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When it's time for a jaunt through the snow or a trip to the slopes, you want the best possible footwear -- particularly if you must don a pair of not-so-fashionable snowshoes and need something to protect those tootsies underneath. Choose the right footwear to ensure that you have the maximum comfort while trekking through thick loads of powdery snow, and that your feet are properly insulated and protected from the elements.
A running shoe is optimal if you are unsure of how thick and insulated your chosen snowshoe may be. This is also a good option if you are just beginning to do snow-based activities that require snowshoes, because chances are, you are going be slow-going as you figure out how to navigate through the powdery precipitation. A sneaker protects your foot, but not so much that your feet are hot and uncomfortable in the snowshoes.
A hiking boot is optimal for footwear underneath a snowshoe because it lends itself to strenuous physical activity without making it feel as though your foot can't breathe. Moreover, it's not overly bulky, so your foot won't feel tight and uncomfortable in the snowshoes. Hiking boots are a good option for those who are used to navigating through outdoor activities in snowshoes and need a footwear option that can stand up to their increased levels of activity and endurance.
What Not to Wear
This might seem obvious, but consider the activity in which you are engaged: romping around in the snow. Therefore, any footwear option that bares your toes is not a good idea. However, you also don't want to do too much, so a heavy snow boot -- or any other bulky or thick leather boot (including cowboy boots) for that matter -- is a bad choice for snowshoe pairing.
When you purchase shoes for snowshoeing, buy a pair just a bit larger than what you normally wear. This helps to account for layering socks inside of your shoe, so that you don't get all strapped up in your shoes and snowshoes and still end up with cold feet. It also pays to find a shoe underneath that is waterproof to add another layer of protection for your feet.