Choosing the best ski bindings is important, although they’re usually the last piece of ski gear chosen. As the connection between the ski and boot, the binding plays an important role in the transfer of power, safety, and responsiveness. If you’re new to skiing and having trouble finding the right bindings for your ski gear, then you came to the right place. My buyer’s guide will set you on the right path to finding a set of bindings that will work perfectly with your boots and skis. I’ve also tested out several sets, narrowing it down to five products that skiers of all skill levels will love.
Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each of the products I’ve chosen, their top features, and how they rated.
Ski Bindings Comparison Chart
Salomon Warden MNC 13 Ski Bindings
These bindings are top of the line and come complete with an adjustable toe height and sliding AFD. The bindings are compatible with both alpine and touring boots. The oversized platform and U Power toe are integrated, promoting precise and strong power transmission. For improved shock absorption, the bindings feature progressive transfer pads, located under the heel and toe. The binding’s Solidity U Power construction features a toe that’s directly built in the platform, which offers max transmission and stability. The platform measures in at 71 millimeters wide. The wideness of the platforms enables a higher than average transfer of energy, even when the bindings are used with wider skis. The bindings are also MNC compatible with all types of boots.
- Highly adjustable
- Compatible with alpine and touring boots
- Excellent power transmission
These bindings earned top marks for their durability, DIN rating, wider than average design, and overall power transmission capabilities. The bindings are equipped with solidity heel arch technology that promotes lateral reinforcement. Skiers that are in search of bindings that are versatile, powerful, and durable, will love what this set has to offer.
Marker Griffon 13 ID Ski Bindings 2020
These Marker Griffon ski bindings are the lighter version of their Jester model, offering the same features for lighter and younger riders. These bindings have a reputation for being the most versatile freeride bindings on the market. They’re made specifically for advanced skiers. Featuring SOLE ID technology, the skier can adjust the bindings to work with alpine or AT boot soles. On the top of the bindings you’ll find no-pull-out screws with a cross-axis toe spring. The binding’s cross-toe axis makes these bindings ideal for twists and spins.
- SOLE ID technology
- DIN range of 4-13
- Highly adjustable
- Two color options
- Must be installed and adjusted by a professional
- For advanced skiers only
These bindings are the perfect choice for the freestyle rider who is searching for bindings that are more versatile and highly adjustable. These bindings feature 110-millimeter and 120-millimeter brakes and are designed for skis that are over 76 millimeters. Their wider design offers more stability, while the unique SOLE ID technology makes these bindings compatible with all types of ski boots, which will allow the advanced skier to get plenty of use out of them, season after season.
LOOK Pivot 14 GW Ski Bindings
These bindings are compatible with both Gripwalk boot soles and traditional alpine boot soles. This set features 180-degree multi-directional protection. The toepiece provides an upward release that’s independent of the heel, resulting in more effective protection in the event of an accident. The bindings offer reduced pre-release, faster re-centering, longer elastic travel, and superior control and power. The bindings feature seven points of contact for top of the line coupling strength for pro-quality response, control, and power.
- 180-multidirectional protection
- Compatible with alpine and Gripwalk boot soles
- Bindings come equipped with seven points of contact
- Longer elastic travel
- Difficult to adjust
The bindings feature a short mounting zone, which promotes a more natural ski flex, improved response, and less swing weight. The 180-degree multidirectional protection combined with the toe piece design that offers an upward release and the faster re-centering all make these bindings a great choice for the new skier who is just learning the ropes. However, the overall quality of the bindings makes them suitable for skiers of all skill levels.
Tyrolia Attack 2 13 GW Ski Bindings
The Attack 2 bindings by Tyrolia feature integrated stiff pads that provide precise release function, increased walking comfort and a better than average natural roll, due to the curved rubber sole. The bindings come equipped with a newly designed roller pinch system that promotes better than average stability. The new wing design features an improved overlap construction that works better with a variety of ski boot styles. The bindings are compatible with both Gripwalk and alpine boots. The wing’s synchro adjustment offers precise adjustments to ski boot sole heights, which will prevent wobbling between the boots and the bindings. The metal toe cage also helps improve stability, with a toe construction that allows for more flex, not to mention constant contact between the binding and boot. Direct power transmission and improved control will prevent any wobbling which will improve turn precision and energy transfer.
- Curved rubber sole
- Newly designed roller pinch system
- Synchro adjustments
- Metal toe cage
- Only two sizes available
These bindings can be used on skis eighty millimeters wide and higher. They’re also available in a range of DIN settings, so you can choose the DIN setting based on requirements. Offering a compact design and ultimate adjustability, it comes as no surprise that the Attack 2 bindings are one of Tyrolia’s top sellers.
