10 Best Snowboard Bindings for 2021

snowboard bindings

A good snowboard is useless unless you have quality bindings to go with it. Bindings transfer the power and control from your body to the board and are an often overlooked aspect of your setup. 

I’m a certified snowboarding instructor who has seen all sorts of different gear relating to the sport over the years. I know the difference between good bindings and average options and think that you should too. 

The Union Force is the best snowboard binding. It’s a versatile and effective binding that will work for most snowboarders with a bit of experience in the snow. 

In this post, I’ll show you an in-depth look at several other high-quality snowboard bindings. Whether you’re looking for your first binding set to go with a new board or want a custom setup for more challenging conditions, this list will have you covered. 

Time to strap in and get going. 

Quick Summary

Who Should Get This

Every single snowboarder needs bindings. Without bindings, your snowboard is useless. Seriously, you can’t ride without bindings, and a good set is a good idea. 

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 will notice a difference in performance and durability.

If you’re investing in your 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.

Top Picks of The Best Snowboard Bindings

Here are my top picks for the best snowboard bindings in the industry. Between all of the options below, you should be able to find something that will meet your needs and abilities. 

1. Union Force

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key features: Versatile performance, Duraflex ST baseplate, strong construction, aluminum heelcups, canted footbeds 
  • Flex: Medium/Stiff
  • Ability Level: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Price: $$$

My favorite snowboarding binding right now is the Union Force. These bindings are built to handle anything you can throw at them and will keep you covered anywhere on the mountain and then some. 

The design and construction are both more than solid. The baseplate is made of a Duraflex ST material that is extra strong and designed to handle extremely cold temperatures without any loss of power or hold. 

The bushings are made of a thermoformed EVA plastic that adds durability and increases cold-weather performance as well. 3D aluminum heelcups will keep your feet held firmly in place and are also extremely strong. 

Moving on up to the highback and straps, you get serious performance and construction here as well. Duraflex ST material is also built into the highback and has the same strength and cold resistance as the base plate. 

They also come with a lever that lets you quickly adjust the highback angle, which is a solid nod towards customization if and when you need it. 

The ankle and toe straps are also highly durable and reliable. You get multiple toe strap positions for added customization, and then ExoFrame 4.0 ankle strap will keep everything firmly in place no matter how hard you ride. 

These bindings are on the stiffer side, making them an option that beginners should avoid until they are ready. They are also slightly on the expensive side of things. 

2. Union Atlas

  • Best for: All-Mountain
  • Key features: Duraflex baseplate, instant edge-to-edge response, bombproof design, ExoFrame ankle straps, tall highbacks
  • Flex: Medium/Stiff
  • Construction: Intermediate/Advance
  • Price: $$$

Another solid option from Atlas is the Union. These bindings are incredibly versatile and will give you fantastic response and performance in just about any condition. That makes them my top pick for an all-mountain snowboarding binding. 

This option is somewhat similar in construction to the Force mentioned above. You get a Duraflex construction in the baseplate and highback that is extremely strong and nearly bombproof. Expect years of regular use out of these. 

Vaporlite HD bushings keep the straps firmly secured to the baseplate without compromising flexibility or durability. An extruded 3D aluminum heelcup keeps boots of all sizes planted and in position when you are riding in variable conditions. 

The Atlas is firm enough in flex to keep response on point when you are bombing steeps or carving through big-mountain lines. But it’s also flexible enough to allow you to explore freestyle flow or dive into big features in the park. This is versatility at its best. 

I’m also a fan of the Grade 8.8 hardware used in the Atlas construction. It’s an extremely strong steel that won’t corrode or rust, even under harsh winter conditions. These bindings are tough, and it’s great. 

These are better left in the hands of experienced riders, and beginners will struggle to utilize their stiffer response. They are also expensive but make for a recommended investment. 

3. Salomon District

  • Best for: Beginners
  • Key features: Forgiving flex, responsive, versatile, soft heelcup, asymmetrical straps for a secure hold
  • Flex: Soft
  • Ability Level: Beginner/Intermediate 
  • Price: $$

The Salomon District is a great beginners binding. It’s an excellent option to explore for pairing with your first board and will give you good responsiveness while still being forgiving in nature. A softer flex allows you to progress as your experience on the mountain increases. 

The baseplate of the District has some innovative design features that make it unique and effective. It’s made out of 3-pieces with a flexible heel loop that creates an exact and easy fit. This design reduces material use and waste to keep the bindings very light in weight. 

A kevlar material is used in the baseplate as well, which is the same material used in bulletproof armor, so you know this is a solid and durable option. This keeps the bindings a little stiffer than other beginner bindings, which I think is great to help you improve your skills. 

The highback is soft and comfortable, working with many different sizes and styles of boots. Asymmetrical ankle straps are another feature that caters to comfort and customization. They offer a lot of support and precise adjustment. 

The buckles are also worth mentioning because they are solid and reliable. Made of aluminum and an easy-to-ratchet design, you’ll be able to get strapped in tight in seconds. 

