Modern snowshoe designs based on aluminum frames have become extremely popular in recent years due to their low maintenance requirements. Generally speaking, an aluminum snowshoe will last for years with little or no upkeep. Regardless, you can boost the longevity of your aluminum snowshoes by completing a few simple maintenance tasks throughout the year.
Clean Your Shoes Regularly
The aluminum frames and synthetic decking that comprise the bulk of your shoes should be wiped down after any trek through the woods. Be sure to completely remove any accumulated ice or mud clinging to your equipment. Take a little extra time to thoroughly clean the bindings, ratcheting straps and toe cords before putting your shoes away.
Deal With Corrosion Immediately
As resilient as aluminum can be, it’ll eventually corrode just like any other metal. If white corrosion spots appear on your frames, scour them off with an aluminum etching cleaner and steel wool. Apply a layer of clear coating to the frame to protect it from further corrosion in the future.
Check Rivets for Wear and Tear
Contemporary aluminum snowshoes feature rivets that secure the decking to the frame and the bindings to the decking. Check the rivets on your shoes at least once a year to make sure none of them have pulled thru or come loose. Seek professional help when replacing anything that has become damaged or needs to be replaced. Most of your local ski shops and/or bike shops that sell snowshoes usually have the proper tools for fixing.
Check for Damaged Binding Components Yearly
The pivot and ratchet systems found in snowshoe bindings boast materials that can take plenty of punishment. Nevertheless, synthetic straps and metal torsion bars will eventually fail in the field given enough use. Check for cracked, torn or bent binding components and if you need new bindings, replace them during the off season.
Store Shoes in a Dark, Dry Environment
When it’s time to hang up your shoes for the summer, be sure to dry them off thoroughly before putting them in the closet. Use a dehumidifier to prevent moisture-related damage to frames and decking. Finally, try to avoid exposing your shoes to prolonged sunlight during the summer.
Getting the Most Bang for Your Snowshoe Buck
While routine maintenance can significantly extend the life of your hardware, it can’t make up for lackluster equipment. Buying quality snowshoes from a respected manufacturer will ensure a stellar return on your investment. Saving a little money by opting for bargain-basement shoes will end up costing you more in the end.