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How to Choose Snowboard Bindings & Compatibility Guide


Wondering how to choose your first snowboard bindings? This guide will walk you through the key considerations so you can get set up properly from the get-go.

Bindings are your direct connection to your snowboard and transfer your energy, so getting a pair that works for your riding style and ability level is important. It ultimately comes down to preference, but it's important to consider the flex, type of binding, and compatibility with your board when choosing your snowboard bindings so you can have the best experience on the mountain.  

Riding Style and Flex

Your ability and riding style will help determine what flex binding will work best for you. The flex is usually rated on a scale of 1-10 or 1-5, with lower numbers indicating softer flexes.

Binding flex mostly depends on personal preference, but there are a few helpful guidelines to get you started.

If you're a newer rider or spend a lot of time in the park, you'll likely prefer a softer, more forgiving binding. On the other hand, more advanced and freeride-oriented riders often prefer bindings that are stiffer and more responsive at speed. Most people will fall somewhere in the middle, though, with medium flex bindings that offer balanced all-mountain performance.

You should also consider the flex of your boot when choosing a snowboard binding. Soft boots and stiff bindings will work against each other, so try to find boots and bindings with similar flexes.

Types of Snowboard Bindings

Strap in Bindings

These most common type of snowboard binding. They're easy to use, secure, and responsive and have been the standard for ages. Just slide your foot in, tighten the straps and you're ready to go.

Rear-Entry Bindings

Rear entry bindings can be identified by the reinforced highback and single strap at the toe. The highback of these bindings will pop open, you slide your foot into the strap and then close the highback onto your boot.

Step-On Bindings

The Burton Step On and K2 Clicker Bindings get you snowboarding quickly. They require the Burton Step On boots and allow you to easily slide your boot in and click your heel into place.

Parts of Snowboard Bindings

Snowboard bindings consist of multiple components:

Straps

Toe Cap Strap

This strap sits on the front of the boot, wrapping over the toe box for comfortable and stable positioning. This strap helps align the foot for better placement in the heel cup, ultimately giving more response to the board.

Traditional Toe Strap

This strap is usually on lower-end bindings and holds your boot in place by passing over the top of the toe area. It cannot be used as a toe cap strap.

Hybrid Toe Strap

This strap is usable in either a traditional style over the foot or tilted forward for use like a toe cap strap.

Ankle Strap

Securely wrapping above the ankle, this strap is larger; without it, the bindings would fail.

One Piece

Most common on rear entry and youth bindings, this is one giant strap that covers your boot from right before your ankle to just before your toes.
 

*Of note, step on bindings will not have straps.

Highbacks

  • A highback is a vertical plate from the heel cup to the lower calf
  • It controls the heelside edge of your board.
  • Stiff and tall highbacks are intended for enhanced control and speed.
  • Soft and shorter highbacks are intended for park riders and beginners looking for flexibility and ease.
  • Forward lean adjustments on highbacks enable you to easily adjust your binding positioning on the go for placement preferences.
  • Bindings with no backs provide a more skate-like feel, allowing for more mobility in the ankle and looser control of your board.

Baseplate

  • This is the primary connection between the binding and the board.
  • Baseplates are made with a variety of materials that feature different strength-to-flex ratios. Higher-end bindings will have more robust baseplate materials and optimize board flex, power transmission, and durability.
  • Cushioning on baseplates allows for comfort and power transmission.
  • Canting - A small amount of tilt in the footbed ergonomically angles your stance and knee position slightly forward for a more natural stance.

Snowboard Boot & Binding Compatibility

How Should Snowboard Bindings Fit My Boots?

Snowboard bindings come in general sizes that range from S to XL. It is essential to have the right size bindings for your boots, so always check out the manufacturer’s binding size chart on individual product pages to see what size binding you need.

After consulting the manufacturer’s size chart, it is critical to check that the binding fits your boots. Do this by placing your boot in your binding as if you were to strap in; the boots shouldn’t hang excessively off the bindings, nor should the straps be painfully tightened or have excess slack. If the strap ladder does not reach the ratchet, it may need to be adjusted - binding straps typically adjust from both sides to center the strap over your boot.

The heel should fit snugly in the binding. A properly fit binding should allow the boot to flex, but not sway. If you have comfortable boots, and the bindings securely grip your boots with no extra play, then you have a good match.

 

Binding Compatibility with Snowboards

Just like snowboards, bindings come with different options for mounting. There are a variety of mounting options and hole patterns on snowboards, and the binding's mounting disc holes have to align. In general, most binding discs are compatible with most mount patterns, but it's good to make sure. Luckily, most brands nowadays have "universal discs" or offer multiple discs to cover different types of mounting holes. Double-check the Binding Mount Pattern spec or reach out to our Customer Care team to ensure that the binding will be compatible with your snowboard.

Snowboard Mounting Patterns


There are three different snowboard hole patterns that you will find on conventional snowboards. The patterns include 2x4, 4x4, and The Channel™. Channel technology was originally specific to Burton Snowboards, although some board makers have begun licensing Channel technology from Burton. 2x4 is a variation of 4x4 that gives the rider more mounting options.
snowboard hole mounting patterns

4x4 is usually only found on entry level and children's boards, but it's important to note that some bindings come with mini discs that are incompatible with 4x4. The 4x4 pattern is too wide to accommodate the small discs, so mini discs can only be used with 2x4 or The Channel™ system.

The Snowboard Binding Channel System


Chances are if you've spent time around snowboards, you've seen the channel system. This unique system can be found on all modern Burton snowboards and several other snowboard brands. It offers a variety of stance variations and options. Understanding the ins and outs of this system is key to getting the most out of your gear and finding a setup that works well together. 

What is The Channel System

The actual Channel System refers to the two integrated slots that run parallel to the edge of the board and are the system used to attach your bindings to your snowboard. Allowing for a full range of customizable stances the Channel system allows you to slide your bindings down the length of the entirety of the snowboard.

Re:Flex™ vs EST Bindings

Burton's EST bindings bring out the best of Channel system's flex and are considered to be more comfortable since there is no hardware underfoot. The EST bindings will only mount to Burton's channel system.

Channel System Binding Compatibility

These days, most binding companies have made their products compatible with the Channel system. Looking for bindings that say they are either Channel compatible, Re:Flex™ compatible or offer a universal mount disc are going to get you what you need. 

Be aware that some binding companies only make their higher priced bindings compatible with the Channel system. Generally, these companies sell a universal disc that you can purchase separately. Always ask if you are unsure if the bindings you're looking at are right for your set up. 

Oh, and a friendly reminder... ALL Burton bindings will work on Burton snowboards.
 

How to Mount Your Snowboard Bindings

Now that you've chosen your next set of bindings, head over to our How to Set Up Snowboard Bindings guide to get your equipment put together and dialed.

Still have questions?

Reach out to our Customer Care team with any questions! We'd love to help you narrow down our wide selection of snowboard bindings and ensure that your snowboard gear will all be compatible together.
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