Snowshoe Parts & What They Do

Snowshoe Parts & What They Do

Snowshoes have changed over the years, but the major parts are the same as they were 4,000 years ago when archeologists say they were invented. 

Let's see how snow shoes have changed over the last 4,000 years and take a look at the five main parts of a snowshoe and what they do. 

Anatomy 101: Snowshoe Parts

A snowshoe is made out of 5 main parts. Today's new snowshoes are made out of bindings, decking, a frame, as well as a crampon and a pivot point. Each of these five parts helps you navigate deep snow with ease.

Here's how it reads each of the parts of a snowshoe helps you hike through snow. 


The bindings are one of the most important parts of your snowshoes. Bindings are the straps and other connectors that hook your boots into the snowshoe itself.

Basic snowshoes just have a few rubber straps for bindings. You can strap these down and tighten them to make sure they're good fit for your boots. Snowshoes designed for tougher terrain often have harnesses that your boots slide into as well as ratcheting clamps that can make sure the fit is tight and snug.

You always want to check your bindings before heading out. Make sure your snow shoes fit snugly on your feet and you can comfortably walk around. If your bindings are loose, you're going to wind up stopping every few minutes just to tighten them back up. 


Crampons are simply metal teeth on the underside of the snowshoe that help you grip onto icy and rocky terrain.

The most basic crampons are a set of teeth near the top half of the snowshoe that will be under the balls of your feet. Snowshoes designed for more hardcore treking and expeditions through treacherous terrain often have more extensive cleaning and crampons. 


The decking of vintage snowshoes was made out of rawhide stretched across a wooden frame, but modern snowshoes are much more modern materials. The decking of modern snowshoes is made out of water resistant rubber, polyurethane, or other synthetic materials that are crafted for durability as well as water resistance.

The decking of a snowshoe creates the surface area that you stand on. This distributes your weight and prevents you from sinking into the snow. 


The frame of snowshoes used to be made out of bent pieces of wood, but today's modern snowshoes use hollow aluminum tubing. This provides a strong frame as well as a lightweight build which makes them easier to carry. 

Pivot Point

The pivot point is where the binding attaches to the frame of the snowshoe. There are two basic types of pivot point known as soft and hard attachments.

Soft pivot point attachments are ideal for individuals who will be hiking mostly level trails as well as doing snow running. Soft attachments limit the rotation of the snowshoe and “snap” back up as you walk. 

Hard attachments pivot freely around the ball of the foot and offer greater rotation. Hard attachments are ideal for people who need snowshoes for handling steep inclines. 

The Best Snowshoes

Northern Lites specializes in ultralight, all-terrain snowshoes for racing and for all-around fun! Shop their inventory of various snowshoes available for the entire family! Looking for more casual snowshoes, check out Crescent Moon for both aluminum snowshoes and foam snowshoes.

Check out all of our snowshoes and snowshoe accessories.

Day Hiking / Beginner Snowshoes - Ultralight Trekking Series Snowshoes - Snowshoe Carry Bags

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