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Ask any snowboarder and they’re likely to tell you that the right set of bindings can make all of the difference out on the slopes. While bindings play an important role in maintaining control and balance, they are often overlooked in favor of flashier snowboards and comfier boots. But any good rider knows If you truly want to get the most out of the sport, don’t skimp on your bindings. While your other gear will certainly play a big part in your enjoyment, the bindings may be the single most important investment you make, not only when you’re first getting started, but as you progress and become a better snowboarder,too.
When selecting your bindings you generally want to consider a few things. First, what is your comfort and experience level as a snowboarder? Beginner snowboarders will lean towards bindings that ofter a softer level of flex, which provides a gentler, more forgiving ride. Intermediate and advanced riders may want to step up to bindings that are stiffer, which are less forgiving of mistakes but bring a more precise level of control.
You’ll also want bindings that are designed for use on the terrain that you’ll be riding. All-mountain riders prefer to have the option to snowboard just about anywhere and as a result, their bindings tend to have a soft to medium level of flex. On the other hand, freestyle riders tend to focus on jumps and rails, which also requires a softer ride to provide a little extra room for error. Meanwhile, freeride snowboarders prefer the challenges of backcountry riding that takes them off trail and on ungroomed powder. These riders will want a binding that offers a stiffer ride for more precision handling.
Keeping all of that in mind, we’ve combed through a wide array of snowboard bindings to determine which ones provide the highest level of performance. What follows are our picks for the best snowboard bindings available for the upcoming winter season.
Best Overall: Burton Malavita
Burton’s Malavita snowboard binding stands out from the crowd for a number of reasons, but it is their versatility that makes them so easy to recommend. This is a binding that works well for a wide variety of riding styles and terrains, providing outstanding comfort and control no matter where you go on the mountain. It is even a great choice for beginners, offering plenty of forgiveness for newcomers who are still honing their skills on the slopes or in the park. Best of all, this is a binding that can grow with a rider as he or she gains experience and ability. And since the Malavitas feature Burton’s signature build quality chances are you’ll be using them for many seasons to come. Mainly designed for the all-mountain riders, this binding provides enough control and forgiveness that they’ll be right at home in the half-pipe, on jumps, and riding the rails, too.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Salomon District
This lightweight binding uses Salomon’s ShadowFit system to give riders a flexible heelcup that offers improved lateral movement, allowing for more flexibility and control without sacrificing performance in any way. Built specifically with freestyle snowboarders in mind, this is one of the more comfortable bindings on the market, in no small part due to an innovative ankle strap that offers independent adjustment of the fit both from the interior and exterior. This helps to limit the possibility of developing hot spots or pressure points, making it easier to ride the rails and hit jumps all day long. The District offers a medium level of stiffness, lending it a nice level of versatility that should make it a favorite for many different types of riders, but especially those who spend much of their time in the terrain park.
Best for Women: GNU B-Free
GNU has put a lot of effort into understanding the unique needs of female snowboarders and it shows through in their products. The B-Free binding is a great example of this, providing extra support and responsiveness thanks to an improved fit that was custom made for women. This binding also happens to be incredibly lightweight and features quick on and off features that make it a breeze to get in and out of. Built for all-mountain riders, the B-Free is fast, agile, and highly capable, proving that manufacturers don’t have to make compromises when it comes to designing gear for the ladies. Quite the contrary in fact, as this binding is so well made and offers such precise control that it might even make some of the boys jealous.
Best for All-Mountain Riding: Union Force
If you’re in the market for a set of snowboard bindings that are comfortable, versatile, and durable, look no further than the Union Force. This tough-as-nails binding was built to be used in a wide variety of conditions ranging from groomed trails, deep powder, and even the terrain park. It features a middle of the road flex rating, which means it can handle long, graceful carves just as easily as riding the rails and hitting the halfpipe. And since it is one of the more comfortable bindings on the market, you can spend a whole day on the slopes and still feel great afterward. Riders who want a do-it-all binding that doesn’t compromise performance will find a lot to love with the Union Force.
Best Snowboard Binding for Freestyle Riding - Now Brigade
Freestyle riders need a softer flex from their bindings, giving them the freedom of movement and a higher degree of forgiveness necessary to ride rails, hit big air, and enjoy a full day in the terrain park. Few bindings offer better support, control, and comfort than the Now Brigade, which provides such fine-tuned turning that you’ll swear you’re riding a skateboard rather than a snowboard. The Brigade’s straps are deceivingly minimalist in their design, and yet still find a way to snugly hold a boot in place, which is exactly what a freestylist needs while hitting jumps and performing tricks. It’s decidedly skate-like feel will bring a sense of familiarity to anyone who has ever ridden a skateboard before, making it easier to transition to this model.
Best for Freeriding: K2 Lien AT
Freeriders are the snowboarders who venture off the groomed trail and the well-worn path to explore the backcountry instead. These adventurous riders rely on precision control and excellent stability, which only comes with a binding that has a high level of stiffness. The K2 Lien AT is the binding of choice for many freeride specialists, and for good reason. These bindings are comfortable while offering excellent support and control for those snowboard runs that take you well out of bounds. This is a product that has been in K2’s catalog for a while now and yet they continue to find ways to refine its performance, particularly in how efficiently it transfers power to the board. That’s crucial for maintaining control on difficult terrain, which is why this is the best freeride binding you can get at the moment.
Best Budget: Switchback Destroyer
As the old saying goes, when it comes to buying budget outdoor gear, you usually get what you pay for. That isn’t necessarily the case with the Destroyer bindings from Switchback, however, which offers a surprisingly high level of performance without putting a major dent in your wallet. Designed mainly for freestylers, these bindings are nevertheless capable of riding the entire mountain. That level of versatility extends to their ability to be tuned for just about any style of snowboard, with a mid-flex range that transfers power and control nicely without being overly soft. Lightweight, with easy to adjust straps and good heel support, the Destroyer is a no-frills option for those who don’t have a lot of money to spend but still want a positive experience on the slopes.
Best for Beginners: Union Flite Pro
When you’re first learning to snowboard you want a binding that has a flex that isn’t overly stiff and offers a bit of extra forgiveness while still developing your skills. Its flexibility means that the bindings provide consistent, reliable performance while remaining versatile enough to be used all over the mountain, too. That is exactly what Union delivers with the Flite pro, which is one of the lightest and most affordable options around. Tipping the scales at just 25 ounces and with a price tag of just $150, you’ll be hard pressed to find another binding that is so beginner-friendly. If you’re just starting out with the sport, this is a great option that will serve you will until you’re ready to graduate to faster and more responsive –– albeit more expensive –– models.
Best for Kids: Burton Smalls
With the introduction of the new Smalls snowboard bindings for kids, Burton has proven that young riders don’t have to compromise when it comes to their gear. The company has brought its considerable design expertise to the kids market, delivering a high-quality product that just so happens to flexibility for younger snowboarders. The excellent build quality, comfortable straps, and impressive level of cushioning –– paired with a soft flex –– make this an outstanding option for beginners. That said, it also provides plenty of room for improvement, making this a binding that they can use for multiple seasons.