SNOWBOARD BINDINGS

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So you bought a snowboard and you keep falling off it? Maybe you should get some snowboard bindings. Agree? Here is everything you need to know about snowboard bindings before buying them and how the hell can shock absorbing baseplate help you when you clear a 50 feet cliff.

Snowboard bindings are not really a big issue, as long as you get the right ones. Otherwise they can be a pain in the ass. The goal is that you do not feel them but they still give you total support and confidence that your boot is firmly planted into the binding. And they should be light. Uh, guess they are a big issue. Snowboard bindings transfer the movements of your body to the snowboard you’re riding on and of course keep you attached to your board. That is quite a big deal. OK, first you need to decide if you are going to ride strap-in bindings, step-in bindings or maybe even flow style bindings. What’s the difference?

STRAP IN SNOWBOARD BINDINGS

Strap-in binding is the oldest concept out there, the most tested and the most popular. And the choice of most of the pro riders (which aren’t paid to ride something else). The strap-in binding has two or sometimes three straps that secure your boot into the binding. You have a highback at the back of your foot so you can press on the heel edge with more power. As you will see, the advantage of other two systems is ease of use and faster strap in time. But as HC snowboarders like to say: “I do not need to strap into my bindings any faster than I already do! Hough!”

STEP IN SNOWBOARD BINDINGS

As the name step in bindings tells you, there are no straps to secure, you just step into the binding and ride away. There is special mechanism in the binding that locks the snowboard boot in place. Oh, did we mention that you need a special snowboard boot for the step in bindings? One that is compatible with the step in system of the selected step in bindings manufacturer. That kind of limits you boot choice to the boot of the same company that made the bindings and then that’s it. Then there is a psychological issue, with no straps and sometimes even no highback (some step in systems have highback integrated into the boot) your foot looks and feels kind of loose and naked on the snowboard. But hey, that is just us. So to stop complaining, the step in binding is great for beginners as they can really step in quickly as they get of the lift and do not wipe out in front of you… if the binding isn’t clogged with snow at the moment, which makes it impossible to step in… great, here we go complaining again.

FLOW BINDINGS

Are called Flow bindings because the Flow Company invented them and is as far as we know the only company that makes them. The flow binding has a movable highback, that can be pulled back all the way to the ground, so you put your boot into the binding from behind. Then you pull the highback back up, tighten it and you are set.

PLATE BINDINGS

Plate Bindings are bindings for hard boots and alpine riding. Hard-Boot Bindings have a hard baseplate and steel bails that hold the hard boots, they can also have a heel or toe lever. The better, faster and stronger you ride, the stiffer plate binding you need. Oh, and the heavier you are too. Hard plate bindings totally lock your hard boot and your foot onto the snowboard so they give you high responsiveness, maximum leverage and power for carving at high speeds and on hard snow. Since these are the only bindings that go with the hard boots there is no real choice here, if you intend to be a real racer / carver then you get hard boots and hard, plate bindings. If not, and if you feel more comfortable in soft snowboard boots, then stay away from these bindings. Obviously the do not get together.

SNOWBOARD BINDINGS AND BOOTS COMPATIBILITY

Bindings from Ride, they are here because I like the colors:)

Now on to some general snowboard bindings buying stuff you need to know. First and most important is buy your snowboard boots first or at least at the same time and in the same shop where you are buying your snowboard bindings. This is totally understandable if you are getting a step-in setup that has to be compatible. But even with normal, strap in snowboard bindings make sure that your snowboard boot fits nicely into the binding. Every manufacturer makes his snowboard bindings a little differently and designs them with their own snowboard boots in mind (if they make snowboard boots too that is) and vice versa, they make snowboard boots with their bindings in mind. So snowboard boots and snowboard bindings from the same company fit together best. But this is not our point, don’t buy all the stuff from the same company, just make sure you try your bindings with your boots. Bindings also come in different sizes S, M, L that can hold different snowboard boots sizes. Again it depends from the company which binding size is for which boot size. Generally, better and more expensive snowboard bindings are lighter, more durable and more comfortable than cheaper ones. They are also more adjustable.

