Do you agree that while shopping for skis is easy, shopping for the best ski bindings can confound even the most enthusiastic skier? Unlike skis, there is no stiffness to check or side cut to examine, and all you see are confusing inner workings, right? This makes choosing the perfect ski bindings quite complicated, doesn’t it?
Ski bindings are basically a mechanism the attaches your boots to your skis. As a safety feature, the bindings are designed to release from the ski when the pressure is exerted on them is greater than the release setting. However, not all ski bindings are meant for all types of use and for all types of skiers, and to make a well-informed decision, you need hours and hours of research. That is why we decided to help you out by doing that research for you.
Since complications can arise when shopping for bindings, we decided to come up with this article to help you choose the right ones for you. Not only are there more features than the safety ones, but also they are composed of two pieces that need to be looked into. We touch both the features and the make, and then we provide you with a list of the best models so that by the end of the read, you can choose the appropriate model for you.
|Specific Features||Best Use||Price|
|Dynafit TLT Radical ST 2.0||4.3||Step-in side towers, easy lock brake system, crampon slot.||Downhill||Check price on Amazon|
|Marker Kingpin 13||4||DIN: 6 - 13, stand toe height: W/O SKI 21 mm, brake width: 75 - 100 mm and 100 - 125mm, toe system: Kingpin PinTech Toe||Freeride skiing||Check price on Amazon|
|Dynafit Speed Turn 2.0||2.2||Extremely lightweight, designed for speed touring/racing.||Racing, downhill||Check price on Amazon|
|G3 Ion 12||3||High performing, reliable lightweight, brake options: 85, 100, 115 and 130 mm, DIN setting: 5 - 12||Cross-country||Check price on Amazon|
|Black Diamond Fritschi Diamir Vipec 12||2.5||Easy switch heel and toe, safety tech system feature for ski and walk mode and avalanche safety||Alpine skiing||Check price on Amazon|
|Black Diamond Fritschi Diamir Freeride Pro AT||4||Hard-charging AT binding, 4 - 12 DIN range assures reliable release values||Downhill, racing||Check price on Amazon|
|Marker Griffon||4||DIN Range: 4 - 13, triple pivot elite toe + inter-pivot heel, AFD stainless steel gliding plate||All round skiing||Check price on Amazon|
|Look Pivot 14||4||180 Degree toe release, 28mm of elastic travel in the heel piece, compatible with WTR and standard alpine boot soles||Freeriding and freestyle||Check price on Amazon|
Things To Consider Before Buying
The first thing to know about ski bindings is that it has two pieces – the heel and toe. When you fall, the toe piece releases to the side, sometimes upward. The heel piece also releases, but upwards or multi-directionally. Besides that, there are other features that you must consider before buying them. Let’s take a look.
When choosing a ski binding you always have to remember two things, the first is that the binders must be compatible with your boots. Almost all ski bindings allow for some adjustability, although there are models that are more limited. If that is the case the ski bindings will have to be re-mounted to accommodate the new boots.
The second thing to remember is that adjusting or re-mounting the bindings by yourself is not advisable. To adjust them, go to a certified technician to facilitate adjustments. Otherwise, you will risk damaging them.
If you’re still confused about which ski bindings to buy you can also consider budget as a factor. For the value minded skiers who want to get their money’s worth, they should go for the intermediate. They won’t cost as much as advanced profile bindings, but they have everything you need to hit the slopes.
While advanced profile settings look tempting if you can afford them, these bindings are built for sophisticated skiers who need longer travel and retention before release. They usually have a higher DIN (release) settings and are constructed from beefier materials. Clearly, the latter ones have a higher priced range.
Lastly, you can choose ski bindings by figuring out the waist width of your skis, and the DIN settings, also known as release settings. The waist width of your skis will determine the size breaks you need while your skiing ability, weight, height, boot size will determine DIN settings.
For example, if the skier is 65 – 200 lb, with an ability level of beginner to intermediate and DIN settings of 3 to 10, the recommended ski binding is intermediate ski bindings. For skiers of the same weight, but are expert skiers, they might want to consider ski bindings in the advanced section so that their bindings will have a greater DIN to compensate for their more aggressive skiing style.
The Right DIN
DIN or Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Institute for Standardization) is the standard adopted by the ski industry for release force settings for ski bindings. Even though an identical setting was published by the International Standards Organization (ISO), most skiers still refer to release settings as DIN.
