Ideal for short treks on packed snow and mixed snow/dirt, this Thinsulate-lined midweight kept our toes warm and steps sure. Thanks to its low weight and bulk, the midcut also helped us cover ground fast. The synthetic leather-and-mesh upper is reinforced with structural webbing, and has a full rubber rand for stability, support, and additional warmth. Yet it's very trim for an insulated boot, report testers.
The molded nylon shank prevented rock bruises when an editor fastpacked bumpy trails with a light load, and there's enough support for snowshoe running. After a blustery day in Vermont's Worcester Range, testers reported that the ridged and honeycombed sole gripped with snowcatlike tenacity on slippery rocks, and the proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane kept out melting slush. Flat webbing lace loops pair perfectly with every available snowshoe binding, but the laces don't run smoothly through the grabby webbing; testers had to fiddle to get a snug fit. Best for narrow feet. $115 (men's 7-15), $100 (women's 5-12); 2 lbs. 1 oz.; columbia.com