I’m a certified snowboarding instructor and here is my review of the best snowboard bindings to get in 2021.
Snowboard bindings are sometimes overlooked. You won’t often hear your friends or other riders comment on how cool your bindings are because they’ll mostly be looking at your board, boots, and outerwear instead.
Still, bindings serve the hugely important role of connecting your feet to your board. Even though they might not be the most flashy or eye-catching part of your setup, without them you wouldn’t be able to ride at all.
In this buying guide, I’m going to take an in-depth look at the best snowboard bindings available. Whether you’re looking for your first binding set to match your new board or want to get a custom setup for the park or big powder, this list will run through the best options to meet your needs.
Let’s get started.
- Quick Summary
- Who Should Get This?
- Best Snowboard Bindings in 2021: Top Picks
- 1. Best Overall: Union Flight Pro
- 2. Most Versatile: Burton Cartel X
- 3. Best for Beginners: Flow Alpha MTN
- 4. Best Budget Option: Salomon Rhythm
- 5. Runner Up Budget Bindings: 5th Element Stealth 3
- 6. Best Park Snowboard Bindings: Nitro Zero
- 7. Best for Women: Flow Haylo
- 8. Best for Advanced Riders: Burton Genesis
- Best Snowboard Bindings: What to Consider
- Useful Tips & Resources
- Final Words
- Best Overall Snowboard Bindings: Union Flite Pro
- Most Versatile Snowboard Bindings: Burton Cartel X
- Best Beginner Snowboard Bindings: Flow Alpha MTN
- Best Budget Snowboard Bindings: Salomon Rhythm Bindings and 5th Element Stealth 3
- Best Park Snowboard Bindings: Nitro Zero
- Best Women’s Snowboard Bindings: Flow Haylo
- Best Bindings for Advanced Riders: Burton Genesis
Who Should Get This?
The reality is that every single snowboarder needs bindings. If you want to attach your snowboard boots (which ideally have your feet in them) to your board, you need bindings.
There’s no way around it. Regardless of your ability level or preferred riding style, you still need bindings. This is one of the essential elements of snowboarding right alongside your board and boots. A board without bindings is just basically a sled.
The bindings listed here are all high-quality, reliable options. Some riders don’t put much thought into their bindings, but if you use a top-rated option, you are going to notice a difference in performance and durability.
If you’re investing in your own snowboarding setup, it will pay off, in the long run, to get your hands on quality equipment. The bindings on this list will match the needs of many different riders.
Some boards come with bindings. If you get one such model, you might not need to get a separate set. Just make sure any included bindings are in good shape and consider some of the factors mentioned below to make sure they are a good option for you.
Best Snowboard Bindings in 2021: Top Picks
1. Best Overall: Union Flight Pro
One of the top snowboard binding options, the Union Flight Pro is made to help you fly all over the mountain. Lightweight, durable, and built with performance and comfort in mind, these hold up anywhere from the park to powder runs in the trees.
They have a medium-soft flex, which makes them a bit more catered towards freestyle riding, but manage to be quite versatile as well.
One of the Pro’s best features is their strong Duraflex material. This keeps them at a consistent flex even when the temperature changes, meaning you can expect reliable performance at all times.
Extruded 3D Aluminum Heelcups keep your feet firmly planted for added control and work towards eliminating foot drag. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, these quality bindings are built to last and perform at the highest levels.
- Durable thanks to Duraflex construction
- 3D Aluminum Heelcups
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Thermoformed EVA shock absorption
- Multiple sizes available
- Versatile but caters more towards freestyle riding
- Softer flex not good for the backcountry
2. Most Versatile: Burton Cartel X
The Burton Cartel X gives you a ton of versatility so you can rip through all of your favorite features and terrain. These come with a medium flex that creates excellent performance and response no matter if you’re knee-deep in powder or setting new speed records.
In addition to the versatility these bindings offer, they are packed with other features to make them a top choice. The B3 Gel Cushioning System provides a ton of comfort and support to keep you stable as you rip big lines.
The single component baseplate also offers excellent response on either edge, and the DialFlad highback allows you to adjust the forward lean to your liking.
- Effective, well-designed cushioning system
- Forward lean adjustable highback
- Single component baseplate for serious response
- Hammock ankle strap
- Built from recycled materials
- Great all-around performance
- Great versatility but doesn’t excel in one style
3. Best for Beginners: Flow Alpha MTN
The Flow Alpha MTN bindings offer a softer flex that beginners will love while also being tuned for increased performance as you push towards the next level. The rear-entry style design is also appealing because it makes stepping into and out of the bindings a breeze.