Generally speaking, the lower the release setting the lower the force required to release. When getting your ski bindings, a shop technician will set the DIN for you based on your height, weight and skiing ability level. Make sure to get it right, as this can be a make or break between you having a good ski session or not.
To reduce inadvertent release, ski bindings have a certain amount of elastic travel for vertical and lateral movement before the skier releases. The elastic movement on your bindings also provides significant shock absorption during landings or when experiencing bumps. Some ski bindings provide more elastic movement than others.
The elasticity can be a quite subjective feature. Some prefer to have a lot; others prefer the standard elasticity movement that the binders can provide. If you are an experienced skier, you will know what you prefer, if you are not, sticking to the standards is better.
It depends on whether you’re a beginner or advanced skier, or maybe you’re buying one pair for your kid.
So we divided ski bindings as per skier profile so it makes it easier for you to understand which one will be more suitable for you.
Beginner and Intermediate
For skiers that are cautious and moderate (Type 1 and Type 2), you can save money by opting for a lower end to mid-range model because you don’t need the highest release setting or impact resistant materials. The only exception to this is if you’re on the heavy side. You might need to purchase next level ski bindings that have higher release setting.
Type 3 or aggressive skiers need bindings that have a higher release setting. These ski bindings are also made for speed with their lightweight bomber bindings and titanium to help you speed up on steep slopes.
These ski binding settings are for kids and have lower release settings compared to adults. While junior settings are made for kids, they can also work on adult sizes as well.
Top Products on Today’s Market
Now it is time to take a look at the best ski binding models in the market. The following list contains different models, from different brands and with different features. Make sure to pay close attention so that you can choose the right model by the end of this read.
Price: $500 – $550
Weight: 4.3 lb
Specific features: Step-in side towers, easy lock brake system, crampon slot, rotation toe piece, 10 mm forward pressure for length adjustment when the ski is flexed
Best use: Downhill
Description: The Dynafit TLT Radical ST 2.0 Ski Binding is the newest binding on the market today. It looks very similar to its predecessor the Radical ST but with major upgrades. Some of the biggest re-designs address safety, which was achieved by developing a laterally pivoting toe piece and a gapless forward pressure-style on the heel.
Aside from being safer than the previous models, the TLT Radical also has the least icing problems of any tech binding with heel risers that are easy to engage. This ski binding from Dynafit is a bit expensive, however, it has a dependable and solid design.
The engineers did a good job designing this binding and put a lot of thought as to the materials used. Some of the pieces are made of plastic, but this is to ensure that they break first in order to protect the more important pieces made from metal and to prevent the binding from failing. Overall the TLT Radical has a good balance in weight, ease of use, downhill performance, durability and reliability.
- One of the safest models
- Great durability
- Good balance
- The snow builds up under the toe piece
Related: The Dynafit Crampons are commonly bought with these bindings. They are the same brand and attach easily to the bindings as to allow you to have better grip n snowy areas.
Price: $535 – $650
Weight: 4 lb
Specific features: Recommended skier weight: 130+ lb., DIN: 6 – 13, stand toe height: W/O SKI 21 mm, brake width: 75 – 100 mm and 100 – 125 mm, toe system: Kingpin PinTech Toe
Best use: Free-ride skiing
Description: The Marker Kingpin 13 Bindings are the first to gain the coveted DIN ISO 13992:2007 certifications from TÜV testing organization from Germany. This shows the experience and quality that these can offer, being one of the pioneers in the industry. The toe uses two spring-loaded pins to better secure your boot. It also features a ski/walk switch and adjustable boot straps for easy step-in.
Aside from this, it also has XXL power transmitter Alpine-style heel piece, two heel-risers, automatically locking breaks with an integrated crampon adapter and plastic and hot-forged body with carbon rails. This ski binding is lightweight, versatile and as powerful as a traditional Alpine binding.
Furthermore, these have addressed the problem of the limited elasticity that has been an issue with previous models. The toe tension and a third row of springs help the model even more, allowing skiers to use these for free-riding ski even on fresh snow.
- Very good elasticity
- Integrated crampon adapter
- Adjustable boot straps
- Durability is a concern
Related: The WSD Ski Poles are commonly bought with these and other bindings. These nice poles that come at a very affordable price will help you on your ski trip, to make it a safer and easier one.
Price: Approx. $350
Weight: 2.2 lb
Specific features: Extremely lightweight, designed for speed touring/racing
Best use: Racing, downhill
Description: At 1.1 pounds, the Dynafit Speed Turn 2.0 Binding, is one of the lightest ski bindings on the market. It is half a pound lighter than other lightweight models like the Fritschi Vipec and almost 1 pound lighter than its cousin the Dynafit Radical ST 2.0.
