Over the river and through the woods, our testers discovered the best snowshoe for every venue.
BEST FOR: The Backcountry
THE TEST: A V-shaped tail reduces the likelihood that you'll trip over your own feet and also drags less snow along when you're hossing through powder. The Endeavor's ($220) full-length teeth and spring-loaded suspension make for a nimble feel on firm snow, though that suspension throws snow up your back. Snowboarders: the bindings fold flat, making them easy to lash to a pack.
WEIGHT: 4.1 lbs
Tubbs Flex Vert
BEST FOR: Comfort and Ease
THE TEST: We worried that the cold and snow might freeze or clog the Flex Vert's ($250) Boa closure system. Our concerns were unfounded. A twist of the knob snugly and uniformly tightens the steel cable threaded throughout the top of the shoe; when you want out, just pop the button up. Tip-to-tail rails provide secure traction on off-camber terrain, and because the rails are riveted on in four sections, the back flexes more naturally than most shoes' tails.
WEIGHT: 4.4 lbs
BEST FOR: Moving Quickly
THE TEST: The most affordable running snowshoe we've seen, the ultralight Aerobic ($140) has a deck that looks like someone took an oversize hole punch to it. The holes save weight and add grip—when you weight the deck, they dig into the snow. Also smart: where the frame threads through the deck it's twisted, creating additional traction. The binding is serviceable though a bit undercooked, but if going fast is your number one priority, this is your shoe.
WEIGHT: 2.1 lbs
MSR Revo Explore
BEST FOR: Hard, Continuous Use and Technical Terrain
THE TEST: With an aggressive set of full-length perimeter crampons riveted to a plastic deck, a steel bar of ice chompers below the ball of the foot, and extra teeth at the tip, MSR's new Revo Explore ($200) is the grippiest snowshoe here. It never slipped, no matter how steep or icy the terrain became. The binding is simple and easy to maintain when you're in the field, and thanks to the wide toe cutout and broad heel lifter, it mates well with a bulky boot.
WEIGHT: 4.1 lbs