So you’re having a hard time deciding your first snowshoes? You have no idea which snowshoe maker makes the best snowshoes? Well, you can stop scratching your head because we’ve got you covered.
Snowshoeing has been gaining quite some popularity in the last few years and it has encouraged several new manufacturers to come up. However, the big players hardly change. We personally have four favorite brands when it comes to snowshoeing: MSR, Tubbs, Atlas, and Crescent Moon. Not only are their snowshoes reliable despite the varying snow conditions, they’re also proven to have extended longevity. Some of them, in fact, provide limited life time warranty for particular models.
Top Leading Snowshoe Brands
- Crescent Moon
Note that the list above is really based on our personal opinion. We’re not saying that other snowshoe makers are not worth it. They may have some good gears that can stand a lot of wear and tear up their sleeves. Still, if you’re looking for some strong and well-performing snowshoes right from the get-go, those four companies are your best shot. Many winter sport enthusiasts have tested their products and vowed for their snowshoe quality and performance. Either way, it’s your call. Do your research properly and you’ll have higher chance to get a nice pair of snowshoes.
Although the company ownership has been taken over by Cascade Designs, MSR snowshoes not the slightest diminish in quality and performance. Their snowshoes still rate the highest in all aspects i.e. flotation, traction, practicality, and security. As a matter of fact, one of their products MSR Lightning Ascent has been a loyal company for many winter explorers in their journey to the unknown.
MSR Snowshoes are grouped into three with the distinguishing features being the bindings and also the frame and decking materials. The Trail series is the most affordable of all, designed for beginner snowshoers looking to have a fun hiking in national parks. The Ascent series, on the other hand, is the highest rated models geared toward long journey over technical terrains.
|MSR Lightning Ascent||Backcountry||Aggressive||22", 25", 30"||$$$|
|MSR Revo Explore||Recreational & Backcountry||Mildly Aggressive||22", 25"||$$|
|MSR Evo Ascent||Recreational & Backcountry||Moderate||22"||$$|
The most interesting thing about MSR Snowshoes is they’re all compatible with add-on tails. It’ll allow you to enhance the snowshoes with on-demand flotation, should you run across powdery situations. Their best snowshoes include MSR Lightning Ascent, MSR Evo Ascent, MSR Revo Explore, and MSR Evo 22.
Tubbs is the oldest company in this list. It claims to have been founded since 1906 in Norway, manufacturing countless snowshoes until today. If a company manages to survive that long, you can bet that their product comes with unrivaled quality and performance. That should be convincing enough to make them your go-to brand when it comes to snowshoes.
Tubbs snowshoes are quite plenty. The company makes snowshoes for both novices and devoted winter explorers. They’re all available in various sizes as well as men’s and women’s versions, with the exception of the FLEX models. The latter refers to the relatively new innovation from Tubbs to make frameless snowshoes featuring lightweight yet sturdy composite construction.
|Tubbs Mountaineer||Backcountry||Aggressive||25", 30", 36"||$$$|
|Tubbs Wilderness||Recreational||Moderate||22", 25", 30"||$$|
|Tubbs Flex ALP||Backcountry||Aggressive||24", 28"||$$$|
|Tubbs Flex RDG||Recreational||Moderate||24"||$$|
Although the strap-in mechanism differs from one model to another, the majority of Tubbs snowshoes sport a full rotation binding. It’s a particular type of snowshoe binding that doesn’t limit your foot motion range, making them ideal for long hikes. Anyway, the best of Tubbs snowshoes include Tubbs Mountaineer, Tubbs Wilderness, Tubbs Flex ALP, and Tubbs Flex RDG.
Atlas has begun manufacturing snowshoes since 1990. They’re among the first companies to come up with the idea of making women’s specific snowshoes because of the physical differences they have. Today their line of women’s snowshoes, Atlas Elektra, becomes one of the most preferable gears for many female snowshoers.
Like Tubbs and MSR, Atlas makes both backcountry and recreational snowshoes although recently they manufacture running snowshoes and kids snowshoes too. Their snowshoes can be easily recognized thanks to the V-shaped frames. It’s the company’s proprietary technology to make the tails tapered so it allows the wearer to move more efficiently on snow.
|Atlas 10 Series||Recreational||Moderate||25", 30", 35"||$$|
|Atlas 12 Series||Backcountry||Aggressive||25", 30", 35"||$$$|
|Atlas Aspect||Backcountry||Mildly Aggressive||24", 28"||$$|
|Atlas Endeavor||Recreational||Moderate||24", 28"||$$|
Atlas snowshoes are all equipped with SLS system too. Basically, it’s what most people refer to as fixed rotation binding. It utilizes a rubbery webbing strap to restrict your foot motion. You’ll find it easier and faster to walk with this type of binding but you will have to lift your knees higher. Otherwise, the nose of the snowshoes can easily catch on snow. Best of Atlas snowshoes include Atlas 10 Series, Atlas 12 Series, Atlas Aspect, and Atlas Elektra 12.
Antonymous to Tubbs, Crescent Moon is the youngest company in this list. Their snowshoes are generally more expensive in comparison to competing models but that comes with a reason. The materials used to construct their snowshoes are of first class quality. You’ll notice once you get your hands on it that the decking material is different from typical plastic. It flexes and nearly makes no noise when struck against hardpack.
In addition to premium materials, Crescent Moon also backs up all their customers with free limited lifetime warranty (only for Gold Series snowshoes. They’re the only company to have done all the manufacturing process stateside. From producing parts to assembling and finishing, all is done in their factory based on Boulder, Colorado. You won’t get that cheap made stuff from China.
|Crescent Moon Gold 10||All Terrain||Semi-Aggressive||32-inch||$$$|
|Crescent Moon Gold 9||Recreational||Semi-Aggressive||27-inch||$$$|
|Crescent Moon Gold 17||Backcountry||Semi-Aggressive||37-inch||$$$|
All Crescent Moon snowshoes come with easily recognizable teardrop frames. They’re slimmer than most snowshoe frames, making the walk on snowy trails easier. They fare rather low though in flotation, largely due to the small footprint. Anyway, their best snowshoes include Crescent Moon Gold 10 and Crescent Moon Gold 9.
Still can’t make up your mind? Why don’t you check out our best snowshoes of 2017 list?