The biggest downside to the District is that they are noticeably soft in flex. Once you improve your abilities, there is a good chance you will outgrow these if you want to ride anywhere outside of the terrain park. 

4. Nitro Team Pro

  • Best for: Park
  • Key features: Lightweight, responsive and supportive, strong construction, Stealth Air Base Frame, air dampening base plates
  • Flex: Stiff
  • Ability Level: Intermediate/Advanced 
  • Price: $$$

Park rats will love the Nitro Team Pro. These bindings are solid in design, aggressive by nature, and built to go big. They are stiff, so they are best for riders who have experience in the park and demand serious performance. 

The Stealth Air Base frame makes for a seriously fantastic foundation for these bindings. They have an air dampening design that helps to absorb big impacts and can help cushion your legs and feet after you go off a huge feature. 

The baseplates also come with rounded corners designed to reduce friction and impact between the binding and your board. This is an awesome feature with park riding in mind because it adds value and durability. 

The buckles on the Team Pro are easy to adjust and secure down tightly. They have a ratcheting system that is effective in colder weather. You’ll also get forged aluminum speedwheel buckles that are amazingly strong and secure. 

Another unique feature is a Vibram rubber toestrap that increases compatibility with any type of snowboarding boot. It also adds another layer of cushioning to keep your feet and legs safe after impact. 

The Team Pro is aggressive and stiff. This is great for many park riders, but others prefer a softer binding. You’ll want to look for another option if that’s your preference. 

5. Ride C-4 

  • Best for: Carving
  • Key features: Versatile and reliable performance, aluminum heelcup, smooth ride, affordable 
  • Flex: Medium 
  • Ability Level: Beginner to Advanced  
  • Price: $$

If you are looking for solid performance across the board and a binding that can carve like a dream, check out the Ride C-4. These bindings will be effective in a range of different conditions and work with all ability levels. 

A medium flex allows you to lean into carving turns while still generating reliable and effective response. They work with you when you want to lay back or dig in, and this versatile performance pays off in all-mountain pursuits. 

A nylon highback gives you plenty of support while still allowing for flexibility. It’s a traditional style and design that you’ll be familiar with. It doesn’t have many innovative features to mention, but it gets the job done. 

The baseplate has a composite chassis that is strong and durable. It has a canted footbed and die-cut basepad to provide solid comfort and impact absorption. 

You’ll also get a two-piece ankle strap and minimal toe strap that won’t get in your way. These straps hold your boots in tight without being restrictive. The ratchets are effective in cold weather and easy to use as well. 

The C-4 doesn’t quite reach the level of an extremely high-performance binding. If you want a carving binding with racing or big-mountain conditions in mind, go with a stiffer option. 

6. Burton Cartel X EST

  • Best for: Big Feet
  • Key features: Wider sizes available, Hinge baseplate, comfortable and responsive, strong and durable construction, innovative design features.
  • Flex: Medium/Stiff
  • Ability Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Price: $$$

If you have wide or large feet and need a binding big enough to handle them, the Burton Cartel X EST comes in sizes that will work. It’s a great binding in general, and the popular brand name means you’ll find a little extra customization. 

The Hammockstrap 2.0 straps and Smooth Glide buckles allow you to get the precise fit needed for larger feet when the straps are pushed out a little further than average. The highback also has a heel hammock design that is intended to work with any boot size. 

In addition to these features that make the Cartel X EST good for big feet, they also have a lot more to offer. A Hinge baseplate allows for added flex and increases foot roll. This is a Burton-specific design that is pretty cool. 

The bindings also have a SensoryBed cushioning system that uses dual-density EVA foam to absorb impact and increase comfort. There is also B3 gel built into the design, which adds another layer of impact protection. 

It’s hard to find a downside to these bindings, but they do seem a little bulky. If you don’t have big feet, they might seem too large for regular use.  

7. Union Trilogy

  • Best for: Women
  • Key features: Versatile performance, Duraflex materials, responsive, 
  • Flex: Medium 
  • Ability Level: Beginner to Advanced 
  • Price: $$$

The Union Trilogy is the best women’s specific binding out there. This is basically the Force with a different name, but it does have some design elements that cater to lady riders. 

Duraflex material is built into the baseplate and highback. This makes the bindings extremely strong and durable. They will work for any ability level and will give you responsive and precise performance all over the mountain. 

Aluminum heelcups provide excellent comfort and cushion for all types of boots. They are strong and built to last as well. 

The buckles are made of magnesium which works well with Union’s excellent ratcheting strap system. They are lightweight and strong. Combine this with the Grade 8.8. Hardware throughout the boots, and these are effectively bombproof. 

The Trilogy can work for beginners, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for those just starting out. The flex isn’t quite forgiving enough for newbies. 

8. Jones Mercury

  • Best for: Powder
  • Key features: Excellent powder binding, versatile performance, Control Flex highback, Flip-it ankle straps, freeride bushings
  • Flex: Medium/Stiff
  • Ability Level: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Price: $$$$

Powderhounds will appreciate the Jones Mercury. These are built to handle lots of fresh snow and give you responsive float and surf when conditions get deep. 

