Perfecting Your Snowshoe Binding Fit

Photo by Scott Rinckenberger
Photo by Scott Rinckenberger

A great day of snowshoeing can hinge on a good set of comfortable, well-fitting bindings. Last month, we discussed how to pick the right snowshoe. Now we’ll look closer at MSR binding designs and how you can ensure the best fit possible for your choice of winter footwear.

First, it’s important to seek out snowshoes with bindings that suit your needs. Do you prioritize comfort or security in a binding? If your snowshoe trips tend to be all-day adventures through less aggressive terrain, you’ll probably prefer maximum comfort. Conversely, if you pursue mountaineering objectives, you’ll want bindings with ultimate foot security. The best bindings deliver on both, are easy to use and are durable.

When shopping for snowshoes, look for simplicity in binding construction—fewer parts mean less potential for things to break, and a lighter weight. Material is also key. Fancy binding designs mean nothing if their parts freeze up or become brittle in icy, dry temps.

Before you purchase, try bindings on in store using the same footwear you’ll wear in the field. Unless you have an exceptionally small or large foot, a good binding will be able to adapt to a range of footwear to keep your options open. All MSR binding designs offer longer straps (sold separately) to accommodate extra-large footwear. And each MSR binding comes in both a men’s and women’s model. The women’s models are slightly smaller and designed for an optimal fit around women’s footwear.

Finally, the proper way to wear a snowshoe? Place the ball of your foot directly over the crampon. This ensures your toe won’t interfere with the nose of the snowshoe, and it places the greatest amount of pressure directly over the crampon’s teeth for maximum bite.

MSR Ascent Series Snowshoes: The PosiLock™ AT Binding

posilock

 

MSR’s Ascent Series snowshoes (Lightning and Revo Ascents) feature our PosiLock AT binding (AT = All Terrain). This is our most secure binding, engineered for mountaineers and other backcountry travelers who tackle aggressive ascents through unpredictable alpine terrain. The PosiLock utilizes a two-piece, freeze-resistant urethane body and three over-the-foot straps to deliver the level of foot control needed on steep slopes and through challenging snow conditions.

Photo by Peter Mathis
Photo by Peter Mathis

Because the PosiLock was built for backcountry users, it’s designed to conform to a wide range of footwear, including large mountaineering, ski and snowboard boots.

The PosiLock Binding Size Range:

Men’s Model: 4.5 M – 15 M / 35.5 – 49.5

Women’s Model: 4.5 W – 14 W / 35.5 – 48

PosiLock bindings come with 12-inch straps for the two forefoot straps, and 14-inch straps for the instep and heel strap. If your footwear is larger than a Men’s size 15 snowboard boot, our 18-inch straps offer increased length.

To ensure the best fit when strapping in, start with the instep strap (closest to your ankle) to lock your foot into its proper place. Then, fasten the heel strap last. Like our Ascent series snowshoes, the PosiLock binding is engineered to take you anywhere you want—or need—to go.

MSR Explore Series Snowshoes: The HyperLink™ Binding

hyperlink

Featured on our Explore Series snowshoes, our HyperLink binding was designed for serious snowshoe recreationalists who enjoy all-day explorations into moderately aggressive terrain. Because these bindings are built for long days of hiking, sometimes off trail, they prioritize exceptional comfort and ease of use. Their cradle design eliminates pressure points. And their easy-to-use ratchet system allows for quick micro-adjustments to ensure comfort throughout the day. Finally, their set-it-and-forget-it heel straps make getting in and out incredibly fast and easy.

Photo by Scott Rinckenberger
Photo by Scott Rinckenberger

Built for winter hiking boots, HyperLink bindings will fit everything from Sorel® boots to snowboard boots.

The HyperLink Binding Size Range:

Men’s Model: 4.5 M – 13 M / 35.5 – 48

Women’s Model: 5.5 W – 13 W / 35.5 – 48

These bindings come with a 6-inch instep strap and an 8-inch the heel strap. 10-inch straps can be purchased through MSR Customer Service. For extra-large boots, swap the 10-inch strap for the heel strap. And the 8-inch strap for the instep.

To fine-tune your comfort in the field, press down on the buckle’s red arms one at a time. This will release tension in micro adjustments. You can increase tension by ratcheting the silver lever.

If you prioritize comfort, yet refuse to sacrifice performance these are the bindings for you.

MSR Trail Series Snowshoes: DuoFit™ Bindings

Duofit

MSR DuoFit bindings are our lightest bindings, defined by their minimalist, simple construction. Featured on MSR Trail Series snowshoes, they’re built for snowshoers who enjoy walking on flat or rolling terrain. These bindings are perfect for long-distance trekkers seeking to cut weight on multiday trips through frozen valley basins, or families needing only essential foot security for exploring the winter woods beyond the cabin. Like all MSR snowshoes, the DuoFit bindings are freeze-resistant and pack down flat for easy storage.

Photo by Scott Rinckenberger
Photo by Scott Rinckenberger

DuoFit bindings accommodate a wide range of footwear, making them ideal for first-timers to everyday snowshoers alike.

The DuoFit Binding Size Range:

Men’s Model: 4.5 M – 15 M / 35.5 – 49.5

Women’s Model: 4.5 W – 14 W / 35.5 – 48

DuoFit bindings come with 12-inch straps, which can be additionally adjusted for length where the strap meets the binding. For larger footwear 18-inch straps are available.

All MSR snowshoe bindings are designed for durability and performance. Take a few minutes to fine-tune the comfort of your bindings before venturing out. We’re confident you’ll go farther and stay out longer, enjoying more of what winter has to offer.

 

Originally published on March 16, 2015.

  • Tyler

    The new site change is awesome!

  • A couple friends and I recently hiked up Casey Peak (15 miles SE of Helena, MT). Two of us used MSR snowshoes. Check it out. https://bigskywalker.com/2016/12/27/casey-peak-in-winter/

  • Stacey McMullen

    I recently got a pair of Lightening Ascents but my strap will not stay in the strap clip. What am
    I missing?

  • Gatherer

    No mention of the PosiLock (non-AT) version, that is, the type of binding on my two pairs of Denali Evo Ascent snowshoes? Those bindings hold pretty securely, but aren’t the most comfortable after a few hours. All things considered, after less than 10 days of use over the time I’ve owned them, I was satisfied with the system. However, when ALL the straps break off on both pairs of snowshoes, which is what happened a few days ago, it changes your perception. The snowshoes were always stored inside the house. The cost to replace just the straps on two pair of Evo Ascents you ask? Over $100 with shipping and tax from MSR.