Outdoors Gear The 8 Best Ski Bindings of 2022 Experts recommended their top picks By Justin Park Justin Park Syracuse University Justin Park has been working as a sports, fitness, and hunting/outdoors journalist for 20 years. He reviews outdoor gear for TripSavvy, like ski equipment and inflatable paddle boards. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Published on 01/14/22 Share Pin Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. Ski bindings are not only the link between your boots and your skis, they’re likely the most important piece of gear when it comes to skiing safety. Bindings run double-duty, keeping you connected to your skis and releasing them when necessary during major crashes. The proper mounting of your bindings is best left to the professionals as they can help you not only set your bindings up properly, but also help you choose a binding that’s appropriate to your size, age, weight, and ability. We recommend talking with your local ski shop first, if you have one, even if you ultimately buy online. While most alpine bindings are made by a handful of companies and there isn’t as much variation in bindings as other categories of ski gear, the growing popularity of backcountry skiing has brought a wide variety of AT, or alpine touring, bindings into the market. Hybrid bindings designed to be used both at a ski resort and in the backcountry are also a popular choice. We present our recommendations for our favorite bindings across several categories below, but make sure to also check out our general buying advice and FAQs after the product descriptions. The Rundown Best Overall: Salomon Warden MNC 13 Bindings at Amazon A medium DIN range and compatibility with most boots make these bindings solid for many skiers, regardless of ability level. Best Budget: Tyrolia Attack 11 GW Bindings at Amazon A lighter-duty version of a tried-and-true model that doesn’t break the bank. Best 50/50: Marker Duke PT 16 Bindings at Backcountry.com The Duke PT 16s are one of the first true 50/50 bindings that give you alpine binding performance and backcountry chops. Best for Kids: Salomon L7 Bindings at Amazon Bindings that have a lower DIN and lighter weight that are also easier to step into that adult bindings. Best Lightweight Touring: Dynafit Superlite 150 at Skimo.co Dynafit owns the lightweight AT binding game and the Superlites are another part of that dominance. Best Intermediate: Tyrolia AM 12 GW Ski Bindings at Amazon Multiple release angles at the heal and toe make this an ideal binding for those falling in awkward ways. Best Freeride: Salomon STH2 MNC 16 Bindings at Amazon This classic and beloved freeride binding design is now upgraded to be compatible with most boot styles. Best for Terrain Park: Look Pivot 15 Bindings at Amazon A lighter version of the all-metal Pivot 18s that saves money and grams. Table of contents Expand Our Picks Final Verdict What to Look for in Ski Bindings Why Trust Tripsavvy Best Overall: Salomon Warden MNC 13 Bindings View On Amazon View On Backcountry.com View On Salomon.com What We Like Wide DIN range for intermediate to expert skiers Broad boot compatibility What We Don't Like Cheaper options exist for intermediates While plenty of advanced skiers want to believe they’re hard-charging enough to require an ultra-high DIN binding, almost anyone can get a setup that works for them with the 4 to 13 DIN range of the Salomon Warden MNC 13 bindings. (For more information on DIN, see our What to Look For section below.) The MNC (“Multi-Norm Compatibility”) means that pretty much any boot style will fit these bindings as well, making them a great all-around option. The wide platform is designed to provide a solid base on today’s much-wider skis and provides a secure connection when paired with the U-Power toe piece. You can also take comfort in the fact that the Warden’s basic design has been around for years and tweaked around the details for a tried and tested design that works for most skiers and budgets. Best Budget: Tyrolia Attack 11 GW Bindings View On Amazon View On Backcountry.com View On REI What We Like Good for beginner Compatible with GripWalk boots What We Don't Like Cheaper options exist for advanced intermediates I skied the Tyrolia Attack 14s for years and trusted them to release only when they really needed to. Their little sibling binding, the Attack 11s, keeps the same basic design but are more than half a pound lighter than the 14s, making it easier to ski for intermediate skiers as well as lighter skiers who generally don’t need as high a DIN. Saving weight means saving your legs, so if you’re an intermediate skier, these bindings will help shave some weight for longer days on the hill before fatigue sets in. You’ll also save a few bucks, as this is one of the few bindings from the major manufacturers that sneaks under the $200 mark for retail cost. Best 50/50: Marker Duke PT 16 Bindings View On Backcountry.com View On Moosejaw.com What We Like True alpine binding