While the Speed Turn did remove features to make it lighter, it can still perform basic ski tasks such as freeing a heel for uphill travel and locks a skier’s for descent while remaining stable and reliable. This ski binding is ideal for people who don’t care about breaks and would like to save money and weight.
However, for those who really want to get into touring, perhaps ski breaks are worth looking into. While backcountry skiers prefer adding $200 breaks, most skiers are fine without them.
The Speed Turn 2.0 is a great ski binding that performs very well but without a lot of extras. The only complicated thing about this binding is learning the trick to rotate the heel on the ascent. It’s hard to find a better backcountry companion with the 2.0 especially if all you need is simplicity.
You won’t win any awards for style and coolness, but the bindings are lightweight, reliable and affordable.
- Incredibly light
- Good durability
- Good elasticity
- Rotating the heel on an accent can be complicated
- Not ideal for those who like breaking
Related: The Dynafit Cho Uyi Ski can be used with these bindings. As a matter of fact, many people buy them together. They are both from the same brand, can be fitted together, and are both of good quality.
Price: $410 – $500
Weight: 3 lb
Specific features: High performing, reliable lightweight binding, winner of three prestigious editor’s choice awards, brake options: 85, 100, 115, and 130 mm, DIN setting: 5 – 12, weight (single): 585 grams
Best use: Cross-country
Description: The G3 Ion 12 Binding is a good combination of lightweight and functional design. It will keep you smiling from top to bottom with its innovative features and super styling. It also has a high vertical snow clearance, so snow won’t build up under the toe piece.
Stepping in is easy, thanks to the boot stops that are built into the toe piece. If you like cool looking bindings, the G3 is the one for you since this is one of the coolest available. Flick your pole to the heel switch to go from walk mode to ski mode. Best of all it features a Full 360° heel rotation and ambidextrous risers.
The only thing we did not like about this model from G3 is the metal hook under the break platform that has a tendency to freeze and causing it to unlatch from the brakes when you switch over to tour mode. Make sure to remove any moisture and snow to prevent this from happening.
- Can easily switch from walk mode to ski mode
- There is a metal hook under the break platform, which can freeze and unlatch from the brakes when you switch to tour mode.
Related: The Rossignol Stove Pipe Ski Poles are a good choice with these binders. Since you can use the poles to switch easily the binders from walk to ski mode, having a good pair of poles is ideal.
Price: $500 – $600
Weight: 2.5 lb
Specific features: Easy switch heel and toe allow easy switching from ski and walk mode, safety tech system feature for ski and walk mode and avalanche safety, three-level heel riser, micro-adjustable width wings help compatibility with any model tech insert, brakes included
Best use: Alpine skiing
Description: This second-gen Black Diamond Fritschi Diamir Vipec 12 Binding is easier to use than its predecessor. It is built for rugged skiing and combines Alpine skiing with a lightweight pin system of a tech binding to provide standardized safety release capabilities. The result is a ski binding that is lightweight with extreme Alpine-style power transmission.
You can easily switch from walk to ski mode without stepping out of the bindings and the toe piece features a micro-adjustable width wings for a wide variety of tech inserts.
This ski binding is a favorite among avalanche professionals thanks to the two-stage heel riser, which allows 3 different configurations depending on the grade of the terrain.
It also has predefined safety release capabilities that use a gliding heel piece for consistent contact pressure and Lateral, frontal, and defined release capability for reliable release. If you are an alpine skier, out of all the models this is probably the best choice. The safety features and the lightweight are excellent.
- Incredibly lightweight
- Excellent safety features
- The best for alpine skiing
Related: The Winget Alpine Ski Poles are the ideal set of poles to go with these binders. They are specifically designed poles for alpine skiing, just like the binders which makes them a perfect must-have with Black Diamond gear.
Price: Approx. $530
Weight: 4 lb
Specific features: Hard-charging AT binding for swift ascents and speedy descents, 4 – 12 DIN range assures reliable release values, wide toe piece hinge provides smooth glide while touring, integrated lock on free-gliding heel bar for added protection, 108 mm wide brake included.
Best use: Downhill, racing
Description: The Black Diamond Fritschi Diamir Freeride Pro AT Binding features a touring mode, but it does not mean to say that it sacrifices downhill performance. This is a great ski for powerful skiers who are looking for technical lines that don’t belong in the resort.
