Gear Review: Tubbs Flex ESC Snowshoes

Serious mountain performance at a sweet price.

This shoe proves you can get serious mountain performance at a sweet price. The savings comes from Tubbs’ use of a thin, molded plastic frame/decking (as opposed to the separate frame and decking used in the other shoes in the test); the material is tough and lighter than plastics used in competing models.

Testers loved the binding’s hinge design, which lets the shoes swing freely and prevents snow-loading on the tails. A single webbing strap weaves over the foot and tightens evenly with one pull. Below the deck, a curved steel “traction rail” bends around the perimeter of the shoe, providing a tenacious bite, even on ankle-bending traverses and steep climbs. “The cleats protrude in multiple angles, so they could grab onto snow or ice in any direction,” said a tester after a romp on Hahn’s Peak near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The 24-inch shoes worked well for most testers (even our 200 pounders) in consolidated snow conditions, but testers over 175 pounds sank in fluffy powder.

Gripe: The plastic material makes quite a racket when it hits crusty snowpack.

$119

3 lbs. 5 oz.; 24 inches

tubbssnowshoes.com