The Flex RDG is a fun snowshoe with impressive traction that shines on packed trails and icy terrain. The binding system cinches around the entire foot uniformly and allows for quick micro-adjustments with the simple turn of a dial. While we have some reservations about the durability of the binding over time, the popularity of this model among our testers can't be denied.
The Flex RDG is an easy to use women's snowshoe that all our testers loved hiking in.
This wasn't the best model for flotation and, unfortunately, Tubbs only offers the Flex RDG in one size with no options for add-on flotation tails. For women that weigh over 150 pounds fully dressed and loaded up, there are better snowshoes to consider, especially for deeper snow. But for packed trails, shallow powder, and steep terrain, this is a great purchase, even if you're over the weight limit.
The Flex RDG is a small lightweight shoe that wasn't our favorite for floatation in deep snow, especially for larger framed women. Our smaller testers had much better performance though.
The Flex RDG is one of our favorite snowshoes for traction. Curved traction rails, carbon steel toe crampons, and molded brake bars make for an impressive shoe in icy conditions and on steep terrain. The Flex RDG also has heel lifts for climbing high angle hills. While the MSR Lightning Ascent, our Top Pick for Technical Terrain is the best shoe we tested for climbing steep hills, the Flex isn't far behind. Both the Flex and the MSR Evo are close runners-up and allow the user to feel super safe when things get slick and icy.
Carbon steel toe crampons, curved traction rails, and molded brake bars combine to make the Flex RDG a great snowshoe for steep icy terrain.
This is an area where the Flex RDG shines, as it allowed every tester in our crew to walk almost completely normally. Combine that with fantastic traction that imparts confidence at every step, and we were happy snowshoers.
The Flex RDG was our favorite snowshoe for easy natural walking on packed trails and in light powder. It's light, comfortable, and an overall great design for accommodating a woman's gait.
Ease of Use
Once you figure out a few nuances of the binding system, this snowshoe is incredibly fast and easy to use. The Boa system opens up nice and wide to accommodate a large boot, and then tightens down with the simple turn of a dial — that's it! The entire foot is cinched evenly and uniformly, and the frame design allows a gait almost as normal as if we weren't wearing snowshoes at all.
The only aspect of this system that was moderately difficult was pulling the Boa dial open with bulky gloves or cold fingers. It clicks into place quite tightly for security, so you just need to be prepared to use your grip strength to get it open. Another detail to be aware of is the fact that Boa systems are bulkier than simple compressible straps, so if packing your shoes down flat is a priority the Flex may not be the best fit.
Set up for success
— Here are a couple of tips that will save you the initial confusion we experienced.
- Figure out the heel strap sizing before you head out to hike. There are two settings on the strap that are set into place via two pegs that fit into holes on the rubber strap. They are tight and tough to adjust with cold fingers. But they only need to be adjusted once, so do it when your fingers are warm, and you're not impeded by layers of snow clothes.
- When the Boa dial is pulled up in the 'open' position, the top of the binding system stretches and opens quite far. We initially didn't realize this, which is why we were messing with the heel strap unnecessarily.
This snowshoe was our top pick for ease of use because the bindings were so easy to use and adjust on the fly. Once you have the back strap properly sized, you'll love how quickly you can get in and out of these shoes.
This is an interesting category for the Flex RDG. On the one hand, we love the Boa binding system — it felt very secure and gave us no issues in the time we were testing. However, the fact that there are thin wire cables exposed to the elements at all times causes us to raise an eyebrow. This feeling was confirmed when digging into other online reviews. There is a pattern of people having issues with the durability of this system and a general trend of unreliability.. Multiple reviews discussed the binding system breaking or coming loose in deep snow.
While we feel great recommending this snowshoe for trips that stay close to your car or other people, we can't give the green light to these shoes for remote or solo backcountry outings. The entire binding system is dependent on those thin wire cables, and if one were to snap, there is no way to repair the shoe on the fly.
Conversely, if you were to break one, or even two, straps on the Lightning Ascent you would still be able to walk for miles because each strap is independent of the rest of the system. Additionally, if a strap breaks on the Lightning or the MSR Evo, you can order replacement parts from MSR and fix it yourself. If the Boa system on the Flex RDG breaks, it's highly doubtful you will be able to fix it yourself, especially while out in the field.
Our one major concern with the design of the Flex RDG was the fact that it leaves the thin wire cables of the Boa binding system exposed to the elements. If one of these wires were to break, the entire system would be rendered completely useless.
We had worries about the security of the binding on the Flex RDG, but we didn't have any complaints in the comfort department. The way the cables tighten the whole system evenly around the entire foot makes for a very comfortable snowshoe. The Boa dial also means that tiny micro-adjustments are possible, something entirely not possible when you have a rudimentary strap and buckle system like on the MSR models.
We saw a couple of mentions in other online reviews saying the area where the Boa dial is located causes a pinch point, but this was not our personal experience and may have simply been an issue of those users over-tightening the dial.
This is a very comfortable binding system that tightens evenly over the entire foot and allows for the tiniest of adjustments with a simple turn of the Boa dial.
The Flex RDG is ideal for light powder, packed trails, and all experience levels. The impressive traction system means you can feel confident on your feet when navigating advanced icy slopes, and the well-thought-out frame design means you will be able to walk on flat trails as easy as if you didn't have snowshoes on at all. If you plan to push into lonely backcountry areas with deep snow drifts, we recommend our Editors' Choice, the Tubbs Mountaineer or the Lightning Ascent, but for trails and slopes closer to civilization, this is a great choice.
This snowshoe retails for $190, and we think it's a very fair price for all you get. Heel lifts, brake bars, burly traction rails, carbon steel crampons, and a Boa binding system, all for less than $200? That's a pretty sweet deal. The Lightning Ascent is $110 more, and while it's far superior for backcountry travel, the Flex RDG is comparable for traction and for climbing icy steep terrain. If you don't need as feature-heavy a shoe and would like to spend less, check out one of our Best Buy winners, the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous or MSR Evo.
The Flex RDG is a great snowshoe for exploring packed trails and steep terrain. The binding system is easy to use and very comfortable, and the traction system is among the best we tested. We have concerns about the long-term durability of the Boa binding due to its thin wire cables being exposed, and this shoe isn't the best for flotation, so we don't recommend it for deep backcountry travel. But for trips closer to friends and cars, this is a great snowshoe.
The Flex RDG is a fun and innovative snowshoe that feels great and allows for easy natural walking on trails and in light powder. We loved the burly traction features and the addition of a heel lift for navigating icy slopes with ease.