The Best Ski Bindings in 2021

Finding the best ski bindings for your personal riding style and ability can have a major impact not only on your overall ski experience but on your safety as well. With so many technical details and options it can be overwhelming to figure out which bindings are best suited to your ski boots and skis. It may come down to little details, like whether you can easily click the bindings open with your ski poles or it may be dependant on other factors like specific safety certifications.

Let us make your choice that much easier with this breakdown of the pros, cons and general recommendations for some of the best ski bindings available.

look pivot 12 gw ski bindings
  • DIN: 4-12
  • Weight: 1105g per binding
  • BSL Adjustment: 20mm
  • Brake widths: 95, 115
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Here are bindings that are often preferred by the freeride skiers, although are great for all-mountain as well. They keep you locked onto your skis for all the fun stuff including big landings but release in the sketchy situations when you really need them too. The pivot ‘turntable’ design provides 7 points of contact between your boot heel and the binding providing excellent contact, ski feeling and power transmission.

Designed for intermediate to expert skiers, the wide DIN range makes these bindings versatile in terms of ski level and style. 28mm of elastic travel in the heel and 40mm of travel in the toe prevents the pre-release of the binding. Look’s pivot lineup boasts the greatest elasticity on the market. More elastic travel means that the binding allows the boot to move more before the torque causes release: this is great because it allows for use of the lower DIN settings. The multidirectional release – think lateral and vertical – makes these bindings absolute top class in terms of retention and release.

The Look Pivot 12’s deliver impressive performance all over the mountain and on a variety of skis!

Pros:
  • Alpine and GripWalk sole compatible
  • Great energy transmission
  • Safe, consistent release
  • Long elastic travel
Cons:
  • Brakes are not swappable

Look Pivot 15 GW Ski Bindings

The Best Hard-Charging Freeride Ski Bindings

look pivot 15 gw ski bindings
  • DIN: 6-15
  • Weight: 1245g per binding
  • Elastic travel: 28mm heel, 40mm toe
  • Brakes: 95 – 115mm
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Ideal for hard-charging skiers from the advanced to expert level, these bindings deliver great retention without disturbing the natural flex of the ski. The DIN range goes up to 15, which is suitable for heavier or more aggressive skiers. The metal toe piece is basically indestructible and offers a great connection between the ski boot and binding resulting in the solid feeling, increased control over the skis and optimized power transfer.

Great elastic travel combined with fast re-centering eliminates any concerns over pre-release, but don’t worry, the Look Pivot 15’s release reliably when needed. In addition, Look’s unique multi-directional release design provides increased safety as it allows the bindings to release with upwards pressure, not only lateral.

Pros:
  • Very durable
  • Alpine and GripWalk sole compatible
  • Short mounting zone
  • Great elastic travel
  • Features multi-directional release
Cons:
  • On the heavier side

Salomon Warden MNC 13 Ski Binding

The Best Ski Bindings for Wider Skis

salomon warden mnc 13 ski binding
  • Main Material: polyamide reinforced with fiber-glass
  • DIN: 4-13
  • Weight: 1132g per binding
  • BSL Adjustment: 28mm (3.5 US sizes)
  • Footprint: 71mm
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These bindings deliver versatile performance. They are compatible with an impressive range of boots, which saves you from buying new boots to fit these bindings – unless you want to of course! The MNC means that they are compatible with both alpine and touring sole standards. Adjustments are relatively easy with a manual toe height adjustment and automatic wing adjustment.

The Warden MNC 13’s can also serve a wide variety of skiing levels but are best suited to the intermediate range. The extra-wide toe pedals transfer power effectively to the edges and make these bindings ideal for larger skis. The sliding toe pedal is spring mounted and allows for some lateral movement as well as ensuring that any boot with a normalized sole will release in case of a fall.

Durable, easy to use, relatively lightweight and still able to deliver great performance – this is an ideal all-around binding!

