No matter how well you choose your snowboard boots, you still need a good grasp of the bindings.
Are snowboard bindings universal? The simple and short answer is: no. You can get different types and styles to suit each rider. This is where it differs from skiers’ bindings.
Skiers essentially do one thing, and that is that they go downhill. They ride the chairlift up and then go down again. That’s the whole day really.
Snowboarders have a bit more freedom. They can ride down the hills, but they can also head into the snowboard parks, on the half-pipes, over the jumps, and along the rails. They can even ride in urban settings.
This why snowboard bindings should fit what the riders intend to do. The best snowboard bindings give you the freedom to move into the parks and pipes, but they’re also stiff enough to ride downhill when required.
While we recognize that you’re (hopefully) not setting your own bindings in the beginning, you should at least understand what to expect from a professional fitter and how they’ll adjust your board.
There is a lot more to understand about bindings (mounting patterns, sizing charts, channel systems, binding/board compatibility…etc.), but that’s all for later when you’re a bit more advanced. For now, we’ll keep things simple and give you enough information to get you going.
Our Top Picks of the Best Snowboard Bindings
We’re going to recommend some of the best bindings and boots that suit beginners and those looking to try out different styles of snowboarding. Take a look and see what you think!
It’s not easy being a large human, and not that many things fit like a glove, but these bindings do. You literally put them on like you would a slipper and they are as comfortable to boot.
The 3D molded ankle strap is covered with polyurethane composites, making them extra responsive and incredibly comfortable while riding. That being said, there are nowhere near being flimsy and will endure even the hardest of tracks.
Finally, the multidisc base plate is easily locked on all board types, including the Burton Channel EST boards.
- Large fit
- Vey comfortable
- Compatible with all boards
- Full EVA padding on the highback
For a brand name like Drake to put out these bindings, they come with a heavy burden of reputation and expectation. And they deliver.
It’s certainly surpassed our expectations of a beginner’s binding, but it’s designed to do much more than accommodate for a softer flex. It also doesn’t come with a heavy weighty addition to your board. The large bindings actually weigh little and won’t interfere with your ride at all.
We also love the shock-absorbing portions of the baseplate, perfect for the types of rides you’re going to want to do.
- Solid central spine
- Strong and comfortable GT strap
- MG12 fast ratchet
- Good vibration reduction
This is a slightly higher end style of binding. It’s not cheap, but it’s not the most expensive either. We found, in comparison, that it seems to be the most economical choice for a high-performance binding that delivers again and again.
It’s the Flow Fuse that continually ranks among the top bindings each and every year. Flow has a commitment to providing a binding that won’t stop you from enjoying your day. The Flow Fuse is a great example of a simple, straight-forward binding that delivers on its promise.
It’s also a good example of how to pick a binding that performs like a high-end product without the high-end price tag. We can assure you: should you buy these bindings, you’ll still enough left over to buy that cutie at the lodge some hot cocoa when you see them next.
- Hybrid power-cap strap and a Fusion Powerstrap
- Nylon modback highback
- Nylon Rockered Base Plate
- Very comfortable
- Best quality overall
5th Element is possible the best snowboard binding that you can find before venturing into professional equipment. It is appropriate for snowboarders of all levels and gives a smooth and steady ride.
The flex is sure to protect your ankles but will not fight your style of riding, and the single-component highback has an easy adjuster that can be changed on the spot. This makes the adjustment process to the bindings much easier for even novice riders.
Finally, the padded plate underneath the bindings significantly reduce any vibrations from the ground, including frozen snow. Even experienced snowboarders will appreciate this because it means you can ride longer and harder, without taxing your feet as much.
Generally, the 5th Element Stealth is one of the best value products on the market today.
- Adjustable highback
- Locked-in control
- Reduces vibrations
- Excellent value
Snowboard Bindings Buyer’s Guide
If you are an experienced snowboarder, you know how significant bindings are. The best bindings not only allow you to have better control over your ride and to attempt more challenging declines but also protect your ankles and your feet from all the tremors and vibrations that you will find on the slope.
Picking out the best snowboard binding is a two-part endeavor. The first part is technical, as you will need to know all of the terms and types of bindings.
The second is instinctual. The foot likes what it likes. Trust your foot.
With a little bit of information and some confidence in your own ability to judge what feels good, you will have the best bindings that can conquer any track.
Snowboard Bindings: What the Key Words Mean
Just a quick overview of the main terms here.
Highback Plate: This is the vertical portion of the binding, sitting against your heel and Achilles tendon. It provides much of the support and flex of the binding
Baseplate: This is the part of the binding that’s screwed into the board itself. It’s where you plant your boot and provides much of the transfer of power from body to board.
Straps: These are what hold your boot into the bindings. Most straps cross over the toes and the top of the foot. They provide some of the flex as well, allowing enough movement to be productive, but not enough so that your foot feels loose.
Different Bindings for Different Kinds of Riding
Much like your board itself, you can customize your bindings to suit the type of ride you’ll be taking.
All-Mountain: If you’re not certain where you’ll end up on the mountain, choose an all-mountain binding. It has a soft-to-medium flex to suit both beginner downhill runs and some limited jumps and park play.
Freestyle: If you’re all about the pipes and urban style ride, you’ll want a freestyle binding.
Let’s face it. If you’re trying out the park for the first time, or the hundredth time, you’re going to fall. There will be plenty of errors. And as long as that doesn’t bother you, aim for a freestyle binding that provides enough give for all those jumps, twists, and hard landings. A soft flex will be perfect for the movements of the freestyle park play.
Freeride: We’ll tell you about freeride bindings, but we don’t see this as a beginner binding. This style of binding is very rigid and meant for extreme riders who need limited flex in their boots and bindings.
This applies to fast speeds, deep powder, and any backcountry riding. You may aspire to get there one day, but it would be too rigid for a beginner still getting used to the experience.
Types of Snowboard Bindings
Let’s cover the types of bindings you’ll see. This can go into great depths, but we’ll just lightly skim across the basics for you to grasp.
Strap-in: This is probably one of the most similar parts of a snowboard boot to ski boots. The strap-in bindings are quite familiar to anybody having spent time on skis.
The bindings have at least two straps. They are adjustable and can be suited to your comfort and flex requirements quite easily. It does suit any style of ride quite easily.
They do require a bit more time in getting in and out of. It’s probably best you send your skiers friends ahead while you get used to adjusting the bindings on your boot.
Rear-Entry: For quicker access, some riders prefer this type of binding. It’s a hinged highback plate that allows you to step in and out of the bindings quickly.
We recommend using this type of boot for riders who prefer comfort, such as when you’re doing freestyle snowboarding.