Hiring from a normally good company, I realised as I was putting them on that I have been given two left snow shoes. Other than the strapping direction and the 'L' on each they seem very nearly symmetrical so... Does it actually matter?

I was already where I wanted to use them so I did, without any obvious problems... Is it even worth going back to get one swapped for the rest of the hire?


2 Answers 2


Snowshoes will fit on either right or left foot, most people recommend facing the binding buckles toward the outside of your feet as it keeps the buckles from coming into contact with one another.

Is there a right and left shoe?

While both snowshoes will fit on either right or left foot, we recommend facing the binding buckles toward the outside of your feet.

Snowshoe size is a key factor in getting the right amount of flotation. Generally, the heavier the person or the lighter and drier the snow, the more snowshoe surface area is required.

You can follow the snowshoe chart here.

  • 1
    This doesn't really answer what difference it makes - why is facing the buckles outwards better?
    – IMSoP
    Apr 8, 2018 at 17:52
  • @IMSoP Practicality, you can simply reach them better without your other leg/foot being in the way.
    – Polygnome
    Apr 8, 2018 at 17:53
  • also, the buckles can bash together or hit the other shoe if on the inside.
    – Rory Alsop
    Apr 8, 2018 at 21:58
  • @IMSoP Buckles go on the outside because your arms attach to your body on the outside; same reason Ski boot buckles are on the outside.
    – ShemSeger
    Apr 9, 2018 at 19:37

Most styles of snowshoes are symmetrical, and will work on either foot, but some bindings are designed to be right or left handed, meaning that they are easier to operate with one hand or the other.

Lace up bindings can be worn on either foot without any problem, but snowshoes equipped with buckles and straps on one side of the binding are easier to operate on the respective feet they are designated for (ie. right-handed buckles on the right foot, left-handed buckles on the left foot), which puts the buckles and straps to the outside of the feet.

There are also however some styles of snowshoes that are asymmetrical, specifically engineered to provide clearance over the adjacent shoe, these shoes are meant to be worn on specific feet:

Left Foot Running/speed snowshoe:


Right-foot snowshoe:

asymmetrical snowshoe

Ultimately, your snowshoes will still work for you regardless of which foot you put them on, but they will work better, and you'll have an easier time putting them on and walking if you put them on the feet they're setup to be on.

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