When it comes to American-made wooden snowshoes, Iverson has the market cornered. That’s because the Michigan-based company is one of the few remaining wooden-shoe manufacturers in the United States. Each snowshoe is completely crafted by hand in the tiny town of Shingleton (population: 309), where 400 inches of snowfall during winter isn’t uncommon. From start to finish, the process of making a single pair of shoes takes 20 steps, beginning with the preparation of locally harvested white ash.
The wood is cut, steamed, shaped, and kiln-dried before holes are drilled and hardware attached. After the frames are dipped in varnish, they’re delivered to the lacers, who typically work from home, to be fitted with rawhide (a neoprene alternative is also available through Iverson’s website).
Treat the snowshoes right and they’ll last three lifetimes.
After they’re dried for at least four days, the shoes are bathed in varnish three more times. Although some may balk at the price, the footwear is a long-term investment in the truest sense. Treat them right, according to Kauffman Mercantile, which stocks the shoes online, and they’ll last three lifetimes. But even if you slack on their maintenance, they will still serve you well for 60 years or more. And should your shoes need relacing, Iverson will happily oblige. (The firm has re-laced shoes upwards of 50 years old.)