1. Crescent Moon EVA All-Foam Snowshoe
What’s most shocking about Crescent Moon’s foam snowshoe is that nobody thought to do it before. It’s a simple idea, but one that’s highly effective: Take what essentially amounts to the outsole of a running shoe, stretch it long and wide enough to float on snow, and give it a rocker shape to encourage forward momentum. The effect is not only exceptionally comfortable, but it also feels more natural than a traditional snowshoe, which relies on a hinged footbed to keep your shoes moving independently from the shoe’s frame. The trick is dual layers of ethylene-vinyl acetate, EVA, a material that’s common in running shoes. The top layer is as soft as a pool mat, while the bottom layer is as firm as a hiking boot — and features similar lug patterns. The traction is bolstered by a crown of hard-plastic spikes reaching out from beneath the ball of your foot.
Crescent Moon’s co-founder, Jake Thamm, spent seven years working on the idea. His first model was carved from foam, and — as he tells it — looked like “hammered goat shit.” But he kept refining it, and the version here, set to begin selling in fall 2017, feels natural to walk in and weighs just under three pounds — lighter than all but the brand’s carbon-fiber models. This just might be the start of a new era in snowshoeing. [$159; crescentmoonsnowshoes.com]
The twice-annual Outdoor Retailer trade show, held next week in Utah, is a mecca of gear. Thousands of brands debut products for the coming year. Here’s our exclusive look at some of the most interesting outdoors items coming to market for winter 2017-18.
Remarkably light, with a rocker shape and no rotational hinge, Crescent Moon’s new all-foam sports snowshoe looks like the love child of a running shoe and a burly snow tire. While good for hiking in snow, the foam snowshoes could also be useful for hiking through deep sand.
Remarkably light, with a rocker shape and no rotational hinge, Crescent Moon’s new all-foam sports snowshoe looks like the love child of a running shoe and a burly snow tire. While good for hiking in snow, the foam snowshoes could also be useful for hiking through deep sand.
The unusual snowshoe design uses dual-density EVA foam to form a rocker-shaped platform, while featuring tire-tread-like lugs for super traction and a look and feel that quickly evokes thoughts of a running shoe — on steroids. Lightweight, but sturdy and reliable, at 23” x 8”, this giant-sized trail shoe is as light as the word “foam” infers, and with a simple hook and loop system of straps not only goes on easily, but is secure and comfortable.
The top of the all-foam snowshoe is cushioned and cradled, providing a very comfortable sensation on even the hardest, roughest surfaces, while the bottom traction of the snowshoe is a highly durable and tough EVA composite that grips like a snow tire — with material similar to that found on football cleats.
“We’re breaking the mold on snowshoes,” says Jake Thamm, Crescent Moon Snowshoe’s President. “This is the most innovative thing in snowshoes since the aluminum frame. Our first prototypes were better than anything we expected and the most surprising thing we discovered was the traction — we felt like cats — climbing or descending anything in our path.”
The unique composition of this all-foam snowshoe makes it useful in less than ideal snow conditions – perhaps even in sandy, beach environments. Wouldn’t you love to try hiking up huge sand dunes in these?
Crescent Moon plans to officially launch the new snowshoes at Outdoor Retailer next month, with retail availability slated for Fall 2017. The price is expected to be $149 for the pair. Check out the video below to see them in action.
In the centuries since, the humble snowshoe has evolved significantly, and today they are generally made from lightweight aluminum frames mixed with neoprene and nylon netting. Modern snowshoes also feature a pair of bindings that can be used to attach them to a variety of boot styles, as well as a set of cleats — or metal teeth — embedded on the underside for added traction. But a Colorado-based company called Crescent Moon is hoping to revolutionize snowshoe design once again, with an all-new model that replaces the traditional metal frame with one made entirely out of lightweight foam instead.
Crescent Moon’s latest product uses dual-density ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam — similar to that found in the soles of running shoes — to create a rocker-shaped design that is unlike any other snowshoe on the market today. Measuring 23 inches in length and 8 inches across, the snowshoes are nevertheless lightweight, flexible, and durable. The top of the shoe is said to be highly cushioned and quite comfortable — even on hard surfaces — while the bottom is made from a tough EVA composite that grips the surface like a snow tire thanks in part to a special material similar to that found in football cleats.
