Purchasing Snowboard Bindings can be a scary task to somebody who’s never snowboarded before. When I first learned how to shred, a friend of mine was the manager at a local snowboard shop. She got me setup, and told me what everything did. I understand that most people do not have that luxury so I started writing this guide and hopefully it’ll help demystify everything.
First off, it’s extremely important to remember that how the binding looks should be secondary to the bindings function. I know you might want sweet looking or cute bindings, but what good are they if you can’t ride in them? Always look at their function first, and then at cuteness. There’s more than enough brands/styles of bindings, you’ll find something you’ll be happy with.
***For Example: One of my biggest pet peeves came when I went gear shopping with a former Girlfriend. We spent the entire time arguing over a pair of bindings she wanted to purchase. For some reason, I couldn’t explain to her why she needed something functional and not cute, but communication wasn’t our strong suit, it’s probably why we broke up, but that’s a story for another time.
How Do I Choose Snowboard Bindings?
Back to the present. The Second thing you should do is read through the riding styles I’ve posted below. Knowing your snowboarding style will automatically filter out some of the binding types right from the start.
These are generalizations, so they cover everything. Also because you’ve decided on one doesn’t mean you can’t do them all. For example I take my all mountain board into the park pretty often, but my favorite place is anywhere with deep powder and trees.
What is The Best Snowboard Binding For Beginners?
If you’re just getting into snowboarding. Make sure you purchase something that has some flex (see below for what flex is). With more flex the bindings will have more give and you won’t hurt yourself as much.
This is key to starting out on the mountain, you can always buy some stiffer bindings later on when you’ve got your skill level built up.
As for what bindings I would recommend, I wrote extensively about Ride Bindings (in case you need to know about the company. You can check out my reviews on all of ride snowboard bindings here.
What Is Your Riding Style?
If you’re new to Snowboarding, these riding styles will not matter as much. They’re listed more as guidelines. Also if you’re new, I always recommend buying softer bindings (on the 3-5 measurement scale or sometimes they’re called park bindings) Softer bindings are a lot more forgiving. This softer flex will help you immensely when starting out. Then after you tear up the hills a bit, and you get more in the intermediate level. It’s more of a preference, what type of rider you are, and where you like to shred on the mountain.
For example; I’m an all mountain rider, this means I ride all over the mountain, and I like stiffer more responsive bindings.
Snowboard Binding Riding StyleS
ALL-Mountain Snowboard Bindings: Generally these shredders hit the mountain hard and ride anything on it. They Shred Trees, Groomed Runs, And The Back Country. Traditionally they use a Stiffer Binding (More info below on that) These bindings give them precision on the fly.
Park: Or Freestyle Snowboard Bindings: Generally speaking these shredders spend a good portion of their time in the park. They ride boxes, rails, and fly off jumps. Traditionally their boots have more cushioning to soften landings & dampen shocks from tricks. Their bindings have a softer flex because they’re more forgiving.
Powder Snowboard Bindings: Usually these bindings are stiffer so the rider can hit up back country areas with more control. They usually attach to a wider board so it floats on top of deeper powder.
These classifications aren’t exclusive, they just help when you’re trying to find the gear best suited to your style. As an intermediate or advanced rider, you could take a park board and tear up the mountain. You’d probably enjoy it too. However when you’re a beginner it’s safer to not hit up such extremes.
Snowboard Bindings And Flex; What Is It?
When you go to a Snowboard Shop or WebSite like TheHouse, or if you’re purchasing them from Amazon. You’ll see a flex rating on most of them. These flex ratings will usually be on a 1-10, or a Soft, Medium, Stiff scale. There’ll be a few variations, but they’re easy to figure out.
When I ride, I fit the mold of an All-Mountain Shredder. My Bindings are in the 7 or stiff part of the scale. If I jump on a board with a softer binding, it takes a run or two for me to adjust.
Generally speaking most park riders like softer bindings while all mountain riders use stiffer ones. There is some overlap and preference does trump anything that comes up. However if you’re still new to the snowboarding world. It’s a good idea to follow these recommendations.
Types Of Bindings
Generally speaking, there’s only two types of Snowboard bindings, and strap bindings are more prevalent than step in bindings. In the last few years step-ins have been making a come back. With improved technology, that trend might continue on.
These are your traditional bindings. They have two straps, one goes over the toes, and the other over the heels. A couple of variations have developed out of this basic design.
