Normally, we like to cover the newest, freshest gear on the market in gear reviews. But sometimes we’ve had something for a few years that we dearly love and want to share with our readers. Today, that’s these Tubbs Flex ALP snowshoes. I’ve had them for several winters now and I’ve tested plenty of other brands and styles of snowshoes since these have been in my gear shed, but I’ll still grab the Tubbs before any other pair when heading for the snowy hills. A recent trip in and around Lassen National Park reminded me why.

What I want in a snowshoe is simple. I want them to be easy to strap on and take off, even while wearing thick gloves. I want them to have a secure, comfortable binding that allows for freedom of foot movement. I want them to handle deep powder and slick, hardpacked trails. That might seem like a lot to ask, but when you’re strapping on shoes for a long backcountry hike, you’ll want a reliable and light shoe that won’t slip on the icy stuff, won’t sink in the soft stuff, and won’t leave you red-faced and frustrated trying to strap the thing over a snow boot. That’s the Flex ALP.

The Flex ALPs are plenty robust for plastic-framed shoe, and, in fact, the flexible plastic lets your ankle move comfortably and with a wide range, greatly improving efficiency and confidence. The flexible tail helps too with a natural walking motion. Big, biting, carbon-steel crampons and side rails provide awesome grip, whether climbing, descending, or taking on tricky lateral climbs up even icy and rocky trails. The heel lift is burly, and more than most shoes I’ve hiked in, keep your foot nice and flat and secure on super steep ascents. I’ve never strapped on a snowshoe that was this easy, either. Two simple pull straps on the top of your foot, locking binding strap on the heel. Step in, cinch, and you’re good to go.

I’ve used this shoe on above 12,000-foot death marches loaded down with a 50-pound backpack, pleasant strolls through rolling terrain, and clomping across frozen lakes. They’ve been around for years now, but there’s no reason to upgrade shoes that work this well. Best part, you can find them at a pretty serious discount. – Justin Housman

$191BUY

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