“It’s remarkably light, has no rotational hinge, is rocker shaped, and looks like the love child of an Adidas running shoe and a Blizzack snow tire,” says Crescent Moon president and co-founder Jake Thamm of his company’s latest product. He goes on to add, “This is the most innovative thing in snowshoes since the aluminum frame.”
In addition to its unique new approach to making snowshoes, Crescent Moon has also outfitted its latest model with a simple hook-and-loop strap system. Designed to make it easier than ever to pull the snowshoes on and off, the system has been built to be very simple and intuitive to use without adding much weight or bulk to the overall package. This has the added benefit of making it easier for beginners to get started snowshoeing as well.
“Our first prototypes were better than anything we expected and the most surprising thing we discovered was the traction — we felt like cats — climbing or descending anything in our path,” Thamm says. “This new snowshoe’s performance is like nothing we’ve ever experienced.”
While all of this sounds promising for those of us who enjoy outdoor winter sports, we’ll have to wait awhile longer to get our hands on these new snowshoes. They won’t make their public debut until the annual Outdoor Retailer Winter Market convention, which is held in Salt Lake City in January. Even after that, Crescent Moon says they aren’t scheduled to begin shipping until fall 2017, which means they won’t be available to purchase — or use — this winter at all. When they do go on sale next year, they’ll retail for a $149, making them a very affordable option for those wanting to try the sport.
If you are beginning to feel stuck inside your home or apartment due to the increasingly bad weather and rising snow – this new announcement from Crescent Moon Snowshoes may get you excited. Next year, the company plans to release a pair of all foam snowshoes.
Crescent Moon isn’t some bright eyed newcomer to the snowshoeing world. They’ve been working on improving the overall design of snowshoes for serious adventurers and recreational users alike since 1997. With this release, however, they may have outdone themselves. Made from a dual density EVA foam (the kind you’ll find in most mid-soles), and shaped in an almost rocker shaped platform, these 23 inch long by 8 inch wide shoes are designed to let you run across the top of the snow like it is no big deal. The deep lugged treads in the bottom of the shoe will provide serious traction, while the simple straps make it easy to tie yourself in and just go. These are sure to be popular so keep an eye out for their release Fall of next year when they’re expected to retail for $150. [Purchase]
* * *
Crescent Moon is also experimenting with new materials this month—they’ve recently announced their foam snowshoe, which will be hitting the market next year to keep us agile in the snow.
The funky snowshoes that highly resemble sneakers are a bigger deal than you’d think. Most varieties are made with an aluminum frame, but—big shocker alert—manufacturers are realizing that composite-bodied and plastic designs work best to keep pep in winter enthusiasts’ steps.
The first snowshoes can be traced back around 4,000 years, but it took us this long to come to the conclusion a new material—specifically running shoe go-to EVA foam—and a new structure inspired by a snow tire’s traction would probably work way better. It’s okay though, at least we got to this point eventually.
Crescent Moon’s President and Co-Founder, Jake Thamm, accurately describes their creation as a lovechild between adidas running shoes and Blizzack snow tires. If you’re wondering what they look like in action, here’s a video of someone gracefully running down a snowy hill while wearing them:
The snowshoes will be available to purchase in Fall 2017 at a retail price of $149—significantly lower than Crescent Moon’s aluminum models. Get ready.
BLUE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE; Crescent Moon 9
Tester’s Choice, The shoe’s simple binding system has an easy-to-use heel ratchet for quick entry exit and a perfect fit and hold. The teardrop shape allows a normal walking stride (no “duck walk”). The crampons are among the best we tested and held our biggest tester with no slippage during the steepest ascent. These shoes are straightforward, lightweight and very attractive. They score big points in the “hip, style, now!!” category.
…The binding system was one of the most secure tested and it managed to hold the foot in the proper position for added support and control…
Cited by OUTSIDE MAGAZINE; Crescent Moon 9
The aluminum-framed Crescent Moon 9 is game for any conditions. It’s lightweight and dramatic taper from binding to tail let you streak through meadows of untouched snow, but it’s maximum width and the overall length will do the grunt work of transporting, for example, 175 pounds of snowshoer through knee-deep powder. But the Crescent Moon’s most distinguishable feature is it’s asymmetrical footplate, which matches up to the front half of each shoe, enhancing the fit. Further snugging things up are the binding’s forefoot straps, which feel most comfortable, arranged as they are like a Hypalon huarache. The heel strap is plastic with a ratcheting buckle, which is also quite secure and glove friendly… January, 1999
Editor’s Choice Award
Crescent Moon’s line of snowshoes are light, comfortable and manueverable. With a welded aircraft aluminum frame and Hypalon-fabric decking, they are a great choice for cruising the drifts. These snowshoes will surely keep you smiling…
Editor’s Choice, double winner!
