Four sturdy stompers for deep days on the trail
Louis Garneau Course Boa Arc ($250)
Louis Garneau is primarily a cycling company, but it sure makes some impressive snowshoes. The lightest and fastest is the unisex Course Boa Arc. Weighing just 14 ounces. it’s hardly noticeable on a racecourse, and the narrow frame and tapered tail don’t alter your stride. Crampons beneath the toe and heel offer just enough traction to keep you upright, and the simple Boa binding tightens evenly across your foot and won’t come loose no matter how many miles you log.
L.L.Bean Trailblazer ($170)
Keep your gloves on. Close your eyes if you dare. Then insert your foot into the binding and turn the Boa dial. That’s how simple it is to put on the 21-inch Trailblazer (women’s pictured). The binding accommodates most winter boots, and the sturdy aluminum frame and polyethylene deck should last a lifetime. Guys, check out the men’s version, which comes in longer sizes for heavier bodies.
Crescent Moon Gold 10 ($275)
At a whopping 32 and 29 inches long, respectively, the Crescent Moon men’s Gold 10 (pictured) and women’s Gold 15 are surprisingly maneuverable, thanks to the heavily tapered design. More surface area means extra float in deep snow and better traction underfoot in icy conditions. Adjustable bindings accommodate most ski and snowboard boots, should you be using these to hike up and shred down.
Atlas Serrate ($290)
The Serrate has a classic snowshoe look and feel, but modern updates made it a favorite among testers. A spring-loaded suspension system propels your foot forward with each step, and aggressive traction underneath virtually guarantees a sure-footed journey. Once you dial in the fit of the heel strap, the pressure-free binding closes with a simple tug. The women’s version—the Elektra Serrate, designed with women’s walking mechanics in mind—has a tapered tail, a narrower nose, and more arch support.