From fresh Montana powder to rotten, crumbly Alaska snow, the Sommet handled it all. The innovative design features an ultrarigid plastic deck with laser-cut holes along the long edges; the material is then twisted and laced around the frame rails, eliminating the need for a bunch of heavy hardware. The decking design adds eight points of grip at the outer edge of the footprint, an area often overlooked in snowshoes, and explains the Sommet’s high traction scores on all surfaces and slopes. Additional holes punched through the interior of the deck save even more weight.
The slightly tapered U-shaped frame is open in the back, adding lateral flex, which increases stability on uneven snow and while sidehilling. The binding wraps the forefoot with a series of contoured plastic straps, and sets easily with a single pull, even with gloves on. The integrated heel strap wraps the perimeter of the foot, providing a snug fit. A heel lift and 17-point crampon system proved comfortable and grippy on steeps, though the heel lift bale was slightly tougher to snap into place than others. The narrowish frame and scalloped tail made for excellent tracking and a natural gait for all testers. $210-$230; 22 and 26 inches; 3 lbs. 10 oz. (26); fabersnowshoes.com