Hands-on Gear Review

Tubbs Xplore - Women's Review

The Xplore is a decent introductory snowshoe with good flotation and easy-to-use bindings, though it falls short when navigating more advanced terrain.
Tubbs Xplore Women
By: Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 22, 2017
Price:  $130 List  |  $110.40 at Amazon - 15% Off
Pros:  Affordable, easy to use, good flotation.
Cons:  Less than ideal traction for steep terrain, bindings don't work with some larger boots, heel strap hard to adjust in the cold.
Manufacturer:   Tubbs
57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 6
  • Flotation - 30% 7
  • Traction - 25% 4
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 5
  • Ease of Use - 10% 5
  • Binding Security - 10% 6
  • Binding Comfort - 10% 7
RELATED REVIEW: Best Snowshoes for Women
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

The Tubbs Xplore is an intuitive and easy to use starter snowshoe at a comfortable price point. If you're new to snowshoeing and want something simple and not overly technical to start out with, this might be a great choice. Lightweight and with excellent flotation, the Xplore isn't fancy, but if you plan to stay on beginner trails or in nice deep snow without too much elevation gain, these shoes will definitely cover all your bases.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Share:

The women's Tubbs Xplore is great for someone new to snowshoeing and winter recreation in general. It's a simple design perfect for beginner terrain that also feels great in deep snow. For the casual winter enthusiast, this is a solid choice.

Performance Comparison


For a beginning snowshoer on easy terrain  the Tubbs Xplore is a solid choice.
For a beginning snowshoer on easy terrain, the Tubbs Xplore is a solid choice.

Flotation


This snowshoe had the largest surface area of all the models we tested, so we weren't surprised to find that it provided decent float. We preferred walking in deep snow than on packed trails, where we found them rather awkward. But in deep snow, the Xplore seemed at home, especially in the 25" size which is what we tested. Our favorite shoe for flotation, though, was the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous. It was also our Best Buy winner, so you can keep your wallet happy while still happily floating on powder. The model we had the least successful flotation with was the Crescent Moon Gold 13 due to its intense teardrop shape.

The Tubbs Xplore was the largest shoe we tested at 25" long and we definitely noticed that when walking in deep snow.
The Tubbs Xplore was the largest shoe we tested at 25" long and we definitely noticed that when walking in deep snow.

Traction


Unfortunately, this snowshoe had a bit of trouble with traction on icy terrain. If we kept to beginner trails and powdery snow, all was well and good, but as soon as we tried to navigate anything steep or icy we had issues. Getting up high angle hills was difficult and required a lot of energy. Getting down was even dicier — the testers that tried to go straight down without traversing sideways very slowly and carefully found themselves on their bottoms! We still awarded the Xplore a 4 out of 10 because it performs just fine as long as you stick to non-advanced terrain. If you're looking for a truly burly backcountry-ready shoe that can take you to the summit and beyond, check out our Editors' Choice, the MSR Lightning Ascent.

While the Xplore was fine in snow drifts and on moderate beginner trails  when we tried to climb down a steep icy hill they just didn't keep us on our feet. This photo might looked staged because the tester is laughing  but that's because there had been two falls before this one and when we decided to fake a fall to illustrate what was happening  a third fall happened on its own!
While the Xplore was fine in snow drifts and on moderate beginner trails, when we tried to climb down a steep icy hill they just didn't keep us on our feet. This photo might looked staged because the tester is laughing, but that's because there had been two falls before this one and when we decided to fake a fall to illustrate what was happening, a third fall happened on its own!

Stride Ergonomics


Being the largest shoe we tested, we weren't entirely surprised that the Xplore felt more cumbersome to walk in than any other model. But a truly well-designed woman's shoe should be able to balance both surface area and easy walking. Unfortunately, this shoe doesn't quite find that balance, and we ended up stepping on our feet a lot. The model we felt we could walk the easiest in was our Top Pick for Ease of Use, the Tubbs Flex RDG. It's a bit pricier, but well worth it if you'll be walking on a lot of packed trails.

