Reviews You Can Rely On

Tubbs Flex RDG - Women's Review

This is a comfortable snowshoe with fantastic traction and great stride ergonomics for those with a narrower gait
Tubbs Flex RDG - Women's
Photo: Tubbs
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $190 List
Pros:  Excellent traction, comfortable bindings, fantastic stride ergonomics
Cons:  Binding system potentially isn't secure, doesn't float well unless you're very light
Manufacturer:   Tubbs
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 11, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 8
  • Flotation - 30% 6
  • Traction - 25% 9
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 9
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Bindings - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Tubbs Flex RDG is easy to use, and it accommodates a narrower gait excellently. Every tester that tried these snowshoes loved them. The Boa binding system allows for easy, precise adjustments on the fly. Features like flexible decking, curved traction rails, and heel lifts mean navigating steep icy terrain is simple and safe. While we feel the thin exposed cables on the bindings are a potential weak point that may rule out taking these into remote backcountry, we love the performance of this shoe for more conservative trips.

New Colors

Tubbs tweaked the colors for the Flex RDG since our test period, but as far as we could suss out, all the tech specs remain the same. The latest color/graphics are shown in the photo above.

February 2020

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards    Best Buy Award  
Price $190 List$200 List$205 ListCheck Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$159 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
77
83
79
77
61
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Excellent traction, comfortable bindings, fantastic stride ergonomicsGood traction and flotation, excellent binding system, heel liftGreat traction, Boa binding system, comfortable binding, easy walking, quietAffordable, stellar traction, easy to use, versatile bindingsLightweight, springy, easy to use bindings, appropriate for running
Cons Binding system potentially isn't secure, doesn't float well unless you're very lightA 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 sideLoud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps do not stay in placeDoes not float or shed snow well, awkward to walk in, minimal traction on steep terrain
Bottom Line This is a comfortable snowshoe with fantastic traction and great stride ergonomics for those with a narrower gaitThis is a well-rounded and solidly performing snowshoe fit for all kinds of terrain and objectivesThis is a well-performing snowshoe with great traction suitable for many different kinds of terrain and snowThis affordable shoe is equipped with stellar traction and versatile bindings, making it a wonderful pick for varied terrain levels and snow typesWhile this isn't the shoe for floating on deep snow drifts, if you want to run and skip your way down the trail it's a winner
Rating Categories Tubbs Flex RDG - Wo... Atlas Elektra Montane Louis Blizzard III MSR Evo Trail Snows... Crescent Moon EVA Foam
Flotation (30%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Traction (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
Bindings (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Specs Tubbs Flex RDG - Wo... Atlas Elektra Montane Louis Blizzard III MSR Evo Trail Snows... Crescent Moon EVA Foam
Uses Variable rolling and mountain terrain All terrain Flat, rolling and mountain terrain Flat and variable rolling terrain Flat terrain and trail running
Optimum Weight Load (per size) 80-150 lbs 23": 80-160 lbs
27": 120-200+ lbs
22": 60-160 lbs
25": 100-200 lbs
180 lbs Up to 200 lbs
Weight (per pair) 3.5 lbs 4.4 lbs 4.4 lbs 3.5 lbs without tails
4.4 lbs with tails
3.2 lbs
Binding Mount Full Fixed Full Full Static
Binding System CustomWrap binding featuring the Boa Closure System Wrapp Swift binding Boa binding DuoFit Velcro hook and loop binding
Crampon Traction rails and carbon steel toe crampon All-trac toe crampon Traxion HCS front crampon & V-rail crampon Steel traction rails and brake bars Ice spikes
Frame Material Plastic frame and decking with steel traction rails Aluminum V-frame 6061-T6 Aluminum ErgoStream Martensitic steel Dual Density EVA Foam
Deck Material Plastic advanced Torsion Deck Nytex decking EDGE molded polymer Polypropylene Dual Density EVA foam
Surface Area (for tested size) 151 in² 176 in² 189 in² 174 in² without tails, 220 in² with 160 in²
Dimensions 8 x 22" 8.5 x 27" 8 x 25" 8 x 22" 24" x 8" x 2"
Flotation Tails Available? No No No Yes, 6" No
Load with Tails (per size) n/a n/a n/a Up to 250 lbs n/a
Men's and Women's Versions? Yes No, women's specific Yes Unisex Unisex
Sizes Available 22" 23", 27" 22", 25" 22" 24"
Size Tested 22" 27" 25" 22" plus 6" add-on tails 24"

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.

Performance Comparison


The Flex RDG is an easy to use women's snowshoe that all our testers...
The Flex RDG is an easy to use women's snowshoe that all our testers loved hiking in.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Flotation


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...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Traction


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...
Carbon steel toe crampons, curved traction rails, and molded brake bars combine to make the Flex RDG a great snowshoe for steep icy terrain.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Stride Ergonomics


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...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Bindings


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...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Value


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.

Conclusion


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...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Penney Garrett