A flexible-soled shoe can be better for traversing rocky terrain, because it contours to irregular surfaces providing additional grip. And that’s the same thinking behind TSL Outdoor’s new semi-rigid Symbioz snowshoes.
They flex and contort to ensure as much surface area as possible makes contact with the snow on uneven terrain — and as a result they’re supposedly comfier to wear than traditional designs.
The Symbioz’s even use a smaller footprint, which allows snowshoers to walk with a more natural gait, making them ideal for novices. But the trade-off could mean they’re less ideal for soft powder where more surface area means less sinking.
On ice and hard-packed snow, however, the snowshoes could actually provide better traction and more dexterity since the spikes have a better chance of making contact with slippery surfaces. But how well they actually will perform remains to be seen, as the snowshoes aren’t available just yet.