Outbound's Fantastic [Entry-Level] Shoe
Outbound Glacier 25's | $50-$70 CAD | 2018 Model
Outbound offers a basic snow shoe at an affordable price that's perfect for the occasional trekker, even on moderate terrain. This particular model isn't anything extravagant but it proved a pleasant surprise on multiple inclines and declines and in both wet and dry conditions.
One of the most appealing features of the Glacier 25's is the ease at which they can be equipped - it doesn't take long at all to adjust the bindings and engage the ratchet buckle binding system in providing a snug and comfortable fit; once in, feet don't tend to slip out of the bindings unless the heel strap isn't tight enough. In short, as soon as the nuances are figured out, there's no issue from thereon.
I had tried this shoe in two types of snow - average cold conditions whereby the snow had been more powdery and dry, and melting conditions - whereby the snow had been melting, sticky, and susceptible to slippage. In both conditions, the Glacier 25's performed admirably, though I noticed some lack of traction in the dryer snow when moving down steeper terrain and declining around tight corners. In other words, the basic-level crampons do the job they're supposed to do.
In terms of maneuverability, these shoes performed great on the main trails and in deep snows. However, the pivot point on these shoes, when mixed with the shoes large design, prevented a fluid maneuvering around objects and sharp cutting along the trails. Try as I might to get acquainted with them, no improvements were noticed as I broke them in. As such, these shoes may not be the best for rocky or peaky terrain that requires a lot of twisting and narrow turning. However, those who find themselves in such terrain are likely equipped with a more professional snowshoe to begin with.
These shoes, for the size, are remarkably easy to carry; though large and a bit clumsy, their kickback and side-swing is agile and fluid, likely made possible by the lightweight aluminum frame and decking construction. They stack excellently and stay together; they store easily and seem exceptionally durable.
One non-essential factor that I sometimes tend to look at is how well they clean off before getting stored in the car. After a strenuous hike, the last thing you want is to devote 10 minutes to cleaning and brushing snow and mud off the shoes but that's exactly what I found myself doing in this case because of the exposed bolts on the underside of the crampons. Had these been covered up, it'd be a breeze to clean off - a simple fix that had not been taken into regard.
For a basic model at an unquestionable price, the Glacier 25's are a fantastic entry-level snowshoe for those who are curious to try or those who seldom find themselves shoeing along trails in the winter. Designed for the occasional trek, their durability ensures a long life span, though some of the buckles and straps, like with any shoe, can be susceptible to wear at an accelerated rate as they seem to be made with cheaper components.
The snug fit and overall performance is what sets this shoe apart - most non-professional and mass marketed gear is often lacking in quality when it comes to such design but the Outbound Glacier 25's more than live up to their price, and their brand.
For anyone looking to get a decent pair of snowshoes at an affordable price - this one's a steal.