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Review of my Fimbulvetr Hikr Snow Shoes


fredygump
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Hey, thought I'd share this.  I went "crazy" this year and bought the Fimbulvetr Hikr snow shoes, even after scouring the internet and finding no reviews of them.  They looked like a good design, and they are definitely different than pretty much every other snow shoe.  And I'm a sucker for "different" and cleverly designed things.

I have hiked atleast 50 miles on these snow shoes so far this year, hiking in a variety of conditions from rolling hills to steep climbs and descents.  

My first impression was that they felt lighter than I expected.  I know the pair weighs over 4 pounds, but considering the physical dimensions and the thickness of the material used, they felt lighter than I thought they would.

In my mind, the most important thing to know about these snow shoes is that they make descending easy.  Descending with snow shoes is kind of a problem in my experience, and awhile back I found an article talking about the number of falls attributed to hikers on snow shoes.  Apparently it is a common problem for people on snow shoes to climb up somewhere and then have an accident trying to get back down. 

The problem of descending on snow shoes is obvious when you're having the problem, but I'm not sure how to explain simply.  What I can say is that a normal snow shoe forces your foot to be flat on the ground, so when descending it is like wearing skis that aren't supposed to slide.  And even if the crampons are adequate to prevent from slipping, I have trouble believing that my traction is secure.  And another problem is that the shape and rigidity of a normal snow shoe makes it awkward and difficult to negotiate obstacles like boulders or even minor rock ledges encountered on the descent.

But with the Hikr snow shoes, it is possible for me to plant my heel (and the heel crampon) firmly in the ground on descents.  If I have to step down from a ledge, the tail of the snow shoe flexes up, allowing me to step down confidently as I would if I was not wearing snow shoes.  This ability to plant my heel while descending and have secure traction was a revelation.

Snowshoers might be surprised when I say that I can walk down steps with these snow shoes?  It's true.  Yes, I have to put my weight on my heels, with my toes over the edge of the step, but it is a huge improvement over normal snow shoes.  Normal snow shoes treat steps like a funny looking hill, and while the crampons on those shoes might be capable of preventing me from sliding down the steps and tumbling to certain injury or death, I can't convince myself that it is safe.  Maybe steps aren't something you will encounter, but have you ever stepped over a log?  Even that will be easier with these shoes.

The other thing is their floating mount for the binding/ crampon.  It's simple, clever, and it works.  Other snow shoes twist my feet side to side with every step, especially when dealing with post holes.  But that isn't  problem with these shoes. 

Other details: 

Crampons.  The crampons are stainless, and they're beefy.  I think 14 gauge.  The curved shape makes them stronger.   I can put all my weight on one of the points, and it won't bend.  (For comparison, other shoes like Tubbs use ~20 gauge steel, which is a lot thinner.) 

Bindings.  The bindings are simple but quite effective.  It seems other companies sell 1 snow shoe with 5 different bindings, but the fimbulvetr is not intended to impress with the "trickest" bindings.  Their bindings should hold any boot, and they just work.  I think they are clever in their simplicity.

Heel Riser.  The heel riser doubles as sort of second crampon to keep your boot's heel secure on the snow shoe.  I only used the heel riser once to test it, and it definitely does it's job.  I don't encounter long enough climbs to really benefit from this feature.

Width.  They are wider than other composite shoes, but the width is actually toward the outside of the binding.  So they don't feel like they're wide.

Flotation.  Flotation is good.  What can I say?  Flotation is based on square inches of the shoe.  I described how the shoe is flexible, but it is stiff enough to distribute my weight across the entire shoe. 

 

What else?  I don't know...as me a question if you're interested..

 

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Edited by fredygump
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Aaron Zagrodnick

Pretty interesting design. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and glad to hear they're working out well for you! I have some MSR Lightning Ascents that I use, they've been solid but I wouldn't mind trying these out for comparison if I ever happen to get the chance and if mine ever wear out. I've also been looking at the Lightning Explore with the potentially easier to use bindings as well:

http://www.backcountry.com/msr-lightning-explore-snowshoe-mens

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