Making a snowshoe out of foam, bits of hard plastic, and a velcro binding system is a pretty bold move, because at first glance the Eva Crescent Moon snowshoes look a bit like, well, toys. Or gimmicks. Real snowshoes have complicated strap-on binding systems, big metal teeth and metal frames, lots more metal in general, really, and sophisticated hinged heels to free the foot while walking. Or so I assumed.

The Crescent Moon Evas, though, have almost none of that. Made of multiple layers of EVA foam (hence the name) they are designed to be a friendly, lightweight, snowshoe for light duty and snow running. They’re not exactly meant for serious use, like big-distance trips on sketchy, ice-covered trails…or at least they don’t seem to be.

But after putting on the miles last winter tromping through soft fresh snow, and hard-packed groomed trails alike on these foamies, I was surprised at how well the Evas performed. They excel at their job. I wouldn’t bring these along on a slick, icy trail, or a serious wintertime backcountry hut trip if there was going to be trail-breaking or lots of rocky and icy switchbacks, but they’re with me now on just about any trip to the snow because they’re so light and easy to throw on, there’s no reason not to bring them. Running on packed trails, long hikes on groomed roads—they’re far more comfy and simply easier to walk in than traditional snowshoes.

The shoes measure 8 inches by 24 inches and can fit a big range of foot sizes, from 5-15 (men’s). They weigh only about 3.5 pounds per pair. Composed of three different layers of EVA foam—a soft and pliant upper layer for comfort, a harder rigid layer below that for support, and a tough traction plate, similar to soccer or football cleats. The entire shoe is quite curved with a serious rocker profile; this makes sense because without the hinged heel, the rear of the shoe would dig into the snow with each step if the shoes were flat. But it also makes it a little tricky to climb steep slopes in them. Without being able to lift the heel it’s hard to dig in with the front of the shoe for purchase.

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That rockered profile also makes it easy to move fairly quickly in these shoes, provided you’re not breaking trail through the softest pow. If you’ve never really thought about running in snowshoes before, the Evas are light enough and, with their banana-like rocker, they provide a fairly easy running motion, making it feel natural.

And awesomely, they can be easily worn with just about any kind of footwear. Hiking boots, trail runners, even regular ole’ tennis shoes will work.

The curved shape helps heel-toe transition even with a fixed binding.

This is the ideal snow for the Evas.

You can see here how the Evas want to collect snow in the deep and soft stuff.

Now, there are some things I’d change. The styling ain’t for me. The bindings have a strange crescent moon pattern that looks a bit too much like 90s-era surf trunks for my taste. And, I’d prefer black or grey colorways. They also don’t allow snow to pass through the top layer of the shoe, so if trying to break trail in soft stuff, they can quickly get buried. The cleat pattern works pretty well traction-wise, but the plastic wears down fairly quickly if you walk on hard surfaces.

Lacking the metal teeth of traditional snowshoes, they do struggle with grip in slick ice—Crescent Moon has since introduced an Eva model with metal studs in the cleats, which should help there. And there’s definitely a learning curve if you’re accustomed to traditional metal or carbon fiber snowshoes with a lifting heel. Once you get the hang of these though, you can really move.

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Yet, these are just so easy to use and comfortable to walk in, they’re a solid choice for all but the nastiest terrain. Aside from being a bit slippery on the slickest ice, they handle mixed snows fairly well. They weigh so little, it’s very easy to strap them to your pack on a ski hut trip to use as walking around shoes once you’ve reached your destination. That’s actually my preferred use for these foamie bad boys. Give ’em a look.

DETAILS

• Dual density EVA foam
• Simple hook and loop bindings
• Recyclable through athletic shoe recycling programs

BUY $179


If you like your snowshoes of the traditional variety, try these on for size

I love the Tubbs Flex VRTs. With a flexible tail and hard-biting crampons, these are my go-to snowshoes for backcountry use. $208

The MSR Lightning Ascents are the ultralight snowshoe for snow exploring enthusiasts. Not cheap, but high performing and LIGHT. $300

If you want your running-centric snowshoes to be a little more hardcore, the Atlas Run shoes are well-named for their purpose—trail running in the white stuff. $250