I had an idea for a design in mind, but I did a quick search of the internets just to see what the current knowledge was. I was able to find a single design in which someone did something close to what I had in mind (employing plywood). Decided I would start with that same basic idea and see if I could make any improvements necessary.
The starting design was pretty good - took about 30 minutes to make (which was appropriate for my attention span). I then made two adjustments to the binding design, one was to move the rear set of holes 2 inches further back, to increase the longitudinal stability when taking a step. The other was to add clips and a rubber band across the instep (front part of the boot) to fasten the rear binding to the boot. This worked like a charm and made it a breeze to don and remove the snow shoes. You just step in, and place the rubber band across the clips. Remove the rubber band and step out when you're done.
I took a quick trek around the house. It took a few steps to get used to them, but soon enough they felt very natural. The shoes did sink into the snow about 5 inches, which I found to be acceptable. Our yard has about 18-20" of snow cover depth, so walk-ability was definitely improved. I found it was best to drag them a little when taking a step.
Future improvements might include:
- A toe cut out so that one can angle the foot (and body) when climbing hills
- Cleats for the bottom, so they don't slide in packed snow (not really helpful or necessary in powder)
- A coat of marine varnish, outdoor paint, or polyurethane to waterproof the wood