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Can You Wear Running Shoes With Snowshoes? (Explained)

Snowshoeing is a popular activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Instead of spending time chained to a treadmill, try going running or walking with snowshoes!

There are many types of footwear you can pair with snowshoes. Falling in the snow can be dangerous and painful. The right type of footwear will prevent slipping through snow and dodge ice patches.

Can you wear running shoes with snowshoes?

Running shoes can be worn with snowshoes. They are considered ideal for snowshoe running. However, they need to have the required features for snowshoeing. Many brands design running shoes specifically for the snow. They are lightweight, unlike hiking boots and winter boots. 

Plenty of people prefer to wear running shoes for snowshoeing. The reason for this is because winter boots and hiking boots are often too bulky and heavy.

This can make you sweat as well as tire you out if you’re snowshoeing for long periods. Make sure your running shoes keep you warm and dry. This is the most important factor of them all. 

Four reasons why wearing running shoes with snowshoes is a good idea

Lighter than other shoes and boots:

Hiking boots and winter boots can be too clunky and big, especially if you’re planning on running in the snow. This is why running shoes are a better option. They are light and you will feel less tired. Carrying those heavy shoes can take away your energy. 

Doesn’t have to be waterproof or new:

The running shoes you purchase or have do not have to be waterproof. You can implement other methods to your pre-owned shoes to make them resistant to water. They don’t have to be new either. An old pair of running shoes should work just fine. 


Many people prefer running shoes with snowshoes for the airiness it provides. Often winter boots and other clunky type shoes can make your feet go numb in the cold. To prevent this, running shoes are perfect!

Cheaper than winter boots and hiking boots:

Last but not least is the price. A good pair of winter boots or hiking boots can cost you a lot.

But, running shoes don’t come with a high price tag. You can go snowshoeing with regular running shoes as long as you pair them with the right snowshoeing accessories and socks. 

Can you wear sneakers with snowshoes?

You can wear sneakers with snowshoes because they are likely to adjust to fit into the bindings of snowshoes. But not all of them are suited for snowshoeing.

They need to be made for winter and be resistant to water. Most sneakers do not have the characteristics that are needed for snowshoeing and are only worn as a fashion statement. 

These sneakers will not protect you from the cold which is why they are not worn for winter sports. However, some models are specifically designed for the winter weather that might work just fine for snowshoeing.

They are similar to other athletic shoes such as running shoes and tennis shoes. Their soles are made out of rubber or synthetic material. 

Do you need special shoes for running in the snow?

Yes, to a degree. There are no special shoes designed for running in the snow but they do need to have certain features. Without these features, running in snow can be very challenging.

The general rule is that it should be well-insulated and waterproof so that you can stay warm and dry. 

The bindings for snowshoes can fit any type of boot, shoe, or model. They are not designed for any special shoes, unlike other winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. You can select any footwear you are comfortable with to pair with the snowshoe.

This can be snow boots, running or tennis shoes, hiking boots, winter boots, and other similar shoes. However, you should keep in mind that not every shoe is appropriate for running in the snow. Before purchasing your shoe, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will this keep me warm? 
  • Will this protect me from rain? 
  • How durable is this? 
  • Is this comfortable for me? 

Check size charts and try the pair on before you buy any boot or shoe. 

What shoes to wear with snowshoes?

Hiking Boots:

Hiking boots are usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of shoes to wear with snowshoes. As long as they are waterproof, even summer hiking boots should work for snowshoeing.

The most appropriate kinds are the sturdy waterproof ones that are made out of leather. If they don’t keep you warm, wear warm or heated socks, or try wearing special winter insoles. 

Insulated Winter Hiking Boots:

This is the best option when it comes to snowshoeing. This is because they have synthetic insulation and are designed for the winter. Not all hiking boots have

this quality. To avoid cold toes, this can certainly make your snowshoeing journey more pleasant. 

Winter Boots:

You can wear winter boots too with your snowshoes. Make sure they are insulated, waterproof, and have thick soles. Rubber or leather uppers are recommended. Since winter boots are designed for winter, they will keep you warm. 

