Iverson Alaskan ($302)
In a world where gear is constantly getting new bells and whistles, sometimes the best products are the ones that have stayed the same for centuries. The Alaskan, a 56-inch wood and rawhide beast, is not unlike the snowshoes of yore. It can be awkward to fit in your car, but once you hit the trail, there’s nothing better to stay afloat in deep snow.
L.L.Bean Trailblazer ($170)
The Trailblazer lived up to its name on a trek across an ancient supervolcano in New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains. The aggressive cleats conquer diverse terrain without icy buildup. And the enhanced Boa binding, which locks down for lateral stability, is the simplest on the market—just step in and turn the dial to tighten the shoe around your foot. The women’s version has a tapered tail to accommodate a narrower stride.
TSL Symbioz ($300)
You’ve seen the French-made Symbioz in these pages before. This season it has a refined Boa binding that ensures a comfortable fit over the instep. And the back end of the binding operates like a Brannock device (that thing in shoe stores that measures your foot), adapting precisely to whatever size you wear. When we first donned the Symbioz, adjustment took a few minutes, but after that we were able to put it on and take it off in seconds. Tip: pair with boots, not trail runners, to prevent chafing from the ankle strap.
MSR Revo Ascent ($260)
With metal sawtooth traction built into a durable plastic frame, the Revo offers the perfect combination of aggressiveness, float, and speed. Plus, it’s manufactured in MSR’s Seattle factory, which means a smaller carbon footprint than snowshoes made overseas. A heel lift gives you a boost on steep climbs, and the updated mesh binding that stretches across the top of the foot secures with two easy-to-use buckles. Getting in and out is painless, even with gloves or cold fingers.