The Flex RDG is a fun snowshoe with impressive traction that shines on packed trails and icy terrain. The Boa 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 isn't the best model for flotation due, primarily, to a small surface area. And, unfortunately, Tubbs only offers the Flex RDG in one size with no options for add-on flotation tails. For those that weigh over 150 pounds fully dressed and loaded up, there are better snowshoes to consider, especially for deep snow. But for packed trails, shallow powder, and steep terrain, this is a great purchase, even if you're over the optimal weight load.
The Flex RDG is a small lightweight shoe that isn't our favorite for floatation in deep snow, especially for larger framed women. 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 also has heel lifts for climbing high angle hills.
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. Every tester in our crew could walk almost completely normally. Combine that with fantastic, confidence-inspiring traction, and we were happy snowshoers.
The smaller size of the RDG (black, center) made it a favorite among our testers for easy natural walking on packed trails and in light powder. It's light, comfortable, and an overall great design for accommodating a narrower gait.
Ease of Use
Once you figure out a few nuances, this binding on 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 you weren't wearing snowshoes at all.
The only aspect of this system that is moderately difficult is 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 for you.
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.
The bindings on the RDG are super 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 feels very secure, it's uber comfortable, and it allows for tiny micro-adjustments on the fly. 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 been an issue of those users over-tightening the dial. We had zero 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.
Our one major concern with the design of the Flex RDG is the fact that it leaves the thin wire cables of the Boa binding system exposed to the elements. If one of these wires breaks, the entire system is rendered completely useless.
This snowshoe is a little spendy but remains a very fair price for all you get. Heel lifts, brake bars, burly traction rails, carbon steel crampons, and a Boa binding system? All in all, it's a pretty sweet deal.
The Flex RDG is a great snowshoe for exploring packed trails and steep terrain. The bindings are easy to use and very comfortable, and traction 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 love the burly traction features and the addition of a heel lift for navigating icy slopes with ease.