How to Choose Snowboard Bindings
Finding the right set of snowboard bindings can take your riding to the next level in terms of comfort and control. That is why we have put together a list of key components to look at next time you are thinking about a new pair of snowboard bindings.
Snowboard bindings are an integral part of your set up. It is what connects you to your board, it transfers every movement through to the board. A good binding should enhance the natural flex pattern of your board and provide all day comfort adding to your riding experience.
When looking at bindings, one of the hardest aspect to figure out is flex. Manufacturers will give you a number between 1-10, 1 being softest and 10 being stiffest, however this is not standardised, so a binding with a flex rating of 4 could be another company’s flex rating 6. To diffuse the situation, we here at Snow + Rock have standardised flex rating into 3 categories, Soft, Medium and Stiff. As a rule of thumb, the more experience the rider the stiffer the binding they will ride, however binding flex also depends of your style of riding.
The Highback is the vertical plate from the heel cup to the lower calf of the rider. They are critical to the support for turning. Highbacks are made up of a variety of materials and height that all effect the flex of the binding. Hence flex and highbacks are closely interlinked.
When looking at bindings, the flex rating and highback you choose will ultimately come down to person preference, ability and your style of riding.
All mountain snowboarders need their board boots and bindings to be flexible enough to ride in the park but stiff enough for a responsive ride through the trails and backcountry. A medium flex is best for all mountain riding, however personal preference can trump this. If you like bombing it down the piste, carving and do some backcountry stuff then you may look at a stiff flex. On the other hand, if you like to just cruise around the mountain and spend some time in the park then you may prefer a softer flex.
Freestyle bindings are typically softer with a shorter highback to make it easier to butter and tweak those grabs out. If you spend your time in the park hitting rails, buttering and nollie’ing then you will want a soft binding, however if you are more into sending it off booters and taking it deep, then you might want to look at a medium flex binding for more support on those sketchy landing.
For those aggressive riders that like to live in the backcountry, shredding through powder, you will need a binding that is super responsive. For this a stiff binding is suggested to maximise responsiveness.
Rear Entry Bindings
Rear entry highback allow boots to be slipped in and out form the rear and the highback to be snapped back into place. These bindings are faster to get in to after each chair lift and are great for riders who are looking for efficiency and comfort.
The baseplate of the binding is the main connection between the binding and the board. All of the energy transfer from the rider to the board goes through the baseplate. Baseplates are made of a variety of different materials and feature a different strength-to-flex ratio that will ultimately effect power transmission and durability. The current trend in snowboard bindings is to reduce overall bulk of the baseplate construction to create a more direct connection and get rid of dead spots between the board and binding.
Cushioning can be found beneath or on top of the baseplate to help dampen the bindings and absorb vibration, making the board more comfortable to ride. Freestyle riders may want more cushioning under foot to absorb impact from landings, whilst aggressive riders may opt for less cushion for an extra board feel.
Straps are what secures your boot into the binding and helps to transmit power into the highback and baseplate. It is important to adjust your straps to fit your boot model.
TOE CAP STRAP
This strap sits on the front of the boots toe box for comfort, which helps to pull the boot back into the heel cup. This strap is seen to be more responsive and comfortable for a long day of rider.
TRADITIONAL TOE STRAP
This strap is usually on lower-end and youth bindings. The strap simply holds your boot in place and doesn’t not pull the boot back into the heel cup. It cannot be used as a toe cap strap.
HYBRID TOE STRAP
This strap is usable in a traditional style over the foot or tilted forward for use like a toe cap strap.
This strap secures the top of the foot and ankle that keeps the boot in position. This strap is critical for providing response and power to the binding, without it the bindings would fail.
Most common on rear entry and youth bindings, this is one giant strap that covers your boot from right before your ankle to just before your toes.
Snowboard bindings generally come in Small S/M, Medium M/L and Large L/LX. It is vital that you get the correct size bindings that match both your boot and your board. You do not want your foot sliding around because the binding is too big, nor your binding hanging off your board. Each manufacture will have little size differences, so always check the size guide or talk to one of our Snow + Rock experts. Most bindings will offer several strap length and heel cup adjustments to allow for a customized fit.
The heel of your boot should fit snugly into the binding with the straps being secured, the ratchet should sit midway through the track. A properly fit binding should allow the boot to flex, but not sway. If you have comfortable boots, and the bindings securely grip your boots with no extra play, then you have a good match.