A great day of snowshoeing can hinge on a good set of comfortable, well-fitting bindings. We’ve 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 less weight on your feet. Material is also key. Fancy binding designs mean nothing if their parts freeze up or become brittle in icy, dry conditions.
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. Most 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 Paragon™ Binding
MSR’s Ascent Series snowshoes (Lightning and Revo Ascents) feature our Paragon binding. This is our most secure binding, engineered for mountaineers and other backcountry travelers who tackle aggressive ascents through unpredictable alpine terrain. The Paragon features an innovative stretch mesh strap that prevents pressure points and a steel footplate that delivers the level of foot control needed on steep slopes and through challenging snow conditions.
Because the Paragon was built for backcountry users, it’s designed to conform to a wide range of footwear, including large mountaineering, ski and snowboard boots.
The Paragon Binding Size Range:
- Men’s Model: 6 M – 14 M / 39 – 48
- Women’s Model: 6 W – 12 W / 36 – 43
Paragon bindings come with 14-inch heel straps. If your footwear is larger than a Men’s size 14 or Women’s size 12 snowboard boot, our replacement 18-inch straps offer increased length.
To ensure the best fit when strapping in, start with the instep buckle (closest to your ankle) to lock your foot into its proper place. Fasten the heel strap last. Like our Ascent series snowshoes, the Paragon binding is engineered to take you anywhere you want—or need—to go.
MSR Explore Series Snowshoes: The HyperLink™ Binding
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 comfort and ease of use. The 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.
Built for winter hiking boots, HyperLink bindings will fit everything from winter boots to snowboard boots. They feature unique macro-adjustment straps that fit a far wider range of footwear sizes without the excess material of extra-long straps that flop around and get in the way. The women’s bindings come with a 6-8 inch strap in both the toe and heel, while the men’s bindings come with a 6-8 inch strap in the toe and an 8-10 inch strap in the heel.
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
To fine-tune your comfort in the field, use the ratchet. Lift up to increase tension, and press down on it to release tension.
If you prioritize comfort, yet refuse to sacrifice performance these are the bindings for you.
MSR Trail Series Snowshoes: Paraglide™ Bindings
MSR Paraglide bindings are our lightest bindings, defined by their easy-to-use, comfortable 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 Paraglide bindings are freeze-resistant and pack down flat for easy storage.
Paraglide bindings accommodate a wide range of footwear, from light hikers to snowboard boots, making them ideal for first-timers to backcountry snowshoers alike.
The Paraglide Binding Size Range:
- Men’s Model: 3 M – 13 M / 36 – 47
- Women’s Model: 5 W – 15 W / 36 – 47
What We Recommend
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.
Updated. Originally published December 13, 2021.