Crescent Moon Gold 15 - Women's Review
Cons: Subpar float on unpacked snow, only supports 200 pounds, bulky heel lift
Manufacturer: Crescent Moon
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|Pros||Easy and natural stride, unique 3-crampon traction system, easy binding system||Stellar traction, heel lifts for steep terrain, easy to use, add-on flotation tail compatible||Comfortable and simple binding system, carbon steel crampons, uniquely placed heel crampons, inclusive sizing, quiet||Affordable, stellar traction, easy to use, versatile bindings||Easy binding adjustments, excellent traction, flexible, budget-friendly, good for packed snow, lightweight|
|Cons||Subpar float on unpacked snow, only supports 200 pounds, bulky heel lift||Expensive, front of binding difficult to navigate with thick gloves on, side and back stepping are laborious||Extra rotation causes shin impact, mediocre flotation on fresh snow||Loud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps do not stay in place||Loud, below average float on fresh snow, straps flop around|
|Bottom Line||A snowshoe with an extreme teardrop shape and three hefty crampons for a natural stride and extra traction||This is a serious snowshoe for people that want superior traction and versatility while out in steep and variable backcountry terrain||With its outstandingly comfortable binding system, decent floatation, and stellar traction, this snowshoe is perfect for casual use||This affordable shoe is equipped with stellar traction and versatile bindings, making it a wonderful pick for varied terrain levels and snow types||A lightweight snowshoe perfect for beginner terrain with easy-to-adjust bindings, great traction, and flexible decking|
|Rating Categories||Crescent Moon Gold 15||MSR Lightning Ascent||Tubbs Wilderness -...||MSR Evo Trail Snows...||Atlas Helium Trail...|
|Stride Ergonomics (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Crescent Moon Gold 15||MSR Lightning Ascent||Tubbs Wilderness -...||MSR Evo Trail Snows...||Atlas Helium Trail...|
|Uses||Technical mountain terrain and packed snow||All terrain||Day hiking||Flat and variable rolling terrain||Trail walking|
|Optimum Weight Load (per size)||Up to 200 lbs||22": up to 180 lbs
25": 120-210 lbs
|21": 80-150 lbs
25": 120-200 lbs
30": 170-250 lbs
|180 lbs||23": 80-160 lbs
26": 150-220 lbs
30": 200-270+ lbs
|Weight (per pair)||4.2 lbs||3.8 lbs||4 lbs||3.5 lbs without tails
4.4 lbs with tails
|Binding System||Cam buckle quick pull loop and ratchet heel strap||Paragon Binding||180 EZ Pro Binding||DuoFit||WrapTrail|
|Crampon||3 stainless steel crampon system featuring the climbing "toe" claw design||DTX Crampon||Cobra Toe Crampon
Tubbs Heel Crampon
|Steel traction rails and brake bars||Toe crampon|
|Frame Material||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Martensitic steel||Composite|
|Deck Material||Nylon||Nylon||SoftTec, Composite||Polypropylene||Composite|
|Surface Area (for tested size)||192.5 in²||180 in²||225 in²||174 in² without tails, 220 in² with||190 in²|
|Dimensions||9.5" x 29"||7.25" x 25"||9" x 30"||8" x 22"||8" x 30"|
|Flotation Tails Available?||No||Yes, 5"||No||Yes, 6"||No|
|Load with Tails (per size)||n/a||22": up to 240 lbs
25": up to 270 lbs
|n/a||Up to 250 lbs||n/a|
|Men's and Women's Versions?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Unisex||Unisex|
|Sizes Available||29"||22", 25"||21", 25", 30"||22"||23", 26", 30"|
|Size Tested||29"||25"||30"||22" plus 6" add-on tails||30"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This easy-to-use snowshoe offers an upturned nose and a teardrop shape, which mimics the curves of your feet, encouraging a natural stride. The supportive binding system is comfortable and can be adjusted with the pull of one loop.
While flotation is not the only benefit snowshoes offer, it is the main attraction. The need for float varies depending on the terrain you plan to tackle, but rarely is it not considered. If you plan to climb mostly packed trails, then flotation is less important, but if you prefer fresh powder in the backcountry, you'll want to pay extra close attention to this section. We ensure well-rounded testing by frolicking around in deep fresh snow, packed snow, and icy terrain.
One factor that contributes to float is the weight of the shoe. The Gold 15 has an aluminum frame that helps keep things a little lighter. Unfortunately, the decking and steel crampons are not particularly lightweight, as this shoe weighed in at 4.2 pounds for the pair.
