Ski bindings are perhaps the most important piece of equipment for amateur and experienced skiers alike. They connect the athlete to the board and are designed to release the rider once a certain amount of pressure is applied. While many modern boards now come with integrated bindings, many athletes continue to choose nonintegrated models to suit their skiing style and personal preferences.
You need to choose bindings of the proper width to be able to ski, and you also want to make sure you are comfortable and able to apply the amount of pressure required for release. If you are new to skiing and are unsure of how to pick your bindings, or would like to take a look at the top models on the market, check out this buying guide and list of the best ski bindings for men and women.
The Armada STH2 WTR 13 ski bindings are a popular choice for athletes of all levels. They are available in 90 mm. or 100 mm. and can be attached to your skis with ease. They are intended for all mountain use and weigh 5.05 lbs. Their max DIN setting is 13, making them excellent for intermediate and advanced skiers as well as heavier athletes who apply more pressure. A warranty is included with each set of bindings and covers 2 years of regular wear and tear in addition to manufacturer error.
Besides these basics, there are some excellent features included with the Armada STH2 WTR 13 bindings. For example, this set comes with reliable Freeski brakes. They are walk-to-ride compatible, meaning your adjustable ski boots will fit into them, and the bindings also have a stamp pedal and toe height adjustment.
Overall, these are an excellent choice and great for individuals ranging from beginners to the more advanced.
One downside to purchasing ski bindings is alpine tourers are constantly forced to pay extra for their equipment. This is because alpine touring requires unique skis, bindings, and boots. However, if you love alpine touring and are willing to pay extra to get premium equipment, you can’t go wrong with the Armada Shift MNC 13 Alpine Touring Bindings.
These bindings are available in 90 mm and 100 mm, and they have a max DIN setting of 13. They are not for beginners. In fact, they are best used by someone who is advanced through pro. The total binding weight is 865 grams, and a 2-year warranty is included that covers wear and tear. It’s important to note that while these bindings are meant for alpine touring, they can also be used for all mountain use if you want to shake things up.
Besides these features, the Armada Shift MNC 13 bindings have a low profile chassis and a switch level for easy transitions from skiing to hiking. The toe height is adjustable and crampon compatible. The bindings can be used by men or women.
Not everyone has the luxury of spending a lot of money on their ski bindings. If you are looking for a great option that is affordable yet durable, then consider investing in the Atomic Z 10 ski bindings. These are available in multiple sizes, but the most common one is 75 mm. Each set comes with 1-year warranty for wear, tear, and manufacturer error. The total DIN range is 3-10 with a max of 10, making the bindings suitable for riders who fall between advanced and experienced.
The Atomic Z 10 bindings are intended for racers and are suitable for juniors or small adults. Some of the included features are automatic toe height adjustment, automatic toe wing adjustment, and a low profile chassis for better comfort.
While these are not the greatest bindings available, they are reliable and get the job done. Plus, they are excellent for smaller, lightweight skiers and even juniors. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can’t go wrong here.
Now it’s time to talk about some of the runner-ups. The Fischer RC4 Z11 FreeFlex skin bindings are another excellent option for junior and lightweight skiers who would like something affordable, durable, and reliable. They are straightforward and easy to install, and focus on function over fashion. The single available size is 85 mm.
These bindings have four rollers in the toe piece that offer more flexibility and consistent releases even after months of consecutive use. A Full Diagonal Toe design offers a 180 degree release that places less tension on the knees and ligaments. The full suspension FreeFlex Pro also allows the skis to flex more naturally, helping you gain an edge on the snow.
The DIN range of these bindings is 3-11 and they are suitable for a racing style. A 1-year warranty is included with each pair and covers wear and tear. The Fischer RC4 Z11 bindings are recommended for skiers who are Intermediate to Advanced. The bindings weigh around 5 lbs.
These bindings are not for everyone, but they are great for individuals who need a higher max DIN because of their skill level or weight. The Fischer RC4 Z17 FreeFlex ski bindings have a DIN range of 6 to a whopping 17, making them suitable for even professionals. They are best suited to racing and come with a 1-year warranty which covers manufacturer error in addition to regular wear and tear.
These bindings are recommended for individuals who rank from Expert to Pro and are only suitable for someone who weighs 150 lbs. or more. Each binding has a fully suspended heel that allows your ski to flex naturally for control and better edge contact on the slopes. The FRP uses four rollers in the toe piece for consistent releases no matter what the situation is.
As you can see, the Fischer RC4 Z17 FreeFlex ski bindings are best suited for individuals with tons of experience and should not be used by amateurs. If you do have the right skill level though, you might never need another pair of bindings again.
The Head FreeFlex EVO 11 is the perfect option for bindings for riders who rank between Intermediate and Advanced. These are lightweight bindings intended for smaller skiers who want to have some fun on the slopes. They are best suited for racers and have a total DIN range of 3 to 11. A 1-year warranty of wear and tear is included from the manufacturer, and there are multiple sizes available.
