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I was convinced in part from my scouting excursion today out in thigh-high snowdrifts that i am going to go ahead and get some snow shoes. When I told my wife about it she said she wants a pair also. :)
Who uses them?
What brand and specifications do you recommend?
I will have lots of different purposes for mine. My wife primarily for hiking and wildlife photography.
I may move on these for Christmas or maybe right after, so any information you have is greatly appreciated.
Oh, and if you thought this was a rabbit hunting post, sound off about that too! I have had a ball last few times out bunny hunting. ;)
Thanks in advance,
-Amos
 

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Look in Cabela's Winter Sports catalog, or visit their web site. They have their own line of 'Canadian Snowshoes' that are the white-ash frames and varnished leather lacing. Not only are they nostalgic, they are a good snowshoe and extremely competitively priced.

I've had the 'Huron' model for 16 years now, and they still are like new. They cost $64.99 (but you still have to buy bindings which cost $24.99).

And enjoy; its alot of fun trompsing around the woods on shoes!
 

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Amos, My kids bought me a pair of traditional "Michigan" shoes a few years ago and I fell in love w/ the sport. I bought a second pair of "BearPaws" for my wife and a small set for my grandson who was only 21/2 at the time. Now at five he's an expert at getting around. Depending on where you plan on using them the most will really play into what style you buy. If you're in tight places w/ a lot brush you'll want something along the lines of a "BearPaw" if you're out in the open more the "Michigan" style works great. I bought mine at Gander Mountain and paid about $65-75.00 a pair, plus bindings.

If you can afford it and want a more all around shoe look into the high tech styles that Cabela's offer. They have a lightweight aluminum frame and a synthetic webbing. Not only are they smaller and lighter but most have metal spikes that help when going up hills and on slick surfaces.

I keep a pair of shoes in the back of the truck all winter and plan on upgrading this year to the high tech model.

Good luck w/ whatever you decide and enjoy, you'll get further into the woods then you ever imagined w/ half the effort!
 

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Instead of buying bindings a very good pair can be made from truck or tractor inner tubes. They can stretch over most any boot
which affords good tension.
 

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TGehrs:

I have a pair of snowshoes with neoprene bindings that I got (the bindings -- at REI) back in the late 70's that are still great, and another pair of traditional Michigan's that I picked up in Canada around the mid 70's that need a new pair of bindings. Do you have a pattern for those innertube bindings? Sounds like a great solution at a much better price. Would be interested in making some if you can help out with a pattern...... MUCH THANX. m
 

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I prefer the Michigan style shoes because I find them easier to walk in, but they are trouble in thick brush. The downside of bear paw types is you're more likely to step on the opposite shoe and fall, at least I did.
 

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Check the January issue of Field & Stream, there's a good article on snowshoes. I prefer the Michigan as a good all around shoe, and we put in a few miles each winter up here in them, and I would go with the bubber type bindings if you can get them, they are easier to get off if you get into an emergency, like going through the ice. I also agree with mjp, Iverson's in Shingleton makes some excellent traditional shoes. I have never yet been in brish so thick that Michigans were a problem, and with some bungee cords you can strap them on your snowmachine.
Bushwhacker
 

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Amos;
I bought a pair of Cabaela's "bear paw" type snow shoes several years ago on a whim, just prior to the muzzleloading season. Good thing I did, as I had 3 feet of snow get dumped on the area I hunted opening weekend that year. They really came in handy! They are great for getting around in thick brush. Now if Trout could only get the parking lots on the SGA's plowed out......
 

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The army unit I was with was a combat support light infantry company (171st Inf.)in Fairbanks, Alaska. We specialized in getting to places in deep snow and under very hazardous conditions. We had at all times Nordic skies and or trail shoes(modified Michigan's made by Iverson) with a second set of shoes(bear paws also made by Iverson). As you might guess we were always weighted down with the equipment we needed to carry and when I was in the recon unit the trail shoes were used the most when we were not on skies. They could handle the load and were the easiest on the legs. Bear paws were good but they are very hard on the legs (you have to walk with a wide stance so the shoes will clear each other) if you have to go any distance at all but they are good in tight quarters or if you must maneuver a lot.
The Iverson shoes never let us down but the leather bindings we used did give us trouble. We came up with our own design using inner tube material and that's what we stuck with. We put on thousands of miles in the Yuke under severe conditions and the shoes never failed us.

