MSR® Snowshoes FAQ

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What is the right size snowshoe?

The primary purposes of a snowshoe are to provide flotation and traction. Since all MSR® snowshoes deliver exceptional traction, your next consideration is flotation, and this is where size comes into play.

Once you’ve decided on a snowshoe, assess your weight, including all the gear and clothing you’ll be wearing the majority of the time you snowshoe. If you only go on a couple of overnights a year, don’t include that 50-pound pack—just your fully clothed weight, plus a daypack and water. Then consider the snow conditions you’re likely to travel in most often—deep, untracked powder, or groomed trails and established snowshoe routes. Are you at a high altitude or very far north where snow generally falls deep and light and a larger snowshoe is in order, or are you at lower elevations or in a coastal range where snow has high moisture content and generally consolidates rapidly, making a smaller snowshoe your best choice?

The idea is to find the smallest possible snowshoe that matches your needs in most–not all–situations so you can maximize your agility and efficiency. Now, with Modular Flotation tails available across all MSR adult snowshoes, we’ve made that easier than ever. Should you find yourself on the cusp between sizes, always go with the smaller one and then simply add tails for added flotation as needed.

What are the differences between the Evo™ and Lightning™ snowshoes?

Both of these snowshoes offer outstanding traction, aggressive bindings, ergonomic deck shapes, Modular Flotation and excellent durability. However, when it’s all said and done, the all-aluminum Lightning snowshoes offer it all with a bit less weight. You’ll also find that because the 360° Traction™ frames of the Lightning snowshoes is vertical all the way to the edge, it offers slightly better traction on traverses. And don’t forget that the composite, Unibody™ decks of our Evo shoes are built from an incredibly tough, injection-molded plastic, giving them a slight advantage in durability in the course of normal use.

How do I store my snowshoes?

Dry your snowshoes after each use. Then store them with bottoms together to keep the sharp under-bits form damaging other gear.

Why is traction so important?

Inadequate traction is horribly inefficient, with every misstep wasting precious energy. That’s why we provide the industry’s best traction, regardless of what shoe you purchase—from kid’s snowshoes, to our most aggressive shoes. The result is a far more enjoyable experience with the increased efficiency of solid, no-slip footing and the confidence to go anywhere.

What should I look for in a binding?

First and foremost, you should seek out bindings that suit your needs. Do you prioritize comfort or security? The best bindings do both. It’s also important to understand that regardless of what a tag says a binding does, it can’t do it if it’s frozen. Be leery of excessive use of nylon webbing and cordage–both absorb water and can leave your bindings rendered useless when frozen. Look for simplicity (fewer parts and potential for things to break) and light weight, and try them on in the store with the same footwear you’ll use 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.

Where are MSR snowshoes made?

All MSR snowshoe components are proudly made in Seattle, USA, and the employees of Cascade Designs build every snowshoe we make. Shoes found in North America and Japan are entirely built in the USA, while those found in Europe have some final assembly done in our Cork, Ireland facility.

Understanding Prop 65

What is California Proposition 65?
Proposition 65 is the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act passed by voters in the State of California in 1986. The act was created to inform people about possible exposure to chemicals known by the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm.

What are the requirements of Proposition 65?
Proposition 65 requires that the Governor of California maintain and publish a list of harmful chemicals. The list is updated annually and includes chemicals that can be found in solvents, drugs, dyes, food additives, by-products of certain processes, pesticides, and tobacco products.

A chemical is listed if it has been classified as a reproductive toxicant or carcinogen by an "authoritative" organization on the subject. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer are considered authoritative for carcinogens. For reproductive toxicants, the authorities are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and International Agency for Research on Cancer. Chemicals will also be listed if they are required to be labeled or identified as a carcinogen or as a reproductive toxicant by an agency of the state or federal government.

Why has MSR placed a Proposition 65 label on its products?
Any company with 10 or more employees operating or selling products within the State of California must comply with the requirements of Proposition 65. To comply, businesses are: (1) prohibited from knowingly discharging listed chemicals into sources of drinking water; and (2) required to provide a "clear and reasonable" warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical.

A Proposition 65 warning means that the business has evaluated the exposure and has concluded that it exceeds the "no significant risk level," or that the business is providing a warning based on the presence of a "listed" chemical without actually evaluating the exposure.

MSR is providing a warning based on our knowledge about the presence of one or more listed chemicals without attempting to evaluate the level of exposure. While using an MSR product, the exposure to a "listed" chemical may be well within the "no significant risk" range, but out of caution, we have placed the Proposition 65 warning labels on our products.

Are consumers who are using an MSR product with a Proposition 65 warning at risk?
The California government states: "The fact that a product bears a Proposition 65 warning does not mean by itself that the product is unsafe." The government also explained, "You could think of Proposition 65 more as a 'right to know' law than a pure product safety law."

A Proposition 65 warning means that the product contains one or more listed chemicals. By law, a warning is required unless the business proves that the exposure to the chemical poses "no significant risk." The "no significant risk" level for carcinogens is defined as the level which is calculated to result in not more than one excess case of cancer in 100,000 individuals exposed over a 70-year lifetime. Therefore, if you are exposed to the chemical in question at this level every day for 70 years, theoretically, it will increase your chances of getting cancer by no more than 1 case in 100,000 individuals so exposed.

The "no significant risk" level for reproductive toxicants is defined as the level of exposure which, even if multiplied by 1,000, will not produce birth defects or other reproductive harm. Therefore, the level of exposure is below the "no observable effect level," divided by 1,000. (The "no observable effect level" is the highest dose level which has not been associated with observable reproductive harm in humans or test animals.) For further information about California's Proposition 65, please visit


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