The flexibility and full coverage decking on the Gold 15 give it a decent amount of float, but the aggressively upturned toe makes the footprint somewhat small. It does great on medium-to-heavy packed snow but postholes a bit in the fresh deep stuff. If you are looking for the perfect pair of backcountry snowshoes for deep snow excursions, the Gold 15 may not be the best option for you, but if you're a casual snowshoer and like to remain on the beaten path, they are sure to get the job done.
Whether you're walking up a steep hill or you've hit a patch of ice, a little texture on the sole of your snowshoe goes a long way. The crampons' placement, size, and general beefiness play a big role in the level of traction your snowshoes can offer. As we test this metric, we also pay attention to teeth found on the rails and heel lifts for ascending steep terrain. We test each pair in various environments, from rolling hills in deep snow to steep icy ascents.
The Gold 15 offers three strategically placed steel crampons that work together for slip-free ascending and descending. A small but effective two-toothed toe crampon, called the toe claw, helps you dig the forefoot into the ground when hiking steeper terrain. Pair this with the seven-toothed crampon on the ball of the foot, and you've got yourself some pretty great ascending traction. On top of that, the two-inch heel lift helps level the foot on steep terrain allowing for more surface area contact. The third crampon is placed near the heel and helps offer traction on flat terrain and slippery descents.
Having three distinct crampons is a somewhat unique design, but their placement sets the Gold 15 apart. Since we walk heel to toe, the three main points of contact are your heel, the ball of your foot, and your toe. Positioning the stainless steel teeth to dig in at these locations optimizes your natural stride, giving you complete control. While there are no teeth around the perimeter, the crampons work great on mixed terrain. The smaller surface area is great for stepping over slippery branches, fallen trees, and floating through icy patches.
Walking with a natural stride can be difficult when the shoes you are wearing are literally four times the size of your feet. Luckily, snowshoes have come a long way since their inception. Still, models with a smaller surface area can be easier to walk in but may not float as effectively. We look for ergonomic curves that help mitigate stepping on your toes and the angle at which the snowshoe pivots from the foot.
Crescent Moon uses a free-moving platform, so the angle at which the snowshoe pivots is extreme. The Gold 15 is specifically designed to accommodate a shorter, more narrow stride. The exaggerated teardrop-shaped platform is based on the shape of your foot, allowing your feet to pass by each other without having to alter your stride. Keeping things wide at the ball and narrow at the heel allows for a very natural stride. This design is made by women with a feminine body in mind.
Ease of Use
Many different factors can make one snowshoe easier to use than the next. We look at how easy it is to operate each pair, from putting them on to adjusting them on the fly to taking them off when you're done for the day.
The binding system on the Gold 15 is easy to adjust, with or without gloves on. It is a little floppy, but that floppiness translates to flexibility, comfort, and support. The heel lifts can be deployed easily, but the unique design feels unnecessarily bulky. That said, they are also removable, which is a nice feature. Just be sure to store them somewhere safe, or you'll be kicking yourself while suffering up your next steep ascent.
At its widest, the Gold 15 is around nine inches, and it is roughly 29 inches long, but the extreme teardrop shape makes for an easy-to-maneuver set of snowshoes.
Bindings should offer comfort and support. We pay attention to the general comfort level during our testing, ensuring that the bindings do not rub, pinch, or unevenly distribute pressure across the foot. We also take into consideration the fit and convenience of the overall system.
The cam buckle, quick pull loop, and ratchet heel strap work together to create an easily and quickly adjustable binding. This single-loop pull system is not uncommon for snowshoes these days and does a great job of adjusting the entire system in one fell swoop. However, unlike other bindings, the Gold 15 is very flexible, offering a cage over the front of the foot and a single strap around the heel. The single loop pull system captures the entire foot with equal tension, resulting in better support and comfort. This 4.2-pound shoe is recommended for people up to 200 pounds and fits a shoe size of women's 6 to 12.
The Gold 15 is a high-performing snowshoe at a fair price, but its value depends heavily on the type of terrain you plan to explore. The curvy teardrop shape is great for a natural stride but not so great for flotation. If your main priority is walking normally on packed snow, then the Gold 15 is a great deal, but if you're looking to adventure to freshly fallen snow off the beaten path, you will want to explore options with better float.
The Crescent Moon Gold 15 offers a natural stride through an incredibly curvy teardrop shape and an aggressively upturned toe. The three-crampon system encourages an organic heel-to-toe step, also contributing to the natural stride. While the smaller footprint is great for walking, it struggles to provide a high level of float on deep, unpacked snow. The binding system is easy to use and supportive, but the heel lift is unnecessarily bulky, and the shoe is only recommended for up to 200 pounds (including clothes and gear). If you are looking for a snowshoe that won't have you walking like a clown, and you plan to spend most of your time on packed snow, the Gold 15 is a wonderful option at a more-than-fair price. For other scenarios, this may not be the best choice.
— Hayley Thomas
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