I’ve had a lot of people ask me recently what makes Dion Snowshoes so good, how they are different from other brands and why I started selling them in Canada.
Sara and I used to run trails all winter, but ended up in deep snow and really struggling to enjoy the trails during the winter months in normal trail running shoes. That was when we discovered snowshoe running. The first time we tried snowshoe running we were hooked and have been trail running and racing on snowshoes each winter since.
As a former gear tester for Snowshoe Magazine and having also written a snowshoe review for Canadian Running Magazine, I have had the opportunity to try a large number of snowshoes over the years with varying degrees of success. Some were good, some adequate, and some were very poor. It wasn’t until we tried a pair of Dions at a snowshoe race in the U.S. that we were blown away with how great snowshoe running could be.
Many people think that running in any snowshoe will be fine, and that you can use an inexpensive hiking snowshoe for running too. This is not the case. Running Snowshoes are designed specifically for running. You wouldn’t think about going for a run in a pair of hiking boots would you? Same applies to snowshoe running! If you question this, I would encourage you to try running in a pair of hiking snowshoes and then try a pair of running snowshoes to fully appreciate the difference (free demo snowshoes are available to borrow at any race in the Dion Eastern Ontario Snowshoe Running Series).
Features & Benefits
One of the things that makes Dions Running Snowshoes so great is that the frames are super light and narrow for a more natural running stride. The hinge/pivot point is also just the right stiffness for the proper amount of flex and energy return while running.
The most unique thing about Dions is that all of the components are easily switched and you can build the perfect snowshoe system for you depending on your needs as a snowshoe runner and the conditions that you’re running in.
For running, I usually suggest either the Dion 121 or 132 frame. Both are extremely lightweight, durable and great for training or racing in a variety of conditions. The 121 is lighter and possibly a little better for running/racing on more packed trails, while the 132 has a slightly larger surface area to give a bit more floatation in deeper snow conditions. For hiking or for a larger runner who is running exclusively in deep powder, the 166 frame might be a better choice.
Most people will go with the Standard Cleat to start with as it is very versatile and works well in a wide variety of conditions. Additional cleats can be purchased at a later time for different snow conditions too. The Deep Cleat is great for deeper snow and the Ice Cleat works really well and is more durable for icy or exposed rocky conditions. With Dion, cleats are able to be changed within seconds with a 1/4 turn of the two hinge screws.
Dions innovative Quick Fit binding system consists of a special velcro type material made specifically for Dion that is lightweight, secure, resists snow buildup and is quick and easy to get in and out of. Bindings are available in two sizes (regular and large) and come with an extra set of straps for a customized fit. Additional half size fitting can be done by altering the threading of the straps through the buckle.
One final thing about Dion Snowshoes that many people forget about is that if you already own a pair you can change them from running to hiking (or vice versa) simply by purchasing a different frame. All it takes is a quarter turn of the hinge screws to quickly and easily swap your existing bindings and cleats on the different frames to go from hiking to running, or deep powder to packed trails.
Snowshoe running is a fantastic way to stay running fit during the winter. It is such an incredible strength building workout and allows you to enjoy the trails all winter. It’s very easy to pick up on it too. If you can run, you can snowshoe run! Any workout you would normally do running, you can do snowshoe running…from long runs, to tempos, to hills, to interval training. It’s all good and you’ll still be enjoying the trails!
For more information on Dion Snowshoes, please check out the Spafford Health and Adventure website.
Information on the Dion Eastern Ontario Snowshoe Running Series can be found here.
If you require addition information on Dion Snowshoes, the Dion Eastern Ontario Snowshoe Running Series or snowshoe running in general, please contact us.