Go faster, go farther, or just go more comfortably with these ultralight snowshoes, which weigh about a pound less than many comparable models. Credit the strong-but-light T7-7075 aluminum frames, aluminum crampons (instead of stainless steel), and a minimalist three-strap binding system. Despite the streamlined design, the Cat Trails gripped well in crusty and compacted snow in Washington's William O. Douglas Wilderness, thanks to toothy crampons and heel cleats.
Testers also liked the asymmetrical frame shape with its pronounced cut-out in the tail; it allows you to maintain a more natural stride without tripping over your own decks, especially when striding fast or running. Ultralight materials often raise the price tag, but GV uses an inexpensive yet rugged decking vinyl to keep the cost down. What do you give up in the field for the weight savings? The binding system lacks heel security on steep slopes, aluminum crampons aren't as durable as stainless, and flotation isn't adequate for big loads or deep snow; we floundered with 25 pounds. This shoe is best for fast-and-light day trips on mellow terrain. $170; 2 lbs. 10 oz.; 25-, 27-, and 29-inch unisex; gvsnowshoes.com