Atlas Race Snowshoe Review
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Snowshoeing has grown in popularity over the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. You can use the same summer trails you enjoy and it requires only 1 piece of special equipment, the snowshoes themselves. Athletes that excel in summer sports use snowshoeing as a way to cross train in the winter. With the sport’s profile rising, more and more snowshoe races are popping up as well. To meet the needs of those athletes that really race these events, Atlas has stepped up with their new Race edition.
The Race is designed with one thing in mind, going fast on packed to light snow. To keep weight down, Atlas uses titanium in the foot and heel cleat and pairs it up with their lightest aluminum frame, total weight is only 2.08 lbs. for the pair. How light is that? Well, when I first put them on for a short hike I kept looking down because I thought they had come off.
The Race also uses Atlas’ spring loaded suspension, which keeps the snowshoe close under foot. Basically, this allows you to keep your run stride normal so you don’t have to alter your stride. I found this to be true when I went for some easy runs on packed trails. Just run and don’t think about the fact that you have snowshoes on. I also felt like the Race was a bit narrower than other shoes I’ve used so I didn’t have to worry about the shoes banging together. I also noticed that there was much less snow being catapulted up towards my backside. Often with bigger shoes snow is thrown up as the shoe comes through and you find yourself soaked. This seemed to be kept to a minimum, even when I got into some fresh snow. I think this was in part due to the Spring Loaded Suspension, but also to the short tail of the shoe.
Getting into the shoe is fairly simple. Webbing straps criss-cross the front of the snowshoe. Once you slide your shoe in, you simply pull on the top webbing strap to secure the front of the snowshoes. The back is kept in place by a rubber strap that wraps around your heel and is secured by notches in the strap. It took me a bit to get into the shoe, but once in I had no slippage and never had to stop to re-adjust.
The Race is designed with a specific usage in mind. On packed trails, or less than a few inches of new snow, this shoe is great. Even if you don’t race, if you know you will be on packed trails, this shoe could work for you. For more information on the Race and other Atlas Snowshoes, please visit www.rei.com/atlas.