Shopping for snowboard bindings

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After snowboard boots, snowboard bindings are perhaps the most crucial piece of equipment for snowboarders. They ultimately provide the link between the brain and the board, ensuring that the brilliant thinking in your head can be translated into fantastic trickery on the board.

However, you may be wondering precisely what kind of things you should be considering when heading out for the first time to buy snowboard bindings. Ultimately, you should be seeking some snowboard bindings which are compatible with the flex of your snowboard boots (which, by the way, should always be purchased beforehand, to make choosing your bindings less problematic) and appropriate for your “riding style”, which incorporates the kind of terrain you usually ride on. And there’s no harm in identifying boots and bindings which make for an attractive visual match!

However, there arguably remains several much more important things to consider while shopping for snowboard bindings. For instance, it is crucial to make sure that your boots and bindings are compatible. Admittedly, incompatibility between boots and bindings is relatively rare, but can still occur – and bringing your boots along to the shop to try on along with the bindings is one useful method of guarding against it.

It is similarly important that you seek snowboard bindings which appear appropriate for the terrain you usually ride on. This is made easier due to the various categories that terrain types often fall into, like ‘all-mountain’, ‘freestyle/park’, ‘freeride’, ‘powder’ and ‘splitboards’.

Snowboard bindings fall into three general categories:

Strap bindings

Both the most common and (usually) most affordable type. Straps secure each boot, and there are plentiful adjustment options. On the negative side, however, manually buckling and unbuckling the straps can prove a struggle during cold conditions and while wearing gloves.

Rear-entry bindings

Despite their apparent similarity to strap bindings, these are easier for boots to go in and out of, thanks to their hinged highback. This is often especially appreciated by more casual snowboarders.

Burton EST (Extra Sensory Technology) bindings

Only compatible with the Channel mounting system from Burton Snowboards, these specialized bindings permit the rider comprehensive stance, width and angle options. However, the price range is certainly at the higher end for snowboard bindings.

Snowboard bindings tend to come in two or three general sizes: like small, medium and large, or S/M, M/L and L/XL. Whatever size you opt for, ensure that the binding is compatible with the size of your boot. Make sure that you can fasten the straps and check their length. If the straps are long enough to dangle excessively when tightened, seek different bindings.

Ultimately, though, trying to get an idea of how the bindings might feel during time on the mountains can prove a real struggle when trying them on in a shop. For this reason, certain snowboard bindings are often chosen for their cost rather than their comfort and suitability for the rider.

However, it is crucial to make sure, among other things, that the construction of your chosen bindings are solid, and do not consist of innumerable moving parts likely to experience constant pressure from body movements during snowboarding. You should also make sure that any other special features of the snowboard bindings complement your riding style.

While we hope that this article has proven useful in helping you discern how best to shop for snowboard bindings, it remains to be said that the best advice will probably come from fellow snowboarders, including friends and instructors. Seek the opinion of these people before making a final decision on exactly which snowboard bindings to purchase.

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