Crescent Moon Gold 13 Review
Cons: Feels heavy in deep snow, doesn't float super well, fixed bindings cause heel to flip up snow
Manufacturer: Crescent Moon
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Gold 13 is a unique snowshoe designed specifically for women who love hiking with confidence on winter trails. It's not the model to choose if you plan to spend most of your time in deep backcountry snow. But if efficient movement on packed rolling terrain is your jam, then this may be the perfect snowshoe for you.
The Gold 13 is one of our least favorite models for flotation due to its narrow tail design. This reduces surface area and directly affects flotation in deep snow. In addition, it has fixed rotation bindings, which means the tail of the shoe follows closely behind your heel with each step. This allows the snowshoe to mimic the natural movement of your foot more closely, but it also means the tail flips up with each step you take.
In shallow snow, this is smart because it clears the snow off the top of the shoe quickly and efficiently, but it's not ideal in deeper snow. In deep snow, you will be physically flipping up wads of snow as you walk. If you plan to be in deep snow regularly, we recommend researching other models.
This snowshoe has the perfect amount of traction for the terrain it's designed for, namely packed trails. Some models with really burly traction make climbing feel sticky on shallow, packed terrain. And some models meant for trails are practically useless on hills. The Gold 13 hits a great balance here and performs well on both. While the edges can feel a bit slippery, if you focus on the aggressive toe crampons when navigating steep areas, you will be fine. On moderate trails, you will be walking with ease and confidence.
The Gold 13 is decent here, though it's not our favorite. Despite the narrowness of the tail, the front toe portion is among the widest we tested. These shoes are designed specifically with a woman's gait in mind, but one of our testers still felt they had to widen their steps a bit. Most testers, however, didn't have to change their gait much at all, though the way the heel flips up took a bit of getting used to for everyone. The comfort of walking in these shoes is terrain dependent — in deep snow, we struggled a bit, but on packed or partially packed trails we felt great.
Ease of Use
The Gold 13 is very easy to use. The binding system is one of our favorites, though, for optimal comfort and stability, it does require that your foot is properly centered. The heelflip from the fixed rotation bindings takes some getting used to, but the ratcheting heel strap is a cinch to master, and walking on trails is a breeze. Overall this is an easy and straightforward snowshoe that trail hikers will love.
This snowshoe has one of our very favorite binding systems in regards to security and comfort. It may not be quite as burly or as versatile as other shoes in our review, but it's close. The system has built-in support areas, hugs the entire foot evenly, and both tightens and loosens with the pull of a single loop. The evenness of this SPL (single pull loop) system makes for a very uniform feel and means that on-trail adjustments are quick and easy. The heel strap is a simple ratcheting system, much like a ski or snowboard binding. As long as your foot is properly centered before everything gets tightened down, you're good to go. All of the models we tested had high quality and comfortable binding systems, but this one was a noticeable notch above many.
The Gold 13 gets into expensive terrain. It's a rather advanced design, and while perfectly fine for the beginning snowshoer, isn't exactly a beginner model. If you know you want to snowshoe for years to come and plan to advance your trail skills along the way, it's a worthy investment for a well-made shoe.
This a well-made snowshoe with a comfortable and secure binding system and a smart design for quick and efficient navigation on trails. We don't recommend it if you plan to head out into deep backcountry snow drifts or super icy steep terrain, but for trail hiking, whether beginner or advanced, this is a solid purchase.
— Penney Garrett