When conditions are less than ideal–cold fingers, blowing wind, sticky snow–you don't want problems getting snowshoes on and keeping them on. You won't with the Gold Series bindings, which have unmatched comfort, stability, and ease of use. A single pull on the U-shaped cinch strap tightens the binding over both the forefoot and arch, while the heel strap secures rock-solid via a ratcheting buckle. A rigid stabilizer plate underfoot kept our feet aligned on the snowshoe deck; we had zero heel slip except on the steepest traverses.
The teardrop tail shape (even more tapered then the Redfeathers, page 68) allows for a comfortable, natural gait. A pronounced tail taper often means less flotation, but not here. Crescent Moon makes up for the reduced surface area by adding two extra inches of length. Even with moderate loads (up to 30 pounds), we stayed afloat in deep powder. Green bonus: Crescent Moon's manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colorado, is 100-percent wind-powered, and the company recycles all scrap material and uses no PVC. $249; 3 lbs. 15 oz. (27 inch); 27- and 32-inch; crescentmoonsnowshoes.com