There are two main styles of bindings on snowshoes; 1) free floating hinges and 2) spring loaded hinges. Here’s the basics of what you need to know about each to make your snowshoe selection.
There are 2 major styles in snowshoe bindings. Both work very well in their own way and both styles are equally preferred. For most people the binding preference is a personal choice, but we’ll try to break down the options a bit for you here.
The two styles of bindings are the:
- Pivotal Hinge
- Spring Loaded Hinge
The Pivotal Hinge:
The pivotal hinge is a free floating hinge. This hinge is typically made out of metal, so It will be a bit stronger than the spring loaded hinge. The pivotal hinge means that as you take a step, the snowshoe will fall back to the ground. It will not rise back up to your foot. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this style of hinge.
Advantages: The snowshoe tail falls back to the ground, so you will end up dumping off most of the snow on top of your snowshoes. The binding will typically be more stiff so you will have less heel movement. On very steep terrain, the low tail helps massively going up hill.
Disadvantages: Since the tail is not lifting out of the snow, the snowshoe creates more drag and can get tiresome on your legs faster. When your tail is dragging on the ground, It is very hard to make any sharp turns and virtually impossible to walk backwards. Since the binding is more stiff, the snowshoes will have a less natural feel as you are walking. They will feel more rigid.
The Spring Loaded Hinge:
The spring loaded hinge is like a massive rubber band. Obviously much stronger and larger, but that kind of idea. The spring will bring the snowshoe tail back up to your heel after each step rather than letting It drag like the pivotal hinge.
Advantages: Since the tails spring back up to your heels, these snowshoes have a more natural stride and are easier to walk in. These snowshoes feel a bit more stable, since you can get the entire shoe out of the snow on each step. The binding hinge makes It much easier to maneuver in tight situations and moving backwards is not very difficult at all.
Disadvantages: Since the snowshoe tail springs back up, it’s very common to have a back full of snow after your day of snowshoeing. They tend to fling snow back up as they spring. The bindings are very strong, but they are a bit more loose than the pivotal hinge style. On steeper slopes, the spring hinge can get in the way and make walking a little more difficult.
So there you have It! If you have any further questions about bindings and their uses, let us know