The recommended weight range for these bindings is 80-240 lbs. Some of the most notable features include a Light Diagonal Toe and Diagonal Heel that add an extra element of safety when you are whizzing through the powder. The design puts less tension on the knee and is excellent for heavy practice sessions.
These are some of the most flexible bindings currently on the market, making them excellent for someone who would like something affordable and versatile.
These Knee Binding Core Ski Bindings are advertised to younger athletes who haven’t damaged their knees yet and are willing to pay a little extra for improved flexibility and versatility. These bindings are a beautiful electric green and include many special features like a lateral heel release and floating mounts.
The total DIN range of these bindings is 3 to 12. They are suitable for all mountain skiing and are designed for skiers who rank from Intermediate to Expert. A 1-year warranty is included upon purchase and wearers can take advantage of great brakes, a straight front AFD, and a wide mounting platform.
Overall, these are excellent bindings for younger riders, especially since the minimum weight requirement is a low 65 lbs.
Finding great bindings for women can be a challenge because of their lower center of gravity, smaller feet, and low representation in equipment. However, it is important women have excellent bindings because they are more likely to suffer knee injuries and permanent damage than men. If you are looking for the right pair of women’s ski bindings for you, look no further than this option from a brand aptly called ‘Knee.’
The Knee Binding Mist Women’s Ski Bindings are a discrete and powerful option available in multiple sizes, including 135 mm. They are suitable for athletes who rank from Advanced to Expert and have a total DIN range of 3 to 12. Each one comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty to cover wear and tear, and these bindings are best suited for All-Mountain skis. They weigh around 5 lbs.
There are some great features included with these ski bindings. Some personal favorites are the pure lateral heel, flex-float mounting, and utilization of lever edge technology.
Are you a lightweight freestyle rider interested in the best Multi-Directional Release and an excellent ride on the slopes? If so, then you will enjoy these Look Pivot 12 GW ski bindings. While these are not as affordable as some other models, they are flexible, versatile, and also super reliable. They are meant for people who rank from Advanced to Expert on the slopes and are best suited to all mountain, downhill skiing.
These Look Pivot 12 GW ski bindings have a DIN range of 4 to 12 and come with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty that covers basic wear and tear. These are suitable for riders who fall within the following weight range: 65-250 lbs.
When it comes to features, these bindings pack a bundle. For example, they have a short mounting platform that allows your skis to have a deep, even, and rounded flex pattern on the slope. There is also a Full Action Toe and excellent toe elasticity. Best of all, these bindings can take a beating and still be ready for more, making them great for Type 2 skiers who enjoy challenging themselves in the snow.
Finally, there are the Marker Squire 11 ID ski bindings. These were a tough choice to add to the list because some people love them and some people hate them. These bindings have a sleek and stylish design and are available in multiple larger sizes, making them popular among skiers. The current sizes include 90 mm, 100 mm, and 110 mm.
These bindings are one of the only options which is suitable for legitimate beginners, but they can also be used for individuals who rank between Intermediate and Advanced. They have a total DIN range of 3 to 11 and are meant for downhill, all mountain skiing.
The Marker Squire 11 ID bindings include a 1-year warranty for wear, tear, and manufacturer error. One of the most notable features is the Sole ID, which allows for proper adjustment when fitting. The design also features a Triple Pivot Light Toe which uses a horizontal spring to improve power transfer to your skis. The toe height is adjustable and the bindings are made of stainless steel.
While these bindings did not rank higher on this list, they are the perfect choice for beginners and will last a long time when properly maintained.
Bindings are a straightforward piece of equipment, but they need to be measured and chosen properly. If you are new to buying bindings or need a quick refresher course, consider the following factors before making a purchase. They can help you choose a binding that fits your foot and your skis and keeps you comfortable on the slopes.
Your chosen bindings should match your experience level. Ski bindings come in different types, which refer to how aggressive an athlete is. Someone who is a beginner will need to choose Type 1 or Type 2 bindings because they have lower release settings and are a moderate weight. An aggressive skier would have better luck with Type 3 bindings, as these are lightweight with higher release settings.
If you are shopping for a child, remember there are dedicated products for kids that have low release settings and are sized properly for children’s skis. Do not have a child use adult bindings.
The release settings, or DIN, of bindings are a range of pressures at which the bindings will release. Individuals of different weights and experience levels will need different settings to better accommodate them. Smaller skiers will need a lower number while those who are taller and heavier will need a higher one. Professionals and experienced athletes also choose higher numbers to avoid accidentally releasing themselves.
On average, individuals who weigh between 100 – 170 lbs. will use a max DIN of 10 or 11. Someone who weighs between 160 – 250 lbs. might choose a max binding between 12 and 14. Almost no one chooses 15 or above unless they are a professional.