We found the width and shape of this snowshoe to be rather awkward to walk in. Even though they are the women's model and supposed to accommodate a narrower gait  we still experienced our feet knocking into each other regularly.
We found the width and shape of this snowshoe to be rather awkward to walk in. Even though they are the women's model and supposed to accommodate a narrower gait, we still experienced our feet knocking into each other regularly.

Ease of Use


Ease of use was a mixed bag for the Xplore. The binding system is straightforward and we liked how the front straps both cinch tight and release by pulling on a single loop. But the heel strap is rather difficult to tighten, in part because the rubber straps aren't as stretchy when cold as the ones on the MSR Lightning Ascent and the MSR Evo - Women's. One tester wearing a larger snow boot also couldn't get their foot all the way into the binding. Combine all of that with the fact that the shape of these shoes is a bit awkward on packed trails, and we could only award a middle-of-the-road 5 out of 10. Our favorite model for ease of use was again the Tubbs Flex RDG - Women's, which has a Boa binding system that opens up nice and wide to accommodate a larger boot.

These snowshoes were straightforward to use on simple terrain  but when we tried to climb something steep we had a really hard time.
These snowshoes were straightforward to use on simple terrain, but when we tried to climb something steep we had a really hard time.

Binding Security


The bindings on the Xplore are decently secure, though multiple people in reviews online found that they loosen while walking due to the back strap not staying tight. In our experience, this strap never came completely loose, though it was hard to tighten (especially when cold), and the extra strap length didn't stay in its retainer clips most of the time, so it would flop around. The front area that holds the toe of your boot secure also doesn't work with some larger boots, so if you can try these on with the boots you plan to wear before purchasing, that would be wise. Our favorite binding systems for security were the Crescent Moon Gold 13 and our Editors' Choice the MSR Lightning Ascent - Women's.

We liked the front half of the Xplore's binding system a lot  but the heel strap was stiff in the cold and situated at an angle that made getting it tight while bundled up in snow gear more difficult than we would have liked.
We liked the front half of the Xplore's binding system a lot, but the heel strap was stiff in the cold and situated at an angle that made getting it tight while bundled up in snow gear more difficult than we would have liked.

Binding Comfort


The front straps on the Xplore cinch uniformly around the bulk of the foot, which we found quite comfortable. Larger boots may have issues though because the binding system doesn't open up completely like it does on the MSR models, and the area meant to hold the toe secure is rather small. All in all, it was a decently cozy system if compatible with your footwear, but we liked the Crescent Moon Gold 13 considerably better.

Best Applications


This snowshoe is best for beginning snowshoers that don't plan to push into advanced or steep terrain. If you want to start out with something not too expensive that will work well on easy trails and for floating out in deep snow, this is a model to consider.

Value


At $130, this was the cheapest shoe we tested. It was also the longest, (offering the most surface area and, therefore, very good flotation), which is a great selling point. However, for only $10 more, you can get either the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous or the MSR Evo - Women's, both of which performed better across the board. While we think the Xplore is a very decent beginner snowshoe, the fact of the matter is that there are, in our experience, better performing shoes for only a little bit more money.

Conclusion


The Tubbs Xplore is a very decent introductory snowshoe with good flotation and an easy straightforward binding system. It came up short in a number of areas such as traction, binding versatility, and stride ergonomics. For a very casual user of the right size, it's possible none of these things would be a very big deal, but up against our impressive test suite, the Xplore fell behind.

While the Tubbs Xplore didn't quite measure up against our other tested models  we still feel that it's a great introductory snowshoe  more than satisfactory for the right kind of casual user.
While the Tubbs Xplore didn't quite measure up against our other tested models, we still feel that it's a great introductory snowshoe, more than satisfactory for the right kind of casual user.

Penney Garrett

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 22, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...