Are MSR snowshoes too small?

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richard

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I’m 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.
 
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?
 
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.
 
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
 
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.
 
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.
 
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¢...
 
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
 
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.
 
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.
 
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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
 
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.
 
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.
 
I really enjoy the stability a snowshoe provides and rarely carry spikes these days.

I too prefer snowshoes when there is enough snow, even on packed trails... However, when it's very rocky (above treeline for example), it's cheaper to wear out, sharpen, and replace microspikes than snowhoes, and it's less awkward as well.

I've been atop the Adams/Madison combo in some form 3 times this winter and Madison was best bare-booting, Adams in spikes, and snowshoes for the snowfields that surround the cones. Granted it is a below average snow year in 2020... (so far)

Tim
 
Where snowshoes size factors in is off trail/trailbreaking. I was out last Wednesday with folks who weigh less than I but had shorter snow shoes. There was about 6" of fresh powder on breakable crust with variable depth of snow pack below. We were a mix of on trail and off trail. It was obvious that I was not breaking through the the underlying crust as often as the others when off trail. I did a lot of trail breaking as long as someone pointed me in the right direction:) No doubt if I had my short shoes I would be having a rougher time and would have wanted to trade off more often. I had my short shoes on this weekend while cutting trees on my property and I was breaking through more often. Chainsaw work with snowshoes is dicey at best and short shoes tend to be more maneuverable. I have a pair of much larger and wider shoes for breaking trails in hardwoods. They have great flotation but not very maneuverable plus they lack rotary claws so not so good going uphill.

I was out on Starr King yesterday AM and it was a sidewalk. The shoes and microspikes were in the pack but conditions were fine for barebooting, no kittens were harmed. I put the on microspikes on the way down. I tend not to wear snowshoes in hard snow like that as I find it can fatigue the bindings and snowshoes more. Add in a bit of overnight powder and its a different story.
 
I need to head up north! I've been hiking in Sneakers this winter in New London and Tolland Counties. Looking at old scout guidelines where we told parents kids can't show up in winter without boots.

As being the largest one to answer, being 10% heavier & being at times close to three bills when adding a winter pack, in past years, I've been on the MSR's without tails on the packed trails, even with a few inches of new powder. Heading off trail when needed was a bit of an issue but not bad for once or twice a trip.
 
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