Your bindings need to be an appropriate width for your skis, and this means breaking out a tape measure or checking for the right label. Most skis will list their dimensions with three numbers like 110/80/95. The middle number is the underfoot width and will be the basis of your binding dimensions. Keep that middle number in mind when shopping.
If you don’t know the width of your skis and cannot find the information, you need to determine the width of the skis in millimeters. This is best done with a soft tape measure. Take the measurement in the middle of a single ski. It will be the underfoot width you use when shopping for bindings.
When you choose a binding, it is best to err on the wide side. Your chosen brake bindings should never be more than 12 mm. wider than the ski. At that point, it is possible for the bindings to become caught on your pants, stray roots, or rocks.
Finally, not all bindings are compatible with every type of skiing. For example, if you enjoy alpine touring, you can save yourself time, money, and heartache by investing in a pair of alpine bindings from the start. These bindings are more comfortable, have better grip, and will place less strain on you as you move uphill.
When shopping for bindings, you can choose if your would like to purchase multiuse versions. These bindings will often be labeled based on their recommended use. Some common labels include:
Some bindings come with attached lifters. Lifters stiffen the part of the ski which sits under the boot and add leverage. This gives the wearer better angles and response when on the go. Depending on the material they are made of, lifters can also absorb shock on landings, dampen vibrations in the snow, and boost energy transfer between the boots and the skis.
Whether or not you appreciate the benefits of lifters varies based on your skiing style. Powder skiers, for example, often want little to no lift so they move at straighter angles.
This is not a feature of the bindings themselves but instead refers to where you will mount your ski bindings once you have them. As a general rule, when you place your bindings further back on your skis, you get a stiffer feel with fewer turns. Because women have a slightly lower center of gravity than men, it is recommended they put their bindings slightly forward to avoid overcorrection.
No. Unfortunately, the integrated bindings are designed to not be removed without causing damage to the skis themselves. While it can limit your options, the integrated bindings are typically the right size for your boots and the proper style for your type of skiing.
When it comes to choosing the proper binding, Type refers to how many risks you take. Someone who is Type 1 is a conservative skier who spends most of their time on gentle routes and going downhill.
Someone who is Type 2 likes to ski at a more moderate rate and is more likely to take risks like jumps. Someone who is Type 3 is an absolute daredevil who likes to jump, do tricks, and ski as fast as possible.
Be honest with yourself when choosing bindings as they can affect your style and how well you ski on the mountain.
Still not sure? Read our Different types of skiing explained guide.
Not all bindings come with lifters, and they are not necessary if you enjoy powder skiing or would like something more basic. Lifters are typically used by Type 2 and Type 3 skiers who have more experience on the slopes.
The name of ski brakes is quite confusing. These pieces of material are not used to help you slow down or stop when on the slopes. Instead, when your binding loosens and your skis fly off, the brake sticks in the snow so the ski doesn’t disappear. It is a simple way to retrieve your skis in an emergency and avoid losing your equipment.
No. Children’s bindings are shorter and narrower than adult skis and will not fit properly. It is better to find an adult model that suits someone with small feet.
Again, this is not a good idea. The adult binding will be too large for the child’s ski and will not fit properly. This puts the wearer at risk since they won’t be able to utilize their equipment properly. Instead of using an adult binding, try to find a larger child’s binding for kids with big feet.
Regular maintenance is essential to keeping your bindings in working order. For the best results, have your skis tuned and bindings inspected by a ski technician before each season begins. Keep your anti-friction device (AFD) clean and in working order, and do not attempt to wash out your bindings yourself. Instead, it is better to see a professional because it is easy to accidentally wash away the lubricant which keeps the bindings in working order. Storing your ski gear properly during off-season is one of the most important things to remember.
No. Most ski bindings are just advertised for men or women based on the size of the anticipated rider.
Adjusting your ski bindings is a fairly simple process but there are a few common pitfalls to avoid and you need to ensure you go with the correct DIN setting for your skill level, weight, height and boot length. For more information, read our guide on adjusting ski bindings easily.
Having the right ski bindings can make a major difference not only on your performance, but on how you feel at the end of the day. Some are excellent at reducing the strain placed on your knees while others will help you be more flexible on the slope.
Out of all of the bindings currently available, the best option overall is the Armada STH2 WTR 13 ski bindings. These are comfortable, flexible, and suitable for a broad range of athletes with varied experience levels. If you want something more premium, the Armada Shift MNC 13 Alpine Touring Bindings are a great choice. They can be used for alpine touring but are also great for all mountain skiing. Finally, if you are on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Atomic Z 10 ski bindings. These are lightweight and great for racing.
Whichever bindings you choose, just remember to measure your skis before purchasing a pair and pay attention to how the bindings feel once you try them out. You want to be comfortable, able to apply the appropriate amount of pressure, and happy on the slopes!