Snowboard Bindings Explained
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There are several types of snowboard bindings. Today, straps are the standard. Flow, K2, and Gnu also make solid variations of "flow-in" bindings. And...Burton is bringing back step-ins with their new Step On system.
Snowboard Binding Types
Strap-ins are easily the most common type of snowboard bindings, and feature two ratcheted straps; one across the toe area and one across the ankle area. Straps are suitable for all styles of riding and offer the ultimate in control.
Rear-entry "flow-in" bindings, also known as speed entry bindings, are proprietary systems that combine the convenience of step-in bindings with the level of control offered by strap-in bindings. With flow-in bindings the highback folds down to allow the boot to slide in from the rear. The highbacks are then flipped up and locked into place, eliminating the need to undo and then re-tighten straps every time. The rider's boot is held down by an adjustable webbing that covers most of the top of the foot.
Step-ins function exactly like ski bindings in that the boot is fixed to the binding by a locking mechanism rather than by straps or any other means. Due to a lack of adequate product development and a near complete evaporation of industry and rider support for step-in systems, they fell completely out of vogue until Burton resurrected step-ins with their Step On boot and binding sets.
Flex is possibly the most important thing to consider when selecting the right set of snowboard bindings. Softer flexing bindings are more geared towards freestyle and park riding, while stiffer bindings are typically reserved for freeriding. Still, flex remains largely a matter of personal preference. Flex is measured on a scale of 1 to 10...with 1 being the softest and 10 being the stiffest. You can view each binding's respective flex rating on each individual product detail page.
Note: It is important that the flex of your bindings line up with the flex of both your snowboard and your snowboard boots.
What binding size should I choose? Binding sizing varies from brand to brand. Please check the size chart under each binding's individual product detail page.
The highback is the plate at the rear of the binding that supports your heel and calf. Different kinds of bindings have different highbacks. If you are more of a freestyle rider, it is typically recommended that you go with a smaller, more flexible highback for extra maneuverability. Aggressive freeriders will want higher, stiffer highbacks for extra control.