This snowshoe has everything a novice should look for: an easy-to-use binding; a slim, semi-hourglass shape that allows for a natural stride; confidence-inspiring traction; and an easy-to-justify price. The decking, made of a molded polymer, is impervious to abuse. Aggressive side crampons, which look fit for cutting down small trees, run the full length of the foot before coming together in a V under the heel. Because of this V, the Treks had great traction on steep descents (where many snowshoes suffer) like the icy, packed trails in the foothills above Boulder, Colorado.
The heel lift bar, an unusual perk for this price point, helped reduce testers’ calf fatigue on steep, prolonged climbs. The binding has a typical TPU heel strap, but up front there are two convenient ratchet-style straps, similar to a snowboard binding, as well as some EVA foam-rubber padding for extra comfort. Limitations: It’s the heaviest snowshoe we tested and one of the narrowest (7¾ inches at the widest point), so it’s best for moderate powder or packed snow. $165; 4 lbs. 8 oz. (24-inch); 22, 24 inches; louisgarneau.com