These bindings also come with a padded footbed and highback for increased comfort and stability. The included LSR ratchets are heavy-duty and reliable in a way that helps you find a secure fit.
They are designed for all-mountain riding, which allows you to get out there and explore as you learn. A solid binding that will help you grow from a beginner to an intermediate rider in no time.
Learn more options about the best beginner snowboard bindings.
- Great beginner binding
- Forgiving flex
- Rear entry style easy to step into and out of
- Durable and secure ratchet straps/buckles
- All-mountain design
- Not good for high-end performance
- Not the most durable option
4. Best Budget Option: Salomon Rhythm
Snowboarding is expensive. All the gear you need to ride can add up quickly and make a serious dent in your wallet. That’s why it’s always great when you find quality equipment at an affordable price.
The Salomon Rhythm bindings are a solid set that will work for many different types of snowboarders. Built for performance, these affordable options are recommended for anyone on a budget.
While cheap, these bindings still have plenty to offer. The asymmetrical highback is designed to increase support while also adding comfort. Full EVA padding in the footbed and helps limit foot fatigue and increases stability. Composite buckles create a secure and comfortable fit while also being super durable.
- Quality performance
- Full EVA padding
- Durable composite buckles
- Strong straps for customized comfort
- Multiple color options
- Softer flex not great for advanced riders
- Highback could be better padded
5. Runner Up Budget Bindings: 5th Element Stealth 3
Another good budget option is the 5th Element Stealth 3. These won’t deliver as great of a performance as some other bindings on the list, but they are a cheap and easy option for beginners putting together their first setup.
You will still get a steady and even ride out of these alongside a nice flex that will give you room to grow your skills. They make for a good freestyle binding option as well.
One of the best features here is the convertible toe strap that accommodates nearly any boot and provides plenty of secure comfort. Both the highback and baseplate come fully padded for additional comfort, and they limit chatter at high speeds.
The highback also comes with a forward lean adjustment to allow you to find the stance that works best for you. A decent binding at a very approachable price.
You can find more cheap options from my review of the best budget snowboard bindings.
- Smooth and steady ride
- Forward lean adjustment
- Fully padded baseplate and highback
- Not super durable
- Entry-level flex
6. Best Park Snowboard Bindings: Nitro Zero
If you’re looking for a set of snowboard bindings that will give you excellent performance in the park, check out the Nitro Zero. These include air dampening cushioning and a canted footbed to help absorb the shocks from big airs.
An open AirBase frame makes them super lightweight and flexible. Easy entry straps and buckles make it simple to unstrap if you want to hike the same feature over and over again.
These bindings are also super comfortable thanks to the cushioning as well as the included premium comfort ankle straps. Aluminum buckles and the cable reinforced connector adds to the strength and durability as well.
You may also be interested in our review of the best park snowboard bindings.
- Great park binding
- Extra cushioning
- Lightweight AirBase frame
- Easy entry straps and buckles
- Excellent in the park but just ok outside of it
- Leather material built into straps can fade and crack over time
7. Best for Women: Flow Haylo
The Flow Haylo is one of the best women’s snowboard bindings. They are built to meet the needs of all-mountain riders who want to explore and experience a range of different conditions.
A rear-entry style strap makes them easy to use while still delivering quality performance for even advanced riders. EVA heel cushioning offers tremendous comfort while keeping things stable at speeds. The LSR locking strap-ratchet buckles add strength and durability as well.
- Solid all-mountain performance
- Easy to use
- Secure fit for a rear-entry style binding
- Rear-entry style not preferred by everyone
- Highback can be uncomfortable with some boots
8. Best for Advanced Riders: Burton Genesis
If you want an aggressive binding that will perform well under serious conditions, the Burton Genesis is for you. This is a great option for advanced riders who demand top-level performance out of all of their equipment.
These snowboard bindings provide tremendous response thanks to their strong, durable construction and the hammock straps offer enough flex to keep you comfortable even when crushing gnarly lines.
- Great option for advanced riders
- Tremendous response
- Quality construction
- Canted highback
- AutoCANT SensoryBED Cushioning System
- Too aggressive for beginners and some intermediates
Best Snowboard Bindings: What to Consider
Just like with snowboard boots, one of the biggest initial factors with snowboard bindings is flex. Flex describes a binding’s rigidity. Every model has its own rating based on the intended riding style or snowboarder’s ability.
