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MSR Evo - Women's Review

This is a solid snowshoe with great traction and versatile bindings that will have no problem taking you into a wide spectrum of snow types and terrain levels.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $140 List | Check Price at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Affordable, great traction, easy to use, versatile
Cons:  Plastic frame is loud, requires most women to widen their gait a bit, straps flop around
Manufacturer:   MSR
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 28, 2018
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The MSR Evo is a fantastic snowshoe that has no problem tackling terrain of most levels and types. It is a simple, no-frills, unisex model that is extremely versatile and easy to use. The binding system accommodates large ski or snowboard boots, and the lightweight plastic frame is compatible with optional 6" flotation tails. These let you increase your flotation and weight capacity without having to buy another pair. With fantastic traction and a very comfortable price point, the Evo is a purchase you can feel confident about for most every kind of adventure, and it was a clear choice for one of our Best Buy awards.

Because this is a unisex shoe and isn't specifically tailored to a woman's gait, some of our testers had to widen their steps a bit while walking. If you'd like to keep things cheap but would prefer a shoe designed for women, read about the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous. And if you want something for advanced adventures and steep climbing, the MSR Lightning Ascent, our Top Pick for Technical Terrain, can't be beat.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
MSR Evo - Women's
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price Check Price at Amazon
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$270 List$224.93 at REI
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$183.41 at Amazon
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$149.93 at REI
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Pros Affordable, great traction, easy to use, versatileExcellent flotation, great traction, easy to use bindings, comfortable, pleasant to walk in no matter the terrainSuperior traction, heel lifts for steep terrain, easy to use, men's and women's versions, add-on flotation tail compatibleGood traction and flotation, excellent binding system, heel lift, affordableGreat traction, Boa binding system, comfortable binding, easy walking, quiet
Cons Plastic frame is loud, requires most women to widen their gait a bit, straps flop aroundOn the heavy side, don't pack down as flat as other models, priceyExpensive, binding straps flop around, bindings take longer to get intoA bit heavy, tail flips up a lot of snow, toe shape feels a little wideBoa system is more finicky and less repairable than a strap system, on the heavier side
Bottom Line This is a solid snowshoe with great traction and versatile bindings that will have no problem taking you into a wide spectrum of snow types and terrain levels.This well-rounded snowshoe is a pleasure to use and has all the features needed for a day out in some serious snow.This is a serious snowshoe for people that want superior traction and versatility while out in steep and variable backcountry terrain.This is a well-rounded and solidly performing snowshoe fit for all kinds of terrain and objectives.This is a well-performing snowshoe with great traction suitable for many different kinds of terrain and snow.
Rating Categories MSR Evo - Women's Tubbs Mountaineer - Women's Lightning Ascent Atlas Elektra Montane Louis Blizzard II
Flotation (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Traction (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
Binding Security (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Binding Comfort (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
Specs MSR Evo - Women's Tubbs Mountaineer... Lightning Ascent Atlas Elektra... Louis Blizzard II
Uses Trail walking, day hiking Mountain terrain Mountain and technical terrain Mountain and technical terrain Day hiking, variable rolling terrain
Optimum weight loads (per size) Without tails: 180 lbs, With tails: 250 lbs 21": 80-150 lbs, 25": 120-200 lbs, 30": 170-250lbs 22": 180 lbs, 25":120-210 lbs 23": 80-160 lbs, 27": 120-200+ lbs 22": 80-160 lbs, 25": 100-200 lbs
Weight (per pair) 3.56 lbs without tails, 4.4 lbs with 21": 4.3 lbs, 25": 4.8 lbs, 30": 4.9 lbs 22": 3.56 lbs, 25": 3.75 lbs 23": 4.26 lbs, 27": 4.36 lbs 22": 4.2 lbs, 25": 4.4 lbs
Binding mount Full Full Full Fixed Full
Binding system DuoFit ActivFit binding PosiLock AT bindings Wrapp Swift binding Boa binding
Crampon Steel traction rails and brake bars Anaconda toe & Python heel crampons Powder-coated steel Torsion2 crampons All-trac toe crampon Traxion HCS front crampon & V-rail crampon
Frame material Plastic frame and decking with steel traction rails Aluminum 7000-series aluminum Aluminum V-frame 6061-T6 Aluminum ErgoStream
Deck material UniBody deck - injection-molded plastic SoftTec decking Urethane-impregnated nylon Nytex decking EDGE molded polymer
Surface area (per size) 174 in² without tails, 220 in² with 136 in² for 21", 178 in² for 25", and 234 in² for 30" 160 in² for 25" 145 in² for 23" and 176 in² for 27" 189 in²
Dimensions 8 x 22" 8 x 21"/25"/30" 7.25 x 22"/25" 8.5 x 23"/27" 8 x 22"/25"
Flotation tails sold separately? Yes No Yes No No
Load with tails (per size) Up to 250 lbs N/A Up to 240 lbs for 22", 270 lbs for 25" N/A N/A
Men's and Women's versions? Unisex Yes Yes No, women's specific Yes
Sizes Available 22" 21", 25", 30" 22" and 25" 23" and 27" 22" and 25"
Size Tested 22" plus 6" add-on tails 25" 22" and 25" 27" 25"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Evo by MSR is both versatile and burly. It's one of the best snowshoes we tested for varied terrain of all levels. With impressive traction, easy-to-use bindings, and good flotation, this is a great snowshoe to have as part of your winter arsenal. This is particularly true if you like to keep your options open in regards to where you go and what boots you have on your feet.

