Often overlooked for the flashier graphics on snowboards, snowboard bindings is an essential part of enjoying your day on the slopes.
Bindings are your point of contact with your snowboard. They act as your steering wheel, allowing you to surf powder, carve groomed trails, and hit features in the terrain park with confidence. Bindings come in all shapes and sizes, from rigid freeride and big-mountain bindings to flexible park bindings, with multiple entry and exit styles.
Here are our picks for the best snowboard bindings of the year, from the park to freeride to the backcountry. For help choosing, check out our buyers guide and FAQ sections at the end of this article. For a quick look at how these bindings stack up, see our comparison chart.
Otherwise, scroll through to see all of our recommendations for the best snowboard bindings of 2023-2024.
Editor’s Note: We updated our Snowboard Bindings buyer’s guide on November 20, 2023, to be more reader-friendly.
The Best Snowboard Bindings of 2023-2024
- Best Overall Snowboard Bindings: Union Force
- Best Budget: System MTN Men’s Rear-Entry Step-In Bindings
- Runner-Up Best Snowboard Bindings: Burton Malavita EST
- Responsive in any terrain
- If you want a soft pair, look at other options
- Quick boot entry
- Takes some tweaking to get the straps set up initially
- Quick boot entry
- Zero forward lean may not be responsive enough for aggressive riders
- Extremely responsive
- Tool-free adjusting
- Pricier choice
- Soft feel is less responsive on steep and icy slopes
- All-mountain performance
- Only compatible with Burton’s Channel board mounting system
- Secure locking system
- Responsive highback
- Only compatible with Step On boots
- Asymmetrical heel cup provides flex without sacrificing power
- Upper price tier
- Stiff support
- Strap-in options
- Stiffer choice might not be prime for park riders
- Stiff support
- High response
- Not very many size options
- Pressure from the ankle ratchet can get uncomfortable
- Costs half as much as most of the bindings on this list
- Straps can grow brittle and break in extremely cold weather
- Extremely flexible
- Soft profile not ideal for hard charges down steep hills
- Ankle strap could be a bit stiff, especially on broader boots
- Rear-entry might not be your jam
- Mitten-friendly entry and exit
- Grom bindings are made to fit 1K to 3K, so be sure your kiddo falls in that range
Snowboard Bindings Comparison Chart
Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Style, Flex.
|System MTN Men’s Rear-Entry Step-In Bindings||$120||Rear-entry step-in||Medium|
|Burton Malavita EST||$360||Strap-in||Medium|
|Union Flite Pro||$170||Strap-in||Medium/Soft|
|Burton Cartel X EST||$300||Strap-in||Rigid|
|Burton Step On||$330||Step-on||Medium|
|GNU Freedom||$320||Rear-entry, strap-in||Rigid|
|Nitro Team Pro||$330||Strap-in||Medium/Rigid|
|Flow Fuse Hybrid||$300|
How We Tested Snowboard Bindings
Our GearJunkie snowboard gear testers include a range of experts. We have resort shredders, backcountry splitboarders, pow surfers, and instructors among our gear testers.
We meet for an annual gear testing week to swap notes, including multiple gatherings at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, which is known for its extremely steep terrain.
Leading the snowboard gear crew, Senior Editor Morgan Tilton specializes in snowsports and has been a snowboarder since 2002, when she learned to ride at her home ski area in Telluride, Colorado. While she grew up competing in slopestyle, Tilton enjoys backcountry and in-bounds days alike. To date, she’s tested snowboard bindings a total of 150 hours in 2023. She’s also the former manager of the late Transworld Snowboarding annual snowboard boots test. R.I.P.
GearJunkie Editor and gear tester Austin Beck-Doss has been snowboarding since 2005. Growing up far from the mountains, trips to the slopes were a special once-a-year treat for Austin. After moving to Colorado in 2014, his repetitions increased dramatically. In recent years, Austin has logged lots of glorious days at various resorts in the Wasatch mountains of Utah. He’s also worked as an adaptive snowboard instructor with people with disabilities.
While testing for the best snowboard bindings, we consider the flex, durability, ease of use, and price as well as the performance-hounds, application, and award-winners.
Buyers Guide: How to Choose Snowboard Bindings
Bindings are built to accommodate riding styles starting with freeriding, which consists mostly of surfing through powder or carving down groomed runs. Bindings that are ideal for freeriders are stiffer and more aggressive. This provides the quick and reliable response that carvers need to make fast turns on steep downhill slopes.
Freestyle riders — also known as park rats — are the riders that you see bombing off kickers, sailing over tabletops, and grinding everything that you can slide on. Freestyle bindings tend to be more flexible to allow for tweaking grabs and for adjusting your balance on rails.
All-mountain riders do a little bit of everything — hitting the groomers, finding powder off-trail, and making a few park runs here and there. All-mountain bindings need to ride a delicate balance between flex and rigidity.
They need enough stiffness to provide control on steeps while maintaining enough flex to hit the park. All-mountain riders should look for bindings that are in the medium range of flexibility.
A snowboard binding’s flex refers to how rigid the construction is, particularly in the highback and the heel cup. This affects responsiveness, or how quickly the snowboard reacts to varying amounts of pressure you create as you carve.
A rigid flex provides stability and increases the binding’s response to your movements. This is ideal for high-speed runs and steep hills, where a quick turn can make a difference between holding your edge or catching it and cartwheeling down a hill.
