Thankfully, we’ve all experienced some upsides of the pandemic. Mine was an introduction to snowshoeing, as were a million others looking for safe activities to enjoy during the lockdown. In fact, snowshoe equipment sales doubled during COVID, with $34M spent August-December 2020, according to Snowsports Industries of America.
But what about when the snow is gone? Have you ever heard of sandshoeing? Yeah, neither had I.
Sandshoeing is the sport of strapping those weird racket-looking shoes and walking around the sand. It makes sense.
I lived by the beach and was searching for a new way to enjoy my favorite activity, walking. So I figured, what do I have to lose? It turns out only my ego and a few hundred calories.
Although it was very easy to get around on the sandshoes, there was a bit of a learning curve, especially as I have never actually snowshoed!
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Tips for Sandshoeing
Here’s what I quickly discovered about sandshoeing and using my snowshoes on the sand as a beginner:
What feet do these things go on?
If you’ve never used snowshoes, then good luck! Just kidding, the hardest part is determining which size ‘shoe you should use. Unless labeled, many snowshoes can be worn on whichever foot feels most natural, so don’t be afraid to experiment. They might feel goofy at first, but I quickly found a tempo that worked for the terrain I was on.
Stop staring at me!
As a beginner, the first time I used my snowshoes on the sand, I felt uncomfortable with so many people staring at me in awe. Next time, I went sandshoeing earlier in the morning, surrounded by only serious exercise enthusiasts. A few people inquired about what I was doing and were genuinely excited to learn about the sport. Since then, I’ve sandshoed with pride.
This IS a good workout
Like pivoting between walking and running, sandshoeing can be tailored to fit your fitness needs, whether to crush your goal or try something new. The good news is that you can set your own pace and adjust your workout goals based on the available sand.
I attempted sandshoeing in both packed sand by the ocean and in the looser sandy terrain. I even tested out a few hills; welcome back, calf muscles, you’ve been missed. In 45 minutes, I sandshoed two miles, feeling sufficiently worked out and ready for a recovery swim in the Gulf.
As a beginner, you’ll want to bring a few items with you when out on the sand with your snowshoes.
I trekked around on Crescent Moon’s Eva snowshoes, which provided enough grip in the differing types of sand while gentle enough not to disturb the wildlife around me. The material of the Evas also makes them much less prone to wear and tear from the sand compared to other snowshoe models. If you choose to use other modern snowshoes, there may be a few more considerations.
To protect against the sun, start with a strong base layer of SPF. Then, add your favorite outdoor workout gear, a hat, and sunglasses. I prefer a rash guard, dri-fit shorts (like these), and tall socks to combat the small amounts of sand that kick up, but wear what’s comfortable.
I did not use poles. However, I will next time. I think they’d be helpful moving between packed and loose sand and would give my hands something to do.
Make sure to bring a microfiber cloth to wipe off the snowshoes, especially if at the beach. Foam snowshoes like the Evas can fare better than other models, but saltwater and sand can still lead to the deterioration of any material over time.
Most importantly, break your trail in the sand and enjoy the view!
No doubt, you’ll work out in some gorgeous locale. So whether it be Lake Tahoe’s shores or the Cape’s dunes, take time to enjoy your surroundings, breathe in nature and warmer weather, and don’t forget to tag @snowshoemag on your hikes.
Are you a beginner at using your snowshoes on the sand? If so, what have you learned, and what recommendations do you have?
This article was first published on June 1, 2021, and most recently updated on July 26, 2022.
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