Performance Comparison


The Evo is a straightforward unisex model good for all types of terrain.
The Evo is a straightforward unisex model good for all types of terrain.

Flotation


Initially unsure what to expect from the Evo's humble plastic frames, we ended up quite pleased with their performance in this category. They float very well, even without using the supplemental flotation tails.


This snowshoe is great for both packed and fresh snow, but we do recommend the additional tails if you plan to spend a lot of time in deep fresh powder. The tails take the 22" shoe to a generous 28," and with the extra surface area, we achieved some of the best float in our test. Without the tails, our float was decent but not the best. We scored the Evo based on performance without the tails because it's an additional $50 purchase that many people won't want to make.

The Evo's decent float was made even better with the use of add-on flotation tails.
The Evo's decent float was made even better with the use of add-on flotation tails.

Traction


We have to admit, some of our testers initial impression of this shoe was that it looked cheap and as though it wouldn't perform very well. We're glad to report that was not the case at all. The Evo performed at the top of the pack for traction.


On beginner packed trails without much snow, the Evo can almost feel like overkill the traction is so good. But as soon as you're out on trickier terrain and deeper drifts, you'll be glad for the aggressive stick. We felt secure and safe and cruised steep and icy intermediate hills with ease. This shoe does not offer heel lifts, so it isn't the best for long stretches of climbing. But you'll be good to go on moderate rolling terrain.

Burly toes plus a series of horizontal traction rails and teeth that run vertically down each side equals good traction indeed!
Burly toes plus a series of horizontal traction rails and teeth that run vertically down each side equals good traction indeed!

Stride Ergonomics


This is one area that the Evo fell a bit short of others in our review. Being a unisex model, it doesn't feel as natural to walk in as other models we tested that are designed specifically for a woman's gait.


We felt a tiny bit clunky and cumbersome while walking in this snowshoe. It is easy to have one foot collide with the other at regular intervals if you don't widen your steps a bit. On top of that, the plastic frame and decking are loud, especially when walking on packed trails, so don't expect to be sneaking up on any animals in these. Once you head out into deep snow, the plasticy sound fades away.

Being a unisex model  the Evo did not feel as easy to walk in as many of the women-specific models we tested. Here the Evo walks next to the Flex RDG  which is much better at accommodating a woman's natural gait.
Being a unisex model, the Evo did not feel as easy to walk in as many of the women-specific models we tested. Here the Evo walks next to the Flex RDG, which is much better at accommodating a woman's natural gait.

Ease of Use


This is a very easy and straightforward snowshoe to use. The bindings are comprised of simple straps and buckles, and there are no additional complicated features to contend with.


