From the beginning, it was nearly unavoidable that the snowshoe would evolve into a must-have item for walking comfortably in the snow. They allowed the wearer to hunt in the cold without sliding or sinking — sometimes over vast distances. Snowshoes also assisted the wearer in exploring and discovering the local area, as well as just staying alive. Native American snowshoes were primarily made of ash, a strong wood. To make the wood malleable, it was warmed or wet, then bent into shape. Rawhide was used to stitch the frame, which was largely strips of denuded moose, deer, or caribou skin. The lacing was often elaborate.