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Lightning Explore Snowshoes

A revolution in snowshoeing stride efficiency with a focus on all-day comfort.

Packed with our latest technologies, the Lightning Explore snowshoes represent a giant leap in snowshoeing performance, ease and comfort. First, our Axis Gait Technology allows you to laterally adjust bindings independently of the frame, ensuring efficient, parallel-tracking snowshoes, regardless of your natural toe-out or toe-in stance. In addition, new HyperLink bindings are our easiest, most comfortable binding, and Ergo Televators save you on the steeps. And of course, you get the benefit of our aggressive 360° Traction frames and Modular Flotation tails to provide you with the confidence and versatility you need to enjoy a broad range of snowshoeing experiences.

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$259.95
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MSR Snowshoes: HyperLink™ Binding Overview

Packed with our latest technologies, the Lightning Explore snowshoes represent a giant leap in snowshoeing performance, ease and comfort. First, our Axis Gait Technology allows you to laterally adjust bindings independently of the frame, ensuring efficient, parallel-tracking snowshoes, regardless of your natural toe-out or toe-in stance. In addition, new HyperLink bindings are our easiest, most comfortable binding, and Ergo Televators save you on the steeps. And of course, you get the benefit of our aggressive 360° Traction frames and Modular Flotation tails to provide you with the confidence and versatility you need to enjoy a broad range of snowshoeing experiences.
  • Unrivaled Traction: 360° Traction frames and Pivot crampons deliver advanced, edge-to-edge grip, delivering unmatched traction and security on any terrain in any conditions.
  • Axis Gait Technology: World’s first bilateral binding adjustment neutralizes variances in natural foot positions to ensure an efficient, parallel stride.
  • HyperLink Binding: Easy-entry cradle and fast two-strap ratchet system offer exceptional all-day comfort and efficiency, including a set-it-and-forget heel strap.
  • All-Condition Adaptability: Modular Flotation tails allow you the maneuverability of a smaller, primary snowshoe with the added, on-demand flotation of optional, 5-inch (13-cm) tails.
  • Uphill Efficiency: Ergo Televators reduce fatigue and increase traction on the steeps, with a new, ergonomic design that engages with a flick of a pole grip.
Made in the USA of US and Imported Parts
30 IN 25 IN 22 IN
Color Brass Brass Brass
Weight per pair (Standard) 4 lbs 11 oz 4 lbs 2 oz 3 lbs 15 oz
Weight per pair (Metric) 2.12 kg 1.87 kg 1.775 kg
Width (Standard) 8 in 8 in 8 in
Width (Metric) 20 cm 20 cm 20 cm
Length (Standard) 30 in 25 in 22 in
Length (Metric) 76 cm 64 cm 56 cm
Binding type HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Televator Yes Yes Yes
Gait Unisex/normal width Unisex/normal width Unisex/normal width
Footwear size range (Standard) 4.5 M - 13 M 4.5 M - 13 M 4.5 M - 13 M
Footwear size range (Metric) 35.5 - 48 35.5 - 48 35.5 - 48
Load (Standard) 150 - 280 lbs 120 - 220 lbs Up to 180 lbs
Load (Metric) 68 - 127+ kilos 54 - 100+ kilos Up to 80 kilos
Load w/ tails (Standard) 180 - 300+ lbs 120 - 280 lbs Up to 250 lbs
Load w/ tails (Metric) 82 - 136+ kilos 54 - 127 kilos Up to 114 kilos
Country of Origin Made in the USA of US and Imported Parts Made in the USA of US and Imported Parts Made in the USA of US and Imported Parts
The primary purposes of a snowshoe are to provide flotation and traction. Since all MSR® snowshoes deliver exceptional traction, your next consideration is flotation, and this is where size comes into play.

Once you’ve decided on a snowshoe, assess your weight, including all the gear and clothing you’ll be wearing the majority of the time you snowshoe. If you only go on a couple of overnights a year, don’t include that 50-pound pack—just your fully clothed weight, plus a daypack and water. Then consider the snow conditions you’re likely to travel in most often—deep, untracked powder, or groomed trails and established snowshoe routes. Are you at a high altitude or very far north where snow generally falls deep and light and a larger snowshoe is in order, or are you at lower elevations or in a coastal range where snow has high moisture content and generally consolidates rapidly, making a smaller snowshoe your best choice?

The idea is to find the smallest possible snowshoe that matches your needs in most–not all–situations so you can maximize your agility and efficiency. Now, with Modular Flotation tails available across all MSR adult snowshoes, we’ve made that easier than ever. Should you find yourself on the cusp between sizes, always go with the smaller one and then simply add tails for added flotation as needed.
Both of these snowshoes offer outstanding traction, aggressive bindings, ergonomic deck shapes, Modular Flotation and excellent durability. However, when it’s all said and done, the all-aluminum Lightning snowshoes offer it all with a bit less weight. You’ll also find that because the 360° Traction frames of the Lightning snowshoes is vertical all the way to the edge, it offers slightly better traction on traverses. And don’t forget that the composite, Unibody decks of our Evo shoes are built from an incredibly tough, injection-molded plastic, giving them a slight advantage in durability in the course of normal use.
Dry your snowshoes after each use. Then store them with bottoms together to keep the sharp under-bits form damaging other gear.
Inadequate traction is horribly inefficient, with every misstep wasting precious energy. That’s why we provide the industry’s best traction, regardless of what shoe you purchase—from kid’s snowshoes, to our most aggressive shoes. The result is a far more enjoyable experience with the increased efficiency of solid, no-slip footing and the confidence to go anywhere.
First and foremost, you should seek out bindings that suit your needs. Do you prioritize comfort or security? The best bindings do both. It’s also important to understand that regardless of what a tag says a binding does, it can’t do it if it’s frozen. Be leery of excessive use of nylon webbing and cordage–both absorb water and can leave your bindings rendered useless when frozen. Look for simplicity (fewer parts and potential for things to break) and light weight, and try them on in the store with the same footwear you’ll use in the field. Unless you have an exceptionally small or large foot, a good binding will be able to adapt to a range of footwear to keep your options open.
All MSR snowshoe components are proudly made in Seattle, USA, and the employees of Cascade Designs build every snowshoe we make. Shoes found in North America and Japan are entirely built in the USA, while those found in Europe have some final assembly done in our Cork, Ireland facility.

