Best Snowshoes for Big Guy & Heavy Person
With blizzards gone and the sun shining, it's time to take back the cold outdoors. With a pair of your very own snowshoes, no less. Snowshoes help spread your weight out over a wider surface area, which lets you explore some of the toughest spots in the backcountry (or even your backyard) without sinking knee deep into powder. But what if you’re a bigger fellow packing a few extra pounds? Not all snowshoes are made for those of us with a bit more to love.
But don’t worry—At TSL Outdoor, we’re here to get you what you need. We’re sharing our top picks for snowshoes for big guys, and breaking down everything you need to know about finding the perfect pair. So let’s hit the trails.
How Do I Find The Best Snowshoes For Big Guys?
You’ll want to get a pair of snowshoes sized appropriately for your estimated load (your body + your gear). If you’re a heavier guy, you’ll need more structure beneath you to stay afloat on the snow, which means a larger snowshoe size. The amount of weight you can place on a pair of snowshoes is determined by the manufacturer. Most snowshoes are rated to carry anywhere from 80 lbs. to 300 lbs..
For heavy-footed enthusiasts just starting in the sport, however, this sort of weight sizing can sometimes be misleading—not to mention disheartening. But even if the weight recommendations don't match your own, remember, these are just guidelines. For big guys looking for a great snowshoe fit, there are so many more factors to consider before committing to a purchase.
In addition to size, the type of terrain and snow conditions you’ll be in can affect how weight is distributed across the snowshoe—and what weight rating is necessary for optimal performance. Generally, you’ll need larger sizes to tackle dry, light, or extra-deep snow (powder). This will help disperse your weight to prevent sinking and maximize traction.
If, however, you're sticking to packed trails, you can probably push this recommended weight a bit further. You won’t be sinking as easily in heavy snow. Just make sure you choose snowshoes that are comfortable to walk in most sections of the trail.
For heavy set folks, the right bindings (which attach the snowshoes securely to your feet) make all the difference. Your bindings should be properly cushioned and able to accommodate your build. Pay extra attention to the toe and heel. Here you'll want additional padding for added support and to prevent your toes from bunching up against the front of the shoe.
If you have wide feet or calves, you may want to consider adjustable options. A fit that’s too tight can cause painful pinching and leave you with cold, blistered feet. On the other hand, if you have narrow feet but still need to buy larger snowshoes to fit your heavier frame, you’ll want bindings that can be cinched down for added stability. A snug fit will keep your foot and heel in place and make sure you don’t accidentally end up with a rolled ankle!
EXPERT TIP: Don't forget to consider ease of use. Lace up styles will require a bit more effort to get into, while buckles or ratchets are easy to use even with gloves.
TSL Outdoor’s snowshoe binding technologies—from the Instinct to the Initial Binding System—provide exceptional support for those looking for snowshoes for big guys. Our bindings are designed to be light and comfortable, with incredibly precise fits made possible by our BOA® Fit System. No pressure points or punching effect; your gear will quickly become an extension of you—allowing you to now go faster and further across the deep snow.
For heavy persons, more traction is always welcome. Look for toe and instep crampons (which offer added support while turning and brake testing) and heel crampons. For tougher terrain or much steeper grades, get snowshoes with side rails/traction bars. These are long bars under the decking that provide lateral stability when traversing.
Heel lifts in snowshoes (like those in our Up & Down System) provide a huge amount of support for big guys. Instead of straining your calves on hills or steep terrain, heel lifts provide your foot with slight elevation so your calf muscles are on an incline. This allows you to push off with added power and stability, and easily climb wherever you need to be.
HIGHLANDER ORIGINAL 2
Build & Material
A good snowshoe is only as strong as its frame. Traditionally made from wood, these days you can easily get a pair with either an aluminum or composite frame. Aluminum snowshoes are stiffer and more durable, which also translates into better stability and support for heavier individuals. These same qualities also make aluminum frames better suited for backcountry or difficult terrain; whereas composite frames provide a better walking motion on flat to rolling terrain.
Make sure to check that the decking material—the part of the snowshoe that actually touches the snow—is strong enough to handle your weight. New models often feature synthetic decks, which are specially designed to block out moisture and keep their flexible shape in cold climates. Other performance materials like nylon mesh provide additional traction on snow, reinforcing the snowshoe to withstand greater loads.
With snowshoes, you don't have to spend a fortune for a proper fit. Sure, if you're looking for a more specialized snowshoe (to race, for example) you may have to pay a bit more. But if you’re just out for leisurely hikes and occasional runs, you can get away with spending much less—especially if you shop around for enticing online deals.
At TSL, you'll find snowshoes that'll survive any adventure—from our value-oriented Discovery series to our more technical Hyperflex series. Our snowshoes are work and adventure tested, offering maximum flexibility and grip while ensuring a comfortable journey even on the toughest of winter terrains.
So, What Are The Best Snowshoes For Big Guys?
If you’re a heavy-bodied guy and looking for which types of snowshoes are right for you, look no further than our recommendation: backcountry snowshoes. These generally have rigid frames with aggressive crampons. They’ll provide a solid edge for turning and for kicking up uneven terrain. With generally more decking beneath your feet, they'll also provide more flotation to support your weight in deep powder.
Additionally, some snowshoe binding systems, such as TSL's Instinct Binding System, are designed to be more comfortable and effective for larger individuals. You’ll find this in gear like the Highlander Instinct and Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct shoes.
Not just looking for snowshoes for big guys? TSL Outdoor has a wide selection of snowshoes which caters to most ages and sizes. Shop more snowshoes for men, snowshoes for women and kids’ snowshoes directly on our site.