Pros:
  • Versatile fit
  • Extra-wide toe pedal – ideal for big skis
  • Easily adjustable
  • Alpine, WTR and GripWalk sole compatible
  • Low profile chassis
Cons:
  • Toe adjustment is manual

Black Diamond Helio 145 R10 Alpine Touring Ski Bindings

The Best Ultra-light Ski Bindings

black diamond helio 145 r10 alpine touring ski bindings
  • Main Material: Aluminum alloy, stainless steel
  • Weight: 181g per binding
  • BSL Adjustment: 28mm (3.5 US sizes)
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If you want to keep it simple and lightweight then these bindings are calling your name. The Helios are truly ultra-lightweight, making them very appealing for touring. Their adjustability also makes them exceptionally versatile as far as touring bindings go. A few compromises are expected in an ultra-lightweight product, and the lack of adjustable heel lifters is one of those compromises: there is one heel elevation option, which is perfectly adequate if you have lightweight boots with a great range of motion. Still, some tourers may miss having adjustable heel lifters.

The Helios do release, although they are not certified to do so, the one disadvantage is that you must choose your release strength (DIN) at the time of purchase – no adjustments possible. They don’t have as many technical features as many downhill bindings and while they certainly do the job, their downhill performance is only mediocre. In terms of downhill performance, these bindings’ weakest point is that the ski feeling and forward lean are not the best and they don’t provide the sturdiest feeling – not to say that they are bad, but the priority is definitely lightweight speed, not power transfer and stability. Nonetheless, you can count of these bindings to do the job in whatever kind of terrain you choose.

Ideal for skimo, speed touring or anyone who values near-weightless equipment!

Pros:
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Adjustable length
  • Great durability
  • Simple design
  • Versatile boot compatibility
Cons:
  • No brakes
  • No adjustable heel lifters
  • Mediocre overall downhill performance

Salomon STH2 WTR 13 Ski Bindings

The Best Ski Bindings for Deep Powder

salomon sth2 wtr 13 ski bindings
  • Main Material: fiber-glass reinforced polyamide, aluminum
  • DIN: 5-13
  • Weight: 1030g per binding
  • BSL Adjustment: 28mm (3.5 US sizes)
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Expect great power transfer thanks to the low profile and extra-wide toe pedal of these freeride bindings. An excellent amount of elastic travel – 52mm in the heel and 16mm in the toe – helps prevent pre-release and the wide range of DIN also allows for each rider to adjust the release to suit their own needs.

These Salomon’s are known for their ease of use: they are super easy to click into even in deep snow conditions. The shape makes it really easy to clear snow from around the bindings although they don’t tend to collect much snow in the first place. Definitely a plus point for anyone who is heli-skiing, building their own jumps in the backcountry or any situation where you step on and off your skis a lot in a mixture of conditions! The ease of use is made even more attractive by the compatibility with walk to ride sole norms.

Pros:
  • Alpine and WTR sole compatible
  • Extra wide toe pedal
  • Great elastic travel
  • Super easy to click into
Cons:
  • Some pre-release problems at higher DIN

Tyrolia Attack² 16 GW Bindings

The Best Ski Bindings for Aggressive Skiers

tyrolia attack 16 gw bindings
  • Main Material: aluminum and stainless steel
  • DIN: 5-16
  • Weight: 970g per binding
  • BSL adjustment: 32mm
  • Elastic travel: 30mm toe, 16mm heel
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These bindings are a great option for heavier or more aggressive skiers who are looking for reliable, easy to use bindings with a slightly higher DIN range. While there are more aggressive bindings on the market, these offer a great balance between weight, ease of use and affordability with a DIN up to 16 which should meet the needs of all but the hardest-charging skiers.

With a stack height or 17mm, the Attack2 16’s are fairly low profile and the heel engagement feels super solid with the Race Pro heel architecture. Great travel elasticity combined with fast re-centering results in great retention and release. These bindings are designed for optimal power transfer on wider based skis so you can expect great precision and edge-to-edge transition. Built with a combination of metal and plastic parts, they deliver great durability while compromising as little weight as possible.

Pros:
  • Alpine and GripWalk sole compatible
  • Easy to step into
  • Low profile
  • Great durability
  • Great travel elasticity
Cons:
  • Nothing to complain about here!

