-WARM snow hiking boots with “Snow Contact” soles developed from a special snow grip compound and 5 mm studs for extra grip.

For powdery terrain you can also use gaiters to make sure that snow doesn’t get into your boots.

How to choose and fill your snowshoeing backpack

choose the right equipment when snowshoeing

·       Your choice of bag

First of all, think about taking a backpack that is big enough (30 litres would be ideal) to be able to store the clothes that you might take off during your outing (see the "3-layer technique" mentioned above).

Some bags have features that are particularly attractive for snowshoe hiking like, for example, an integrated insulated pad which will protect you from the cold and damp when sitting in the snow or a showshoe carry system, and sometimes pole holders, which can be very useful when you're not using them or if you decide to go back down by sledge! If not, you can opt for a snowshoe cover.

It's better to get a 20 to 30L backpack that’s big enough to carry everything you need.

There are also backpacks specially adapted to carry snowshoes. You can also find "extensions" to your usual backpack to store your snowshoes.

choose the right equipment when snowshoeing

·       What should you always take and put in your bag when snowshoeing?

Take something to drink in your backpack, either water or a warm drink stored in a vacuum flask. You can also take a snack or some cereal bars with you, depending on the length and intensity of your hike.

Don't forget the traditional sun cream and sun glasses. UV radiation is stronger at high altitude and the sun's reflection on the snow can even cause conjunctivitis. So choose a good sun cream with a minimum SPF of 30, if possible 50.

Finally, it's always important to take your mobile phone so you can call someone if necessary and, of course, take selfies or family photos! Remember to store it in an inner pocket of your bag, to keep it warm and prevent the battery from running down too quickly. If you still have room and your bag is not too heavy, you can take an external battery with you, making sure that it is also protected from the cold.

choose the right equipment when snowshoeing


For off-piste hiking, make sure you are equipped with maps, a compass and/or GPS and carry an Avalanche Victim Detector, a shovel and a probe. If you're caught up in an avalanche, these three items will help locate you or help you search for a victim. In any case, take a survival blanket and a small pocket knife, it will never be too much, and it doesn't take up much space.

And don’t forget to review your security basics.

Whether you're a beginner or more advanced, it's important to prepare for your snowshoe hiking excursion properly and take the appropriate equipment. Remember to ask for advice from our experts and share your hiking tips for a fun, safe introduction to snowshoeing.

Discover snow hiking with Quechua by Decathlon


Hiking enthusiast 

We also recommend our other hiking advice

6 tips on how to use your snowshoes properly - teaser

6 tips on how to use your snowshoes properly

Discover how to optimise your comfort and your physical exercise to enjoy your snowshoe hikes to the full!

5 tips to help you warm up when hiking

5 tips to help you warm up when hiking

When we lack the proper equipment or necessary instinct, the cold can prevent us from walking or turn our outings into nightmares: muscle tension and spasms, cold-induced numbness, chills etc. Check out our advice to help you cope with the drop in temperature so you can hike in comfort.

Choosing your snowshoe hiking equipment - teaser

How do you choose your snowshoe hiking equipment?

Because you mustn’t go snowshoeing without proper preparation, Vincent, head of "Nordic" products at Quechua, gives you advice on how to choose your equipment for your next trip out in the snow.

Choose your boots well for winter hiking - title

How to choose your boots for winter hikes

In the Autumn and Winter, to withstand the rain, mud and sometimes the snow or ice, you need the right equipment! Follow our advice on the essential points to be comfortable on all terrains, in all weather!