I would recommend the Michigan trail shoe with the new bindings available.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well I did pick up my wife's snowshoes. For the relatively light duty she is going to give them I decided the InSTEP Optima was a reasonable bargain. They have the built-in bindings that have a spring effect to help clear the toe of the shoe out of the snow. They also have the steel cleats on the bottom for icy traction.
I held off on getting my pair, I thought I would see if a couple of the more expensive brands I have looked at go on sale after Christmas. I know that I will likely put mine through a beating, so I don't mind spending a little more for a more durable pair.

Thanks for all the input in this thread.

Happy holidays!
-Amos
 

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TGehrs:

THANKS MUCHLY for the pattern! It looks like scaling it down to my size will be no problem at all and I will be making them first thing next week. I appreciate your sending it. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL .... ~ m ~
 

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I'm currently looking for some snowshoes. Does anyone make a Michigan style shoe made from synthetic materials or are all the Michigan style shoes made from wood?
 

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I used Alaskan style traditional style shoes for years in the thick swamps beaver trapping. They are 10 inches wide and 56 inches long. You don't have to walk bow legged with them like you do in the Michigans. Michigans are either 12 or 14 inches wide. A shoe with a tail tracks better than one with out. That is a problem with bear paws.

A small shoe can get you in real trouble in a place with snowed under deadfalls. They can break thru and go down in the dead fall. I have had bearpaws get hung up. I had a heck of a time getting out. That is when I switched to Alaskans. The added length holds you up.

After you get used to them it is no problem turning around and going in the opposite direction if you get in a bind with too tight of cover.

Raw hide and wooden shoes do not require that much maintainance. I put mine thru the paces on the trap line and generally only needed to give them a coat of spar varnish once a year. I probably put in around 50 miles a year on snow shoes.
 

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Amos

I don't agree with most of these fellas on their recommendation and I'll tell you why. I snowshoe over a hundred miles a winter in deep snow. I have many pairs of shoes of most of the styles and binders mentioned. First understand that snowshoe sizes are rated by the weight they will carry on a packed trail. That is a problem if you are not aware of it. If you plan to go in deep snow...you can pretty much buy the largest size available or at least one that will carry much more weight than you are. Since I am the size of an NFL lineman..I use 11x38 & 12x42 aluminum frame shoes. I don't use my wood ones much anymore...I have Michigan Specials...they just don't work nearly as well. I do have smaller aluminum shoes for spring when the snow packs. Aluminum frame in my opinion is the only way to go....much lighter and lower maintenance. Snow doesn't stick to them as much. They have crampons(claws) for climbing up or going down. You can make a tight turn and the shoe turns with your foot. They can be a little noisy though but you get used to it. If you buy wood don't bother with the rubber binders unless you can get heavy natural rubber tubes used in forestry. I am a tire dealer and they are hard to find but they are the only one that will hold up to snowshoe use over long winters. There is a commercial version called a "Bob Maki Snow Shoe Binder" that will works very well. If you can't find it locally...email me and I can give you a website that sells them. That being said...I would never go back to them after using ratchet type binders on aluminum shoes....simply the best setup available. I tighten my ratchet binders and walk 3 miles in deep snow and never adjust them during the walk. I also don't have to pull and struggle to get them over my boot like the rubber binders. I would also recommend you buy poles..they are cheap but really enhance your speed. I use cross country ski poles...buy them long cause they will sink down in the snow. It makes your balance much better in rugged terrain. I hope that all helps you....
 

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Iverson for traditionals

Atlas Series 10 are top of the line and best binding, and best crampon, and best....
 
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