Some snowboarders search for jumps and others seek pillow lines. Certain riders wonâ€™t leave the jib park alone and others are content riding blue rated trails all day. We all ride different terrain at varying velocities with different goals, but the important part is that we all love to ride.
Snowboarding was a sport filled with rebels when it began. And your mother would not let you within earshot of them. Now, though, snowboarding has broken into the mainstream and rebels are joined by children, college students, mothers, and even 77 year old grandparents.
On the mountain, you can feel free and let your worries slip away as you ride whichever trail you please. First, though, you have to strap in. And to strap in, you need a great set of snowboard bindings.
This post will teach you about different binding components and technologies and review the best snowboard bindings, each for men and women.
Much Awesome: Table of Contents
How to Choose the Best Snowboard Bindings
Bindings should never be overlooked. They might not appear to be any more than a set of straps and a highback that keeps your feet fastened to the snowboard, but bindings are an integral part of your setup.
Different bindings have varying flex, materials, and technologies, which we will run through in this section before reviewing the best snowboard bindings on the market.
Binding flex should play a huge role to determine which type of binding is right for you. Just like with snowboard boots, bindings with soft flex are better for beginners and terrain park riders. They are more comfortable and more forgiving on the slopes.
All-mountain riders should go for a medium to high flex binding and freeriders should look at very stiff bindings to maximize precision in the most intense terrain.
Two main categories of snowboard bindings straps exist — strap bindings and speed-entry bindings.
Strap bindings are the most common type of snowboard binding. They feature straps that ratchet down to secure your boots in place to your preferred tightness. Strap bindings usually provide more cushioning and support than speed-entry bindings. To be truthful, they are by far my favorite type.
The biggest downside of strap bindings is that you have to manually tighten and loosen your binding, which could become bothersome on cold and windy days.
Speed Entry Bindings
Speed-entry bindings are similar to strap bindings with the addition of an adjustable highback. Instead of strapping in your boot every time you ride, all you have to do is move the highback towards the snow and you could slip your boot right into the binding.
These bindings are a lot quicker and easier to handle, but you are sacrificing control for ease of use. Speed-entry snowboard bindings are better for the casual rider, but experts should stick to strap bindings.
Binding Mounting Options
Many different snowboard mounting options exist. Most bolt patterns are either 2×4 (cm) or 4×4, though different snowboard companies have designed their own configurations. The picture below illustrates the different configurations.
Frankly, there isnâ€™t much of a difference between the many configurations besides optics. Some configurations like the Channel are more customizable according to your preferences in boot distance, but the most popular configurations, 2×4 and 4×4, could accommodate most riders.
More than anything else, the more nuanced configurations are a marketing technique. If you want a snowboard that happens to have a Channel mounting system, youâ€™ll have to buy bindings that could mount on that system — and vice versa.
Before you make a purchase, always make sure that the bindings you wish to order are configured to mount onto your snowboard. If they donâ€™t fit, youâ€™ll be sending your bindings back.
Binding stances are the angles to which you set your bindings. They are not a component of the binding itself, but rather the angle that youâ€™ll set your binding plates to your snowboard.
Different stances are best for different styles of riding.
Freestyle riders love using the duck stance, angling their feet away from each other evenly. All mountain riders use something of a reduced duck stance, with their back foot far less angled backwards, and sometimes slightly angled forwards.
This post explains different binding stances in greater detail. I recommend this resource for readers who are curious about what binding stance would be best for them.
Lastly, boot fit is another easily ignorable detail that could lead, once more, to you sending your bindings back.
Not every binding will comfortably fit over your boot. If the binding pinches your boot, itâ€™s a bad fit. The same goes for if the binding strap is too long and drags on the snow or if it is too short and cannot fasten over your boot. Most online websites will write the boot size that each snowboard binding size accommodates.
Choosing The Best Snowboard Bindings
I will clarify a couple more terms before moving on to the reviews.
Baseplates connect your bindings to your snowboard. These are made with different materials, affecting the flex, response, and comfort of your snowboard binding.