Marker Squire 11 ID Ski Bindings 2020
The 11 ID ski bindings by Marker Squire come equipped with a compact toe design that features a spring that’s horizontally inserted. The AFD gliding plate features a movable AFD, which allows for a release that will not be impacted by ice, snow, or dirt buildup. SOLE ID allows you to use these bindings for both touring or alpine boots, thanks to the adjustable gliding plate height.
- Highly adjustable
- Compact toe design
- Compatible with touring and alpine boots
- Aluminum hollow axles
- Hard to get in and out of
These tough and versatile ski bindings feature a redesigned heel that offers optimal retention for all types of touring and alpine soles. The hollow axles are made out of aluminum, which cuts down on the weight of the bindings, while maximizing torsional stiffness. These robust bindings combined with the durable heel construction makes this set well-suited for a variety of powder conditions.
Ski Bindings Buyer’s Guide
For many, bindings are the least exciting piece of skiing gear to buy, but this is usually because new skiers don’t realize the important role that bindings play. Of course, the skis are the most important piece of gear, but the bindings you choose can have a major impact on how your skis perform.
Over the past five years, ski shapes and technology have rapidly changed, forcing bindings to evolve with them. The latest skis have gotten wider, which has caused manufacturers to also widen bindings. These days, bindings offer more power and control thanks to this wider platform. The important factors that you’ll need to consider when you’re shopping for bindings is the brake width, binding type, and the DIN range. Like with all types of skiing equipment, the more aggressive or heavier you are the heavier duty or stronger your equipment must be.
While bindings aren’t the only way to attach your skis, they’re also an important piece of safety gear. Bindings will keep the skier in their skis when they need to be locked in and will release the skier when the appropriate amount of force is used to let them out in order to prevent an injury. Because they’re a crucial piece of safety equipment, they should only be tested, adjusted, and mounted by a certified technician.
Pros and manufacturers alike strongly discourage any skier from making any adjustments to their bindings on their own, regardless of how minor the adjustments are.
All types of bindings are required to have a safety brake. These brakes are usually replaceable and are available in a variety of widths. When you purchase a ski binding, you must make sure that the width of the brake is as wide as the waist of the ski it will be placed on. Always avoid brake widths that are over twenty millimeters than the waist of the ski.
The DIN range is what will dictate the ability/weight range the bindings are designed for. The DIN varies by boot size, ability, age, weight, and height, so knowing these basics will help a skier to narrow down their options and choose the right rating. A skier that is more aggressive, taller, and heavier, will need a higher DIN setting. Additionally, if a couple of skiers are at the same ski level, the same age, weight, and height, but they have a different boot size, then the skier that has the smaller boot size will be able to place more torque on their bindings before needing a higher setting. Below, you’ll find some basic guidelines regarding DIN ranges and what to look for.
A higher DIN range equals a higher level of durability. A higher rating is important for freestylers, aggressive skiers and free riders. While the highest setting may be higher than what’s needed, this binding can easily handle wear and tear, which comes with more aggressive skiing. Bindings that feature a design that consists of metal or steel components are usually more durable.
To figure out what DIN range is right for you, consider how strong your bindings need to be and take a look at the waist width. Keep in mind, bindings are an important part of keeping you safe while you ski.
Based on the type of skiing the buyer will be doing, the weight of the bindings can be anything from an extremely important factor to a non-factor. For the resort skier, the weight will not be a serious consideration and most bindings with a twelve or higher DIN range come in at approximately five pounds per set. This can be very heavy to haul around from the car to the lodge and a hassle when hiking into the side country, however, the tradeoff in durability will be worth it.
For a backcountry setup, the opposite will be the case; weight will be the first consideration. Lightweight models can weigh as little as ten ounces; however, the compromise will be downhill performance, durability, and usability. Keep in mind, alpine touring frame bindings weigh significantly more at six pounds and are difficult to haul up the ski track. Years ago, the extra weight was worth it for the improved security on the downhill, but newer options are making frame bindings nearly obsolete.
Matching Bindings to Boots and Skis
For most skiers, the bindings are often at the bottom of their ski gear list. The fun and flashy stuff is the skis themselves, so skis are often chosen first, then boots, then bindings. Aside from basic compatibility issues between bindings and boots, it’s important to select a setup with all the parts complementing one another. You don’t want to add a tech binding on a heavy downhill focused setup. This will just be a waste of technology and money. The same applies with an alpine setup. Avoid purchasing an ultralight set of touring skis that aren’t stable or powerful enough for carving.
Once the bindings have been mounted, the DIN must be set and tested. This should only be done by a certified technician. The technician will have the skier fill out a form with all the info needed to set the correct DIN. Having bindings tested and checked at the beginning of every season will ensure they’re in perfect working order and still able to handle plenty of use and abuse on the slopes.
The elastic movement in bindings is used to reduce the chances of the binding releasing inadvertently. Elastic movements allow some lateral and vertical flexibility and provide added shock absorption for landings. Elasticity range varies from set to set.