WHAT BINDING SIZE TO CHOOSE?

How can you tell if the binding is the right size? You must be able to easily adjust the straps without leaving too much strap on either side of the binding. Your boot must fit in nicely and fill the binding completely, the toes must not overhang the binding more that a few inches. Put on your boot, step into the binding and strap in (not to hard). If you can not feel the straps and your boot is not dancing around in the binding you should be fine.

BASELESS SNOWBOARD BINDING

This is not really a type of binding it’s a just a type of strap in snowboard binding with different baseplate. Uh, or to put it better, without the baseplate. Baseplate is the part of snowboard binding that comes between your boot and the snowboard. It gives you some shock absorption and padding for better control and reduces toe drag. The no baseplate argument is that you can feel your snowboard better and more directly if there is no baseplate, so you can control your snowboard better. How convincing is that? Lets just say these days you can very rarely see a baseless snowboard binding. Since we are already talking about baseplates lets go to snowboard bindings parts.

BASEPLATE

Baseplate in snowboard binding is as already said the part of snowboard binding that comes between your boot and the snowboard, to give you some shock absorption and padding for better control and to reduce toe drag. Talking about shock absorption, don’t get carried away. Just how much shock absorption can you get from a thin piece of plastic and rubber when you stomp a 60 feet jump. Not saying its useless, but sometimes when reading the promo material you just have to say – come on!

METAL BASEPLATE – PLASTIC BASEPLATE

The material used in baseplates can be metal or plastic. Ordinary plastic is cheaper. Better plastic and plastic with carbon, Kevlar etc makes plastic bindings stiffer and more durable and more expensive. Metal baseplate are also very stiff. It is just something you need to decide for yourself, what “feel” you prefer.

STRAPS

Straps are the part of the snowboard binding, that actually hold you boot in place. Most of the time you have 2 straps sometimes, rarely three, if you have a really high highback. Ideally – straps must secure your boot tightly into the binding without you feeling them (too much). So straps tend be wider, softer and more ergonomic these days. Burton for instance makes the lower strap actually a toe strap, that goes over the front of your foot. I did hear some good words about this from different people.

HIGHBACK AND HOW HIGH SHOULD THE HIGHBACK BE?

Highback is the part of the snowboard binding behind our boot. It helps us transfer our weight to the heel edge of the snowboard better. Higher highback gives you more power and control, good for freeriding and carving, lower highback gives you more flexibility and freedom, better for freestyle. Anyway, the “low highback is good for park and jibbing” is OUT together with other anklebreaking stuff. The angle of the highback also matters, if you lean it forward, you get more pressure on the heel edge. Every snowboard binding should allow you to adjust your highback.

ADJUSTABLE SNOWBOARD BINDING

How adjustable is your snowboard binding? If you can adjust your binding to your boot and your riding style it will feel better. With some bindings you can adjust all sorts of things, with some you can do it all by hand, with some you need a big bag of tools. Maybe on the other hand, too much loose parts that can be adjusted means that the binding can become loose faster and you can even start loosing some screws from the binding if it is not made well. And the again, once you set your snowboard binding to your preference, how many times will you actually change and readjust it.

BUYING SNOWBOARD BINDINGS

  • Bring your snowboard boots
  • Put your boots on and step into the binding
  • Make sure your boot fits nicely onto the baseplate
  • Strap in (not very tight) and make sure your boot does not dance around
  • Wider and ergonomically designed straps are better
  • The lighter the binding the better
  • Check for binding – snowboard compatibility. What? Yes, Burton snowboards only have 3 holes for bindings, every other snowboard has four. Make sure your binding has the right hole pattern or that you can exchange the hole piece of the binding
  • Check for anatomical design of the snowboard binding
  • Check for the adjustability of the snowboard binding
  • Other features like gas pedal or toe ramp, tool less adjusters, gel in baseplate… this ads to the price
  • And of course – the color and the look, you can just not have snowboard bindings that do not match with your snowboard.

