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Silent Glider Wooden Snowshoes
Snowshoes made of ash wood frames with laced rawhide and tanned leather footholds. Offers twice the flotation of its metal shoe equivalent, with open rawhide that acts as traction to let snow slip right through. Handcrafted in Shingleton, Michigan. Ships free. (more info)
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Designed for direct competition with aluminum shoes, these wooden snow gliders are made of light, durable ash wood, cut wide to distribute your weight evenly and prevent you from sinking down in the snow. The frames have a long straight grain that bend and hold their form, while being flexible enough to hold up to all your adventures. Where aluminum shoes are prone to a slippery sledding effect because of ice build up, open rawhide acts as traction, letting snow filter right through.
The foot harnesses of the gliders have been improved over the years. They tighten easily with a pull of a few straps. No more fumbling around with frozen leather in the middle of a hike.
These are the shoes that allow an escape from the hum and sordidness of the city, to breathe air not surcharged with convention and civilization. Get together after a snowstorm and head outside for a little traipse and adventure. With these on, not even the chickadee tribe will hear you coming.
Instructions for Use
Put on your footwear, tighten the snowshoe harness, and go outside. When you’re out in the snow, it’s important to notice where your snowshoe is and to step with your whole foot. If you’re stepping between logs, with your heel and toe lodged in different locations and your foot resting in the air, the shoes could snap. Walking with one snowshoe isn’t nearly as fun as walking with two.
Instructions for Care
The shoes are triple-dipped in protective varnish. For maintenance, apply a layer of spar varnish with a paint brush at the beginning of your snowshoe season. Spar varnish (also called marine varnish) was originally made for boats but works great for snowshoes because it is water resistant and elastic. With proper treatment the shoes will last three lifetimes and be in mint condition when you’re not. If you slack, they’ll only last for one.
Set the shoes out after each use and make sure they (and the rawhide) have fully dried before the next use.
If the shoes need to be re-laced, they can be sent back to the manufacturer (contact us). They re-lace shoes that are upwards of 50 years old.
For 50 years, the manufacturer has operated out of a tiny town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near Lake Superior. In the winter, winds blowing over the lake drop 400 inches of snow on the town, so they’re no strangers to snow.
These snowshoes are made in twenty steps, all of which are done by hand in Shingleton, Michigan (population: 309). The wood is cut, steamed, shaped and kiln dried. Holes are drilled and hardware attached. After the first dip in varnish, the frames are sent to the lacers, who mostly work from home, knotting the rawhide into place. The whole shoe is dried for 4–5 days and dipped three more times in the varnish before shipping out.
23" x 10"
ash wood frames, rawhide laces, leather foot holders, brass buckles
It is believed that snowshoes were invented in northern Asia about 4,000 to 6,000 years ago.
Snowshoes in 1944 via Wallace Kirkland for Life Magazine