Children's Snowshoes Reviews (Atlas 17, MSR Tyker, Snowtrek SS14)

by - Monday, November 09, 2015

One of our favorite winter activities is snowshoeing, so our kids have been on snowshoes since they were one year old. Over the past 5 years, we have tried 3 different brands of children's snowshoes: Snowtrek SS14, Atlas 17, and MSR Tyker (17"). All are in the same price range, $64-70, but different fasteners and features make for a very different snowshoeing experience. In short, we highly recommend the MSR Tyker snowshoes (17") for children aged 4-8 because of their superior traction and straps; full details follow.


All snowshoes were tested on packed snow, fluffy snow, and ice. To account for differences in ability based on age and experience, both girls tried all pairs of snowshoes. On flat, moderately packed snow, they could walk equally well in any pair. On inclines and icy sections, the MSR Tykers and Snowtrek SS14 snowshoes performed best because they have hill crampons in addition to crampons at the toe.

Snow Trek SS14

Snowtrek SS14 Children's Snowshoes
The Snow Trek SS14 snowshoes were the smallest we could find locally. Big POG started on these snowshoes when she was only one and a half. They worked fine on fluffy or packed snow, and icy sections as well as inclined terrain, but the grom bindings have a tendency to get stuck in the front of the snowshoe, so I have to adjust them frequently.


For kids:   30-65 lbs (13.6 - 29.5 kg)
Weight:     2.2 lbs (998 grams)
Length:     14" (35.6 cm)
Fasteners:  Single rachet harness - one on the front and one at the back

What I Liked
  • Short length, rachet system made putting on and removing the snowshoes easy, sturdy aluminum tubing, 4-point toe crampons and hill crampons.
What I Would Like to See
  • Different bindings - The grom bindings (toe cups) kept getting stuck in the front of the snowshoe, so we upgraded these snowshoes after one season.
  • A lighter version - these 14" snowshoes are heavier than 17" snowshoes!

Big POG snowshoeing (1.5 years old)

Atlas Sprout 17

When we upgraded our oldest's snowshoes, the only ones available at Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) were the attractive Atlas Sprout 17s. They are suitable for flat terrain that is not icy. As soon as we hit icy patches or inclines, whoever was wearing the Sprout 17s was slipping and sliding (not an issue in the Snowtrek or MSR snowshoes). Our other issue with these was the heel straps; the straps do not stay fastened.


For kids:     30-80 lbs (13.6-36.3 kg)
Weight:      1.98 lbs (900 grams)
Length:       17" (43.2 cm)
Fasteners:   rubber binding straps and binding heel straps

What I Liked
  • 4-point steel toe crampons.
  • Grom bindings are quick and easy to put on (but they don't stay on unfortunately - see note below).
  • Leaves cute snowflake footprints.
  • Tapered ergonomic V-shape (Should make it easier to walk in, but we couldn't tell the difference as my kids trip over the fronts of snowshoes more than they step on the backs, but after a learning period, they didn't do this as much.).
What I Would Like to See
  • Heel straps that stay in place better - on a 4 km snowshoe on packed snow, I had to refasten at least one heel strap 4 times (one or both kept coming completely undone).
  • More metal crampons and the addition of plastic traction bars to prevent slipping on inclines and icy sections.
Atlas 17 Snowshoes (left) and Snowtrek SS14 Snowshoes in Action

MSR Tyker

Our favorite kids' snowshoes: MSR Tyker


For kids:    up to 80 lbs (36 kg)
Weight:      2.1 lbs (936 g)
Length:      17"
Fasteners:   rubber binding straps and binding heel straps

What I Liked
  • Since my husband and I use MSR snowshoes ourselves (Lightning Ascent - so awesome!), we are familiar with the how the straps work and appreciate how well they fit and stay on. It's also awesome that we can put on or remove the snowshoes with mittens on! 
  • Excellent traction thanks to 3-point toe crampons, 2 3-point crampons in the middle (oriented vertically) for hill traction, as well as plastic traction bars on both sides (left and right) of the snowshoes to provide bite and stability on uneven terrain. 
What I Would Like to See
  • We have no issues with these and when we need the next size, we will purchase MSR again (MSR Shift snowshoes) as they make the most innovative snowshoes on the market.

MSR Tykers on the trail

The Verdict

The MSR Tyker snowshoes had the most secure straps and provided the best traction due to their toe crampons, traction bars and middle crampons. They are the least expensive of the ones reviewed here, so not only are they the best of the bunch, they're also the best value (win-win!).

Purchase the MSR Tyker snowshoes from All Out Kids (affiliate link), a family-run Alberta store!

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  1. I won't leave a link but go to the MEC website and check out the kids' garneau snowshoes. They are so CUTE. I might go that route for my son's next pair. Purely for cuteness. They have animal critters on them.
    Otherwise, we are an Atlas family but I know a lot of people who swear by the MSR ones.
    Almost feels like a cat vs. dog lover thing between Atlas and MSR. I don't know anybody who likes both. It's usually a very strong preference.

  2. I saw them yesterday when I was verifying specs, Tanya! There are lots of cute ones out there, and if they have what you're looking for, that's awesome! My mom BEGGED to get the Tubbs Snowglow ones for our kids last Christmas, but since they are lacking crampons and we get so much melting and freezing here, they wouldn't suit our needs. We go with what's affordable, available locally, and safe!


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