Crescent Moon Gold 12 Snowshoes

Manufacturer Description

Even though we have won the ‘Winter Gear of the Year’ award for the Gold 12 (Trail Runner Magazine), we decided to make further changes in our pursuit of a better racing/running shoe. You can choose a direct mount in two sizes or, the standard Gold 12 race shoe which comes with the best and most secure binding available. It has become the Gold standard! The Gold 12 is an athletic, responsive design with a comfortable and easy to use CM race binding which accommodates your favorite running shoe and compliments your natural stride. It’s a winning combination, you and the Gold 12. To keep your feet warm and dry, consider the neoprene booties that fit over your running shoes for complete comfort.

Features

  • Recommended for anyone running or training
  • 21.6 cm wide x 62.2 cm long (8.5 x 24.5 in), tapered teardrop shape
  • Fits a wide range of shoe sizes – woman’s size 5 to men’s size 14
  • SPL Race Binding with single pull loop and release loop features spring loaded cam buckles over the foot and heel strap
  • Binding Anti-twist stabilizer and large stomp pad for greater control
  • 3 aluminum claw system featuring the intuitive toe claw design
  • Screamin’ Sour-apple Green & Screamin’ Yellow frame colors
  • Powder coated aluminum frames
  • Unisex
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Measured weight – 706 g each (24.9 oz)
  • Retail – $249

YMMV Review

Before this last winter, I had never run in snowshoes. I was excited to give it a try as we get a fair amount of snow in and around Bend. Unfortunately, the winter season did not agree with me, and my season ended up being a bit of a disappointment. I was able to get out for a couple of runs but not nearly what I was hoping for. I have a pair of Crescent Moon Gold 10 snowshoes that I have been using for a couple of years now and wanted to try their running shoes. Crescent Moon is a small company out of Boulder, Colorado. They have been making snowshoes for over 13 years focusing on a better binding for a better experience. If you have not heard much about them, I suggest checking them out.

Bottom View

Testing

I was able to get in three runs in my Gold 12’s over the winter. I did two daytime runs and one nighttime run which I wrote up in the Adventure Section: Nighttime Snowshoe Run. My runs were relatively short, around 4 miles as it is much more work to run in snowshoes. All three runs were done in firm snow with up to an inch of powder on top. I did go off trail a little for testing purposes.

Design ★★★★☆

Appearance (10%) ★★★★☆

Binding (20%) ★★★★☆

Construction (35%) ★★★½☆

Sustainability (10%) ★★★★½

Weight (25%) ★★★½☆

The Crescent Moon Snowshoes have a different shape than many others on the market. Their snowshoes have a teardrop shape to them. The rationale behind this is to maintain flotation while having them be skinnier in the middle where they will pass by each other. This shape should make it easier to walk or run as you will not need to have your feet as far apart. The other main characteristic with the Gold 12 snowshoes are the binding. This binding has been the focus of Crescent Moon. While the Gold 12 also comes in a direct mount option, I tested the binding version. This binding sits on top of the TGS decking and is made for easy on and off. The Gold 12s are made to fit a wide range of sizes from a women’s size 5 to a men’s size 14. All this in a lightweight package that comes with a lifetime warranty from manufacturer defect.

Side View with Shoe in the Binding

The main structure of the Gold 12s is a lightweight TIG welded 6063 aluminum that has been powder coated for durability. The decking is made of TGS decking. It is a strong, durable, quiet, abrasion resistant, and flexible material that will not freeze or soak up any water. The TGS material also will not lose its flexibility when the conditions get colder making for a very consistent feel every time you use the snowshoes. The bindings feature an all foot encompassing fit that is made of a flexible polymer. The bindings can easily be adjusted even with gloves on. The main adjustment is by pulling on the upper strap to adjust the volume of the binding. The other is a strap that wraps around the back of the shoes and is adjusted by pulling the strap through the buckle. To release the bindings is even easier, just push the release on the buckle and pull up on the volume adjustment strap, and they come right off.