Crescent Moon 9…The All-Arounder The “9” allows you to cruise and manuever easily while providing maximum durability and reliability for backcountry treks.
Crescent Moon 10…The lightest and most durable snowshoe made for carrying big packs or busting trail in the backcountry. September, 1999
“The best just get better… acclaimed last year for it’s light weight, easy-in/easy-out strapping system, and a dramatically tapered teardrop design that eliminated “duck walking” and shoe-to-shoe contact, the Crescent Moon line gets tougher in 1999. It’s Hypalon deck is tauter and more tear-resistant; it’s much-lauded assymmetrical footplate, a solid base for strapping, is now made of the same long-lasting urethane found on running shoes… ” September, 1999
Crescent Moon 13. Could a snowshoe save your hide? Maybe. While shoeing last winter, a friend and I regrettably found ourselves descending a rock-hard 30-degree slope. She went for a high-speed slide into a tree. I did not. I chalk up my catlike grip to the three-claw traction system on Crescent Moon’s 13 snowshoes. The binding helped, too; it’s rubbery hypalon harness and rear ratchet buckle kept my foot snug and in control. And the 13’s exaggerated teardrop shape, designed to accommodate a woman’s shourter stride, helped me stay agile. Helen Olsson
HIGH ALTITUDE MOUNTAINEERING REVIEW
“I needed snowshoes that I could train in and use on Denali. My pair of Tubbs had flat-out fallen apart, so I tried the Crescent Moon Gold Series 10. Immediately you will notice the ratcheting binding system. This allows you to make a one-time adjustment and from then on getting in and out is amazingly easy. The rigid tab on the new binding allows you to shove your boots in and tighten it up, all while wearing mittens. For this reason, they are ideal for use with plastic boots.
I regularly trained with a heavy pack and found that the Crescent Moon Gold Series 10. offered great flotation; but more important, it allows a perfectly natural stride. I can’t emphasize enough what a savings of energy and general relief it is to walk normally. Carrying a pack and a sled in tow, I never once tripped or stumbled, which was not the case when I wore my big Tubbs shoes or the MSR Denali.
The grip on these shoes is amplified through the use of the three-claw traction system. There is also a deeper bite, so while my teammates needed to stomp down to get up some of the steeper inclines, I easily walked up as if I were wearing a crampon.
Seemingly indestructible, I used the “10’s” on ice, slush, deep snow and occasionally dirt and rock. They took my careless abuse and still performed great even after months of long hikes. The MSR Denali is advertised as a top mountaineering snowshoe, but the Crescent Moon 10 is stronger, easier to work with in extreme cold and for my money, the best snowshoe available.” Spring, 2004
OUTDOOR EXPLORER REVIEW
“Every snowshoe maker boasts about its shoes’ ergonomic shapes, no-slip bindings and ballistic materials. But it’s often hard to tell a good shoe by its appearance-to know quality you have to feel it. Of the 12 snowshoe models I tested last winter, Crescent Moons felt the best. The Crescent Moon 13, a women’s model, has a narrow teardrop shape so you don’t have to widen your gait to avoid stepping on the shoes as you walk, and I found the Crescent Moon 9, a unisex model for people under 200 pounds, equally easy to use. Their ratchet bindings, which have left-foot and right-foot specific foot plates to make your snowshoes feel more like shoes, are a cinch to use with gloved hands.” Fall, 2000
Crescent Moon 12
Crescent Moon retooled it’s running snowshoe with new decking and lightweight training claws. The Crescent Moon 12 has a slightly smaller aluminum frame (8″ X 24″) designed for fast foot turnover and new three claw aluminum crampons for reliable traction. The double top-secret TGS decking—TGS stands for the “The Good Stuff”—is said to be lighter and stronger thatn hypalon. ($219. 23 oz.) — B. M.
