Snowshoes, sometimes colloquially referred to as "webs", are footwear for walking over snow. They work by distributing the weight of the person over a larger area so that the person's foot doesn't sink completely into the snow, a quality called "flotation". Traditional snowshoes have a hardwood frame with leather lacings. Some modern snowshoes are similar, but most are made of light metal while others are a single piece of plastic attached to the foot to spread the weight. In addition to distributing the weight, snowshoes are generally raised at the toe for maneuverability.
While today they are primarily used for recreational purposes, primarily by hikers and runners who like to continue their hobby in wintertime, in the past they were tools of the trade for fur traders and trappers and anyone whose life or living depended on being able to get around in areas of deep and frequent snowfall. Even today, they are necessary equipment for forest rangers and others who must be able to get around areas inaccessible to motorized vehicles when the snow is deep.
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