The Gold 12 comes in two colors, Green Apple and Yellow. Both colors look really cool; I tested the Green Apple and really liked the look. I know they are snowshoes, and it would not matter, but you know it kind of does. For traction, there is a 3 point aluminum claw that is positioned under the forefoot when running. This allows you to dig in through the push-off phase of running. Under the back stomp plate, there is also some traction for better control. The stomp plate on these has been made larger to increase control while running.

Crescent Moon makes their snowshoes in Boulder, Colorado, which gives them the opportunity to do things the way they want. They have ultimate control over the materials and therefore, have been able to choose greener and more sustainable options. There TGS decking is made without the use of PVC and their aluminum and steel is 85% recycled. Their factory and office s 100% wind powered, and they recycle and reuse as much as they can. While they have not been able to attain any of the elusive and expensive certifications, they are an example of doing it right, and I am impressed by their commitment to sustainability.

Fit ★★★☆☆

Adjustability (45%) ★★★☆☆

Ease of Movement (30%) ★★½☆☆

Foot Volume (25%) ★★★½☆

There are few aspects of a snowshoe when you think of the fit. The bindings are made to fit from a women’s size 5 to a man’s size 14 which is a huge range. For me at a size 9, there was plenty of room. The bindings do a good job encompassing the whole foot and after some practice, I could get the proper tightness that I liked. It is easy to over tighten the bindings, especially the volume. Around the back, the shoes will have more structure so over tightening was not as much of an issue. The bindings and decking are flexible but there will be some lost range of motion for your feet. I expected this as there really is no way around it. I do not have a lot of experience snowshoe running, but this loss was about what I expected. When I was running through the snow, I used waterproof trail running shoes, which are stiffer than most of my other running shoes on their own.

Top of Binding

Performance ★★★½☆

Durability (20%) ★★★½☆

Ease of Use (40%) ★★★★☆

Support/Floatation (20%) ★★½☆☆

Traction (20%) ★★★½☆

Running in snowshoes is hard. It is definitely a different feeling, and you will be working harder to go a slower pace than normal. There is no way around it as you lose energy to the snow, the snowshoes, and have to exert more energy due to the added weight. That being said it is an excellent workout and great option to break up your normal runs. If you can get out on a day where it is snowing and there is a little powder on top of firmer snow it can be very peaceful. One of my runs was on a night when the snow was crusty and in those cases running makes quite a racket. While I was only able to get three runs in the Gold 12s, they held up great and look almost new. If they are anything like my Gold 10s, they should last a long time. The only issue I have had with the Gold 10s is the paint is flaking off.

The snowshoes are really easy to use once you have done it once or twice. There are only two adjustments when putting on the bindings, and then you are ready to go. You do have to alter your running style a bit, but it was not as much as I expected. for me, I just had to widen it a little, and I felt like I used my core more because I had a bit more of a torso twist when running. It was different but and great core workout that I was not expecting. The Gold 12s are a bit smaller than other snowshoes in order to save weight. This means they will have less flotation and really are best in firmer conditions. When running off trail I did sink more, which made it much more difficult. I basically had to slow to a walk as I was constantly just trying to stay upright. The Gold 12s do have good traction, I never felt like I was lacking. I ran some rolling hills in them, and it felt like your toe’s would grip the snow.  If you are running in soft snow it will be a bit more difficult to get a good grip. I like to do most of my runs at an 8-9 minute pace and felt closer to 12 minutes per mile with the same effort level in these.

Lots of Traction

Overall ★★★½☆

Overall, I really liked snowshoe running. It is important to find places that you can run and not negatively impact the trail. Here in Central Oregon we have lots of trails but most are for cross-country skiing. There is some groomed track where you can run on the sides as long as you do not step in the tracks. Remember that as long as everyone respects the other users, there is room for all. The Gold 12s are very easy to use and a can be used for many different people because they are so adjustable. I also really like what Crescent Moon stand for as a company, they are doing it right. If you are looking to break up the winter monotony and want a great workout, I recommend trying snowshoe running and these are great shoes to try it in. They retail for $249. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Lightweight
  • Bindings are Easy to Use
  • Fits a Wide Range of Sizes
  • Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Materials

Cons

  • Smaller profile has less floatation
  • $249 is expensive depending on how often you get out to use them

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Adventures

About the author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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