Use of the ultra-light, extremely versatile carbon fiber revolutionized cycling, allowing riders to go faster and longer with less effort. Jake Thamm, Co-founder of Crescent Moon Snowshoes, believes the material will have the same effect on snowshoeing.
Crescent Moon Snowshoes, a small company based in Boulder, Colo., debuted their brand new Rocket Carbon Fiber Snowshoe at the January 2012 Winter Market Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah. A limited run of the snowshoes, which were designed for running on the snow and retail for $450, hit the market in November of 2012. Within weeks the stock was completely sold out. “They went so quickly I’m wondering if we perhaps underestimated the demand,” says Thamm.
A Growing Need for Speed
There’s a buzz building around snowshoe running and racing, and outdoor manufacturers have taken notice, expanding their offering of lightweight shoes with the low profile necessary for moving quickly. “Crescent Moon isn’t a specific racing company,” says Thamm. “We build shoes for the whole family and for all abilities. But the running and racing part of the snowshoe market has grown quickly in recent years—more and more people are attracted to it because of the fantastic aerobic reward.”
Like traditional sneaker-style running shoes, which continue to appear increasingly lightweight, minimal styles, one focus of current snowshoe technology is removing surplus materials, using lighter-weight designs and materials, and generally crafting featherweight, albeit durable, footwear. “We already offered aluminum race shoes but we wanted to make a shoe that no one had done before, one that’s lightweight and really strong,” says Thamm, explaining the driving force behind the Rocket. “Carbon fiber was the obvious choice.”
Creating Featherweight Frames
In crafting the Rocket, which Thamm believes is the first carbon fiber snowshoe, Crescent Moon called on its 15 years of experience in making quality shoes, poles, and accessories. “In a running snowshoe, you want a lightweight, relatively small profile since floatation isn’t as important as foot turnover,” says Thamm. The Rocket, which is a uni-sex shoe, is just It’s 24 inches long by 7 inches wide, much smaller than the average trail shoe which typically measures 10 inches across and anywhere between 24 and 36 inches long. Customer feedback inspired the removable bindings: these shoes can be held in place with the traditional straps or screwed directly to the shoe. Remove the bindings and the weight of the shoe drops from an already ultra-light 2.84 lbs a pair to a barely-there 2.2 lbs per pair—that’s just over one pound per shoe.
It’s this dramatic weight reduction that is the biggest selling point of the Rocket. “They’re so light it’s hard to compare them to anything else,” says Thamm. “They’re just so comfortable. It’s almost like running in just a pair of tennis shoes.” The small frame is good for speed, but for situations calling for more floatation, such as exploring in deep snow, a more traditional pair of trail shoes might be best.
Alas, with the shoes sold out for the season the next run will not be until fall 2013. As Thamm says, “It’s not such a bad thing to build demand.” As in the past, pre-season orders will be accepted. Crescent Moon plans to continue to innovate, making changes to the Rocket based on customer feedback and continued in-house research and development. Ultimately, says Thamm, Crescent Moon would like all of their frames to be made of carbon.
For more on the Rocket and other Crescent Moon Snowshoe offerings, visit http://www.crescentmoonsnowshoes.com.