HOOKED ON THE OUTDOORS
Women’s Snowshoes: Crescent Moon’s 13 is built to accommodate shorter stride lengths. It has a 24-inch teardrop-shaped frame, which allows for a more normal gait and, thus, no hip flexor strain. The 13 is lightweight, but also very sturdy. And it features a snazzy metallic purple paint job. $229.
With its aluminum frame and rubberized nylon deck, the Crescent Moon 9 (9 by 27.5 in.; 3 lb., 4 oz.; $240) has far greater eye appeal than the Denali-despite its modern materials, it’s a shoe you might hang over the cabin’s fireplace. In addition to its aesthetic advantages, the Crescent Moon 9 has a teardrop shape that facilitates a smooth, more natural gait-no duck waddling to avoid clunking or stepping on your own feet. Another worthy feature: The binding relies on a snowboard style ratcheting strap and goes on fast, centering the foot securely. Stainless steel cleats underfoot give this elegant shoe adequate grip.
Reviews Crescent Moon Products
December 2006 New York Times
“comfortable even in cold weather”… “teardrop shape design made for an easy natural stride.”
“Crescent Makes ‘Green’ Snowshoes”
August 2008 Boulder County Business Report; http://www.bcbr.com/article.asp?id=95693
By Business Report Staff
August 27, 2008 –BOULDER – Crescent Moon, a Boulder-based manufacturer of snowshoes, poles and accessories, has created a line of snowshoes made with materials that contain no polyvinyl chloride.Crescent Moon founders Jake Thamm and wife, Tamara Laug, wanted to create a snowshoe that is more environmentally friendly. Polyvinyl chloride is one of the most widely used plastics and is found in a wide range of consumer products such as bottles, credit cards, audio records and construction materials. Production of PVC releases the toxic chemical dioxin and leaks harmful additives during disposal. “Tamara was really committed to putting us in an environmentally considerate position and researched new materials for over a year,” Jake Thamm said. “We felt very strongly that we’re in the outdoor industry and wanted to do the right thing for the environment.”The couple has implemented a green program throughout its entire company. In both its factory and office, employees recycle everything possible, including aluminum, stainless steel, cardboard and office materials and use 100 percent wind-powered energy.
The company now has 10 employees, and its snowshoes are distributed throughout the U.S., Canada, Austria, Sweden and Norway and even in Australia, which has a short ski and snowshoe season.
Snowshoes Good for Walking
By Emilie Le Beau – 09/24/2008
MCT Photo The Gold Series 12 snowshoe from Crescent Moon Snow Shoes is a lightweight snowshoe made for walking or running. It has a teardrop shape that is meant to allow a natural stride.The ideal: You strap on your new snowshoes and head outdoors to a gorgeous trail, conveniently located in your backyard. You have an exhilarating workout on fresh snow.The reality: You live in a neighborhood with incompetent snow plows. The sidewalks haven’t been cleared and street curbs are blocked by walls of snow. You can either give up running for the season or pick up a pair of snowshoes.The Gold Series 12 snowshoe from Crescent Moon Snow Shoes is a lightweight snowshoe made for walking or running. It has a teardrop shape that is meant to allow a natural stride.Weighing just two pounds, the snowshoe can easily be lifted over a curb or a snow bank. Made with lightweight aluminum, the shoe has a three-claw traction system. It also tightens with a single loop pull which is meant to equally distribute the tension. The single loop pull adjusts tightness for most shoe sizes.
The Gold Series 12 is 22 inches long and eight inches wide. It is available from size 5 (women’s) to size 13 (men’s.) Suggested retail price is $229.95. Available at online retailers such as BackCountryEdge.com and Altrec.com. A dealer locator is listed at CrescentMoonSnowShoes.com.
Winter 08/09 Outside Magazine Buyer’s Guide –Gold 13 & Magnesium 9
Gold 13 “This teardrop shaped shoe is designed for speed: The binding cinches tight with a single strap across your feet. And the heel strap, which is fixed on one side and ratchets down on the other, was praised by testers for both its glove-friendly operation and snug fit.”
Trail Runner Magazine Winter Gear of the Year Award!
