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Fimbulvetr Hikr Review

An innovative snowshoe design that has yet to mature into a product we can recommend to all but a small subset of the market.
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Price:  $249 List | $174.73 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Innovative, unique looking
Cons:  Binding is insecure and ices up
Manufacturer:   Fimbulvetr
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 25, 2019
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 9
  • Flotation - 25% 8
  • Traction - 25% 6
  • Stride Ergonomics - 20% 5
  • Binding Comfort - 10% 4
  • Ease of Use - 10% 4
  • Binding Security - 10% 3

Our Verdict

Some product in our test has to come out on the bottom. That product may exceed the function and quality of most of the market, but it is not as recommendable as any of the others in our test fleet. The Fimbulvetr Hikr is that product in this year's snowshoe review update. The TSL Symbioz Elite is better on trails, while the Louis Garneau Blizzard floats better, and the MSR Lightning Ascent is a technical terrain wizard. For basic use, the casual user will note no issues with the Fimbulvetr, but that same user will enjoy using another product more.

Product Updates

Fimbulvetr updated their binding since our testing was carried out. See below for the details.

September 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Fimbulvetr Hikr
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $174.73 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Innovative, unique lookingRigid, precise, excellent binding security, traction, flotationGood traction, and an easy-to-use, comfortable bindingLarge, with unique hybrid hinged deck/binding interfaceInexpensive, simple, reliable
Cons Binding is insecure and ices upNew binding trades ease-of-use for comfortMediocre flotation for the length, strapped deck/binding attachmentLimited tractionLoud decking on crusty snow
Bottom Line An innovative snowshoe design that has yet to mature into a product we can recommend to all but a small subset of the market.The best snowshoes in our test, complete with high end features and simple engineering.This is a great traditional snowshoe that's outshone in a few areas by newer designs.All-around snowshoes optimized for off-trail and deep snow performance.The latest in a long line of innovative, molded snowshoes; they are reliable, inexpensive, and have widespread appeal.
Rating Categories Fimbulvetr Hikr MSR Lightning Ascent Atlas Montane Louis Garneau Blizzard II MSR Evo
Flotation (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
4
Traction (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
7
Stride Ergonomics (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
4
10
0
8
Binding Comfort (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
Ease Of Use (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
5
Binding Security (10%)
10
0
3
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
Specs Fimbulvetr Hikr MSR Lightning Ascent Atlas Montane Louis Garneau... MSR Evo
Uses Groomed trails Spring snow and steep terrain Spring snow and moderate terrain Deep snow Spring snow and moderate terrain
Optimum weight loads per tested size. Per manufacturer. up to 243 lbs 120-220 lbs 25: 120-200 lbs, 30: 150-250 lbs, 35: 180-300+ lbs 150-250 lbs up to 180 lbs
Weight (per pair) 4 lbs 14 oz 4 lbs 0 oz 4 lbs 7 oz 5 lbs 6 oz 3 lbs 9 oz
Surface Area 226 sq in 188.5 sq in 176 sq in 282 sq in 173.8 sq in
Dimensions 24x10 in 25x8 in 25x8 in 31x10 in 22x8 in
Crampon/Traction aids Steel crampon Steel crampon augmented with rail and frame teeth Steel crampon augmented with traction rails Steel crampon Steel crampon augmented with traction rails
Frame material DuPont Hytrel Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Steel traction rails
Deck material Molded DuPont Hytrel Fabric Nytex fabric LG "Lightec" fabric Molded plastic
Heel Lift Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Binding/Deck Connection Strapped Hinged Strapped Hybrid Hinged and Strapped Hinged
Binding system Nylon straps and ladder-lock buckles Rubber Straps with pin-in-hole Nylon straps with cam buckles, rubber strap with plastic buckle Boa Rubber Straps with pin-in-hole
Flotation tails sold separately? No Yes No No Yes
Men's and Women's versions? Unisex version Women's version avalible Women's version avalible Women's version avalible Unisex version
Sizes Available One Size 22, 25, 30 25, 30, 35 825, 930, 1036 One Size
Tested Size One Size 25 25 930 One Size

Our Analysis and Test Results

Binding Updates


Since we tested the Hikr, Fimbulvetr has revised their binding. We're excited about this, since our findings with this snowshoe was that the bindings were problematic. The new binding, called the Hugin, is designed to be more secure than the previous binding and easier to mount. If you own Fimbulvetr snowshoes already, you can even purchase the bindings separately to mount onto your existing Hikrs.

See a new colorway for the Hikrs and compare the bindings in the images below. The dark blue is the new snowshoe; the white is the version we tested.


We're looking forward to testing the updated shoes, but for now, the review to follow still tells our account of the previous snowshoe with the old bindings.

