Types of Snowboard BindingsSnowboard bindings designed for use with soft-boots come in two forms today: the traditional two-strap, or rear-entry (sometimes referred to as the Flow system, named for the Flow brand of rear-entry bindings).
The majority of snowboard bindings are traditional two strap setups, with an ankle strap and a toe strap. They have an adjustable highback, and a rotatable plate or disc in the center that secures the binding to the snowboard.
Two-Strap Pros and ConsPros:
- The most popular type, which means the largest selection in snowboard shops.
- Allows the highest degree of control.
- Large range and ease of adjustability.
- Replacement parts are easily located; bindings are easily repaired.
- Slower exit/entry compared to rear-entry bindings.
- Inexperienced riders often need to sit down to strap in.
- Two straps = two pressure points. Improperly adjusted bindings can cause foot pain.
Rear-Entry Pros and ConsPros:
- Getting in and out is quicker and easier than with two-straps.
- Ability to strap in while standing up means no more wet rear ends.
- Pressure is spread over a larger area, leading to less chance of foot pain.
- Easiest binding for small children to get in and out of on their own.
- Not as many models compared to two-straps means less choice in the shop.
- Getting the bindings to fit "just right" (by fiddling with the micro-adjust ratchets) can take several days.
- Webbing has a tendency to stretch over time, requiring further adjustments.
- More difficult to find replacement parts and to repair.
What About Step-In Bindings?Although step-in bindings existed for freestyle/freeride "soft boots" (which 98% of snowboarders use) in the past, a lack of demand gave manufacturers no reason to continue production. The only step-in systems available today are used with hardboots, which resemble ski boots and are designed only for alpine snowboarding.
Getting the Right SizeSnowboard bindings are sized according to the riders boot size, and generally come in small, medium, and large sizes. The proper size binding will hold your boot in the binding snugly. Each manufacturer specifies what size boots fit each size, but a general rule of thumb is:
- Sm. Binding = Men's size 3-8, Women's size 4-9.
- Med. Binding = Men's size 8-10, Womoen's size 9-11.
- Lg. Binding = Men's size 10+, Women's size 11+.
Highbacks, Baseplates and PerformanceThe highback and baseplate are what transfer all your power to the board. Stiffer highbacks and baseplates, translate into quicker edge response, but they can also lead to lower leg fatigue, and cramping because the rider is fighting the material at every turn. Because of this, beginners and intermediates should stay away from carbon fiber highbacks and aluminum baseplates.
Let the staff in the shop know how long you've been riding, what type of riding you typically do, and your ability level. Let them know you're looking for something with an adjustable highback and adjustable straps.