Snowshoeing Basics: Know Before You Go

Snow has arrived in Iowa, and it looks like it’s here to stay for a while. Many of us may be tempted to crawl under the covers and hibernate until spring. Don’t do that! Iowa has many opportunities to enjoy the winter cold and snow including snowshoeing. Snowshoeing may seem a little overwhelming, but really is pretty simple and an easy way to take in all the winter snow and sightings. It’s perfect for all ages! 

This winter I teamed up with SCHEELS and the Great Outdoors Foundation to learn all the basic knowledge of snowshoeing through their new Outdoor Insider program. I’ll be honest, I knew nothing beforehand and have learned so much through this fun partnership! Now, I’m here to share some of the amazing tips I have learned. 

How do I pick the right snowshoes?


Walking into this lesson I assumed that finding the right snowshoes depended on my shoe size. Boy, was I wrong! Snowshoes are based on weight. Not just the weight of the individual, but also the weight that person may be carrying. Like with everything, there are different brands, so make sure you take a look at the tag when searching for the right snowshoe for you. The tag will tell you the weight that pair of snowshoes is rated for. 

Different Brands

Each brand may be put on differently. Try several different brands on and see what is easiest for you to put on and take off. Practice in the store several times. You want to make sure you feel comfortable with what you are wearing before you head outdoors. If you are not sure which one is right for you, ask questions! 

Do I need other snowshoeing gear?

Proper Shoes and Socks

Like with anything there are always options to level up your snowshoeing game. Some must-haves include waterproof shoes and nice thick socks. You want to make sure your feet are staying dry and warm. If you do not wear the proper footing, your snowshoeing experience may not be so great. 

Trekking Poles

Another great tool for snowshoeing is trekking poles. Snowshoeing is done on very uneven ground. Sometimes you can find groomed trails, but even then, it can be hard to navigate. Trekking poles are a great way to navigate the uneven terrain and climb hills. It may not seem like a necessity, but trust me, if you are new to snowshoeing you will be thankful you invested in this piece of equipment. 

Can I try snowshoeing before I purchase my own gear?

Okay, now I know you are super excited to get outside and snowshoe, but don’t go off running to buy snowshoes just yet. There are several places to rent snowshoes before you purchase a pair of your own. The Des Moines area has several locations to rent snowshoes. This is a great way for you and your entire family to test out this fun outdoor activity before making the investment. 

Where can I snowshoe in the area?

There are several places to snowshoe in Des Moines and surrounding areas. Take a look at some of these fun locations: 

About the Author: You can find Erin Huiatt blogging and sharing her family’s adventures on Des Moines Parent and Des Moines Outdoor Fun. Erin is a stepping-stone for thousands of families and women throughout the Midwest. With Des Moines Parent, she shares events, activities, parenting tips, and more with families. The mother of two, Erin loves to explore Des Moines and travel while sharing her experiences with others. 

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