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Crescent Moon Gold 13 Review

This is a fun and innovative snowshoe that's great for athletic hiking on beginner to advanced trails.
Crescent Moon Gold 13
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Price:  $259 List | $258.95 at MooseJaw
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Pros:  Secure and comfortable binding system, fixed bindings for easy snow clearing, great on trails
Cons:  Feels heavy in deep snow, doesn't float super well, fixed bindings cause heel to flip up snow
Manufacturer:   Crescent Moon
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 28, 2018
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Flotation - 30% 6
  • Traction - 25% 7
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 6
  • Ease of Use - 10% 8
  • Binding Security - 10% 9
  • Binding Comfort - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Crescent Moon Gold 13 is a well-constructed snowshoe, excellent for both the casual and serious trail hiker. The aggressive teardrop shape isn't the best for flotation in deep snow. But, if you want to move quickly and with confidence on beginning to advanced packed trails, this is a great choice. The Gold 13 has one of our favorite bindings, an intuitive system that feels both ultra secure and super comfortable. Fixed rotation bindings flip snow off the tail of the shoe with every step and an upturned toe aids with the ergonomics of navigating steeper terrain. All in all, this is a fun and unique snowshoe that we liked when keeping to the appropriate terrain.

For better flotation and all-around performance, look at our Editors' Choice Tubbs Mountaineer or our Top Pick for Technical Terrain, the MSR Lightning Ascent. Both are a little more expensive but better suited for a lot of situations.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Gold 13 is a unique snowshoe designed specifically for women who love hiking with confidence on snowy 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.

Performance Comparison


The Crescent Moon had our favorite binding system and felt great on packed trails.
The Crescent Moon had our favorite binding system and felt great on packed trails.

Flotation


The Gold 13 is one of our least favorite models for flotation due to its narrow tailed 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 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.

Because of the Crescent Moon's narrow teardrop shape and full rotation bindings  it wasn't the best for floating in deep snow. The front half of the shoe sinks much lower than the back half.
Because of the Crescent Moon's narrow teardrop shape and full rotation bindings, it wasn't the best for floating in deep snow. The front half of the shoe sinks much lower than the back half.

Traction


The Gold 13 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 Crescent Moon's had good traction that performed decently on steep slopes  though it did require some focus on keeping each step weighted in the toe.
The Crescent Moon's had good traction that performed decently on steep slopes, though it did require some focus on keeping each step weighted in the toe.

Stride Ergonomics


This snowshoe performed decently here, though it wasn't our favorite. Despite the narrowness of the tail, the front toe portion is actually 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 didn't have to change their gait much at all, though the way the heel flipped 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.

Despite the narrowness of the tail on these snowshoes  they were the widest shoe tested across the toe area at 8.5" which meant women with smaller frames still had to widen their gait a bit.
Despite the narrowness of the tail on these snowshoes, they were the widest shoe tested across the toe area at 8.5" which meant women with smaller frames still had to widen their gait a bit.

Ease of Use


This Gold 13 is very easy to use. The binding system is one of our favorites, though it does require that your foot is properly centered for optimal comfort and stability. And 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.

The Crescent Moon's full rotation bindings flip up a lot of snow with each step. This wasn't a big deal on a packed trail  but in deep snow  it hindered our ability to float and walk efficiently.
The Crescent Moon's full rotation bindings flip up a lot of snow with each step. This wasn't a big deal on a packed trail, but in deep snow, it hindered our ability to float and walk efficiently.

Binding Security


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 the simple straps and buckles of the Lightning or the Evo, but it's close. The system hugs the entire foot evenly, and both tightens and loosens with the pull of a single loop. This 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.

The Crescent Moon just eked out a win over the Lightning Ascent for the most secure binding. Well protected and fitted from all sides  this is a great system.
The Crescent Moon just eked out a win over the Lightning Ascent for the most secure binding. Well protected and fitted from all sides, this is a great system.

Binding Comfort


The Gold 13 is so comfy! As long as your foot is properly centered before everything gets tightened down, you're good to go. The evenness of the cinch from the SPL (single pull loop) system means your feet will feel uniformly supported at all times. The built-in support areas and a well-supported ratchet buckle in the back certainly help. All of the models we tested had high quality and comfortable binding systems, but this one was a noticeable notch above many.

Flexible polymer straps evenly embrace the foot  both tightening and releasing with the pull of a single loop.
Flexible polymer straps evenly embrace the foot, both tightening and releasing with the pull of a single loop.

Best Applications


The Gold 13 is an ideal snowshoe for hikers that plan to stay on trails that are packed or newly packed. In deeper snow, the narrow tails impede flotation, but for quick and natural movements on trail, we really like this shoe. While this model isn't specifically designed for running, its shape is close to a runners design, and we did feel great the few times we ran for short distances. From beginner to advanced trail hiking, this is a great shoe to consider.

Value


Retailing at $259, this is an expensive shoe. 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.

As an additional bonus, Crescent Moon snowshoes are made in the U.S.A. and are eco-friendly, manufactured in a wind-powered factory where they have eliminated PVC and recycle everything. When you consider those aspects, we think this shoe is an even better value and a conscious way to spend your hard-earned dollars.

Conclusion


The Gold 13 is 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.

While the Crescent Moon fell short in a few ways compared to the rest of our test suite  it's still an interesting and well performing snowshoe that we recommend for trail-loving snow hikers.
While the Crescent Moon fell short in a few ways compared to the rest of our test suite, it's still an interesting and well performing snowshoe that we recommend for trail-loving snow hikers.


Penney Garrett