The baseplate is built with a Skate Tech technology that increases response and allows for quick energy transfer. This leads to a very surfy feel when you are cutting through deep snow or carving wide S turns down a steep face. 

The Control Flex highback is designed to reduce chatter while also providing a lot of comfort. This makes the Mercury equally capable at high speeds in crud and bombing fresh tracks down untouched lines. 

Flip-it ankle straps can be adjusted higher up your boot for extra support that allows you to get technical and creative in powder and beyond.  

The bindings are great for powder, but they are very expensive. 

9. Nitro Staxx

  • Best for: For the Money
  • Key features: Affordable, A-frame dampening base, board saver tech, perfect fit ankle straps, hammer highback
  • Flex: Medium
  • Ability Level: Beginner/Intermediate 
  • Price: $

The Nitro Staxx is the best binding out there for the money. It’s a solid budget option that will give you quality performance while saving you some cash. 

This is a lightweight and comfortable binding that will give you good response in a variety of conditions. An A-Frame base provides a solid starting point for a reliably effective ride. 

EVA dampening keeps your feet and legs cushioned while you ride, and perfect fit ankle straps allow you to dial in your comfort level exactly how you like it. 

Aluminum speedwheel buckles and easy entry buckles keep everything locked in tight while you explore the snow. 

These bindings are decent all-around, but they are far from a high-performance option. They are good for beginner to intermediate riders, but those with experience will need more. 

10. Ride LTD

  • Best for: Intermediate
  • Key features: Infinite chassis system, Wedgie 2.5 footbed, Slimeback Highback, ThinGrip Max Toe Strap
  • Flex: Medium 
  • Ability Level: Intermediate
  • Price: $$$

If you are ready to start exploring more challenging terrain, the Ride LTD bindings make for a good choice to push your skills to the next level. 

They feature a medium flex that is aggressive enough to handle rugged terrain while still being forgiving when you need them to be. 

The Infinity Chassis system adds strength and durability while keeping the bindings responsive. They provide you with solid edge control that is noticeable in many terrains. 

A Wedgie 2.5 Footbed adds comfort and impact resistance. Combined with a urethane basepad, you won’t need to worry about hard stomps or sore feet if you are hitting big features. 

Comfort and customization are provided by the Slimeback highback and ThinGrip Max toe strap. These will keep your boots in place and resist slipping or sliding while you push yourself and your board to new horizons. 

The bindings cater more towards freestyle than freeriding, so just be aware that you might want a little more stiffness if you don’t play in the park. 

How to Choose Snowboard Bindings That Fit You Best

There are a few essential things to keep in mind when you are shopping for snowboard bindings. Take a look at the points below to help you make an informed decision. 

Flex

Just like with snowboard boots, one of the most significant 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 challenging terrain, you’re going to want to get a set of pretty 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 massive air.

Freestyle bindings will focus on tricks and creativity, while freeride bindings are intended more for natural style riding where you tackle big lines steep and deep.

You don’t 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.

Binding Design

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 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 when you get on or off 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.

Highback

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. 

A stiffer and less flexible highback will allow for better control and increased performance in more demanding conditions. However, 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.

Durability

Your bindings are going to take a lot of abuse. As such, they need to be able to handle 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

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. Padding offers increased comfort, stability, and shock absorption as you ride.

Snowboard Bindings FAQs

Here are a few quick answers to some common questions about snowboard bindings. 

Do bindings make a difference?

They sure do. Think of bindings of a sort of steering wheel for your board. If you have poor steering, you won’t be able to control your board, even if it’s a high-quality one. You want good quality bindings to get the best performance out of your board. 

What makes a good snowboard binding?

The most critical factor in a good snowboard binding is quality construction. You want something that is going to be strong and durable. And you want that strength to last for season after season. All of the options above have excellent construction. 

Why are snowboard bindings so expensive?

High-end bindings are pretty expensive. This is because they feature some of the highest-level materials and designs in the industry. They will give you long-lasting performance and might even outlive your snowboard. 

How much should I spend on snowboard bindings?

It depends on your budget, riding style, and ability. If you are an experienced rider, good bindings will cost you a least a few hundred dollars. If you are a beginner, you can get away with purchasing a cheaper option. 

What bindings do pro snowboarders use?

Pro boarders use a variety of bindings. Some of the models that I’ve seen used lately on the X-games and the Olympics by the best snowboarders in the game include the Burton Genesis EXT and the Rome Vice. 

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 types 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.

Also Read:

My Verdict

You need to make sure you get a decent set of bindings if you want to get the best performance out of your snowboard and match your abilities. The Union Force is one of the top snowboard bindings around and is highly recommended. 

Bindings are essential, but they don’t get that much attention compared to other important pieces of snowboarding equipment. You might not think they are critical, but they open up what’s really possible on the mountain. 

It pays to have a good set of bindings. All of the options listed above are all quality choices reviewed and analyzed based on performance, comfort, durability, flex, and riding style.

Remember to find a binding that matches your style, and you’ll be riding high for at least a few seasons with your new gear.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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