performance Compatible with alpine and touring boots What We Don't Like Expensive Semi-complicated operation and transitions Years ago, the Marker Duke was a frame binding where almost the entire binding, including an alpine-style heel piece, stayed with your boot in uphill mode and then locked down to the ski for the descent. They were heavy and noisy, but I much preferred them to the lighter touring bindings that I always seemed to eject from or break trying to ski them like my normal resort bindings. In 2019, the Dukes underwent a major transformation into a literal Transformer of a binding that tours like a pin binding on the uphill but morphs into an alpine-style binding for the descent. Usually, skiing the same binding for touring and skiing lift-served terrain has meant a compromise in one location or the other. Skiing a traditional pin touring binding at a ski resort is not a forgiving experience because of the lack of elasticity and predictable release characteristics. And skiing bulkier frame bindings like the old Marker Dukes meant dragging more weight along on your tours and limiting the distances of your backcountry missions. The Duke PT 16s are one of the first true 50/50 bindings that give you alpine binding performance in either setting but have a much more forgiving uphill experience thanks to the removable toe that drops the weight and lets you enjoy the tried and true pin binding experience. The weight is still significantly more than any simple techy toe setup, but it’s much less of a gap than in years past, making the Duke PT 16s a great option for backcountry skiers who don’t want to sacrifice binding performance on the downhill. They also are fully compatible with most regular alpine boots so even if you use the same binding/ski combo for resort and backcountry, you can use separate boots with this same setup. Best for Kids: Salomon L7 Bindings View On Amazon View On Salomon.com What We Like Lower DIN and lighter weight for lighter skiers Compatible with most types of alpine boots What We Don't Like DIN too low for larger teens or really aggressive skiers The L7s are a great option for junior skiers that have transitioned to adult boots or might sometime soon, as they are compatible with both junior and adult boots. The lower 2 to 7.5 DIN scale is perfect for younger, lighter skiers and they’re designed to be easier to step into than adult bindings. Their lighter weight is also easier on young legs so they can enjoy longer days without gassing out their legs as quickly as they would on heavier adult bindings. They’re also GripWalk compatible so they work with a broad range of the different alpine boots available for both juniors and adults. Best Lightweight Touring: Dynafit Superlite 150 View On Skimo.co What We Like Proven design Ultralight weight with solid downhill performance What We Don't Like Lacks the elasticity of some newer, burlier tech bindings Dynafit has been the standard in tech touring bindings since the early 1990s and, remarkably, the design hasn’t changed much over those years. When I spoke to Breckenridge Ski Patroller Ryan Dineen about bindings he remarked, “it seems like every binding company is trying to reinvent the AT binding every year. Dynafit pretty much nailed this whole thing years ago and Euros have been skiing crazy stuff in them since.” The Superlite 150 bindings from Dynafit are not a departure from their proven design, but a distillation to its ultralight essence. Unbelievably, the “150” in the name is for 150 grams—the actual weight of these mostly aluminum touring bindings which are built for speed and covering distance without fatigue. Despite their simplicity, the Superlite 150s have four different climbing riser heights. They’re also compatible with optional brakes and crampons when you’re willing to add tiny amounts of weight for extra security. Best Intermediate: Tyrolia AM 12 GW Ski Bindings View On Amazon View On Evo.com What We Like Proven design Multi-directional release capabilities What We Don't Like Expert skiers may want higher DIN values A binding's release is important and ought to be tailored to the abilities and style of the skier. When I spoke to a Tyrolia product manager, he explained that the AM 12s are unique in that they permit release in a variety of directions at both heel and toe. This doesn’t mean that you’re just popping out of the binding all the time, but that when it should, the binding will release no matter whether you fall forward, backward, to the side, or diagonally. This is a great feature for skiers who are less sure of their abilities and thus, how they might end up crashing. It’s also extra insurance against getting stuck in your skis in an awkward position where twisting injuries can happen. This is also a proven design based on Tyrolia’s RX 12 bindings with a 3 to 12 DIN range that covers the vast majority of adult skiers. The GripWalk compatibility means the bindings will play nice with most of the newer boots on the market as well. The