1. Crescent Moon EVA All-Foam Snowshoe
What’s most shocking about Crescent Moon’s foam snowshoe is that nobody thought to do it before. It’s a simple idea, but one that’s highly effective: Take what essentially amounts to the outsole of a running shoe, stretch it long and wide enough to float on snow, and give it a rocker shape to encourage forward momentum. The effect is not only exceptionally comfortable, but it also feels more natural than a traditional snowshoe, which relies on a hinged footbed to keep your shoes moving independently from the shoe’s frame. The trick is dual layers of ethylene-vinyl acetate, EVA, a material that’s common in running shoes. The top layer is as soft as a pool mat, while the bottom layer is as firm as a hiking boot — and features similar lug patterns. The traction is bolstered by a crown of hard-plastic spikes reaching out from beneath the ball of your foot.
Crescent Moon’s co-founder, Jake Thamm, spent seven years working on the idea. His first model was carved from foam, and — as he tells it — looked like “hammered goat shit.” But he kept refining it, and the version here, set to begin selling in fall 2017, feels natural to walk in and weighs just under three pounds — lighter than all but the brand’s carbon-fiber models. This just might be the start of a new era in snowshoeing. [$149; crescentmoonsnowshoes.com]