The typical snowshoe is great for walking atop snow at a slow, steady pace, but try running in it and you'll likely find yourself facedown, flailing around in powder. The latest running snowshoe coming to market promises a smoother snow-top running experience with its all-foam construction. Crescent Moon borrows from running shoe design, building a lightweight, floaty shoe that aims to keep you running straight through the snowiest of winters.
Aluminum-frame models still dominate the snowshoe sections of outdoor sporting good retailers, but plastic and composite-bodied snowshoes are starting to give them a run for their money. Staples like MSR and Tubbs offer such decks alongside aluminum-frame models and other brands, like Fimbulvetr, specialize in nothing but, citing advantages like lighter weights and more natural strides.
Established Colorado-based snowshoe outfit Crescent Moon explores the possibilities of an all-foam snowshoe. Specifically, the new 23 x 8-in (58 x 20-cm) snowshoe (which doesn't have a proper name quite yet) relies on EVA foam, more commonly found in the midsoles of running shoes. Crescent Moon shapes the dual-density EVA into a rocker profile and slaps a basic hook-and-loop (Velcro) binding on for easy donning. Unlike other snowshoe bindings, this one is fixed, not hinged, so the deck won't swing around as you step forward.
The top of the foam deck offers some cushion, according to Crescent Moon, helping to absorb the impact of packed snow and other hard ground. The bottom layer is a harder, tougher EVA composite, similar to a football cleat, with snow tire-inspired lugs built to bite into slicker terrain. The foam design is said make the new shoe lightweight, though Crescent Moon doesn't float a specific weight figure.
"Our first prototypes were better than anything we expected and the most surprising thing we discovered was the traction — we felt like cats — climbing or descending anything in our path," says Jake Thamm, Crescent Moon's president. "This new snowshoe's performance is like nothing we've ever experienced. And we believe the unique look of the shoe, the simple binding and the lightweight feel will bring a lot of attention and have a broader customer reach than traditional snowshoes and introduce a new segment of the market to the winter activity."
That sounds like basic product launch hype, but bear in mind that Crescent Moon does offer a full line of more traditional aluminum-frame and carbon fiber snowshoes for trekking and running, so Thamm's words put the new foam model up against Crescent Moon's own products, as well as the competition.
Crescent Moon will debut the new EVA running snowshoe next month at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City and the SIA Snow Show in Denver before getting it to retail in Fall 2017 (Northern Hemisphere) for US$149. We plan to give it a try at Outdoor Retailer and report back with our experiences relating to float, grip and overall walking/running performance.
Source: Crescent Moon