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Thread: Are MSR snowshoes too small?

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    Senior Member richard's Avatar
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    Are MSR snowshoes too small?

    Im considering buying a pair of 22 MSR snowshoes. I weigh 180 lbs. would these be too small for me? I feel like a smaller size would be less cumbersome. I think that I would be able to maneuver a little better. Am I wrong? I presently use Tubbs flex alps.

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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    You'll get many replies, but the biggest factor is what do you intend to use these for? Popular packed trails, or very deep untracked powder bushwhacks?

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    Senior Member richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    You'll get many replies, but the biggest factor is what do you intend to use these for? Popular packed trails, or very deep untracked powder bushwhacks?
    Good notice. I would most likely use these on most of the popular trails in the White Mountains.And, not for breaking trails in deep snow.

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I weigh a bit more than you (w/o gear) and I use

    22" MSR Denali Evos - for packed trails or for light trail breaking or when I know I will be carrying them for at least part of the day. I have 6" tails but I rarely use them.
    24" Tubbs Flex Alps - when I am pretty sure I will be / can be wearing them all day, and for medium trail breaking.
    28" Tubbs Flex Alps (XL) - when bushwhacking or for heavy duty trail breaking.

    HTH,
    Tim
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    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    I weigh a bit more than you (w/o gear) and I use

    22" MSR Denali Evos - for packed trails or for light trail breaking or when I know I will be carrying them for at least part of the day. I have 6" tails but I rarely use them.
    Same here, regarding weight and the Denali Evos and the tails. But, I do use the tails a bit more than rarely for deep snow.

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    I'm 180 and almost exclusively do overnights. 22" MSR shoes (lightnings or revos) are what I use. I carry tails and use them as conditions warrant. This combo has never failed me. I used 25" shoes up until 4 years ago and the shorter shoes were a game changer, particularly on downhills.

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    Senior Member richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    I'm 180 and almost exclusively do overnights. 22" MSR shoes (lightnings or revos) are what I use. I carry tails and use them as conditions warrant. This combo has never failed me. I used 25" shoes up until 4 years ago and the shorter shoes were a game changer, particularly on downhills.
    Downhills have been the problem with my 25” snowshoes. I have no problems on the uphills. Thanks for all the help. I get lots of good information from this forum.

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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    6'4", 230# and I do mostly day hikes with anywhere from 0-30# in a pack. I wear 30" MSR Lightning Ascents, with 6" tails about 90% of the time, because they don't bother me at all and I"m too lazy to keep putting them on and taking them off. I'v never wished for smaller shoes even on the most packed-out trails, and have often wished for bigger when breaking trail in deeper snow (not this year!). I'm on my third pair and would've bought Revo Ascents if they came in a larger size, just because of the durability. Just my 2...
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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richard View Post
    Good notice. I would most likely use these on most of the popular trails in the White Mountains.And, not for breaking trails in deep snow.
    Yeah, most of my friends in your weight range use 22" shoes. A couple use 25". We rarely break trail through more than 6" of snow. The climbing bar and crampons are bigger factors for most of them than the size though.
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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    What is your perceived advantage of shorter shoes going downhill? Do you feel you are landing closer to your heel? I'm not sure I've ever noticed a difference, but I will say that the bindings on the 25" Flex Alps are more comfortable on the downhill than the 22" MSR, for me anyway.

    Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    What is your perceived advantage of shorter shoes going downhill? Do you feel you are landing closer to your heel? I'm not sure I've ever noticed a difference, but I will say that the bindings on the 25" Flex Alps are more comfortable on the downhill than the 22" MSR, for me anyway.

    Tim
    Yes, land closer to the heel, leading to less stress on the quads/shins/patellas. Are you talking about the Paragon or Posilock bindingss for the MSRs? The Paragon is noticeably more comfortable than the Posilock on downhills, it spreads the pressure over the whole foot instead of concentrating it across the straps and you don't need them as tight with the new toe stop.

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    Senior Member richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    What is your perceived advantage of shorter shoes going downhill? Do you feel you are landing closer to your heel? I'm not sure I've ever noticed a difference, but I will say that the bindings on the 25" Flex Alps are more comfortable on the downhill than the 22" MSR, for me anyway.

    Tim
    I have bad feet (bunions) and downhills with boots and even more so with snowshoes and boots really do a job on my feet by the time I finish my hike. It seems the longer heels on the 25” snowshoes make it worse. Maybe I’m wrong. Also, like I mentioned, I think the shorter snowshoes would make it easier to maneuver. I have much less of a problem with my feet during most of the year when I can wear Trail runners. There’s a lot more “give” on the downhills. Also, if possible, I’ll switch to spikes on the downhills if the trail is well packed. My feet feel fine going uphill.
    Last edited by richard; 02-18-2020 at 10:18 AM. Reason: More info

  13. #13
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    My MSRs have Posilock (three straps over the front, one around the heel). I feel like the Flex Alps are flexible enough, and more comfortable over the top of my boot, that I don't notice any penalty for them over the shorter shoes on the downhills.

    Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by richard View Post
    I have bad feet (bunions) and downhills with boots and even more so with snowshoes and boots really do a job on my feet by the time I finish my hike. It seems the longer heels on the 25” snowshoes make it worse. Maybe I’m wrong. Also, like I mentioned, I think the shorter snowshoes would make it easier to maneuver. I have much less of a problem with my feet during most of the year when I can wear Trail runners. There’s a lot more “give” on the downhills. Also, if possible, I’ll switch to spikes on the downhills if the trail is well packed. My feet feel fine going uphill.
    22's essentially replaced microspikes for me. I really enjoy the stability a snowshoe provides and rarely carry spikes these days.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    My MSRs have Posilock (three straps over the front, one around the heel). I feel like the Flex Alps are flexible enough, and more comfortable over the top of my boot, that I don't notice any penalty for them over the shorter shoes on the downhills.

    Tim
    Not sure if richard meant the strap discomfort or just overall foot fatigue but for me the issue with downhill in snowshoes is the "jolt" you get as your foot makes contact and all that traction grabs and impacts your momentum. Slams the foot forward in your boot and stresses the ankle, at least for me (even in a boot with a decent fit). Always feel like I semi-consciousnessly clench my toes in anticipation of impact with front of boot. Whenever I go downhill on a moderate to steep smooth surface that awkward angle tires my feet out faster. Always prefer a lightly compacted or fresh snow track for snowshoes. I really dislike descending in snowshoes on steep slopes, especially scratchy trails. Rather be in crampons. I have 25 in Tubbs and even at that length I find the length interferes with my foot placement on steep slopes. Going uphill is always far easier for me and the added bonus of televators makes life easier to.
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