Highbacks are the vertical cup that extends from the board to your calf. A lot of your riding power comes from your highbacks. Taller and stiffer highbacks will give you a more controlled ride, but they are less comfortable and forgiving. Shorter and cushioned highbacks, as you might guess, will give you a more comfortable ride and be more forgiving, but also reduce your control.
This picture matches binding parts to their respective location.
Where You Should Buy the Best Snowboard Bindings
Bindings are finicky in that there are certain boots that donâ€™t fit certain bindings and certain bindings that cannot be mounted on certain snowboards. The best way to make sure that your setup will all fit together is to test the whole setup in person.
Your neighborhood snowboard shop will be able to walk you through the whole process, from snowboard boots to bindings and boards. They will be able to fit you well and accommodate your riding ability.
Of course, there is simply a greater variety of snowboard bindings online. And with all the information you can access on the internet, thereâ€™s a good chance that youâ€™ll end up with a setup that more properly suits your riding style than if you were to choose among the limited options in your local snowboard shop.
To be transparent, you also have a greater risk of ending up with a mismatched setup if you buy all your gear online. If you are careful though, and sure to verify that your bindings are compatible with the rest of your snowboarding setup, buying your bindings online might be the best option available to you. This is doubly true if your local shop has a small variety of snowboard bindings.
The following websites have a large collection of bindings at great prices. All of these sites have a very fair return policy in case you end up with a binding that doesnâ€™t match the rest of your snowboard setup.
Snowboard Binding Comparison Table
Bindings are frequently broken down into similar categories as snowboard boots.
With that said, Iâ€™m going to use a similar process and review the best snowboard bindings for beginners, freestyle riders, all mountain riders, and freeriders, each for men and for women.
To explain the categories: style indicates whether the boot is for freestyle riders, freeriders, etc.; flex will indicate a number between 1-10 (the lower the number, the softer the binding); binding entry (strap or speed entry); available sizes; and price.
Below the tables, I will review each of the 8 best snowboard bindings in greater detail, explaining the many technologies of the bindings as well their purpose.
Men’s Best Snowboard Bindings
|Binding Make and Model
|Union Flite Pro
|Burton Malavita EST
*Note that different manufacturers size their products differently. For example, a Medium Flow Fuse is a similar size to a Small Union Flite Pro. Check sizing charts before you cancel out any options because of sizing concerns.
Women’s Best Snowboard Bindings
|Binding Make and Model
|Burton Escapade Re:Flex
*Note that different manufacturers size their products differently. A small size of one binding might be the equivalent size to a medium size of another binding. Always be sure to read the sizing chart.
The Best Snowboard Bindings Reviewed
My intention of this post is to provide you with high-quality content that is longer than a brochure, but not long enough that youâ€™ll have to set your full day aside to read through it.
I reviewed 8 of the best snowboard bindings that caught my eye, and that I believe will catch yours. I chose them because they are rated highly across various reputable snowboarding websites as well as by the riders who shred the slopes all day, with no allegiance to any snowboarding company or website.
I am not reviewing every single component of each binding — there are simply far too many nuanced technologies that I would end up boring you. I have decided to write about the most important technologies of each binding as well as those that are particularly cutting-edge.
The Union Flite Pro is an excellent snowboard binding for beginners. Considering Unionâ€™s reputation as one of the best binding makers on the market and the affordable price of the binding, this was a pretty obvious choice.
The Flite stands forâ€¦ look away, children.. F#cking Light. And itâ€™s true.
The baseplate and highback are built with Duraflex material to maintain a soft and flexy feel regardless of how cold the weather is.
The soft flex and light weight of the Flite Pro makes it an excellent introductory terrain park binding.
The Flite Pros are strap-bindings equipped with aluminum straps. Classic FLAD technology allows you to pull a lever on the highback to adjust your forward lean angle. More of a forward angle is beneficial to carving, enhancing your heelside turns. On the other hand, many freestyle riders prefer little to no forward lean.
The baseplate has a universal disk, meaning that the binding is compatible with 4×2, 4×4, and Channel mounting systems. This reduces confusion for the beginner rider who doesnâ€™t quite know how to pick a binding for their new beginner snowboard.
