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Snowboard Binding Buyer’s Guide

We’ve got another great article here from our buddy Josh, who wrote our popular Snowboard Buyer’s Guide earlier this year. Josh returns with a closer look at bindings, and what to look for.

I love snowboarding. In fact, I love everything about it. Okay, I don’t like long lift lines or paying $10 for a burger at the chalet, but I do dig everything else. This includes the culture of snowboarding and technical aspects of the hardware. In terms of hardware, I wanted to know what makes one board better than another and how we can know which board is right for us when we want to get one. So I did some homework.

I have spent a lot of time over the past six months or so looking at different snowboard equipment manufacturers. Now I’d like to share what I found with you and maybe get some feedback. First off, I won’t say too much about Burton. They are the giant of the industry and they do make a lot of quality products. I rode Burton Cartels a few times and while they are great bindings, they are just a little too soft and flexible for my liking. I sometimes feel like Burton is overrated, but if I didn’t know what manufacturer to go with, I supopose Burton would be a safe choice. But what about the less obvious choices? What else is out there?

Sometimes boarders tend to think that the board is the most important piece of equipment, then the bindings, and finally the boots. I would argue that the reverse order is true. You MUST have warm and comfortable boots to have a good day on the mountain. I’ll talk more about boots in a future article.

Today, we will look at bindings. Make sure you buy bindings that match your riding style. If you are a freestyle park dweller, you’ll need soft flexible bindings with a low back that are built for the park. Otherwise, stick with some solid all-mountain bindings.

Keep your eyes peeled for Union bindings. They are known for their quality and simplicity. I personally also like their subtle marketing approach – many snowboard manufacturers use the “in your face to the f’n extreme!” style of marketing which I don’t really care for.

Rome and Ride make great bindings, but stick to the high end of the spectrum – you don’t want to skimp on bindings because they are too important. Luckily, you can save a lot of money by buying last year’s model. Ride has a new Contraband strap system that looks strange, but intersting. Check out their site and take a close look at the ATV collection. The Rome lineup is small, but solid. They have a lot of dampening pads and are pretty light.

I started out with Flow bindings. These bindings are indeed easy to get into, but I just did not think they gave me the control I wanted. They were also very heavy. I know that since then Flow has made much lighter models. I just don’t see how their system can provide the same control and perfect fit that strap bindings do. I would love to try one of their new top end models.

I personally love Salomon bindings. They have a great feature that makes it so that you never have to feed the strap over your toe into the ratchet (it never completely comes out) thus saving a lot of time. I bought a set of Salomon Relay XLT’s in the off season and I can’t wait to try them out. I still have my old SP4 Salomon’s. They are beyond comfortable, but one of the ankle straps comes loose, even after I replaced the ratchet. Despite that I want to stick with Salomon. Salomon bindings are a bit heavy and bulky, but that are also very sturdy, easy to use, and comfortable.

Now, I know that there are plenty of other great options for bindings, including Burton, but I wanted to talk about this group of manufacturers that I trust. If you have an amazing set of bindings, then let us know about them. It is important to have bindings that give you both quality and comfort, so let’s share what we know. After all, having a binding break when you’re out shredding BLOWS!


  1. I ride all mountain but I am starting to focus my efforts on freestyle. I’m really looking forward to purchasing a set of Union bindings and trying them out. I love every C3 Worldwide.

    I agree that the Contraband system seems interesting. From what I’ve read on various forums some people have demoed them and really like them.

    Posted by RL | September 4, 2008, 11:36 pm
  2. C3 Worldwide “brand”, that is.

    Posted by RL | September 4, 2008, 11:38 pm
  3. I ride all mountain and prefer Flow bindings. Having tried other bindings first, I like the way my Flows distribute pressure across my feet.

    That said, theres no substitute for trying different bindings.

    Posted by Ben | September 9, 2008, 3:53 am
  4. Hey RL, let me know how those Union bindings work out when you end up getting them.

    Ben, you make a good point about Fows and their ability to distribute pressure.

    Has anyone ever tried Bent Metal bindings?

    Posted by Josh | September 10, 2008, 7:59 pm
  5. Nice tips Adam.
    I started out with flow bindings too and definitely agree with the distribution pressure. I heard K2 cinch are also good all mountain to throw another similar design out there. I have K2 formula at the moment but I only had a chance to try them a couple of times to comment. Also VERY interested in comments on the Bent Metal bindings when someone tries them.

    Posted by Grant | November 4, 2008, 4:19 pm
  6. I had a pair of Ride bindings (think the vxn’s) I bought with my board, but after one season I traded them in for Salomon bindings and I don’t think I will ride anything else. Absolutely in love with them. One of my old bosses at my mountain swore by them and now I know why. I’ve also converted some friends!

    Posted by Pam | December 29, 2008, 5:28 pm
  7. Agreed i hate waiting in long lines thats why i love lake louise i find its never more then a 10 min line and if you stay at the top and take the lift up there you will never have to wait in line.

    Posted by andrew | March 29, 2009, 6:17 pm
  8. These are great tips.
    I just bought some Rossignol bindings, but haven’t had a chance to try them out. I am an intermediate rider. Any insights?

    Posted by Joe Custom X | September 15, 2009, 8:45 am
  9. I have had two pairs of Burton Bindings and I love them.. tried a pair of Ride’s a few years ago and they did not even last the full season.

    Posted by Scott | September 7, 2011, 9:10 pm