The ski binding is made from robust materials which mean durability and a clever linkage that transfers all of your power to the ski. It also features a dialed release system to protect the skier from dangerous early-release scenarios, which are pretty common in races or fast downhill.
The Fritschi Diamir features a Gliding Technology that has a wider toe piece to get rid of the annoying walking-on-your-tip-toe feeling. It also has a free-gliding heel bar to prevent accidental release when in tour mode.
Bottom line, the Freeride Pro is a solid binding and worth the price. If you are new to the AT market, you should definitely consider this ski binding.
- Ideal for speed and races
- Very easy to use release system
- Good brake
Related: The Scarpa Maestrale RS Ski Boots are commonly bought alongside this and other bindings. With EVO V-Frame, certified inserts with the F.I.S (Fitting Indicators System) and Mirage Pro Ski/Walk mechanism these are excellent ski boots that will certainly serve you for many years to come.
Price: $200 – $230
Weight: 4 lb
Specific features: DIN Range: 4 – 13, triple pivot elite toe + inter-pivot heel, AFD stainless steel gliding plate, stand height: 22 mm
Best use: All round skiing
Description: With a DIN range of 4 – 13, you can ski anything with the Marker Griffon Binding. Many new skiers might doubt the durability of the Griffon due to its lower price range but many seasoned skiers think that this is not so.
The Griffon is durable even though some of its parts are plastic in fact, the rougher the better. If you’ve used this binding for a number of seasons you will find that the bindings can take a beating. Even if you have big skis, you will find that there is no need for heavier or clunkier bindings.
The Griffon can be your go-to ski binding its quick release, lightweight design, height adjustable AFD which allows an excellent boot to binding allowance and short design for faster spinning. Also, the Marker Griffon is recommended for skiers who weigh at least 80 pounds who enjoy all mountain terrain, park and pipe and freestyle.
The bindings weigh around 4 pounds 3 ounces per pair so it is stable, but won’t weigh you down too much. Lastly, Marker has a 1-year warranty on their products so you can purchase the Griffon with confidence.
- Suitable for beginners and all types of skiing
- Not ideal for season skiers that practice a specific type of skiing
Related: The K2 Pinnacle Ski Boots are commonly bought with these bindings. The boots are also durable and ideal for all types of skiing which makes them a great buy.
Price: $250 – $475
Weight: 4 lb
Specific features: 180° toe release, 28 mm of elastic travel in the heel piece, compatible with WTR and standard alpine boot soles
Best use: Freeriding and freestyle
Description: The award-winning Pivot is one of the most trusted ski bindings on the market. Their Look Pivot 14 Dual Ski Bindings are an elite-level dual standard freeride bindings. Many freestyle skiers and aggressive chargers favor this binding because of its lightweight design can help increase transmission while enhancing the flex of the skis.
The new generation Pivot also features a platform that is 10% wider and 14% longer toe wings for a better boot to binding ratio, which increases energy transfer from the boot to the skis. Some simple tinkering in the ADF allows the user to quickly shift to WTR. Choose this ski binding if you want something tough and time-tested.
Unless specified by the manufacturer, these ski bindings are maintenance free, which is good news for all of us. However, for safety reasons, we recommend that a certified technician before the start of a new season examine ski bindings. During the off-season, store your skis in a clean dry place, and do not leave them in wet for long periods of time.
- Great for seasoned and aggressive freestyle skiers
- Better foot binding ratio than most of the other models
- If left in a wet place for a long period of time, they might get damaged
Related: Most skiers who opted for these bindings chose Rossignol SOUL 7 HD Freeride Skis too. With Power Turn Rocker profile, Air Tip technology and lightweight yet sturdy construction these new SOUL 7 HD skis are perfect for freeriding skiers who are into the adventurous freeriding performances.
With the Look Pivot 14 dual bindings, we have reached the end of our article. Some readers might be asking what happens if the ski boots don’t fit the bindings. If you bought new boots and want to use them with your skis, and don’t know how to do it properly, you will have to go to a certified shop technician to have them adjusted.
Besides the above-mentioned problem, ski bindings, as you have read, are key to enjoying a good winter season. Do not forget to always keep in mind features such as your skier profile, or the elasticity of the binders. It is fundamental that you feel comfortable in them.
If you have a suggestion or a story you’d like to share with us about your personal ski bindings, then please feel free to leave a comment down below. In case you have any questions, please add them too. We’d love to hear from you.