Enjoy!

24 Comments

  • k says:

    Thanks! What do you think of Ride bindings?

  • admin says:

    Ride are pretty good!

  • Snowboard Binding Reviews says:

    Great Guide! If you want to go into more detail, you may want to mention some of the hybrid binding types out there such as Flow or the K2 Cinch.

  • Alexander Svers says:

    Hi. Great articles!
    I just bought bord, bindings and boots, but know little about what i should be aware of. The boots are 9.5 (Ride) and bindings M size (Ride) the boots fit with a little twitching, but i can stil bend my feet a little forward with little response on the board… Is this because the binding may be to small for the boots? Thanx

  • 3G says:

    Hi Alexander, since you have boots and bindings from the same company – Ride, they should fit without twitching, otherwise 9.5 would be somewhere on the border between M and L, but it really depends on the boot and bindings model (if they are different brands). Try exchanging your bindings for bigger ones.

    As for forward lean, this might happen if the bindings are to small and the upper strap comes so low on your boot that you can still bend it without putting much pressure on the board.

  • t says:

    So my question might have been answered in the article, but im not sure. I have bindings boots and a snowboard, but i was thinking of getting a new board. So my question is will any binding from any brand fit for any board brand accept burton, or no? By the way, my bindings are a 4 hole rossingol. My boots are 5150. And my old board is rossingal. But i got that when i was a just starting out, so i was looking for an upgrade in a nicer board and company. I was thinking ride, nitro, or flow. So will a rossingol binding work with a ride, nitro, or flow board ?

  • 3G says:

    @t: only Burton makes snowboards with 3×3 hole pattern, all other snowboard brands are 4×4. So your 4 hole bindings will go on any board except Burton.

    Today most of the binding manufacturers give you two base plates when you buy new bindings – one for Burton snowboards (3×3) and one for all other snowboards (4×4). So probably you could get a 3×3 baseplate that would fit into your bindings if you wanted to have a Burton snowboard.

  • Bubba says:

    I was wondering, is possible to put burton bindings on an academy snowboard?

  • rolly says:

    how does the plastic stay move? I popped up the little plastic pieced attached to a bolt but the stay won’t move and I don’t want to break it.

  • Weeves says:

    Could I get a 5150 board and use my burton bindings?

  • Lizzie says:

    Ok i bought a snowboard and the boots and of course the bindings.. but do i need a leash? or a stomp pad?

  • Misty says:

    I just bought a snowboard package with the works and as I am mounting my bindings I have a choice of centering my foot in the boot and binding on the board so that my weight is centered, except then the toe egde of my binding is hanging way off the front edge of the board. Also I can pull the toe strap off when it is totally tightened. I have moved the heelcup as far forward as it will go. If I move the binding to where to tow is not hanging off the front edge my heel is way off the board. Are these bindings too big or what.

  • Julie says:

    Hi, I have question. I lost my snowboards binding’s adjusting things. Where can I find that tool? What is name that tool? Thanks much

  • Caedus Neruda says:

    @Bubba & Weeves: If you can find a 4×4 baseplate you might be able to use your Burton bindings for almost any other board. Be careful though, I’ve seen a few boards with a 6-hole pattern.

    @Lizzie: If you’re just starting out a Stomp Pad might help you, but I find them to mostly be a style accessory now. You’ll outgrow the need for it quickly and a leash is pretty unnecessary unless you’re clumsy or using Step In Bindings. Or Both.

    @Misty: If you can pull the toe strap off you’re binding is probably too big. The following is cut and paste from directly above “[i]You must be able to easily adjust the straps without leaving too much strap on either side of the binding. Your boot must fit in nicely and fill the binding completely, the toes must not overhang the binding more that a few inches. Put on your boot, step into the binding and strap in (not to hard). If you can not feel the straps and your boot is not dancing around in the binding you should be fine.[/i]”

  • kizzle says:

    Let’s try and simplify this whole bindings, boots and of course, the boards.