binding delivers performance, as well as safety but is a particularly great option for folks susceptible to knee injuries. Best Freeride: Salomon STH2 MNC 16 Bindings View On Amazon View On Backcountry.com What We Like Predictable release Broad compatibility What We Don't Like Overkill for non-expert skiers I skied an older version of Salomon’s STH2s for four years and loved the predictable release characteristics and the firm elasticity when skiing aggressively or landing in rough conditions. This binding is only minorly updated but the biggest change is to MNC (Multi-Norm Certified) so skiers can choose the STH2s no matter what boots they wear, including rubber-soled touring boots. What I most appreciated about riding the STH2s was that the binding never released when I didn’t expect it to, which is key for skiing in high-consequence terrain. The XL wings on the toe piece create a secure connection at the front of the boot but the whole toe piece also rotates subtly to absorb shock when landing or smashing crud. They’re also built on an oversize platform which pairs better with generally wider freeride skis and delivers better power transfer. Best for Terrain Park: Look Pivot 15 Bindings View On Amazon View On Backcountry.com View On Evo.com What We Like Turntable heel piece Bindings facilitate a "smoother lateral release" What We Don't Like Not for beginners or intermediates Look Pivot bindings stand out from the crowd thanks to their unique “turntable” heel piece design. Because I didn’t fully understand how the turntable translated into the revered performance prized by park skiers as well as expert skiers generally, I asked Look’s Alpine Category Manager Matt Farness. He explained, “The Pivot bindings deliver long elastic travel reducing the risk of unexpected pre-release, and the turntable style heel piece works in conjunction with the toe piece to facilitate smoother lateral release. The Pivot’s are generally regarded as a powerful binding with high coupling strength that ensures the skier’s forces are transmitted directly to the ski.” He also explained that the binding takes up less space on the ski, allowing it to flex more naturally. Park-influenced freeskiers such as J Skis Zach Ryan favor the Look Pivots since they offer a predictable lateral release which comes in handy when things go wrong spinning, flipping, and generally contacting the snow at angles the average skier might not. These are heavy-duty, mostly metal bindings, so most skiers will do better opting for the lighter Look Pivot 15s than their heavier siblings the Look Pivot 18s. The 15s bring the all-metal toe piece to a lighter-weight version of the 18s with a slightly lower DIN range of 6 to 15. Final Verdict The vast majority of skiers will be able to get what they need out of the Salomon Warden MNC 13s (view at Amazon) thanks to a broad DIN range and a reasonable price tag. Beginners, lighter skiers, and those on a budget should take a look at the Tyrolia Attack 11s (view at Amazon) which are cheaper and lighter than most but still deliver proven performance. Occasional backcountry tourers will love the alpine performance offered by the Marker Duke PT 16s (view at Backcountry) and while expensive, they can be used both touring and at the resort. What to Look for in Ski Bindings DIN Range DIN is an acronym in German we won’t bother with that provides a standardized measure of the amount of torque required to release your boots from the bindings. A qualified ski shop will help you determine the proper DIN for your bindings based on your size, age, and ability and set your gear accordingly. A higher DIN is rightly perceived as being reserved for more advanced skiers, but that doesn’t mean you should strive for a higher DIN. No matter their skill level, a lighter-weight skier will never require the same DIN as a larger, heavier aggressive skier. Pro freeskier Zach Ryan cautions against buying a higher DIN binding with your ego, saying, “For many skiers, it’s hard to be honest with yourself about your ability. Even for heavier skiers, a 13 DIN binding is usually plenty. Going higher DIN means spending more and adding weight which can lead to fatigue and injury.” I personally no longer install or maintain my own bindings (more on this below) because I know the proper setup of my bindings is key to my safety and injury prevention. While I favor retention over release and generally use higher DIN bindings, I always listen to my local shop’s recommendations when it comes to choosing a new binding. Binding Compatibility With the diversification of boot sole standards thanks to innovations such as GripWalk soles and the proliferation of touring boots, binding manufacturers have had to adapt their offerings to cover the full range of boot types. Luckily, the ski industry has established compatibility standards that make it fairly straightforward to determine if your boots will work with a particular binding and vice versa. GripWalk or GW The tough rubber soles