The straps on the Evo can be a bit annoying to deal with as they must be properly tightened, or they have the tendency to come undone while hiking. We're talking so tight you'll think you're overdoing it. If you're wearing smaller boots, the long straps will also flop around.

And you need to pay careful attention to how each foot is placed before cinching everything down. If you don't, it's very easy to have your crampon in different places on each foot and cause everything to feel wonky and weird. All of these things are minor issues, but they do affect the overall experience a bit and walking in these isn't the most natural.

The Evo is very easy to strap into  though it is a bit more awkward to walk in than many of the woman-specific models we tested.
The Evo is very easy to strap into, though it is a bit more awkward to walk in than many of the woman-specific models we tested.

Binding Security


The bindings on the Evo are secure if properly tightened. Even if the tails of the straps don't always stay in their retainer clips and like to flop around. It just looks messy. It doesn't actually compromise their integrity.


It is important with the Evo to pull the rubber straps tighter than you may initially think you need or want to in order to achieve the proper angle on the buckle tooth. If you don't do this, the straps can work their way undone. This is simply part of learning the nuance of the shoe. Once you've got it all figured out, you'll be solid. We did not find this binding to be insecure or worrisome in the slightest.

This snowshoe is burly with one of the more secure binding systems we tested. The straps do require that you get them sufficiently tight before taking off though  or they can potentially work their way undone.
This snowshoe is burly with one of the more secure binding systems we tested. The straps do require that you get them sufficiently tight before taking off though, or they can potentially work their way undone.

Binding Comfort


None of the models we tested had bindings that we found uncomfortable. But we did score our two MSR models, this one and the Lightning Ascent, a bit lower because the individual straps, while very versatile, can make getting everything tightened uniformly more difficult.


Belt-style buckles mean that it's common to have a strap that feels just a little too tight or a little too loose, because there may not be a hole in the perfect spot. It is also easier to create pinch points and inconsistencies between the two feet if they are not placed on the decking in the same place. But as long as you pay attention to these things when strapping in, all will be well.

The individual straps of the Evo binding system are very versatile and decently comfortable  providing you get them tightened evenly around your foot and between your two feet.
The individual straps of the Evo binding system are very versatile and decently comfortable, providing you get them tightened evenly around your foot and between your two feet.

Best Applications


The Evo is great for everything from packed trails to deep snow, beginner to semi-advanced terrain. We felt secure on ice and slopes and loved that the bindings allow for large footwear like ski or snowboard boots. If you want to push into truly advanced backcountry areas, we recommend the Lightning Ascent or our Editors' Choice Tubbs Mountaineer, but for most everything leading up to that, this is a wise and happily frugal purchase. We love the versatility of being able to add flotation tails and also share the shoe with any size or gendered person.

For all but the steepest terrain  the Evo is a fantastic purchase with a ton of versatility.
For all but the steepest terrain, the Evo is a fantastic purchase with a ton of versatility.

Value


This snowshoe is a fantastic value at only $140 and is the Best Buy winner in the men's category too. We chose the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous for our main Best Buy winner because it is easier for women or small framed individuals to walk in, but the Evo is our clear winner for versatility on a budget. It's better than the Rendezvous in regards to traction and has the option of adding flotation tails. Both snowshoes are a steal considering all you get for the price, so pick one based on the style of snowshoeing you want to do and the types of terrain you plan to be in the most.

Conclusion


The Evo is a simple yet competent snowshoe with excellent traction, highly versatile bindings, and more-than-adequate flotation. You will be able to feel secure and confident on everything from flat, packed trails to icy rolling terrain. You'll also have the option of add-on flotation tails if you want to upgrade your weight capacity and flotation ability. All in all, this is a solid purchase for men or women at a very reasonable price.

With burly traction  versatile bindings  and an affordable price point  the Evo is a snowshoe that is loved by men and women alike.
With burly traction, versatile bindings, and an affordable price point, the Evo is a snowshoe that is loved by men and women alike.


Penney Garrett