Like the canoe and toboggan, snowshoes were originally developed by the First Nations, and allow for travel in winter terrain where it would be impossible to travel on foot without them. Our preference are for traditional wood and rawhide snowshoes, as they provide superior floatation over more compact modern styles, are much, much quieter than modern ‘shoes, and if properly maintained, will provide a lifetime of service.
The style of snowshoe one chooses is dependent on the type of terrain one will be travelling on, while the size of ‘shoe is dictated by the overall weight and to a lesser degree, height of the user. View our tutorial if you're not yet sure which snowshoe is right for you.
GV Modified Bearpaw Snowshoes are a variant of the “bear paw” style of snowshoe. Best suited for use in dense brush, it’s short, round profile and lack of a tail makes turning around, or climbing over deadfall and up steep inclines much easier than with other styles. The circular shape of the standard bear paw requires one to change their walking gait (walk with legs more apart) when using, so the narrower, more elongated modified bear paw style was developed to facilitate a normal walking stride. The lack of a tail, while a definite boon in tight spaces in the woods or when ascending steep hills (as the whole ‘shoe can be lifted off the ground easily), will add to the amount of drag the ‘shoe incurs over flat, open spaces. The modified bear paw snowshoe is your best choice if you spend your time walking in steep, densely forested areas, with few open trails, fields or lake travel.
GV Ojibwe Snowshoes are the antithesis of the modified bear paw. Approaching a ski in terms of size, and function, the Ojibwe’s long tail assists with glide when walking over frozen lakes, muskeg, or in open fields, while the upturned tip ensures that the front of the ‘shoe doesn’t catch in the top snow crust that can form after heavy frosts. Difficult to use on steep inclines, but well suited for carrying heavy loads, the Ojibwe is the best choose for wide open spaces, in sparsely forested areas, for winter lake travel, or for travel on established trails.
GV Huron Snowshoes can be described as a hybrid of the bear paw and Ojibwe styles. Useful in a both forested and open terrains, the Huron’s tail provides glide when on flat terrain or over long distances while it’s shortened front end allows for maneuvering when in forested areas. Excellent for travel on varied terrain through forest, muskeg, on lakes or on established trail, the Huron style is the most popular model of traditional snowshoe due to it’s versatility and flexibility in many winter terrains.