on boots called GripWalk have taken some of the fear out of walking around in ski boots thanks to the improved traction. If your boots are GripWalk, however, you’ll want to ensure your bindings are GripWalk compatible. Most bindings that indicated GripWalk compatibility are also compatible with traditional alpine boot standards but they emphasize the ability to work with the newer GripWalk options. Multi-Norm Certified or MNC Bindings labeled MNC is compatible with most boot types including many touring boots. This is a safe bet if you aren’t sure what kind of soles your boots use, but if you’re in that situation, we highly recommend consulting your local ski before purchase regardless. Frequently Asked Questions How can I compare different bindings? Skiers often focus on the DIN range of a binding because it’s one of the few specs that are consistently listed for a binding and can be compared apples to apples. Outside of DIN, it’s difficult to compare the other very important functions of a binding. Not only does a binding need to release in a predictable way, but it also provides elasticity key to the experience on snow while you’re still in your bindings. Matt Farness, alpine product category manager with Look, explains there’s a lot more going on in a binding besides locking your boots against your skis. “The connection created by alpine ski bindings between the skier and skis is not static, it is very dynamic; absorbing energy and vibrations, as well as striking a balance between retaining the ski during controlled maneuvers or releasing the boot from the system when the loads exceed the release setting,” he says.The reason many touring bindings aren’t as forgiving to ski down on is that they lack that same level of elasticity and dynamic interaction with your boot, so hard landings and hard snow are more acutely felt in a touring binding.Be honest with yourself and your local shop about your abilities to help zero in on bindings that are appropriate for your size, age, and abilities, and from there compare the type of skier each is aimed at and gather feedback on models from shop employees, fellow skiers, and reviews. If possible, rent skis with the bindings you’re considering so you can get actual experience on them before buying. Shops that sell bindings will often have the same bindings in their demo or rental fleet and some shops may deduct the cost of the rental from the cost of the binding if you ultimately buy them. Can I safely install my own bindings? I have installed my own bindings in the past but no longer do because I realize how important correct binding setup and adjustments are and because proper binding setup, adjustment, and testing benefit from some special equipment to be done right. While there’s often a charge for binding installs, many shops offline and online will offer free mounting of bindings when purchased from them. Even if you pay the going rate, it’s worth the peace of mind to know your bindings were professionally installed. Early on in my skiing career, some of my worst injuries were sustained when riding on bindings I had installed or adjusted myself.Can you do it? Yes. Anyone relatively handy can get jigs and properly install a set of bindings. But given the low cost of most binding installs, I recommend using a qualified ski shop that you trust when possible. Because they know the boots and bindings intimately and they may be aware of best practices for the install. As a bonus, if they know your preferences as a skier, they can also make suggestions for adjustments in the setup such as mounting point. Should I buy skis with bindings already mounted? If you’ve shopped online for skis before, you’ve likely seen skis for sale with bindings already mounted. These are sometimes called integrated bindings and they have some advantages such as knowing that those particular bindings are a good match for those skis.Many advanced skiers opt to buy flat skis and add bindings of their choice, but this doesn’t mean only beginners should look at skis with integrated bindings, as there are plenty of more advanced skis available with bindings already mounted.Take caution if you’re looking at used skis, however. There’s no guarantee the bindings matched on a pair of used skis are appropriate to the ski or to your abilities. Many used skis with bindings will be demo skis which may use adjustable demo bindings that are not necessarily ideal since they prioritize adjustability over performance and may have been through the wringer as part of a rental or demo fleet. Why Trust Tripsavvy Author Justin Park is a lifelong skier based in Breckenridge, Colorado. He skis over 100 days each season split between backcountry and resort terrain and he’s skied nearly every major binding brand at some point in his 35-year skiing career. For this article, he tested several bindings hands-on in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to make his picks. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 8 below.