Dynafit ST Rotation 12 Alpine Touring Ski Bindings

The Best Certified Ski Touring Bindings

dynafit st rotation 12 alpine touring ski bindings
  • Main Material: aluminum and stainless steel
  • DIN: 4-12
  • Weight: 605g per binding
  • DIN certified
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These touring bindings deliver excellent downhill performance with tired and true technologies from one of the industry’s most trusted ski companies. Three-level, easily adjustable heel lifters make finding the perfect feeling while skinning up a breeze. An excellent range of motion is also a pleasure on the uphills.

The downhill performance is great, especially for a touring binding. The heel plate for forward pressure lets these Dynafits almost feel like a classic alpine binding. These bindings belong to the select bunch with third-party certification, so if that is important to you, they are the lightest option available with the DIN touring binding certification.

Nonetheless, the major downside of Dynafit ST 12’s is definitely their weight. They are simply too heavy to contend with some of the lighter options available; however, if the certification and the downhill performance are worth carrying a few extra grams up the hill, then these could be the right choice for you!

Pros:
  • Geat downhill performance
  • Very durable
  • Crampon compatible
  • Easily adjustable heel risers
Cons:
  • Heavy for a touring binding
  • Bulky, complex design
  • Collects ice and snow easily

Marker Griffon 13 ID Ski Bindings

The Best Value (aka Most Versatile!) Ski Bindings

marker griffon 13 id ski binding
  • Main Material: aluminium and stainless steel
  • DIN: 4-13
  • Weight: 1019g per binding
  • BSL Adjustment: 20mm
  • Elastic travel: 30mm toe, 16mm heel
  • Brakes: 90,100,110 & 120mm
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These bindings are super versatile thanks to Marker Sole.ID design: the easily adjustable toe height and an anti-friction device make them compatible with alpine, walk-to-ride and grip walk sole norms. They are a bit bulkier than some comparable options; yet light enough to be high-end and deliver good performance in a wide variety of conditions and terrain. While it is a great choice for the resort, the versatility makes it easy to click in with a lighter weight backcountry boot for a weekend as well.

The Marker Griffon 13’s are designed for younger and/or lighter skiers in the intermediate to expert skill range, with a recommended skier weight under 120kg. Anyone looking for a more aggressive binding can easily check out a model with a higher DIN range, such as the Marker Jester 16 ID.

All in all these bindings are great as far as value goes, mostly due to their versatility and ability to deliver a good performance in a wide range of conditions.

Pros:
  • Alpine, WTR, and GripWalk sole compatible
  • Very versatile
  • Easily adjustable toe height
  • Great durability and quality
Cons:
  • Can be tricky to step into (with higher DIN)
  • Toe tends to collect snow

Marker Free 7 Ski Bindings

The Best All-Mountain Junior Bindings

marker free 7 ski bindings kids
  • DIN: 2-7
  • Weight: 572g per binding
  • Suggested skier weight: 50 – 165lbs
  • Brakes: 95mm
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Simple, affordable and reliable bindings to keep your youngster safe while they hone their skills, whether your young skier is new to the sport or already has some experience. As a youth binding, they are designed to release easily and reliably so the risk of new injury is as low as possible. The 4-linkage biotech toe is specifically designed to release with different combinations of force, both lateral and vertical, resulting in a reliable release even for backward or twisting falls.

The DIN range of 2 to 7 means that the Marker Free 7’s will be able to grow with your young skier, especially because they can fit adult or junior boots. Relatively lightweight and with a stand height of only 21mm, these junior bindings are highly recommended!

Pros:
  • Easy and reliable release
  • Alpine and GripWalk sole compatible
  • Easy to step in and out of
  • Suitable for a wide skier weight range
Cons:
  • Nothing!

What to Consider When Buying Ski Bindings

Your bindings are one of the more technical aspects of your ski equipment and are responsible for not only for a significant contribution to your overall on-ski experience, but they play an important role in your safety as well. Bindings impact your ski feeling, the control and power transfer and their ease of use can make them convenient or potentially frustrating to use. The tension with which a binding releases in the case of a crash is key in preventing knee injuries in particular.

