There are many boots and binding combinations on the market today, so it is important to know your riding style before you purchase. There are basically two types of bindings available: step-ins or ratchet/strap. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks.
Strap or ratchet bindings are the original and most popular of the bindings available on the market. There are generally two straps, one across the toe and one which secures at the ankle. A high plate rides up the back of your lower calf and assists in forcing the heel into the binding, bringing the toe side of the board up. Strap or ratchet bindings offer good control and comfort as the foot feels secure.
Step-in bindings are becoming less and less popular as they do not offer the same control of the snowboard, the boots and binding system are far heavier than traditional strap bindings. The various step-in systems available limit the amount of time you spend doing up your bindings and reduce the need to bend down as the connection to the board is made by clipping the boot to the board using a spring loaded mechanism.
The choice of binding is individual and depends on your riding style, although we would always recommend strap bindings rather than step-ins. As it is so personal it is worth trying all the systems and styles at a board test. Before you make a decision on bindings, check that they will fit your snowboard. Different snowboard manufacturers have different fixings mounts for their bindings and not all bindings fit on all boards.
Companies like Rome have been putting asymmetrical high backs on their bindings for a couple of years. This left-or-right specific shaping has filtered down to heel straps too. The theory is that by making the strap wider and more padded on the inside of your foot, it reduces the biting pressure point so often found when you've got your bindings really cranked.
Likewise, Burton has reintroduced the winged high back for maximum tweakability. Found on the Infidel model, the top of the high back curves outwards, around the boot, for greater lateral board control on the ground & in the air.
A company that's been bubbling below the radar for a season or two is Spark R&D. Now general acceptance of their product, plus a huge quality increase, has resulted in Spark being the binding of choice for split board enthusiasts. The lightweight stiff base plates slide directly onto the Voilé mounting pucks, for a seamless and disc-free set up that's far less likely to come loose.
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