“I can jog again!” declares our Colorado tester. “Bad knees forced me to stop conventional running on hard surfaces, but in the snow I could sprint pain-free.” The Vapor became his snowshoe of choice, with the most comfortable binding in the test, especially when wearing lightweight running shoes (such as the Salomon XA Pro 3D Mid GTX Ultra, p. 64). Credit the three straps of rugged, stretchy, rubbery material (a combo of Hypalon and urethane), which lock the foot in place without creating pressure points. And the binding hinge point is a rubbery one-inch-wide band instead of a freely rotating metal hinge.
For runners this is key: It pulls the tail up with your foot through each stride so less energy is wasted by dragging tails through the snow. The aluminum tubing takes a dramatic taper right behind the heel for smooth gait clearance, but—like most running snowshoes—the efficient shape reduces flotation, making them best for packed snow, not powder. Sharp, aggressive titanium crampons “gave great push-off traction on packed-out, icy trails,” says one tester after a three-mile run on Boulder’s Green Mountain. “And they’re light,” he says. “I never felt weighed down.” $250; 2 lbs. 11 oz.; 21 inches; redfeather.com