MSR is no stranger to snowshoes. Their shoe designs and bindings have been tops in the market for quite some time, but for winter 2019-2020, the MSR binding game just stepped up a notch. A big notch. I tested the new Paragon Binding in the spring in anticipation of a fall 2019 release and came away thoroughly-impressed by their performance.
MSR Revo Ascent Snowshoe & Paragon Bindings Features:
- Aggressive perimeter teeth with steel DTX crampons
- Injection-mold plastic deck for floatation and durability
- Innovative Paragon Binding fits women’s 5 to Men’s 13 shoe
- Ergo Televators reduce fatigue on ascents
- Available in 22 and 25 inch
- Made in USA
- Approx 4 lbs 6 oz. per pair (22″)
- MSRP: $259.95
Binding mishaps be gone, thanks to Paragon Bindings
I had a job once that involved me occasionally taking groups of kids, teenagers, or women-in-recovery on snowshoeing trips. I encountered countless struggles with getting folks in a shoe that wouldn’t just strap on, but would stay on. A few hundred yards from the trailhead and suddenly straps come undone and the cries for assistance began. Or, for another example, there was the time I found myself hauling a heavy pack into the North Cascades in the off-season. My heavy snowshoes hardly seemed worth it until we got to the high alpine — 7 miles later.
Queue the new Paragon Binding from MSR: an ultralight, upgraded binding integrated into the tried and true Revo Ascent. This innovative mesh is a single piece that replaces the multiple straps of a traditional snowshoe. So long are the days of cinching down three straps and hoping none of them wiggle their way undone. Instead, you can tighten and secure a single adjustment, and rest assured that it will be comfortable. The design is curved near the toe, for a specialized fit regardless of foot size. Imagine taking your hand and grasping your foot. That’s what the Paragon feels like. Secure and comfortable.
The pressure points that often accompany a heavier and more traditional binding in a snowshoe are eliminated with the glove-like design of the Paragon. I found that instead of pinching the sides of my feet, the Paragon distributed the pressure across my foot in a way that made it easy to forget that I was walking on tennis rackets. In essence, a more comfortable gait while in use, enabling me to go further on those snowy missions.
Strapping-in is an easy maneuver comprised of two steps: tighten the Paragon mesh, secure the heel. The straps are generous in length (these shoes can fit womens size 5 to mens size 13 boot) and the hook closure doesn’t wiggle out of place. Adjusting these straps was a breeze with gloves on, and it doesn’t take much finagling to find a fit that’s right.
Additionally, the TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) mesh is durable, able to withstand the miles you log in the snow as you move from one objective to the next. TPU offers the flexibility of rubber with the durability of plastics. To be honest, the words flexibility and durability are the primary descriptors I’d use after my testing of the new Revo Ascents.
They are flexible in application, yet durable in execution. Made of injection-molded plastic, these snowshoes find the fine line between lightweight and tough. Unlike the aluminum/nylon deck of the Lightning Ascents, which compromises a bit of durability for decreased weight, the Revo snowshoe’s plastic deck will withstand abuse with ease. That being said, these are still a very light snowshoe.
The full-perimeter traction is combined with a beefy crampon at the foot, which promises security in every step — even when traveling on steep terrain or traversing. Every step digs steel teeth into the snow and ice, and I found myself walking easily on powdery snow and icy terrain. Behind the two large teeth of the crampon is another row of teeth, in addition to the perimeter traction. And if you do indeed find yourself hauling up a steep slope, the Revo Ascent is complete with a televator heel lift that makes traveling up those sections more comfortable.
On one excursion, my partner struggled with his snowshoes from start to finish. His fit felt wrong and needed attending to, the snowshoes threw off his gait and made it uncomfortable to walk, and — perhaps worst of all — his shoes sunk into the snow. Where he had no floatation, I was able to comfortably remain high above the snow, fitting my shoes comfortably to whatever footwear I had, and adjusting with ease. Our experiences outside that day were very different, and that is primarily due to our different snowshoes.
- The Paragon Binding is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to adjust
- The Revo Ascent’s balance function, durability, and comfort for a shoe that is great for a variety of applications
- The binding adjustments are easy to manipulate
- Shoes on the fringes of adjustments may not have an ideal experience
The Bottom Line: MSR Revo Ascent with Paragon Bindings
MSR nails it in all the essential categories for a functional, fantastic snowshoe. Floatation, comfort, and precision are integrated and present in the shoe. It’s a great all-around shoe suited to a variety of conditions. Balancing performance with durability with comfort, this is a shoe that — for many types of winter trips — will fit the bill. The Paragon Binding offeres astounding, pressure-point free security, perfect for many different types of shoes and sizes.
Buy Now: Visit MSRgear.com