Union believes in their product, offering a lifetime warranty on baseplates and heel cups, and a 1 year warranty on the rest of the binding.
The Burton Malavita EST is made for the intermediate and expert rider who is planning on hitting big jumps and large jibs, if theyâ€™re not doing it already.
Burton has existed since the beginning of snowboarding and they consistently release boards, boots, and bindings that become standards of the industry. The Malavita EST is relatively expensive, but the binding is excellent and built with cutting-edge technologies.
The bindings have a medium flex, perfect for a mix of jumps and rails. The medium flex of the Malavita makes the binding a decent all-mountain terrain option, but itâ€™s definitely built for the park.
The Canted Living Hingeâ„¢ technology allows you to adjust your forward lean and hi-back rotation independently, all the while eliminating hardware and reducing the weight of the binding.
DialFLADâ„¢ provides you the ability to adjust the forward lean of your highback. Little to no angle is best for jibbing while a forward angle is perfect for superpipe riding.
Dual-Component ESTÂ® replaces the material beneath your feet with cushioning, allowing for more flex, a softer feel, and a lighter binding. EST enables you to customize your stance options to a greater extent than with other technologies.
The Malavita EST highbacks are designed to follow the contours of your legs to maximize control and comfort.
Burton baseplates are backed by a lifetime warranty, while binding straps and highbacks are backed by a 1-year warranty.
The Flow Fuse is a fantastic all-mountain snowboard binding. It is not designed to specialize in a single type of terrain, but rather a mix of every type of terrain. Whether you want to carve down groomed trails, float over powder, test your luck on the snowcross course, or ride park laps, the Fuse is a great binding.
The Fuse comes in two different options: Hybrid or Fusion straps. Hybrid PowerStraps connect the ankle strap to the toe-cap strap. This offers a mix of control and flexibility.
Fusion one-piece PowerStraps cover a larger area of your foot, providing both comfort and control, yet providing slightly less flexibility.
The FUSE-series baseplate is one of Flowâ€™s softer baseplates, providing a comfortable, fun, and pretty responsive ride, if not as responsive as Flowâ€™s firmer baseplates.
Locking Strap Ratchet buckles give you the option to strap in and out of your bindings either using speed entry or strap entry. Because the highback is adjustable to a greater extent than highbacks of exclusively strap entry bindings, control might be compromised slightly with this binding.
Nonetheless, the Flow Fuse is perhaps the best all-mountain binding on the market. It is known for its energy transfer capabilities, making riding much less exhausting. The Flow Fuse and its components are covered by a 1-year warranty.
The Rome Katana is made for the advanced shredder who doesnâ€™t hold back. The Katana is far from being the cheapest binding in the world, but you probably donâ€™t want a flimsy $100 set of bindings on your snowboard when youâ€™re halfway down a 20 foot drop, do you?
Equipped with AsymWrap Technology, the Katana offers powerful and quick edge-to-edge response, necessary for hucking cliffs and dodging trees, while also providing enough side-to-side flex to allow for a fun and loose ride.
D30 technology under the baseplate offers the highest level of impact absorption — 30% higher than the commonly used EVA technology. Considering the intensity of freeriding, impact absorption is one of the most important details of a freeride snowboard binding.
Romeâ€™s ProGrip strap with AuxTech features a toe-strap with an auxetic pattern that will hold your boot securely without causing any pressure points.
The highback of the Rome Katana is adjustable.You could rotate the highback so it aligns with the heel edge of your board, providing better power transfer and more precise edge hold.
For whatever reason, Rome only offers a 30 day warranty on the Katana. I give you my word though — if you are an intense freerider who wants one of the best bindings ever made, period, you will not regret this purchase, much less think of returning it.
The Union Rosa is a great beginner snowboard binding. These bindings are designed to offer comfort above all, which is important considering that beginners are often nursing foot cramps before they make it down the hill.
The Rosa is a little bit more stiff than beginner bindings tend to be, but the stiffness is compensated with comfort. In any case, these medium flex bindings are perfect for all-mountain riding once you get the hang of carving.
Union Rosas are strap bindings equipped with aluminum straps, allowing for quick ins and outs, if not quite as quick as speed-entry bindings.
