Good for a first try of the sport for cheap, but I wouldn't depend on them...
- Cheap ($49.99)
- Maybe improvable
- Good traction
- Gets you a taste at a low cost
- Regular price ($99.99)
- Poor quality in the materials
- Poor design in the bindings
- Handmade ones are better
So me and my wife and kids all got snowshoes because I have enjoyed snowshoeing, and I'm absolutely useless on skies; less than useless...
Since my wife and kids were new we didn't want to spend big money, so when they went on sale we bought some budget snowshoes at Canadian Tire under the Outbound make.
They had good traction and kept you from sinking in icy crusty snow and deep damp/packy snow. After a few uses the materials for the frame seem to be good, the plastic webbing feels cheap but it hasn't started cracking or showing signs of fatigue. The traction pad is removable with a Philips and a wrench and it has an ice cleat structure on the bottom that did really well on ice.
The real issue is the bindings. The plastic holds on mine broke and you need to be a contortionist to get the back one. The tag ends of the straps have no place to go, leaving them flapping about as a tripping hazard (I tucked mine under my boot but they were insanely long). At $49.99 I think they would be good to have as spares or if it is your first time and you don't want to spend big money right away. $99.99 is too much in my opinion seeing as $89.99 can get you a pair that is very similar with much better bindings and at $129.99 to $149.99 the quality and function seems to come up.
The best part is that it got us out and despite the issues of the gear it wasn't enough to sour the experience. Yes, it is a pain to get them on and get going, but this is only 15 minutes compared to the hours of enjoyment, if you don't take them off. Both my wife and oldest, who have never snowshoed, really enjoyed the sport and have shown interest to go again. So these are a good way to get introduced, at $49.99 sale price mind you, when you use them enough to see signs of wear and tear then I would suggest spending a bit more and getting something better.
Personally I liked the handmade tire tube bindings better that were on a pair of traditional shoes I use to use. I did find that these were much better on ice and crusty snow but the traditional shoes were better in packy/damp snow, and wind packed snow cold dry snow (I hope that makes sense).
I will also add that if you are the handy sort, since the frame is really rigid and supports my hefty 200 lbs (maybe more) weight, you could improve them by making or repairing them as you go; if you have the skills/tools and enjoy doing so but I wouldn't buy them for this. Since I have them I will be making rubber tube bindings, or the rope technique, and if the webbing structure starts to break down I will try to remake those too.
I have taken them out several times for a few hours and I wouldn't suggest buying a pair unless they are on sale, and you, or a friend, just need a pair to try the sport and renting/borrowing isn't an option.
Source: received it as a personal gift
Price Paid: $49.99