French company INOOK continues to improve on snowshoe design year after year. The company's latest snowshoe, the e-move, is full of tiny innovations that make snowshoeing, especially in steep environments like the Rockies and Alps, safer and more enjoyable.
INOOK was started 16 years ago by designer Jean-Claude Bibollet, known in France as the pope of snowshoeing. He originally founded TSL Outdoor in 1981 when he took the Canadian plastic teardrop snowshoe to France and has been continually improving on that design for the past 30 years.
The e-move snowshoe frame is built like a tunnel, pushing snow up and under your entire foot as you walk. The left and right specific asymmetrical frames help distribute your weight evenly across the snow pack under your foot, giving you more stability and assuring you won't sink unevenly. Strategically placed steel spikes on the bottom of the frame help you dig into steep hillsides or ice.
One of the key new innovations with the e-move snowshoe is in the central binding plate. Not only does the plate move up and down as you walk but laterally as well to compensate for hill angle. This ensures that your foot remains level and in the direction of travel when you are traversing a steep slope. You no longer have to roll your ankle or angle your steps while crossing a hill.
The central binding plate has two pivot points, the second allowing the ball of your foot to angle further downwards when striding forward. This second pivot lets your foot move naturally when pulling your foot forward without lifting up the front of the snowshoe. You will quickly notice that you don't get that big kick up of snow behind you anymore and simply glide through the snow.
The snowshoe bindings come equipped with a riser. The riser can be easily lifted or lowered with the push of your snowshoe pole, meaning you don't have to take your gloves off or bend down to change levels (one of my pet peeves with my MSR snowshoes). The bindings slide backward and forward, simply locking in place at your desired foot size. This way, different people can use the same snowshoe and be ensured their foot is correctly positioned above the riser.
INOOK snowshoes are currently available all over Europe and soon (hopefully) to be available in the US as well.