We have seen a wave of radical new snowshoe designs recently, all promising to take you farther and higher into the mountains. Built on a honeycomb platform similar to that of Fimbulvetr, the new Snowfoot snowshoe is purpose designed for mountaineers and freeriders looking to get after those steep alpine ascents.
Modern snowshoes are still largely based on Native American designs used by the French in the 1700s. These snowshoes are characterized by long decks, an upturned tip, and a free-heel binding that permits a sliding motion for long distance travel across flat, open terrain.
By contrast, Snowfoot is the first snowshoe designed specifically for alpine terrain and is characterized by a short deck, protruding crampon points, and a fixed-heel binding that permits agile and precise footwork on steep inclines and over any terrain.
The honeycombed Snowfoot deck is made from Grilamid EMS Nylon12–a material that offers high impact strength and excellent mechanical characteristics at low temperatures. The snowshoes feature a fixed, steel, 8-point crampon–two front points, with a further four points in front and two points in back protruding from the base.
The Snowfoot is not exactly meant to replace your full AT setup, but the company claims the snowshoe can take you up steeper approaches and offer tons of energy savings in deep snow. The Snowfoot doesn’t need a heel riser to maintain downward force like skis and traditional snowshoes. With Snowfoot, the fact that there is zero material in front and minimal material behind the foot means it easy to maintain grip on inclined surfaces.
Snowfoot uses a universal binding that works with all types of boots. The heel piece slides to accommodate sizes 38-48 (US 6-14), and aligns both front and rear crampons in the ideal underfoot position. A simple closure system allows for rapid entry, adjustment and release.
I would be very interested to try the Snowfoot for some deep and steep ice climbing approaches. As they don’t add a ton of weight to your pack (around 2.6 lbs per pair), they could be fun to bring along to save you from endless post holing.
The Snowfoot alpine snowshoes retailed for around €100 in the company’s initial Indiegogo campaign. They are currently fulfilling all those orders and will then make the Snowfoot available for order on the company website.