    When it comes to bindings and boots…I will not sa that it’s best to purchase the same brand, although by purchasing the same brand, you do gain compatibility. Almost all boots (not step in/traditional) can find a binding mate. The most important concerns you should have when purchasing are: comfort, stability and if you are able to transfer energy to your board. If even after you try numerous adjustments and are unable to check all three off your list, then they do not fit.

    Personally I look for a board first. I will find a board that meets my own specs and then proceed to a boot that gives me the support i need. As for style, it has to be stylish! Once I have the boots and board, I will proceed to fit a binding. Most bindings, when purchased new from a store, will include a 3 and 4 hole pattern baseplate. Once you find a set of bindings that fit your boots, you’re pretty much golden.

    And once again, if your setup doesn’t match or provide any sort of eye pleasing asthetics, consult a salesperson who doesn’t pee standing up.

    Happy Shredding!

  • Jon says:

    Hey, ive got really big feet (14s…) and my boots stick off my board with about an inch, heel and toe side of overhang. This is actually starting to really interfere with my ability to carve properly cuz my heel and toe stick into the snow when i board… So is there anything i can do/get to stop this from happening??? Maybe like new bindings or a pad to go under the binding to lift my boot up a bit???

  • pete says:

    hi, ive bought a salomon riot 159 with k2 formula bindings xl and thirtytwo lock boa boots size 10. My query is that the boots fit a large binding 7-10 and xl 10-14. im a little worried that my bindings are to big for the board as it is not a wide board. What do you think, am i worrying over nothing or should i have got a large binding 7-10 for the width of the board. Thanx

  • Jessica says:

    My husband has huge feet size 13, just like Jon posted earlier. What could I do to help minimize his toes dragging when he is snowboarding. He has a wide board but it isn’t enough. Does he need lifts of somesort? I am at a loss of what to even look for. Please help

  • BIG FOOT says:

    I too have issues when riding because of my big feet. Having size 14.5 since high school, I’ve learned to cope when it comes to snowboarding. Buying a 1/2 size smaller boot can help reduce some foot-space at the width, most boots take at least a season to pack out but you’ll find an extra 1/2 size space develops over time.

    When it comes to bindings, I’ve found those with a cap strap or device to hold the toe of the boot up help to pull it from the front edge (I ride Burton P1s). Bindings that strap over the top of the boot don’t achieve the same grip. I’m interested to see if the newer Flow bindings can accomodate size 14 boots. Anyone have experience?

    Wide board snowboards. After doing my due diligence, I’ve found that most commercial companies “wide boards” are not THAT wide, or at least wide enough for me. The Burton King (162) I ride is 155mm in width, I found both the Altrec Phenom and Elan El Grande are wider 280mm at the waist. The Phenom is a little less costly, starting around $330 as compared to $500+ for the El Grande.

    How have others coped with having big feet and snowboarding?

  • Amanda says:

    Does the company of the bindings have to be the same as the company of the snowboard?

  • tyler andrews says:

    i am looking to buy a burton cruzer board and i was wondering if i can put any bindings on the board?:'(

  • kieron says:

    hey need urgent help please:) will any bindings fit this board? Flow VERVE Ex Demo Snowboard, 155cm, 2010

  • steele says:

    Generally, you have freeride and freestyle bindings– stiffer, taller vs. softer, lower. You also have metal and plastic components– durablility and weight vs. flex and light weight. Think of your type of riding and go with that. Usually, as said before, 3×3 or channel Burton and 4×4 all others so make sure you get the right plates. Finally, best bindings… subjective, but Union(contemporary and strong) and Ride(lots of metal) for durability and Burton for selection(numerous models).

  • Ethan says:

    I was wondering, a while ago I got a pair of Ride SE XLG step in bindings. Sadly I cant find a pair of boots for the.

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