CRESCENT MOON, Gold 12
$229 • 2.6 pounds/paIr
“Built for speed and performance. The Gold 12’s race binding features two easy-to-adjust forefoot and heel straps to securely connect your foot to the ultra-light, 22-inch-long snowshoe deck with a tapered tail designed not to trip you up. Claw-like crampons under your toes, ball and heel grab into loose or hard-packed snow, even on hilly terrain. Overall, the shoe earned high ratings for being easy to put on and adjust…
BEST BINDING, Backpacker Magazine, Fall/Winter 2009
Crescent Moon Gold Series “When conditions are less than ideal–cold fingers, blowing wind, sticky snow–you don’t want problems getting snowshoes on and keeping them on. You won’t with the Gold Series bindings, which have unmatched comfort, stability, and ease of use. A single pull on the U-spaped cinch strap tightens the binding over both the forefoot and arch, while the heel strap secures rock-solid via a ratcheting buckle. A rigid stabilizer plate underfoot kept our feet aligned on the snowshoe deck; we had zero heel slip except on the steepest traverses. The teardrop tail shape(even more tapered then the Redfeathers) allows for a comfortable, natural gait. A pronounced tail taper often means less flotation, but not here. Crescent Moon makes up for the reduced surface area by adding two extra inches of length. Even with moderate loads(up to 30 pounds), we stayed afloat in deep powder. Green Bonus: Crescent Moon’s manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colorado, is 100-percent wind-powered, and the company recycles all scrap material and uses no PVC.”
SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW: Crescent Snowshoe Racers: World’s Best Bindings
Crescent Moon Gold 12Series “Crescent’s Gold 12 Snowshoe racers bind to the snowshoer’s foot like no other, reflecting ingenuity and creativity that has exploded throughout their product line. Getting a pair of snowshoes to fit feet easily is a difficult task. Driving to a snowshoe event or just a fun time in the woods, the least enjoyable part of the whole day is putting them on. The industry is making advances, big advances in some cases, to making the bindings easier and better. In my cold weather, frozen-finger experience, none is better than Crescent’s.
Backpacker Gear Review: Crescent Moon Over-Shoe Booties
The Specs: $50
10.25 oz (Men’s L)
Men’s S/M – L
Nothing ruins a snowshoe outing faster than cold feet. It doesn’t matter if your hands, head, and torso are toasty, if your toes feel like toesicles you’re going to be miserable. The Crescent Moon Over-Shoe Booties keep your feet warm in even the coldest temperatures, and provide more flexibility in footwear choices. Made of thick 6 mm neoprene, the booties slip on over almost any pair of shoes or boots you have. With elastic straps on the bottom and a large Velcro strip at the back, the booties are easy to pull on and off. At a weight of just over 10 ounces, the Over-Shoe Booties are a great alternative to carrying a spare pair of boots.
Backpacker Gear Guide: “Best kids” snowshoe
All parents know: When your kids are having fun, so are you. And these snowshoes all but guarantee a good time for your budding snowshoer. The exaggerated teardrop-shape aluminum frame lets kids walk with their natural gait, and reduces the possibility of faceplants (when snowshoe tails overlap).
The two-strap Hypalon binding, which fits up to a size 5 boot, is so simple that our 10-year-old tester could do it himself, which is a huge benefit for mom and dad. At 17 inches long, these snowshoes have plenty of flotation for kids up to 65 pounds to stay atop deep snow, where they by far had the most fun. $80; 2 lbs.; 17 inches;
January 2011 Winter Buyers Guide Outside Magazine – Gold 12 Direct Mount race shoe for running
Speed is your friend
Racers and fitness snowshoers, these are for you. And, no, you’re not missing something; there’s no binding. Instead, running shoes or lightweight boots attach directly to the shoes’ PVC free decks with included easy to use hardware and a couple of punches with a power drill. (Yes, it permanently trashes your shoes.) It’s initially a hassle, but, then again, the Gold 12’s weigh almost half of the average snowshoe. Testers felt they were absolutely flying on hard pack trails…
Gear Review: Crescent Moon Gold 10/Gold 13 Snowshoes
The Crescent snowshoe bindings expand and contract to fit virtually any boot type or size.
Not only do Crescent’s bindings expand and contract to fit virtually any boot type or size (from women’s size 6 light hikers to men’s size 15 pac boots), they tighten easily with one hand, and they lock your foot securely onto the center of the shoe and keep it there no matter the slope angle or snow conditions.
