Model: FLEX VRT
Traction: The polypropelene frame has micro-serrated rails (they look like oversized steak knives ) down both sides for added grip. “The rails curve inward behind the heel,” explains a tester. “So when the heel is weighted, the narrower back end of the rails bite firmly into the surface—even on icy or uneven terrain. It saved my butt during a sketchy descent of a narrow drainage in Washington’s Wenatchee National Forest.”
Binding: A Boa knob cinches the foot in place while a belt-like strap secures the heel. “Sometimes getting the snowshoe on is the hardest part of a hike,” says a Washington tester. “But with these, you set the heel strap once, on your first time out. After that, the single Boa knob does all the work.” Testers also noted that it was easy to dial in minor tweaks without removing mittens.
Durability: The steel traction rails and six carbon-steel toe crampons are tough. “I trekked over rocks, roots, and stumps and they’re still in great shape,” said one tester after a season of working as a naturalist in Denali National Park.
$250; 22, 24, and 28 inches; 4 lbs. 8 oz. (24); tubbssnowshoes.com