A more flexible binding is ideal for park riding. Snowboarders who ride mostly in terrain parks value a more flexible binding profile, which allows for more mobility. This is ideal for tweaking grabs and for adjusting your center of gravity on rails.
The baseplate is what attaches the binding to your board. It can be adjusted to vary the angle of a rider’s foot in relation to the board. This is based on the rider’s stance preference.
Some riders prefer a narrower stance or a neutral angle. However, others may want a wider stance or have their toes pointed slightly outward, based on their anatomy and style of riding.
Baseplates also generally feature some sort of damping technology that allows them to act as shock absorbers. This is usually made up of rubber or a composite. The damping helps absorb the shock of landings and minimizes vibration (also known as chatter) on icy or excessively bumpy terrain.
The highback is the wing that comes up the back of the binding, supporting the back of the leg. Highbacks are what give you control of your snowboard and add power when riding on your heel edge.
They vary in flexibility — more rigid highbacks increase the board’s response, while flexible highbacks are generally more comfortable.
Not only do straps secure your boots to your binding, but they also provide control and power when carving on your toe edge. Most bindings feature a larger ankle strap that wraps around the ankle and top of the foot, as well as a toe strap that wraps over the forefoot.
Some bindings’ toe straps go over the toecap of the boot, which can more effectively secure the boot in the binding. Straps are secured via ratcheting buckles, which allow for fast entry and exit. The ratchet levers also let you adjust your straps, tightening and loosening them as needed.
Some bindings do not work with every board, so it’s important to make sure any bindings that you are considering buying will work with your snowboard. Many bindings come with universal baseplates or multiple baseplates that allow them to work with different mounting styles. Others are designed to work with specific boards.
When you’re considering a binding, check the binding’s webpage. There should be a list of boards and mounting styles that the binding will work with.
Sizing and Fit
Instead of the specific fits that you’ll find in shoes and snowboard boots, bindings tend to come in small, medium, and large sizes, with additional sizes for youths.
Despite the range of shoe sizes per category, bindings are designed to fit securely without feeling restrictive. You don’t want to allow any movement between the boot and the binding, as that results in a loss of control.
The ankle and toe straps offer a wide range of adjustability, which lets you dial in your binding’s fit every time you step into it. Check your binding’s webpage to see which category your shoe size fits in before buying.
The price of bindings varies widely, from the least expensive sitting at under $100 to the higher end reaching into the $500-600 range. Usually, the cost comes with more durability and responsiveness, as well as more sport-specific features like aggressively angled highbacks for big-mountain riding.
If you know what style of riding you prefer, it can be worth it to opt for a higher-end binding that will accommodate your riding style. Beginners may want to look for a lower-end binding while they learn — they can upgrade as they improve without taking a big bite out of their wallets. Check out a snowboard bindings review or two to find a good, low-cost binding that doesn’t sacrifice functionality.
Professional snowboarders tend to use bindings that are dialed into their personal style. They often use different board and binding setups to fit where and how they plan to ride on any given trip.
Freeriding snowboarders tend to use bindings with less flex, as the increased rigidity provides better edge-to-edge responsiveness during hard-charging lines and high-speed carves.
Freestyle riders usually use bindings with more flex. The added mobility provides the freedom to tweak grabs and to adjust their center of gravity when grinding rails and boxes.
All-mountain riders usually use all-mountain bindings with a medium flex. They need a binding that will provide the responsiveness required for reliable carving but with the flexibility to hit a kicker or grind the occasional rail.
When learning to snowboard, simplicity is key. Go with a strap-in binding rather than a step-in binding when you start out.
The highbacks that come with strap-in bindings will make the board more responsive. This helps train riders to carve and develop trust in the board and binding connection.
Less expensive bindings are great for beginners as well. Binding preference is specific to the user, and a cheaper binding will be easier to replace as riders improve and start learning what bindings will better suit their preferred riding style.
Most bindings are universal, but not all. Some bindings are made to work specifically with certain brands. For instance, many Burton bindings are made to work primarily with Burton boards, so they come with multiple baseplates for use with other brands.
The good news is that any bindings that will only work with one type of board will note this in the technical specs section on the website. If you’re considering a set of bindings, be sure to check online that its baseplate is designed to work with the board you’re planning to use.
Thanks to the strapping system, strap-in bindings will fit a wide range of snowboard boots. The sizing (XS-XL) refers to the length of a boot sole, not the thickness of the boot, so if you are considering a binding size, the only thing you really must worry about is whether the length of the sole will work.
Step-on bindings attach to the bottom of boots with soles that have anchor points designed to lock into that specific binding. If you’re considering a pair of step-on bindings, make sure that you have a pair of boots that are made to work with that binding.
You want your boot to be as secure as possible without feeling uncomfortable. The boots should not move around in the bindings at all. The movement you provide by leaning and applying pressure to different parts of the binding is what steers and controls the board, so any slippage between the boot and binding will result in a loss of control.
However, the binding straps should not be so tight that they cause pinching or an uncomfortable amount of pressure. You don’t want to come out of your first run wanting to unstrap as soon as possible.
The most noticeable difference between step-in and strap-in bindings is that strap-in bindings use two straps to hold boots in. Step-on bindings secure the boots via clips on the outsole of the boot that connect it to the baseplate.
Step-on bindings provide faster entry and exit, but the lack of straps (and in some cases, highbacks) has been known to sacrifice control.
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