Snowboard bindings come in many shapes, sizes and types. So how do you find the right bindings for you?
Here are the 5 key things you need to think about when buying your bindings.
1) Flex / Response
What is flex?
Flex is how flexible your bindings are and how much they bend. Flex is determined by both the main chassis of your binding (the part you stick your boots on), as well as the highback (the part that goes behind your leg).
What flex do I want?
More flexibility means less response. Think of it like driving a car. A more flexible binding is less responsive, like a big SUV. On the other hand, a really stiff binding is like a sports car, really responsive. Both have their purposes and just like a car, some people will prefer more response while others will prefer less.
Which flex do I start with?
Most companies will have a number chart out of 10. Usually 1 is the least responsive and 10 is the most responsive. A good starting point is getting a mid flex binding, something in the middle-ish flex range will do the job and hold it’s own anywhere on the mountain.
What is a highback?
The highback is the movable section of the bindings that goes behind your leg and extends up the back of your calf.
What does a highback do?
Highbacks add to the flex and response of your bindings, as well as determine how much control you have over your heel-side turning.
What highback do I want?
You need to decide how tall you want your highbacks to be. Different bindings come with different heights of highbacks.
Higher highback – More control over your heel side turns, but some find it uncomfortable on the back of their calf and it’s harder to make small adjustments. Example – Burton Cartels
Lower highback - Less control and response, but a lot easier to make small adjustments while riding. Also pretty comfortable on the back of your leg.
3) Forward Lean
Bindings come with an adjustment on the back of the highback area, behind your ankle. This adjusts how far forward the highback leans.
Why is this important?
All bindings have a little bit of natural forward lean built into them. Some bindings have a more aggressive forward lean that can annoy riders who prefer to ride with little/no forward lean.
What forward lean do I want?
I’d recommend starting with bindings that have a low natural forward lean. You can always add forward lean later by adjusting the settings behind your highbacks.
How do I get the binding size right?
Each binding company will have a general boot size range for their bindings, but I highly recommend that you bring your boots with you when buying bindings.
Each boot company makes their boots slightly different, so a size 9 US boot from Burton won’t fit on your bindings the same size as a size 9 US boot from K2. Bring your boots with you and strap them into the bindings.
This way you’ll know that they fit for sure.
What is canting?
Without getting too technical, basically it means the base of your bindings are tilted to help your knees bend in a more natural, comfortable way.
Why is canting useful?
Canting makes your knees feel more comfortable when you ride. It helps them to sit in a more natural position.
Do I want canting?
It’s not a must have, but it’s definitely nice to have them. I definitely do notice a difference in my post surgery knees. If you have knee injuries or knee problems, you’ll definitely prefer canted bindings.
What would you recommend as a good all-rounder binding?
Guys: If I had to pick only one binding for every type of riding, I’d go with the K2 Formulas. They have a medium-ish flex, average sized highback, low natural forward lean and come with canted footbeds. This makes them a great choice for all types of riding.
Girls: The Burton Lexa is a great all-rounder binding for women. It’s similar to the guy’s K2 Formula’s in that it is medium flex with an average sized women’s highback that isn’t too aggressive. Overall, a very nice do everything binding that works for any terrain.
What bindings do you use and why? Let me know!