I try to shop as close to home as possible. When my 20+ yr old traditional snow shoes died 3 years ago I bought a new pair of the aluminum frame modern style. Made in Canada.
At the end of last season they fell apart. Specifically the integrated binding on one shoe fell apart rendering the pair useless. I had grumbled off and on about the constant ice buildup between the sole of my boot and the binding, making for very awkward walking, and also the tendency of snow and ice to clump on the traction cleats on the underside of the shoes.
They weren't cheap. I'm one of those (suckers) who believes you get what you pay for ;o(
I had to replace them for this winter and I wasn't able to find another brand that was made in Canada. Reluctantly, I bought a pair made in China.
This is the Atlas 10 series, for 'mountains and deep snow'. I don't have mountains but I do have steep hills, and deep snow is a given these past few winters.
As I'm only into the first season the jury is still out on how long these will last. But thus far I am really pleased with them.
I get no build up of snow on the cleats, and you can see in the photo I get very little on the toe pad of the binding.
I try to snow shoe at least 5 days a week. Good performing, reliable equipment is important to me.
This is a new style of binding for me and I really like the ease of entry and exit. (My dad used to scoff at any binding that wasn't lamp wick. What a bugger that stuff was!)
I admit I still kind of miss the old style snow shoe. The larger surface area gives a better loft in softer snow, although the larger width means harder work on the hips to walk. And with the frequent icy conditions of the past two years, the cleats on the modern style have been a real plus.