Bindings Based on Skill Level
The bindings you choose should match your skill level. Below, I’ll discuss the best choices whether you’re an intermediate, beginner or advanced skier.
Intermediate and Beginner
At these skill levels, the skier won’t need the highest release setting or ultra lightweight bindings. They also won’t need bindings that are made out of impact-resistant materials. Going with a mid-range set will save you money, while still keeping you safe. However, there is an exception. If you’re heavier, then you’ll need a higher release setting.
Aggressive skiers require a higher release setting. Lightweight bindings that are made with performance metals like titanium can enhance the skier’s ability on steep terrain and at higher speeds.
Ski Binding Types
Below, you’ll find a list of the most common types of bindings, what each type has to offer, and what type of application they’re recommended for.
These bindings are designed for the classic downhill skier. They feature a basic entry, simply slide the toe in, pressing down the heel to lock the boot. These bindings can accommodate the soles of all types of traditional downhill boots. Exiting with these bindings is also very simple and is accomplished by pressing the heel piece of the binding downward. In alpine bindings, a lower weight isn’t an end-all be-all requirement, so they offer the benefit of solid construction that offers excellent power transmission. The binding’s low stand height can make it easier for the user to connect to their skis. In the event of an accident, the release is usually very safe and consistent. Higher-priced alpine bindings are known for their elasticity in the release since the heel piece will rotate before letting go. This will provide the skier with the opportunity to push their skills without accidentally releasing early, but when it does go, it’s usually very smooth and provides extra give that’s designed to reduce the skier’s risk of injury. These bindings are recommended for the resort skier.
While the weight of the binding isn’t very important when you’re shopping for an alpine setup, dropping weight will become a necessity when the skier spends hours traveling uphill. Because of this, the tech binding is very popular. This type of binding is described as ultralight and replaces the basic alpine toe piece with a couple of pins that will lock into ski boots that are tech compatible. Standard touring and alpine boots can’t be used with tech bindings. This type of binding features the option to release the heel for climbing purposes. The lighter weight will come at a price. These bindings don’t offer the same level of power transfer and, because of this, they’re a better choice for backcountry skiers that want to cut weight. These bindings are recommended for long distance or multi day ski touring.
These frame bindings are in a crossover category that provides the best features from backcountry and standard alpine bindings. The frame offers excellent power transfer, making them a great choice for the downhill skier, but it also features a touring mode. When switched to the touring mode, the climbing bars and free heel make them efficient climbers. Another benefit of these bindings is their ability to handle touring and downhill boots that are equipped with rockered soles. However, you won’t be able to use any type of boot and cover your setup from standard alpine to alpine touring, just by swapping out the bindings. Skiers will still need the added range of motion and mobility of a boot that’s designed for backcountry use. The weight of the bindings is the price the skier will have to pay for this type of dual functionality. Because of their weight, they’re not recommended for long tours.
Most ski bindings are basically maintenance-free. Keep salt and dirt out of the bindings and avoid washing them since doing so can remove lubricant which can have a negative impact on how well they function. Bindings should be stored in a dry and warm place during the off season.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Look for When Buying Ski Bindings?
When you’re shopping for ski bindings, make sure that the brake width is as wide as the waist of the skis you’ll use them for. Avoiding purchasing bindings with a brake width that’s more than twenty millimeters wider than the ski’s waist.
Does Ski Weight Matter?
The weight of the skis matter, but swing weight will matter more. Lighter skis will feel better, however, if they’re too light they will be very stiff, offering very little flex. A few ounces of weight difference between a couple of park skis can have a major impact on the feel of rotational weight, which can make the skis seem lighter or heavier.
Can I Put New Bindings on Old Skis?
With most types of modern flat decked skis, it’s possible to change the binding system by taking off the old binding and installing a new system onto the deck. If the ski has had many different types of bindings mounted on it in the past, then squeezing in more holes may not be possible.
How Do You Fill Old Ski Binding Holes?
You can fill the old holes using epoxy steel and place steel wool into the hole. These holes must be filled completely with a type of hard filler.
Can I Mount My Own Ski Bindings?
A certified ski technician can mount bindings onto skis. The process is simple and involves drilling holes into the skis, adding glue to the holes, then screwing the bindings down. Some skiers will do this on their own using a drill press. Universal jigs and paper jogs can help the skier who wants to mount the bindings themselves, however, the beginner should avoid doing so since they may accidentally damage the deck.
This guide will help the new skier find a set of bindings that are top of the line and compatible with their skis and boots. Ski bindings are often the last piece of equipment purchased. The best ski bindings will be designed for your skiing skill level, terrain type, and a variety of powder conditions and will inspire confidence in the skier. The products I’ve included here provide the type of power, durability, and weight needed for a variety of conditions and earned a high rating for their versatility and ease of use. They also offer the type of quality and durability that every skier is looking for.