How to Choose Between the 4 Best Bindings from Different Ski BrandsPublished on 04/17/2023 · 6 min readWith all options when it comes to ski bindings, it can be hard to know which ones are the best! Skiing Expert Aidan Campbell details the differences between them!
Photo by Aidan Campbell
tl;dr Because bindings keep your boots attached to your skis, it’s crucial that you use an appropriate pair to ensure safety and performance. Before doing so, there are many factors to consider when choosing the best bindings from different ski brands, including compatibility, materials, and design. In this article, we’ll review the characteristics of some of the top-rated traditional alpine bindings from different ski brands in order to help you identify the perfect pair for your needs.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Pair of Bindings
It is essential that the bindings you choose are compatible with your ski boots. If not, they simply won’t be able to be properly mounted and used. Generally, ski bindings are divided into two categories: alpine bindings and touring bindings.
Alpine bindings are designed for resort skiing and have the best downhill performance. They are compatible with traditional alpine ski boots, and sometimes touring boots. Touring bindings, however, are designed for backcountry and freeride skiing, and are compatible only with touring ski boots. Throughout this piece, we will only be concentrating on different alpine bindings.
Further, different types of ski boots have different soles; the type of sole a boot features is crucial in determining its compatibility with a pair of bindings. The most popular of these ski-boot soles are Alpine (ISO 5355), GripWalk (ISO 23223), and Walk to Ride (WTR). Alpine soles are the most common; they have flat, plastic soles that fit in most bindings. GripWalk soles are becoming much more common, although they require a GripWalk-compatible binding. They feature a rubber material on the soles that makes walking in ski boots much safer and easier. WTR boots feature a slightly rounded sole that aids with walking in ski boots, similar to GripWalk. These boots are less common than GripWalk though. Any of these boot soles can be used by any level of skier; it is just a personal preference.
The DIN setting on a ski binding refers to how much force is necessary to release the boot from the binding in the case of a crash. More advanced skiers require a binding with a higher DIN range because they tend to put a lot of stress on their bindings. To prevent injury, beginner skiers should use a binding with a lower DIN range to ensure the bindings release in the event of a fall. Beginner and intermediate bindings usually have a maximum DIN setting of 8–12, while advanced and expert bindings have a maximum DIN of 15–18.
Bindings are typically made from plastic, metal, or a combination of both. Plastic bindings are the most common and are usually the least expensive. They are typically very lightweight and strong enough for most skiers.
Metal bindings are usually more expensive and are generally heavier than plastic bindings. They are, however, far more durable and provide better control and power transfer.
In general, plastic bindings have a lower range of DIN settings than their metal counterparts. For this, advanced and expert skiers tend to prefer metal bindings, whereas it’s advisable for beginners and intermediate skiers to save money with plastic bindings.
Some bindings are designed for racing, while others are designed for freestyle skiing. Bindings also come in different styles, such as traditional, demo, and plate bindings.
Traditional bindings are the most common and mount directly to the ski with the lowest stack height. Demo bindings are mounted on a sliding rail, allowing them to be quickly adjusted to a different boot sole length. Plate bindings are usually only used on race skis and are generally the most expensive, although they provide the most control and stability. Skiers of all abilities typically use traditional bindings—unless they are racing.
Comparing 4 Top-Rated Bindings
Now that we’ve covered the key considerations when choosing a pair of bindings, let’s take a look at some of the top-rated options from various brands.
The Marker Griffons are built for all-mountain skiing and are compatible with Alpine, Touring, WTR, and GripWalk soles. They feature an easily adjustable anti-friction device (AFD) to accommodate almost any ski boot.
Griffons are very durable for their price and have a precise forward pressure adjustment for a consistent and safe release. The toe piece is great for clearing snow off boots, although I’ve found the Griffons can be difficult to step into when fresh snow does get stuck to the boots or bindings. Finally, Marker also offers 11, 16, and 18 DIN options for different skill levels—the Squire, Jester, and Jester Pro.
2. Salomon Warden MNC 13
The Salomon Warden MNC 13 ski bindings are multi-norm certified (MNC), which means they are compatible with all popular boot-sole types. These bindings feature a metal construction for added strength and stability. They also offer adjustable heel height and forward pressure, and Salomon’s Auto-Lock system, which keeps the boots securely in place. Salomon also makes the Warden in an 11 DIN option for beginner and intermediate skiers.
The Look Pivot 15 is the most popular binding among expert freestyle and freeride skiers, although they are also one the most expensive options. Look Pivots can be used with Alpine and GripWalk boots. They feature a full-metal construction and the most elastic travel on the market—allowing for outstanding boot retention and a very consistent release.
However, pivots are not very adjustable, and typically need a remount to accommodate a different boot size. Plus, the heel piece can rotate freely when a boot is not clicked in, causing some inconvenience when stepping in or out. The Look Pivot also comes in 12, 14, and 18 DIN options. The 12 and 14 DIN models have a plastic construction rather than the full metal design of the 15 and 18.
The Tyrolia Attack binding comes in 11, 12, 14, and 17 DIN options for people of all sizes and skill levels. They are also compatible with both Alpine and GripWalk boots.
All Attack models feature the same FR PRO3 toe piece, but the heel pieces are slightly different depending on the model. The higher DIN models have a heavier, more durable heel piece.
Attacks are great at clearing snow off boots and are always very easy to step in. Plus, they are lightweight compared to other bindings in the same DIN range, offer similar durability, and are cheaper than many similar options. While the forward pressure adjustment is known for being not as precise as the other options on this list, it has never been a problem for me, personally.
Chat With a Real Expert
When it comes to choosing the best bindings from different ski brands, there are many factors to consider. You must ensure that the bindings are compatible with your skis and boots, and you should also consider the materials and design. We’ve provided an overview of some of the top-rated traditional downhill bindings from different ski brands, including the Marker Griffon 13, Salomon Warden MNC 13, Look Pivot 15, and Tyrolia Attack.
If you’re still on the fence, chatting with a Curated Ski Expert can help ensure that you find the perfect ski bindings. We will use your height, weight, skiing style, and preferences to choose an option that is both safe and reliable, while providing the best performance for your needs.