Specific Running Shoes:

As mentioned earlier, running shoes are ideal for snowshoeing as long as they have specific characteristics made for cold weather.

Pick the lightweight ones that will keep you dry and warm. These special shoes can be found in a lot of places.  

Can you run in snowshoes?

Definitely! There are competitions throughout the world for running with snowshoes. There are several races and snowshoeing is not only about hiking or walking in the snow. You can indeed run in any kind of snowshoe, even with a pair of trekking snowshoes.

However, it is better to purchase snowshoes specifically made for running for safety and comfort.

Snowshoes that are built for backcountry travel can be too heavy or clumsy to run with. Moreover, the US Snowshoe Association states that snowshoe racing shoes have to be at least 7” wide and 20” long. 

Several manufacturers sell snowshoes specifically made for running. Some of the major brands are Dion, Crescent Moon, TSL, Louis Garneau, Atlas, and Northern Lites. 

But if you don’t have access to those, you can rent them from rental stores. Snowshoes built for running need to be lightweight and durable in icy conditions. They offer proper traction for icy surfaces or hard-packed snow. 

Snowshoe running is not the same as road running. It takes more effort and is more close to trail running. Snowshoe running is best for packed snow. This is because running snowshoes do not have a lot of flotation.

Broken snow-covered trails should be easier to walk on. You can’t run in very deep snow if no one has blazed a trail there. You’ll be bound to walk. 

How do I choose the right snowshoes?

There are only a few types of snowshoes. The first way to get started is by renting snowshoes from the rental shop. They are most likely to set you up with snowshoes that are suitable for your weight and the conditions where you will be snowshoeing. 

For first-timers, flat terrain snowshoes are the most appropriate because they are entry-level models and are affordable.

You can easily walk on flat or rolling terrain with these snowshoes which makes it perfect for beginners. To select the correct size, think about the snow conditions, weight guidelines, comfort, and the fit on your foot. 

Always follow the weight size chart before purchasing your snowshoes. Check the maximum recommended load. Count the weight of your gear along with your weight. It should not exceed the recommended load.

Moreover, consider the type of snow you’ll be dealing with. You’re walking on powder or deep snow, you might need large snowshoes that have a larger surface area. This is to keep you floating on top of the snow. 

Which type of shoes is best for snow and ice?

The right type of shoes is important to travel in the snow or ice.

You need to keep your toes warm and dry while remaining stable on your feet. Regular shoes are not made for walking in the snow. You will need proper shoes for the snow and ice.

Besides being warm and waterproof, there are other things you need to consider. Typically, shoes made out of leather or faux leather are best for snow. They will keep the snow out of your feet.

Good lining matters too to keep your shoes well-insulated. In addition, you will need shoes with good traction for balance.

Shoes with ankle support will help, especially if you’re going hiking. Try to buy shoes that have a long shaft. Ensure that it is breathable and does not suffocate your feet. 

How do you walk with snowshoes?

Walking in snowshoes is considerably simple. Walk as you normally would without snowshoes. Many snowshoes have straps over the toe, at the heel, and around the ankle.

Put them on and walk as you usually do. For flat walking, you can leave your heel unclipped. If you’re going downhill, you should clip it back on so that it doesn’t flap around. 

Walking forward with snowshoes at a gait is called Stride. Try not to hit your shins and make sure your straddles are not too wide. Otherwise, you will develop pain in your thighs over time.

The first four basic things you will learn from your instructor before snowshoeing are getting up from the snow, striding, turning around, and breaking trail. 

To easily turn around, you can walk in a circle or do a step turn. Form a “T” with your snowshoes by lifting one snowshoe and placing it in front of the other one. After that, turn your body and return the other snowshoe to the position it was in. 

The harder things are going up and down hills. You need to learn ascending, descending, traversing, and switchbacks.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do Snowshoes Have a Left and Right?

Do Snowshoes Have a Weight Limit?

Do Snowshoes Work on Ice, Sand or Mud?

How Do Snowshoes Attach to The Boots?