Binding Get rotating (or floating) bindings for deep powder. They pivot under the ball of your foot, which lets the tails fall away with each step–shedding excess snow and enabling you to kick steps into powder (but make it awkward to climb over obstacles or back up). For packed snow or forest travel, get fixed bindings. They bring the tails up with each step, permitting a more natural stride and easier maneuvering, but they also kick snow onto the backs of your legs (wear knee-high, waterproof gaiters).
Shape For deep, dry powder and open terrain, you want maximum flotation: Go for snowshoes with a large surface area (read: wider and longer). If the snow is packed or you’ll be traveling through dense forest and brushy areas, look for smaller, more maneuverable shoes. The more tapered the tails, the easier it is to walk–but the less flotation you’ll have.