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Crescent Moon Leadville 29 - Women's Review

A snowshoe with an extreme teardrop shape and three hefty crampons for a natural stride and extra traction
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crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review
The Leadville is great for packed or icy conditions.
Credit: Matthew Blake
Price:  $240 List
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Manufacturer:   Crescent Moon
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 23, 2022
80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Flotation - 30% 7.0
  • Traction - 25% 9.0
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 10.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7.0
  • Bindings - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Crescent Moon Leadville 29 offers a unique shape and strategically placed crampons for a natural stride and ample traction. The teardrop shape follows the curve of the foot, ensuring that each step feels organic. The toe, ball, and heel crampons encourage an instinctive heel-to-toe step, whether you are ascending or descending. The angle at which the snowshoe pivots from the forefoot allows for snow to fall off effortlessly, ensuring you are not hiking around with unnecessary weight. The binding system is comfortable and easy to use, offering ample comfort and support. While this snowshoe does not float well on deep fresh snow, it does fine with medium to heavily packed snow and obstacles like ice or fallen trees.
REASONS TO BUY
Easy and natural stride
Unique 3-crampon traction system
Easy binding system
REASONS TO AVOID
Subpar float on unpacked snow
Only supports 200 pounds
Bulky heel lift
Editor's Note: This review was updated on December 23, 2022, to add some additional information on other options in our lineup.

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Pros Easy and natural stride, unique 3-crampon traction system, easy binding systemGreat for varied terrain, comfortable bindings, super easy to use, good floatation, large crampon and traction rails, pivot limiter for a natural stride, well-roundedComfortable and secure binding, wide weight range, natural stride, large crampons, heel crampon for descendingComfortable and simple binding system, carbon steel crampons, uniquely placed heel crampons, quietAffordable, stellar traction, wide fit bindings
Cons Subpar float on unpacked snow, only supports 200 pounds, bulky heel liftTraction suffers a little while descending, expensiveTraction suffers on ice, a little expensiveExtra rotation causes shin impact, mediocre flotation on fresh snowLoud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps can flow around a little
Bottom Line A snowshoe with an extreme teardrop shape and three hefty crampons for a natural stride and extra tractionA high-performing, all-terrain snowshoe with a comfortable and easy-to-adjust binding system and excellent tractionA snowshoe with a comfortable binding that cinches evenly and easily around the foot, with great traction in deep or packed snowWith its outstandingly comfortable binding system, decent floatation, and stellar traction, this snowshoe is perfect for casual useThis affordable shoe is equipped with stellar traction and versatile bindings, making it a wonderful pick for varied terrain levels and snow types
Rating Categories Crescent Moon Leadv... Atlas Range-MTN - W... Tubbs Mountaineer -... Tubbs Wilderness -... MSR Evo Trail Snows...
Flotation (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Traction (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
10.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Ease of Use (15%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Bindings (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Crescent Moon Leadv... Atlas Range-MTN - W... Tubbs Mountaineer -... Tubbs Wilderness -... MSR Evo Trail Snows...
Uses Technical mountain terrain and packed snow Mountain terrain Mountain terrain Day hiking Flat and variable rolling terrain
Optimum Weight Load (per size) Up to 200 lbs 22": 75-150 lbs
26": 120-200+ lbs
21": 80-150 lbs
25" 120-200 lbs
30": 170-250 lbs
21": 80-150 lbs
25": 120-200 lbs
30": 170-250 lbs
180 lbs
Weight (per pair) 4.2 lbs 4 lbs 4.7 lbs 4.1 lbs 4.0 lbs
Binding Mount Full Full Full Full Full
Binding System Cam buckle quick pull loop and ratchet heel strap Wrapp MTN, Boa Fit Active Fit 2.0 Quick-Fit Binding Paraglide
Crampon 3 stainless steel crampon system featuring the climbing "toe" claw design X-Trac toe crampon Anaconda toe crampon
Python heel crampon
Cobra Toe Crampon
Tubbs Heel Crampon
Steel traction rails
Frame Material Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Martensitic steel
Deck Material Nylon Nytex nylon Nytex nylon Nylon Polypropylene
Surface Area (for tested size) 192.9 in² 266.4 in² 164.6 in² 228.0 in² 174.5 in² without tails, 220 in² with
Dimensions 9.5" x 29" 26" x 7.5" 25" x 8.25" 9" x 30" 8" x 22"
Flotation Tails Available? No No No No Yes, 6"
Load with Tails (per size) N/A N/A N/A N/A Up to 250 lbs
Men's and Women's Versions? Yes Yes Yes Yes Unisex
Sizes Available 29" 22", 26" 21", 25", 30" 21", 25", 30" 22"
Size Tested 29" 26" 25" 25" 22" plus 6" add-on tails

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.

Performance Comparison


crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review - these compact snowshoes are comfortable and easy to maneuver.
These compact snowshoes are comfortable and easy to maneuver.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Flotation


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 Leadville 29 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.

crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review - these snowshoes offer decent float on packed snow.
These snowshoes offer decent float on packed snow.
Credit: Matthew Blake

The flexibility and full coverage decking on the Leadville 29 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 Leadville 29 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.

crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review - only a small amount of the snowshoe decking comes in contact with...
Only a small amount of the snowshoe decking comes in contact with the snow at any given point, which negatively affects the float.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Traction


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 Leadville 29 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.

crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review - the heel lift helps create more traction on steep ascents and also...
The heel lift helps create more traction on steep ascents and also helps maximize your energy output.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Having three distinct crampons is a somewhat unique design, but their placement sets the Leadville 29 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.

crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review - the small teeth on the toe crampon are surprisingly effective, and...
The small teeth on the toe crampon are surprisingly effective, and it's no surprise that the massive heel and forefoot crampons of the Leadville 29 create a stellar grip on most types of terrain.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Stride Ergonomics


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 Leadville 29 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.

crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review - walking feels natural in the leadville 29, regardless of your height...
Walking feels natural in the Leadville 29, regardless of your height and gait.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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 Leadville 295 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.

crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review - the heel lift is comfortable and effective, but it is very bulky.
The heel lift is comfortable and effective, but it is very bulky.
Credit: Matthew Blake


At its widest, the Leadville 29 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.

crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review - the toe cage is comfortable and flexible.
The toe cage is comfortable and flexible.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Bindings


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 Leadville 29 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.

crescent moon leadville 29 for women snowshoes review - the bindings feel floppy at first, but they are very supportive.
The bindings feel floppy at first, but they are very supportive.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Should You Buy the Crescent Moon Leadville 29?


The Leadville 29 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 Leadville 29 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.

What Other Snowshoes Should You Consider?


The Leadville 29 offers a natural stride through an incredibly curvy teardrop shape and an aggressively upturned toe. If you aren't sure about the teardrop shape, the MSR Lightning Ascent is another comfortable and easy-to-walk-in snowshoe. If putting your trail running shoes to rest for the winter makes you sad, we also love the way the Atlas Run feels for, you guessed it, running. Finally, if you want snowshoes but are on a budget, the MSR Evo Trail and Atlas Helium Trail are fantastic options to consider.

Hayley Thomas
 

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