Hands-On Review of the Hikr


An innovative product whose attributes very well may suit a niche of users, with otherwise minimal appeal to a broad audience.

The Fimbulvetr Hikr is the most unique looking snowshoe in our test. The binding and crampon are attached to a flexible section of the unibody molded deck.
The Fimbulvetr Hikr is the most unique looking snowshoe in our test. The binding and crampon are attached to a flexible section of the unibody molded deck.

Flotation


For fresh snow  the Fimbulvetr's flotation is about average among our tested products.
For fresh snow, the Fimbulvetr's flotation is about average among our tested products.

With the innovative materials, design, and shape of the Hikr, we expected the flotation to be relatively good, for the size. The off-center binding mount, for instance, allows the snowshoes to be wider, overall, without dramatically influencing the stride ergonomics. The greater width translates to greater surface area and surface area is the main determinant of flotation. However, presumably due to the flexible materials and "rockered" design, the effective surface area and therefore flotation is less in fresh snow than we first thought it may be. Like all compact snowshoes, such as the Tubbs Flex VRT and TSL Symbioz Elite, these are perfectly suitable for packed trails. For much greater flotation, something long and lean like the Crescent Moon Gold 10 or our Top Pick the Louis Garneau Blizzard II is more appropriate.

Traction


The traction of the Fimbulvetr comes from both the metal spikes and the shape of the plastic decking.
The traction of the Fimbulvetr comes from both the metal spikes and the shape of the plastic decking.

The wildly textured molded plastic deck, complemented by minimal metal spiking, makes for an almost exactly average traction score. All the backcountry and alpine oriented snowshoes, like the Atlas Montane and the MSR Lightning Ascent have much better traction. Among the trail-oriented snowshoes, the TSL Symbioz Elite has better traction than the Hikr.

Stride Ergonomics


Once again, we were hopeful that the innovative asymmetrical shape and unprecedented flexibility of the Hikr would result in similarly unprecedented hiking ergonomics. While none of our testers had any problems with walking in the Hikr, we had no revelations about the walking comfort. The springy binding attachment, as we mention at length elsewhere in our reviews, seems to please half the testers, while the other half want a hinged binding attachment for walking efficiency. The next closest competitor, the TSL Symbioz, has a hinged walking mechanism and is otherwise optimized for trail use. If there is any pattern correlated with tester's preference for hinged attachment vs strapped, it is that trail users prefer hinged while backcountry and alpine users prefer hinged. In this way, the Hikr's edges slightly ahead of the Symbioz.

Binding Comfort


We had no issues with the comfort of the Hikr bindings. The soft nylon straps attached with pressure-dissipating plastic binding base material are quite comfortable. The even pressure of the Boa style attachment on the Louis Garneau Blizzard II is a little more comfortable, while the ultra-secure stretchy rubber attachment of the MSR Evo can cut off circulation in softer footwear.

Ease of Use


The binding straps of the Hikr are relatively familiar nylon textile straps run through simple ladder-lock plastic buckles. These are fairly intuitive to use. However, the nylon fabric straps are prone to icing up. In any conditions that involve both wetness and cold (which covers almost all snowshoe outings), especially when wear is extended for hours, the straps can freeze such that the snowshoes are difficult to remove or adjust. The rubbery straps of something like the MSR Lightning are far easier to use.

The soft nylon straps of the Fimbulvetr are more prone to icing than any other in our review.
The soft nylon straps of the Fimbulvetr are more prone to icing than any other in our review.

Binding Security


Snowshoes need to stay on securely to be effective. The nylon straps of the Hikr were the least secure of any snowshoe in our test. Users feet would slide side to side and sometimes slip out entirely. All the other binding designs were more secure than those on the Fimbulvetr.

Best Applications


These are great low maintenance, innovative-looking, and conversation-starting snowshoes for the occasional trail user. For short hikes, the binding is comfortable and easy to use. Provided it stays secure on your feet and doesn't ice up, the binding is serviceable. Small users or those sticking mainly to traveled trails will do fine with the moderate flotation provided by the Hikr.

Value


These snowshoes scored towards the bottom of the heap, yet cost more than most. Many snowshoes in our test scored much much higher and feature high-end construction, traction, and are equipped with secure binding systems. For this amount of money, one could buy three pairs of one of our Best Buy Award winners. We cannot say in good conscience that the Hikr is a good value.

Conclusion


These snowshoes turn heads. And, for basic use, they are perfectly suitable. While none of our test team found the stride ergonomics to be particularly unique, other online reviews suggest that the off-center binding mount can be very beneficial to some. If you are uncomfortable walking in other snowshoes, it is worth trying the Hikr style.


Jediah Porter