This rating is sometimes described on a scale from 1-to-10, with 1 being soft and 10 being hard. More often, they are described as soft, medium, or stiff.
Softer bindings are better for beginners. More flex allows for more forgiveness which is ideal when you’re just learning the basics of the sport. Softer bindings are also good for the park because their more forgiving nature will allow them to flex when you land, twist, and turn.
Stiff bindings are intended for performance and are better for experienced riders. If you are an advanced rider who likes to tackle difficult terrain, you’re going to want to get a set of fairly stiff bindings. Increased stiffness leads to more control and allows better power transfer from your legs to your board.
If you’re an intermediate rider or like to go all over the mountain and explore different conditions or terrains, a medium flex binding is the way to go.
Your Riding Style
Different bindings are designed for different riding styles. A lot of this is in relation to flex, as mentioned above. However, if you want a dedicated binding for a specific purpose, you want to be aware of that when you make your purchase.
If you want high-end performance look for a stiff binding built for an aggressive, all-mountain style. If you’re a park rat, you want a softer binding that excels when hitting rails, launching in the pipe, or getting huge air.
Freestyle bindings will have a focus on tricks and creativity, while freeride bindings are intended more for natural style riding where you tackle big lines that are steep and deep.
You don’t absolutely need a binding that matches your style. The reality is that most riders like to explore a variety of situations and conditions. If you do have a preference or want a dedicated setup, make sure you match your bindings with that in mind.
Snowboard bindings come in 3 design styles: strap-in, rear entry, and clip-in.
Strap-in styles are the most common. They feature two straps that are secured with a ratcheting buckle to ensure a proper fit. A strap-in style binding will have a strap that goes over your toes and one that sits more over your ankle. This style provides a more customizable fit than other styles.
Rear entry bindings use a single top strap to secure your feet onto your board. This makes them easier to get into and out of than strap-in style bindings. Some beginners like this style because you don’t need to spend as much time clipping in and out of your bindings whenever you get on or off of the chairlift. However, they don’t allow for a ton of customization in the fit.
Clip-in bindings aren’t as common, but they are out there. These feature a hardware system on the board and the bottom of your boots that work together to allow you to attach by stepping down onto your board. It looks like there are no bindings at all, but your boots firmly slot in place through the unique design.
The highback on your snowboard bindings is the longer piece of material at the rear of the binding that goes up to your lower leg. This is a critical element to any binding because it allows for both control and comfort. There are a few things to look for when it comes to the design and function of the highback.
A stiffer and less flexible highback will allow for better control and increased performance in more demanding conditions. However, that extra stiffness makes the binding less comfortable and forgiving than a softer, more flexible highback.
Some highbacks come with an adjustable forward lean, which is a nice feature to look out for because it can change your stance to match your preferences.
Your bindings are going to take a lot of abuse. As such, they need to be able abuse, not just from the elements, but from the constant twisting and turning you put them through while you’re out on the slopes. Quality construction is essential.
You want to look for high-quality plastics, metals, and other materials that can take a beating day after day, season after season. Though you can always get cheaper options to save some money upfront, you will likely have to replace them sooner when they wear down.
Padding is another consideration that I always look for when getting a new binding. The baseplate (underfoot area) and highback should have some type of foam, or other soft-but-durable material. Such padding offers increased comfort, stability, and shock absorption as you ride.
Useful Tips & Resources
As I touched on earlier in this article, you want to match the bindings you choose to your preferred riding style. Bindings have different characteristics that cater to certain styles, and it’s good to know what you are looking for in that regard.
So, how do you figure out what style of rider you are if you don’t know? Check out this quick video to learn about the basic styles and see where your preferences might fall.
Even if you know what style of rider you are, there are still plenty of other considerations to think about when it comes to getting the best bindings for your individual needs. Look back at the “What to Consider” option of this article if you still can’t decide what’s best.
- How to Put Bindings on a Snowboard
- Best Rear Entry Snowboard Bindings
- Best Powder Snowboard Bindings
- Best Kid’s Snowboard Bindings
Bindings are important, but they don’t get that much attention compared to other important pieces of snowboarding equipment.
It pays to have a good set of bindings, and any of the options listed above are all quality choices that have been reviewed and analyzed based on important aspects such as performance, comfort, durability, flex, and riding style.
You might not think there’s much difference between one snowboard binding and the next, but depending on your preferences and preferred style of riding they can vary quite a bit.
Remember to find a binding that matches your style and you’ll be riding high for a least a few seasons with your new gear.