Classic FLAD technology allows you to pull a lever on the highback to adjust your forward lean angle. Different forward lean angles provide better control for different types of riding. Park riders prefer little to no lean angle while intense carvers like a further forward lean angle.
Universal disk compatibility means that you could mount these bindings on the beginners snowboard of your choice.
Union offers a lifetime warranty on the baseplate and heelcup of the Rosa. They back the other components of the binding with a 1 year warranty.
The K2 Meridian rips. It is designed specifically for the park rider and the demanding landings that they endure. The binding is firmer than many freestyle bindings, so youâ€™ll also be comfortable riding around the mountain.
The soft-medium flex binding is designed to be cushioned enough for jump lines yet flexy enough for the rail park. Urethane dampeners in the baseplate provide solid shock absorption to make riding easier on your body.
The Eclipseâ„¢ Highback is specifically designed for women riders. The highback is slightly shorter than normal, providing comfort for the rider.
The Benderâ„¢ Ankle Strap is the most flexible padless option that K2 offers. It is designed to provide maximum mobility for the freestyle rider without sacrificing too much comfort.
The ankle straps and highback could be adjusted with your hands to suit your boot size and riding style — no tools necessary. The binding has a 2×4 and Channel mounting pattern.
K2 backs the Meridian with a 1 year warranty for all components.
The Burton Escapade Re:Flex is built for all mountain riders. The binding is lightweight, medium-flex, and cushioned for any type of terrain on the mountain. It isnâ€™t the cheapest binding on the list, but riders seem to love it and feel that the binding is worth the extra dough.
Re:Flexâ„¢ technology in the baseplate improves board flex and feel while reducing weight. The binding is compatible with 4×4, 2×4, Channel, and Burton 3D mounting systems.
The Kickback Hammock highback provides a 2-piece highback that molds to your heel. The internal spring provides more kick, better response, and reduced vibration in the binding.
The Hammockstrap is designed to maximize response with minimal materials. The FullBed Cushioning System provides the rider with a comfortable ride that minimizes fatigue.
Burton has been around since snowboarding began and their bindings are always among the best in the game. Burton Escapade Re:Flex baseplates are backed by a lifetime warranty, while their binding straps and highbacks are backed by a 1-year warranty.
The Flux GX is made for the advanced shredder — for cliff drops, tree runs, and backcountry terrain. They are very stiff and high response bindings that will not treat a beginner kindly. The Flux GX is specifically designed for next-level riding and nothing less.
The Transfer Base in the baseplate is built for maximum power transfer between the rider, bindings, and snowboard. The baseplate is built with a nylon and fiberglass mix for all around performance.
The GX Redux Lean Adjuster on the highback allows you to adjust the forward lean on your binding. A solid amount of forward lean is recommended for tree runs, where intense carves are crucial and every second counts. The Micro Adjuster allows for your highback adjustments to be as small as you wish.
The Waffle Strap around the ankle is designed to give you maximum response. The Toe Strap is designed to fit comfortably around your boot while providing excellent power transfer.
The Flux GX is compatible with 2×4 and 4×4 mounting systems. Flux offers a 1 year warranty on the binding and its components. Once more, this binding is designed for the best. It will enhance your experience on the slopes, but only if youâ€™re ready for it.
My idea was to keep my reviews detailed yet concise. I wanted to review the best bindings on the market and give you an idea of what makes them so great, while trying to avoid drowning you with unnecessary information.
As I tend to say, the best way of trying out a binding is to test it in person. Unfortunately, most shops are limited and, thankfully, you could usually find enough information online to be almost 100% sure that you are buying the right binding for you.
Snowboarding bindings are not to be overlooked. They are just as important as your snowboard and boots, and while an excellent binding will set you up for success, a cheap binding will set you up for an uncontrolled and flimsy ride.
Thereâ€™s no need to shell out $500 or more on a binding unless you want the single most technical and well-built binding on the market. Good bindings could be relatively cheap — every binding that I reviewed was under $400. They are cheaper than the best boots and boards, but, once more, that does not make the binding any less important.
I hope this post helped you on your search. Happy riding (and please wear a helmet)!