TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct snowshoes review: confidence-inspiring grip and a natural stride

The innovative TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct snowshoe has superb downhill traction

TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct snowshoes resting against tree in snow
(Image: © Berne Broudy)

Advnture Verdict

Technical snowshoes made in France for mixed, moderate and advanced terrain, TSL’s Simbioz Hyperflex Instinct has creative and effective design innovations that give it confidence-inspiring grip on descents as well as on climbs.

Pros

  • +

    Shoes flex to contour to the terrain

  • +

    There’s a binding-mounted heel lifter

  • +

    They come with a storage bag

Cons

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    On firm snow the plastic deck is loud

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TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct: first impressions

These hourglass-shaped TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct snowshoes use plastic frames with springy carbon reinforcements. The frames also have serrated edges, and each of the packed-powder-gripping tabs is individually flexible.

Specifications

• List price: $330 (US) / £280 (UK) / €330 (EU)
• Dimensions: 59cm x 21cm / 23.5in x 8in
• Weight: 845g / 1.85lb
• Frame Material: Plastic
• Deck Material: Plastic
• Traction: Stainless steel crampons along the full length of the snowshoe

The traction is increased even further thanks to a stainless steel underfoot claw on each shoe, plus eight individual shark fin tangs that function like crampons underfoot along the bottom. The claws are reinforced with soft-snow-grabbing crossbars and other cutouts in the base of the snowshoe for traction from any angle in all conditions. There’s some serious grip going on here whether your ascending or descending.

TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct: in the snow

TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct snowshoe on white background

(Image credit: TSL)

The TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct is one of the easiest snowshoes to walk in. Because they have a flexible edge, these shoes bend in all directions, making for a natural-feeling stride. And the hourglass shape makes it less likely I’ll trip on my tails. 

Tromping along the edge of a lake I was able to sidehill cross frozen waterfalls without sliding and falling. And on a hike where the trail conditions were constantly changing, I never worried if I’d slip and slide wearing these snowshoes.

TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct snowshoe profile view on white background

You get a natural-feeling stride from the TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct (Image credit: TSL)

The carbon stringers give these shoes pop with every step. They also reduce vibration when walking long distances on hardpack. And I love the binding. The BOA-tightened Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct binding has a plate that runs the length of your foot with a heel lifter incorporated into the binding plate that you can deploy with a trekking pole

Because my foot was strapped to a binding plate, not held by individual straps, it was more comfortable to wear for longer treks. A lock on the binding let me set it and forget it – I could put them on lightning-fast, and I rarely needed to stop and fine-tune my bindings while out snowshoeing.

Between hikes, I stored these shoes in the included bag, which kept snow out of my car and made them easy to grab for the next outing.

TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct snowshoe carry bag on white background

The carry bag that comes with the TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instincts (Image credit: TSL)

Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.