Dion Model 120 Laser LT (starting at $145)
Vermont-based Dion makes some of the lightest, most versatile running snowshoe on the market. The frames themselves are lightweight for a model built for speed, at only 1.3 pounds, and, depending on the conditions, you can swap out the standard cleat for ice or deep-snow models. The easy-to-use but sturdy bindings stay put across long distances, but if you’re not a fan, simply use a drill and some basic hardware to mount the LTs to your favorite trail runners.
Crescent Moon Luna Foam Shoe ($120)
A few years ago, Crescent Moon debuted the Eva, the first-ever all-foam snowshoe, which one tester called “a fat bike for your feet.” The Luna is a smaller version, at seven by 20 inches compared to the Eva’s eight by 24, but it has just as much cushion and a similar rockered shape, plus optional screw-in studs that offer extra traction in icy conditions. Not that you’ll be getting rid of it anytime soon, but when you do, it’s recyclable through athletic-shoe recycling programs.
Atlas Helium-Trail ($140)
It’s not often that snowshoe companies come out with all-new models, so testers were excited about Atlas’s new-to-market Helium series of backcountry, all-mountain, and trail-walking models. Our favorite, the Trail, is an all-purpose composite snowshoe that comes in 23- and 26-inch sizes and flexes gently as you walk. Steel crampons keep you upright on icy terrain, traction is built into the deck for stability, and an easy-to-flip-up heel lift takes the edge off of steep climbs.
TSL Highlander Adjust ($250)
A fantastic all-around snowshoe, the French-made TSL Highlander Adjust comes in three sizes. Once you’ve selected your model, a one-time adjustment fits the binding to the length of your entire boot. From that first use onwards, all you have to do is step into the binding, cinch the Boa down across your toes, and secure a strap around your ankle. “I had the entire system set to accommodate my boots in less than two minutes,” said one tester, who added that the Adjusts were also nimble and confident on spring melt, ice, hardpack, and deep drifts.
Garneau Premiere Première ($245)
The company has finally updated its popular Première backcountry snowshoes with the increasingly popular Boa closure system, an alternative to laces that involves a quick twist of a knob that tightens the binding uniformly around the toe and heel—no pulling straps or fiddling with buckles required. Available in two sizes, the Première proved well-designed for breaking trail through deep snow.
Northern Lites Honey Badger ($299)
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you needed snowshoes and ice crampons, what you really needed was the Honey Badger. Named after the world’s “most fearless animal,” these snowshoes feature aggressive—very sharp, very long—stainless-steel cleats from toe to heel to keep you steady on slick, steep surfaces. And at only 25 inches long and 3.75 pounds, they’re not unwieldy or too heavy, although testers who weigh more than 175 pounds may want a bigger snowshoe or risk sinking in deep powder.