After a traverse of the Copper Spur area of Mt. Hood, one tester said, “Given my size (225 pounds, size 13 boots), I frequently experience heel slips and twisting when on a traverse. Not this time.” The bindings also proved to be the simplest to adjust. A single pull on the U-shaped, nylon webbing strap tightens both forefoot and arch straps. The heel strap secures via a ratcheting buckle we could operate even with bulky gloves. Testers said the tapered, teardrop tail allows for the most natural gait of any of the test shoes, especially on rolling terrain and soft to slightly compacted snow, with very little risk of deck walking—that is, stepping one snowshoe onto the deck of the other. “The stability of the binding on the traverses saved my ankles—and maybe my neck,” says one Oregon tester. “And the ability to stride naturally up and down the forest trails saved my legs.”
Extremely Light and Incredibly Fast: Crescent Moon Snowshoes’ Rocket Carbon Fiber Snowshoe
Use of the ultra-light, extremely versatile carbon fiber revolutionized cycling, allowing riders to go faster and longer with less effort. Jake Thamm, Co-founder of Crescent Moon Snowshoes, believes the material will have the same effect on snowshoeing. Crescent Moon Snowshoes, a small company based in Boulder, Colo., debuted their brand new Rocket Carbon Fiber Snowshoe at the January 2012 Winter Market Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah. A limited run of the snowshoes, which were designed for running on the snow and retail for $450, hit the market in November of 2012. Within weeks the stock was completely sold out. “They went so quickly I’m wondering if we perhaps underestimated the demand,” says Thamm.
The Best Snowshoes for Powder and Ice:
Best For: Backcountry Boarders
When you’re strapping snowshoes onto your snowboard boots to get to the untracked backcountry, you need a pair that can handle your oversize hooves. We found the Crescent Moon Gold Series 10 to clinch securely to nearly any snowboard boot. A tapered deck lends float without weight, so you can hike up to the highest, mightiest runs first.
Gear Review: Crescent Moon Gold 13s Snowshoes
Can a snowshoe binding help prevent cold feet? Absolutely, says one chronically ice-toed tester. The Gold 13s’ (the men’s version is the Gold 10, which we reviewed last year: backpacker.com/crescent) binding features a soft, gel-like plastic frame that snugs evenly around the forefoot and arch with a one-pull strap design. The soft frame molds tightly and uniformly around the boot without creating pressure points. “Because there was no constriction,” she says, “blood flowed to my toes and they stayed noticeably warmer than with other bindings I’ve tried.” Though usable in steeper terrain, the sharply tapered decks and modest flotation made the Gold 13s most effective on rolling terrain like the low, wooded peaks of the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon. With their long, pointed tails, the snowshoes tracked well when testers scrambled through trees and moved up and down slopes. The binding incorporates a plastic underfoot panel, so when your boot is locked in, it stays perfectly aligned on the snowshoe deck. The inch-long stainless steel crampons under the forefoot and heel provide good grip on crusty snow and ice. The severe tail taper limited flotation in deep fluff, but the tubular aluminum frame has a sharply angled front tip that helped keep the nose from diving under the surface and tripping testers up.
Gold 12 Race/Running snowshoes and Rocket carbon fiber snowshoes
Running on snowshoes is a little different than running in general. The trails are more beautiful, the air is crisper, the sounds and feelings of being on the move is more intense, and of course, the experience is pure winter outdoors.
Crescent Moon, of boulder Colorado, makes a complete line of snowshoes for all types of snowshoers and their family members, but if you’re looking for a running snowshoe, one that makes it easier and fun to run in, consider the Gold 12.The unique teardrop shape allows you to take a natural stride, very similar to the stride you would take when running on any trail in the summer, because the teardrop shape allows your feet to pass by each other without forcing you to widen your stance/stride as you do with a traditionally shaped snowshoe.
So, what do you wear when you’re out running on snow? If you’re sporting the CMS Gold 12, you can wear your normal running shoes because of the unique design of the Crescent moon binding system, which wraps around your foot. If you prefer a warmer, drier version of that, you can slide a pair of Crescent Moon’s neoprene booties over the top of your favorite road shoes. Finally, if you’re really a techno geek running freak, consider Crescent Moon’s carbon fiber Rocket snowshoes, which weigh 2.2 pounds when directly mounted with your favorite running shoes. The technology used to make the Rocket comes straight out of the NASA space program.
