Which ski bindings are best?
Getting the most out of your skis is a balanced combination of practice and using high-quality equipment. And ski bindings are arguably one of the most important tools to make or break your skiing experience.
However, the variety of features can make purchasing bindings complex and frustrating. If you’re looking for the best, high-quality ski bindings that offer reliable performance, consider the Marker Griffon 13 ID Ski Bindings 2022. These bindings have all the qualities that make them the top choice for downhill skiers of all levels.
What to know before you buy ski bindings
Your ski bindings must match your preferred skiing style. For example, if you’re spending the weekend at a ski resort, it’s likely that you’ll spend a majority of your time downhill skiing.
In that case, you’ll need Alpine or Downhill ski bindings. These are the most classic bindings and are typically much heavier than the other styles. However, the additional weight gives them extra durability and strength.
Alpine bindings must have a fixed toe and heel because the design requires inserting your toes in and then locking in your heel. They must also be DIN certified.
If you prefer spending a lot of time trekking uphill, you’ll need Tech bindings, also known as backcountry or touring bindings. They use two pins that lock down the front toe piece and a separate heel that unlocks for easier uphill movement.
For the best of both worlds, Alpine Touring bindings are used for both downhill and uphill skiing styles. Similar to Tech styles, the toe pivots and the heel releases to allow uphill walking.
These hybrid bindings are an excellent option for those who don’t want to change out their bindings every time they go from a resort to a leisurely backcountry trek.
However, it should be noted that many times Alpine Touring bindings aren’t DIN certified, but they do have a force-release setting.
This is by no means the entire list of bindings available for skiers on the market today. There are also other niche bindings like Telemarking with locked toes, but completely free heels.
Most bindings allow small changes for sole adjustment. Sometimes you’ll need to redrill the bindings accordingly, but some products allow up to 2 to 3 cm of adjustment.
Using ski bindings that allow for some adjustment without redrilling is excellent if you’re armed with several of the best ski boots or share skis.
Ease of use
Sometimes ski bindings, especially Tech bindings, can be problematic to get into. A majority of Tech bindings require perfectly lining up your toes and pressing downwards to engage the front pins.
That can feel like trying to grab a pen off the ground with a boxing glove. Spring-loaded designs like the Fritschi Tecton 12 are excellent alternative options.
What to look for in quality ski bindings
DIN is the standard that determines the amount of force on the bindings before they’re required to release. The settings range on various factors, including age, experience, weight and height.
Typically, the more experienced skier you are, the higher the recommended DIN setting. It’s important to determine your experience and skill level accurately.
Because while some bindings have a maximum DIN setting of 11, it may not be enough for an advanced and aggressive skier who requires it to be at 18. On the other hand, if you’re just starting out, ski bindings with a minimum DIN setting of six may be too high when you really require a DIN setting of four.
Skill level is divided into beginner, experienced and expert categories. Within the beginner category, you have a true, intermediate and advanced beginner.
A true beginner is someone with zero skiing experience, while an intermediate beginner is a person who can manage a Green run on their own. An advanced beginner can confidently ski Blue runs and execute advanced maneuvers, but still requires some practice.
Experienced skiers are veterans that pull stunts and have heightened situational awareness. Experts are the ones who have years of experience and may even confidently ski Double Black Diamonds.
Accurately determining your skill level is essential in selecting the correct DIN setting and preventing unintentional injury.
Brake width and binding weight
When searching for ski bindings, you’ll find that the size is most often measured in millimeters and referred to as brake width. The brakes must be at least between 4 to 15 millimeters wider than your skis, so they don’t slide away.
However, if they’re too wide, they can cause you to slow down by catching on the snow. For downhill skiers, Alpine bindings are the go-to without question. They’re also the heaviest of all bindings, but they offer additional durability, protection and higher DIN settings.
On the other hand, backcountry skiers benefit from lightweight bindings that can weigh between 1 to 3 pounds.
It’s important that you match your ski binding purchase to the ski boots that you own. While aesthetics may play a factor, it’s more about the style.
You must match Tech-style bindings to Tech-style boots and Alpine bindings to Alpine boots. The outlier is if you have hybrid boots and you decide to purchase Alpine Touring or hybrid bindings.
How much you can expect to spend on ski bindings
Depending on the style, you can expect to spend between $180-$650 on quality ski bindings.
Best ski bindings FAQ
How often can I remount my skis?
A. Each time you mount your skis, you drill holes. While they may be small, that means the space you have to work with gets smaller every time you need to remount your bindings. In order to limit integrity loss, it’s not recommended to remount your bindings more than three times.
Should the DIN setting be the same on the front and the back?
A. Ski bindings have elastic movement, which allows for some amount of shock absorption before releasing. So while they can be set to different values, it’s best to generally keep them the same.
What are the best ski bindings to buy?
Top ski bindings
What you need to know: These bindings provide skiers the reliability, versatility and power transfer they need without excess weight.
What you’ll love: As skis have gotten wider in recent years, so have these bindings. The new ID Sole tech makes these bindings compatible with any Alpine touring and GripWalk soles. It’s available in several brake sizes and has DIN settings between 4 to 13.
What you should consider: In wet snow conditions, the toe may collect snow.
Top ski bindings for the money
What you need to know: You’d be hard-pressed to find a high-performance ski binding for under $200 like the ones from Tyrolia.
What you’ll love: These ski bindings are an excellent budget-friendly option for all skill levels with DIN settings from 3 to 11. It can accommodate Alpine and GripWalk soles and is versatile enough to handle various mountain terrains and weather conditions.
What you should consider: It’s slightly heavier than its competitors.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is an award-winning ski binding for backcountry skiers designed for the long run.
What you’ll love: These Alpine Touring bindings rightfully won the 2018 Gear Of The Year Award. Release your heels and use climbing bars to give 2 to 10 degrees of lift as you trek up the mountain before locking back in and gliding down. They’re also compatible with most boot soles, making them a long-term investment.
What you should consider: These bindings are slightly heavier than other Tech bindings.
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Christopher Lee writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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