Gear Review: Feet are the key to your adventure’s success

Because winter sports take place in sometimes remote and challenging terrain, it can require extra planning and extra gear. You need to be ready for the elements. Perhaps the most important preparation you can take is to make your feet a priority. This is especially true for snowshoeing because your feet are the base of your adventure. If your feet are uncomfortable, too hot, too cold or experience bad circulation, you will not enjoy your trek and you could miss out on the real joy of the sport.

In order to experience snowshoeing for it’s simple glory, my suggestion is to invest in quality footwear. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a lofty financial investment, but you should invest some time and energy into finding the right products for you and your snowshoe style.

Not all gear is alike

If you’re reading this you likely have a taste for adventure and are likely familiar with sporting good products. What you know about sporting goods will help you. However, please note that snowshoeing footwear differs from skiing, running or hiking gear. Think hiking on frozen, downy rain. Snow starts out fluffy as you walk, but if you’re wearing the wrong footwear it can sneak in around your ankles and melt. Making your feet damp or squirmy, which is never good.

Sock it to me

The first step is to arm your feet with appropriate inner footwear. Your first layers of protection are your socks. I recently found a pair of socks that fit my feet and my snowshoe style just right, Feetures! Elite Merino+ crew socks. Feetures are lightweight, yet substantial socks that offer plenty of comfort, warmth and ventilation at the same time. Nothing is worse than feeling like your feet can’t breath as you traverse up a hill.

Feetures are made of power bands of Lycra that mold to your feet, offering maximum comfort and mobility at the same time. Their Perfect® seam free toe and Y-heel construction allow for slide, smash and blister free uphill or downhill trekking. This anti-slip quality and reinforced toe also provides a little extra cushion at the front of your boot when heading down a steep hill, acting like a front brake.

Even though your feet feel secure they are also slim enough to fit into almost any boot; they don’t bulk up around your ankle or toe. They’re so lightweight that you could wear them with day time or business shoes, should you city dwellers need a good winter sock for your morning commute.

Charcoal FeeturesBlack Feetures

Averaging around $21.00 a pair these socks are well worth it. They come in neutral colors like charcoal and black so you are styling no matter what your outer gear may be. They also have bright colors and booty style socks for summer trail running.

For more information on Feetures please visit http://feeturesrunning.com/

These boots are meant for snow walking

The next step to arming your feet for snowshoeing is your snow boot. As with your chosen sock, snowshoeing requires a unique boot appropriate for the sport. You need warmth, but you also need a slim yet sturdy boot that will fit into a snowshoe. You should also look for a boot that allows you nimble mobility and traction.

The Skadia Ultradry ™ boot by Vasque is a seamless choice when looking for the aforementioned features. It is lightweight yet warm and secure. The slim fit takes you miles away from the Moonboot styles you wore as a kid in the 1980s. The fit also allows from easy buckling into any snowshoe. And their sturdy features and traction allow for any adventure, big or small.

The Vasque Thinsulate ™ insulation technology provides warmth and breathability. The snug fit seems to mold to your feet, preventing little pieces of flying snow from working their way into the side of your boots. While your feet feel secure they don’t feel stuffy, the unique technology of sturdy yet breathable fabric allow for ample circulation. Circulation and warm feet are paramount to an overall pleasurable winter sport experience.

Not only do these boots fit like a glove, they are easy to get into and out of, which is key when you’re doing the one leg gear up or gear down hop from the back of your truck or SUV. The drawstring and shoelace hook features of the boot make it easy to tighten and loosen. And the sturdy pull loop on the back of the boot allows you to pull it on and off with out having to roll up or take off your snow pants.

Finally, the boots while substantial enough for a winter adventure, are also stylish. You could head from the hills to dinner if you so desired. They look great with snow pants but their crew ankle and sleek look could also work with jeans.

Vazque Boot frontVazque boot bottom

These boots start around $160. For more information about Vasque boots visit http://www.vasque.com/.

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