If you are new to skiing and some of the technical terms are hard to follow, then here is a great overview labeling the various parts of ski bindings and summarizing the roles they play.

Let’s take a look at some of the technical details that will determine which bindings are ideal for you.

DIN Settings

“DIN” (German Institute for Standardizations) settings are the industry-wide standard for setting the amount of force required for a binding to release. This is a really important safety consideration because having your skis unintentionally release – known as pre-release – during a backcountry landing is no good, just as wrecking your knees during a crash because your bindings didn’t release when they should have can have serious long term consequences.

Usually higher skill levels are associated with higher DIN numbers – the higher the DIN, the more force is required for the binding to release. Generally, it is recommended for younger, lighter-weight and less experienced skiers to choose bindings with lower DIN settings. The best recommendation is to choose bindings with a DIN range that suits your skill level, then have them professionally set up at your local ski shop.

  • 3 – 11 DIN – for older youth and beginner adults
  • 3 – 12 DIN – for heavier youth or lightweight intermediate skiers
  • 6 – 14 DIN – for advanced to expert lightweight skiers or heavier intermediate to advanced skiers
  • 6 – 18 DIN – for expert, aggressive skiers

(generally, anyone skiing with a DIN over 12 should be an advanced or expert skier with quite a bit of experience whether it be racing, big mountain riding or otherwise)

Sole Norms & Binding Compatibility

There are three main types of soles that are seen in the ski boot industry: the Alpine boot sole, the GripWalk boot sole and the WTR (walk-to-ride) boot sole. Some bindings are highly versatile and are compatible with all three boot sole norms whereas others may fit with only one sole type. If you only have one ski setup, this may not be important to you; however, if you are looking for bindings that fit the boots you already own or have multiple pairs of ski boots that you would like to use with one pair of skis, then this kind of compatibility is really convenient and great money saver as well.

Types of Bindings

Alpine bindings are designed for downhill performance and cover everything from the park to the moguls to deep powder to easy groomers. They must be DIN certified to release and have a fixed toe and heel. Alpine Touring bindings are designed for those who want to ski up and ski down. They feature a pivoting toe piece and the boot can be freed from the heel in ‘walk mode’ to allow for a walking motion while going uphill. They also have adjustable heel risers to provide a more efficient and comfortable foot position depending on the steepness of the terrain while skinning up. These bindings are often not DIN certified, although most of them do have release force settings.

(There are also a of variety specialty bindings, such as the original telemark bindings, which have a free heel for ascents and descents, and never release – but we assume if you are into a specialty branch of skiing, you know your stuff!).

BSL Adjustment

‘BSL’ stands for ‘Boot Sole Adjustment’ and refers to the range of sole lengths that a given binding can be adjusted for. Some bindings need to be remounted for even a small change in sole length whereas others allow for up to 3cm of adjustment which is great for use with multiple boots, use by multiple skiers and youth with growing feet.

Brakes

This is simple: most bindings have breaks which are nothing more than two metal arms along the sides of the binding that dig into the snow when no boot is clicked in. This prevents your skis from sliding away before they’re on and it also keeps them from taking off down the hill without you in the case of a crash in which the bindings release. It is worth noting which brake widths are available for a given binding to make sure that they offer a size that is appropriate for your skis. Most companies recommend that the brakes be set at a maximum of 20mm wider than your skis.

Elastic Travel

This is a measurement given in mm, often separately for the toe and heel pieces, which describes how much a boot can move within the binding before the binding releases. Greater elastic travel is a benefit, especially for more advanced skiers or anyone hitting big features with potentially rough landings. Low elastic travel is associated with pre-release – and no one wants to nail a landing only to have his or her ski pop off! The safety benefit is that the more elastic travel you have, the lower you can set your DIN.

The other aspect here is that if a binding allows for over 1cm of lateral elastic travel, then it is important that the binding re-centers the ski boot as fast as possible, hence re-centering is also an important capability.

Ready? Pull-on your ski pants, polish your ski goggles and get ready to rock your new bindings!

About The Author

AthletePath Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts and professional athletes thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need to become a better athlete.

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