Some bindings merge the toe and heel binding strap into one giant strap. Personally I think they look weird, but I think they’d be fine for maneuvering.
Many intermediate and advanced bindings have switched their toe strap to a toe cup. I personally feel that it improves control. For a toe cup, instead of the binding going over the toes keeping them attached to the board. It wraps around the front of your boot. They are a bit more expensive, depending on the brand, but I’d say they’re worth it. As a side note watch out for heel drag with these, if you have it either angle the bindings more or get a bigger snowboard.
Step In Bindings
I’ve seen two different types of step in bindings. If you know of another, feel free to comment below, I’d love to hear about them (Bonus points if you have pictures).
The first kind of step in Bindings I’ve seen, are just metal plates that you step on, and they lock onto your boot. You probably won’t be able to find these in a store, as they don’t sell them anymore. The first thing I noticed about them, was a lack of a back rest. This could cause maneuvering issues. However I had a friend who rode on them and he wouldn’t ride on anything else, and didn’t have issues maneuvering. It might’ve been a familiarity thing.
The second kind involves the backrest. With these you’ll step into the bindings from the back because it’ll be down. Once your feet are in position, you can move the backrest forward. It will automatically lock due to a cable, and you’re free to ride. These work really great, I’ve seen people ride with these and they seem to love them, another one of my buddies has a pair, and he’s always waiting on us to finish strapping in. Must be rough.
Materials Snowboard Bindings Are Made Of:
Usually the bindings you buy are made from two different materials, metal or plastic. A lot benefits can come from both, so I’ve put my thoughts below on the subject.
Metal Bindings tend to weigh more, but I’ve never had a pair wear out on me. The two pairs I’ve owned are as responsive today as they were when I took them out of the box. They tend to be more expensive, but that might just be the kind I wound up purchasing.
Plastic: These things are usually light weight, responsive, and usually pretty cheap. I had an epic pair of plastic bindings once, but after two seasons they were bent out of shape from use. I couldn’t use them anymore. They are cheap so you can replace them easily.
Snowboard Bindings; Compatibility
When you purchase your bindings you’ll get a couple of disks (usually included). These disks are how you will attach your bindings to your snowboard. There are 4 different types of disks, with the last two being from Burton. If you have something that’ll fit the first two, you’ll be golden.
I’ll be going more into depth on this topic on a later blog, when I talk about Snowboard stance and binding setup.
I’m going to be writing an additional blog on beginner stance in the future, so make sure you check that out soon. However below I’m going to list a few tips/tricks.
Your binding width should be slightly wider than your shoulders.
Center the bindings on the snowboard, if it’s 12″ from the front binding to the nose, make it 12′ from the rear binding to the tail.
Put your front foot angle at 9 degrees and your back at 12 degrees.
Like I said above, I’ll be writing a more in depth blog in the future on this topic. This blog is about what to buy and it’ll get really long if I go into that.
Below I’ve placed a few of the major questions people ask when purchasing bindings.
Do Bindings Fit All Snowboards?
Generally speaking all bindings should fit all snowboards. Off the top of my head there’s a few exceptions. Burton has made a channel system and doesn’t play nice with a few other companies. (Ride Being One Of Them).
Most other companies will create/sell adapter plates that’ll help you adapt their bindings to the snowboard you have. However, if you’re unsure, bring your board with you to the shop, take a picture of it, or make a phone call.
It never hurts to ask, and you might be saving yourself a lot of money. The one time you assume, could be the time it doesn’t work.
Do Snowboard Boots And Bindings Need To Match?
They really don’t. In fact the only thing you need is a good fit. Make sure the straps are tight, not killing your feet, and you can shred.
The matching is all about personal preference. I wouldn’t be to worried about it unless you wanna have style shredding down the mountain, and if that’s the case just see if the bindings come in any other colors. (or boots)
What Size Bindings Should I Get For My Snowboard?
In reality, you need to look at your boot size and make sure the boots will fit your binding. Generally speaking anything under mens size 10 will need a L size bindings. Over will need XL.
However, look at the box the bindings came in, and it should tell you right on the box. Remember, fit is the most important piece to this.
Snowboard Bindings In Conclusion.
Thank You So Much For Taking The Time And Reading My Blog. I Hope You Enjoyed It. Don’t Forget To Take The Time And Like It.