What is California Proposition 65?
Proposition 65 is the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act passed by voters in the State of California in 1986. The act was created to inform people about possible exposure to chemicals known by the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm.

What are the requirements of Proposition 65?
Proposition 65 requires that the Governor of California maintain and publish a list of harmful chemicals. The list is updated annually and includes chemicals that can be found in solvents, drugs, dyes, food additives, by-products of certain processes, pesticides, and tobacco products.

A chemical is listed if it has been classified as a reproductive toxicant or carcinogen by an "authoritative" organization on the subject. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer are considered authoritative for carcinogens. For reproductive toxicants, the authorities are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and International Agency for Research on Cancer. Chemicals will also be listed if they are required to be labeled or identified as a carcinogen or as a reproductive toxicant by an agency of the state or federal government.

Why has MSR placed a Proposition 65 label on its products?
Any company with 10 or more employees operating or selling products within the State of California must comply with the requirements of Proposition 65. To comply, businesses are: (1) prohibited from knowingly discharging listed chemicals into sources of drinking water; and (2) required to provide a "clear and reasonable" warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical.

A Proposition 65 warning means that the business has evaluated the exposure and has concluded that it exceeds the "no significant risk level," or that the business is providing a warning based on the presence of a "listed" chemical without actually evaluating the exposure.

MSR is providing a warning based on our knowledge about the presence of one or more listed chemicals without attempting to evaluate the level of exposure. While using an MSR product, the exposure to a "listed" chemical may be well within the "no significant risk" range, but out of caution, we have placed the Proposition 65 warning labels on our products.

Are consumers who are using an MSR product with a Proposition 65 warning at risk?
The California government states: "The fact that a product bears a Proposition 65 warning does not mean by itself that the product is unsafe." The government also explained, "You could think of Proposition 65 more as a 'right to know' law than a pure product safety law."

A Proposition 65 warning means that the product contains one or more listed chemicals. By law, a warning is required unless the business proves that the exposure to the chemical poses "no significant risk." The "no significant risk" level for carcinogens is defined as the level which is calculated to result in not more than one excess case of cancer in 100,000 individuals exposed over a 70-year lifetime. Therefore, if you are exposed to the chemical in question at this level every day for 70 years, theoretically, it will increase your chances of getting cancer by no more than 1 case in 100,000 individuals so exposed.

The "no significant risk" level for reproductive toxicants is defined as the level of exposure which, even if multiplied by 1,000, will not produce birth defects or other reproductive harm. Therefore, the level of exposure is below the "no observable effect level," divided by 1,000. (The "no observable effect level" is the highest dose level which has not been associated with observable reproductive harm in humans or test animals.) For further information about California's Proposition 65, please visit http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/background/p65plain.html

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Geisto
February 15, 2017
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Would not recommend
Both my wife and I bought lightening explore snowshoes and on both of the shoes the Axis Gait Technology failed. The pin that holds the axis in place no longer worked and caused a lot of unnecessary pivoting and a lot of hassle mid hike. Frankly this made things a bit dangerous because it made us trip and fall since the snowshoes were out of alignment with our normal stride and stance. It's a good idea, but the functionality needs to be revisited. The unnecessary pivoting also caused chaffing of the deck. These shoes wouldn't last a whole season at this rate. Straps were super easy to utilize (although I noticed some snow frozen under the strap adjusters making them hard to adjust at times). They did cause some pinching on the lateral side of my boot, near pinky toe. Not sure if this was a boot fit issue or strap issue. I think one more strap mid shoe would help divert this pressure. If you have a really thick boot the straps might be a bit short for you. I use an Asolo boot and there was enough for me, but not a whole lot more. We were hiking in 5-8ft of snow in Montana and in Oregon. Flotation was great. Very light shoe.
Stephanienola
February 12, 2017
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Axis Gate Technology Needs Improvement
I have the women's version that I have used twice. I really liked them except that on both hikes the pin on the bottom side came out and the binding pivoted back and forth all through the hike. This is weird because you have to sue super human strength to pull the tab to adjust the gate anyway. Since the pin is on the bottom, maybe the pressure from the snow is pushing the pin out and then freezing it in the unlocked position. Anyway, this morning I was inspecting the system to try and figure it out and the pull tab broke.I think this is poor design and cheap construction. Too bad because i really like the other features. The bindings are comfy, east to adjust and to get in and out of. Good loft and the risers are really comfy for going uphill. Fix this issue and you git a winner.

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We know that in the backcountry, reliable gear is critical. That’s why MSR gear has always been engineered to the highest quality standards and rigorously tested before it reaches you. If your MSR gear is in need of repair, please contact our Seattle Repair Shop at 1-800-531-9531 and our technicians will work to find you a solution as quickly as possible. A majority of the time, MSR products can be repaired. If you are experiencing an issue with your product that you feel should be covered under the MSR Limited Warranty, please visit msrgear.com/warranty for more info.