Alternative MSR snowshoe bindings?

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Spiny Norman

Dec 20, 2004
Reaction score
Winter is coming!

The PU straps on my MSR evos finally gave up the ghost. And I know I can get replacements but I wasn't thrilled with the straps since I have stopped wearing Koflach double boots.

I did graft some snowboard binding ratchet straps on and that worked ok with Koflachs but not light boots or trail runners.

So has anyone come up with a decent alternative to the PU straps? Since I have a bunch of other snowshoes I am willing to experiment with these. I wonder about something to work better with trail runners or, conversely, maybe something with bails like on automatic crampons to work with mountaineering boots.

From the other thread, it sounds like you don't like feeling the MSR straps through your softer shoes. What happens if you insert something between your shoe and the straps? A dense foam, or a thin plastic shell backed with foam, like from a soccer shin-pad? Just an idea, worth a try.

Can think of some potential downsides, don't know how bad they'd be in practice

- may trap snow between shoe and pad
-extra stuff to carry/lose
-pads not designed for application: cold and straps may cause cracking
I struggled with exactly the same problem with the MSR bindings. I loved the MSR snowshoes, but over the span of a few years, I started getting bruises on the top of my foot (in both winter hiking boots, and winter trail runners).

I tried using foam over my instep, but found it didn't help much. I also inserted hard(er) plastic inside my shoes to distribute some of the plastic (cut up milk jug, multiple layers). That being said, something like a shin guard might be a better alternative.

Ultimately I ended up going with the Tubbs Flex Vrt with the Boa style binding (yes, I do have concerns about durability, but they haven't been realized yet). There are 2 features which I prefer:
1) The binding wraps over the front of the foot, there are 2 posts that physically prevent your foot from sliding forward. My challenge with the MSR bindings was that I needed to tighten the bindings excessively to prevent my foot from sliding forward on the descent. With the stops on the front of the binding, much of that force is distributed through the sole of the footwear, and not onto your instep via the binding.
2) The binding itself is 1 large pad (approx 4x3") that distributes the force across a larger area. Combine this with the micro adjustments of the Boa lacing, and it is much more comfortable.

I do have concerns about long term durability (Tubbs doesn't have a lifetime warranty like MSR), but all Boa lacing systems are guaranteed for life. Other than the bindings and the "flex" tail (which I do notice as a nice feature on descents), the two styles of snowshoes (flex alp vs MSR Denali) are virtually identical (e.g. float, traction, climbing bar).

I had considered bending a custom piece of metal to make a toe-stop to attach onto my MSR snowshoes prior to changing models.
I have tried padding between shoes and straps. Neoprene works pretty well but Natreb nailed the problems.

My dream is that MSR licenses the Boa tech. I'd pay full retail for that.

Anyone use the Prater binding on Sherpa snowshoes?
Against my better judgement (it is July), I will reply :)

I also found my foot sliding forward in the MSRs. I think the lifetime warranty gives them a slight edge, and they also have an edge in carry-ability (they pack flat.) The Tubbs are more comfortable wearing, putting on, and descending, but only slightly. I choose by whether or not I plan to wear them for the duration - if so, Tubbs, if carrying, MSRs. The Tubbs are slightly larger so if I am breaking trail, they get the nod. I have two pairs - regular (8x24) and the XL (8x28). The MSR Evo is 8x22, but it has a 6" tail, which kinda works, but it does make them "front heavy".

Now, I have had two post-two-year-warranty repairs from Tubbs - first they sent me new bindings and two years later, new shoes. It's all in how you approach them - and in both cases I went right to Tubbs - not to the retailer.

MSR has a no-problem warranty which I've used at least three times. For small stuff (broken strap), they happily send you a new part. For a broken Denali Ascent, they sent me new Evos.

Last edited:
I have had great luck with the msrs. I like the way they hike, climb, pack, and carry. However, I am looking for ideas or plans to create an alternative binding system for my Evos.

I am wondering if anyone has, for instance, riveted a toe stop/basket on, or built a better lacing system (doubtful), or grafted the GV ratchet binding on. Those kind of things.

The Tubbs with the boa looks good. Not in the market for a new pair though as I have other Evos plus Ascents and some others floating around.

And the solstice was nearly a month ago.