The VagabondishTeam The “Best in Show” Gear from Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013 – Rocket Carbon Fiber snowshoes
Each Rocket weighs 1.1 pounds making them easily one of the lighter running snowshoes on the market. The bindings are easily detachable and running shoes can be screwed on directly by puncturing through the shoe onto the snowshoe. What’s more is that these snowshoes can attach to the SPD clips on the bottom of your bike shoes, making them usable year round.
In terms of technology, Crescent Moon features a third crampon under the toes for additional grip support (think of an ice climbing crampon – what good would they be if the crampons didn’t extend to the toe?) as well as the two traditional crampon cleats under the sold and heel. Best of all, getting your shoe into them is a breeze with the Single-pull-loop system – a single pull and the snowshoes are tight, and a single pull to loosen your shoe afterwards.
Best Snowshoes of 2016
From groomed trails and rolling hills to deep powder, below are our picks for the year’s top snowshoes
With a wide and stable footprint and solid underfoot traction, snowshoes open up your favorite summer running and hiking trails for winter fun. Below we break down the best models for the 2016 season including recreational snowshoes, backcountry snowshoes, and running/racing models (for a detailed explanation of these categories and other features, see our buying advice below the picks). Most people stay on groomed trails or on moderate rolling terrain, and recreational shoes will do just fine for that. If you plan on getting off-trail in deeper snow, you’ll want a longer and grippier backcountry shoe. The good news is there are a number of great options from brands like MSR, Atlas, Tubbs, and Crescent Moon.
Type: Recreational / Backcountry
Length: 27 in.
Weight: 4 lbs. 7 oz.
What we like: Comfortable and light on the foot.
What we don’t: Expensive for not being a full backcountry design.
Women’s version: Crescent Moon Gold 13
Crescent Moon operates a little differently than other gear manufacturers, and that’s not a bad thing. First, they specialize in snowshoes—that’s pretty much the only thing the company makes. Second, they place a serious focus on their manufacturing process, hand making all shoes in the U.S.A. at their Boulder-based factory and using materials that are free of PVC, VOCs and other harmful chemicals. And finally, they have a great formula and don’t feel the need to make drastic changes year after year based on current whims. Simply put, we think the Crescent Moon Gold 9 is the best overall snowshoe on the market.
The aluminum frame of the Gold 9 is durable, the three-claw traction system is effective on most flats, rolling hills, and technical terrain, and the bindings are comfortable and easy to put on. Also, we love the teardrop shape: the shoes are 27 inches in length for good float but it’s easy to move on the snow and cover ground. For a cheaper recreational shoe from Crescent Moon, the Silver 9 lacks a coating on the frame, has inferior but still serviceable bindings, and aluminum claws instead of stainless steel. If you snowshoe a lot or plan to use them for years, we think the step up to the Gold Series is worthwhile.
Length: 32 in.
Weight: 4 lbs. 15 oz.
What we like: Made in the U.S.A. and best-in-class binding comfort.
What we don’t: Traction falls a little short on steep inclines.
Women’s version: Crescent Moon Gold 15
The Crescent Moon Gold 10 is a beefed-up and longer backcountry version of the popular Gold 9 above. In addition to five more inches of length, it shares a similar stainless steel traction system but with an extra set of claws near the ball of your foot. The teardrop design remains and is great for active snowshoers that really like to move. The Gold 10 still isn’t as grippy or light as the MSR Lightning Ascent above, but it handles a wider variety of terrain from trails to powdery rolling hills and moderate ascents.
Keep in mind that these shoes can only handle hikers up to 225 pounds in average snow conditions, so larger folks or those carrying a lot of equipment may want to consider the expedition grade Gold 17 (37 inches long and can handle up to 300 pounds). The Gold 17 is overkill for recreational snowshoeing but can handle off-trail use through deep snow with relative ease. As with all Crescent Moon Gold Series snowshoes, the 10 is made in the U.S.A. and comes with a lifetime warranty.
9. Crescent Moon Composite Kilo Run
Type: Running / Race
Length: 24 in.
Weight: 2 lbs. 13 oz. (with bindings)
What we like: Carbon everywhere!
What we don’t: Very pricey.
Boulder, Colorado, is a land of ultra runners and aspiring Olympians, so it’s no surprise that Crescent Moon makes the most serious racing snowshoe on the market. At the pinnacle of snow running is the Composite Kilo Run (also referred to as “The Rocket”). Made up mostly of beautiful carbon fiber that you have to see to appreciate, these snowshoes are purpose-built to move fast over snow, ice or whatever else winter throws at you.
The Composite Kilo Run is the longest and widest running snowshoe we recommend, which helps with overall flotation, but they remain lightweight thanks to the advanced materials. To cut weight even further, you have the option of ditching the binding and connecting the snowshoes directly to your go-to winter trail runners. It’s important to note that there are risks in having a carbon snowshoe: landing the wrong way on a rock or other debris can damage that lovely structure beyond repair (you do get a lifetime warranty). But for the serious racer that’s trying to trim precious minutes or seconds off a PR, it’s worth the risk.
SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:
Written by Anna Callaghan
Crescent Moon Women’s Gold 13 Trail Snowshoes, $249, crescentmoonsnowshoes.com
Started in 1997 by Jake Thamm and his wife, Tamara Laug, the 10-person team at Crescent Moon Snowshoes in Boulder, Colorado tries to set themselves apart from the rest of the market. According to Thamm, they’re the only snowshoe company that allows for full customization, and were the first manufacturer to design a women’s specific model. To explore this niche they hold in the snowshoe market I tried out the process from start to finish (the finish being a snowy mountain trail).
Step one was a phone call with Thamm to figure out the right pair for me.
“What we try to do is ask fundamentals,” said Thamm. “What are you doing? Where are you going? Are you backpacking? This helps us direct you to a relevant model.”
I hike and snowshoe in the Cascades in Washington State where the snow is generally wet and consolidated, meaning I didn’t need a shoe that had a lot of resistance to sinking in fluffy powder. Crescent Moon offers different types of snowshoes for different terrain and different activities under two broad categories: Gold and Silver. Gold has stainless steel crampons while silver has aluminum crampons and a different buckle on the binding. They offer styles for terrain including mountain hiking, backcountry pursuits, trails, expeditions, and even running and racing.
For the women there are five varietals to choose from. And while there’s no perfect pair for all conditions, says Thamm, you “compromise with what you’ll be doing most of the time.”
And the difference between a women’s and men’s shoe, Thamm tells me, is the shape of the frame. “Women tend to walk with their feet closer together and in more of a line,” he says. “Because of the shape of the women’s shoe you don’t have to change how you walk, you can just walk naturally.” And for anyone who’s ever experienced an injury, you know that body mechanics are important.
Thamm took my height, weight, and foot size and determined which snowshoes would be best for me.
He recommended the Gold 13, a smaller shoe with an exaggerated teardrop (the Gold 9 has more float and is a little wider). The Gold styles have stainless steel crampons and toe claws that are better at navigating steeps and ice than the aluminum in the Silver models. The snowshoes are manufactured in the U.S. and completely customizable online. You can choose the frame size and color, the deck color, the binding style and color, and the type of metal on the claw. I ordered the red frame and deck with Gold bindings and a steel claw, and a few days later they arrived at my door. First impression? They’re pretty to look at.
The Gold 13 has a steep nose and a tapered tail that rounds out a narrow teardrop shape. At less than four pounds, they’re both lightweight and comfortable. The binding, designed by a woman, is easily adjusted with a ratcheting buckle and over-the-foot cams.
To test them out I headed to Mount Rainier National Park for a steep slog among the snow-covered evergreens. In short: I would often forget I was even wearing snowshoes at all. The bindings of the Gold 13s didn’t need to be tightened even when trudging over steep, rolling terrain and sections of deep snow. I found myself walking normally, and even in narrow sections the snowshoes didn’t smack into each other as I stepped. I grew up obsessively customizing Nike sneakers online so I was attracted to the opportunity to customize pair snowshoes that would work well for me, and they did indeed work well. The Gold 13s were of sound construction and they performed well on the trails.
Walk on the White Side with Crescent Moon’s Customizable Snowshoes
Boulder-based Crescent Moon put its snowshoe R&D where it counts: into the proprietary bindings, which wrap your feet in all directions to stay snug in deep powder. The Gold 9 for men ($259) is especially versatile for trail hikes, with blessedly simple single pull-loops for slipping in and out of the bindings and a tear-drop-shaped frame for greater maneuverability. But if you still feel the need to leave your own mark in the snow, Crescent Moon’s website (crescentmoonsnowshoes.com) allows you to customize a pair.