Last Updated on December 30, 2022 by James
Getting the best ski bindings for your setup can be confusing. The market is flooded with a range of different options that come with a variety of features.
Some ski bindings are best suited to all-mountain skiers, while others are ideal for park or powder. Making sure you choose the right one is vital for performance and safety.
Since not all bindings are created equally; we have put together this handy guide that ranks and reviews the best options available. We have provided detailed product information and separated each binding categories so you can easily find the one that suits your style.
Ranking The Best Ski Bindings
Best Ski Bindings Comparison
Incredibly popular bindings that excel in on and off-piste situations with super reliable performance
Reliable intermediate downhill binding with a consistent release and good-quality construction
Strong and durable advanced level binding that provides great control and feels secure
The best elasticity and performance on the market for expert skiers pushing the limits of their ability
Lightweight and durable backcountry ski bindings with excellent functionality and great features
Consistent release, reliable, durable, suitable for most skiers, time-tested, powerful
Durable design, time-tested reliability, moderate price, good control, easy step-in
Good control, feels secure, tough design, great power transfer, top-rated by many, long-term durability
Super elasticity, incredibly durable, allows natural ski flex, the best safety, impact proof
Lightweight, quality construction, easy-to-use, great features, superb uphill performance, reliable
Step-in could be easier
Plastic design not for hard chargers
Limited off-piste performance
Too much binding for most skiers
Not for downhill hard charging
Men, Women, Expert
2lbs 4oz (1021g)
2lbs 8oz (1133g)
2lbs 12oz (1245g)
Why Do I Need The Best Ski Bindings
The importance of ski bindings is often overlooked; but they are vital for safety, performance and piece of mind. Finding the right ones for your skis should be a top priority if you want to maximize your time on the snow.
Different types of ski bindings are designed to cope with different demands. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced skier; it’s important to find a setup that’s appropriate for your level.
Bindings are also specific to the type of skiing you regularly perform. Park, powder, on-piste and backcountry all require different attributes. The one you choose will need to reflect the conditions underfoot.
The performance indicators and range of features offered by a ski binding can be difficult to understand. However, this guide explains everything you need to know and separates our favored products into easy-to-understand categories.
How To Choose The Best Ski Bindings
Type of Ski Binding
Alpine (or ‘downhill’) bindings are designed for sliding downhill. It’s a broad term that encompasses a variety of activities, but each one does have some similar characteristics.
Alpine bindings will have both the toe and heel pieced firmly attached to the ski. A ‘DIN’ setting is used that will allow the boot to release in the event of a fall to prioritize safety.
It’s a design that’s perfect for resort skiing, including; groomed snow, lift-accessed powder and park. Each of these terrain types will require a slightly different setup, but they all fall under the category of ‘downhill’.
Backcountry bindings have a setup that allows you to hike uphill before skiing down. They’re a necessity for people wanting to ski beyond the lift system and access fresh powder.
The unique design has a toe that’s fixed to the ski, but a heel that can release upon request. It gives you the range of motion required to hike uphill, but the security of an alpine binding when skiing down.
Backcountry bindings come in a range of styles that suit various skiers. Some use a frame system that’s reminiscent of a downhill binding, while others have a ‘tech’ design that’s super lightweight.
If you’re serious about off-piste and require further information; it might be worth reading our review of the best backcountry ski bindings.
Type of Skiing
The type of skiing you regularly perform is a great indicator of the binding you require. Once you figure out whether you require alpine or backcountry; you will then need to find one that’s specific to your preferred ski style.
- Piste performance bindings are the most common type you will find. The design can be modified for beginner-expert skiers, providing safety and security on groomed snow.
- All-mountain bindings perform well on groomed snow and sidecountry powder. They often provide slightly more flex that piste performance options and will fit onto wider skis.
- Park bindings are perfect for hitting jumps, drops and rails. They use a robust design that can withstand big impacts and won’t have you ejecting too easily.
- Frame AT bindings are designed for backcountry skiers that want to prioritize downhill. They use a DIN release setting and easy entry that resembles a downhill binding. However, the heel is still able to release when hiking uphill.
- Tech AT bindings are the most lightweight backcountry bindings. They have a design that allows the heel to release for uphill hiking but your toe remains in place at all times. DIN release settings are rarely used in this setup, since they prioritize uphill hiking over downhill performance.
The term ‘DIN’ refers to how easily a ski binding will release under force. It’s absolutely vital that your DIN setting is correct because it decides how easily your ski releases in the event of a fall. If the ski fails to release or releases too easily; you run the risk of injury.
DIN can be set to a numerical value on the toe and heel piece of your binding. Each binding will be given a ‘DIN range’ that you can adjust within, which can go all the way from 0-20 depending on the model you choose.
It’s a general rule that beginners or lightweight skiers require a lower DIN setting. It allows the ski to easily release in the event of a fall to ensure safety while learning.
Higher DIN settings should be favored as your ability improves. The added pressure of skiing at speed or across uneven terrain will require an increased DIN to make sure your ski doesn’t release unexpectedly.
Each ski binding will typically have a maximum range of 8-10. Keep in mind that beginner bindings will stick to a lower scale (e.g 4-12), while expert bindings will have a higher range (e.g 8-16).
Beginners and new intermediates require a low DIN range that allows quick release upon fall. These bindings are generally lightweight, although lack the durability of more advanced options.
Lower level ski bindings are also easy to attach and remove when necessary. Another advantage is their cost-effective price and generally universal fit.
Progressing skiers will be looking at a medium DIN range that’s suitable for increased speed and choppy terrain. Skiing red, black and sidecountry slopes requires a more robust design that can take some punishment.
Mid-level bindings are often classed as all-mountain and provide a good entry point into the world of variable snow skiing. It’s the most popular level of binding and will suit the needs of most resort skiers.
Top-level bindings are built to withstand serious force without getting damaged or releasing unexpectedly. They come with a high DIN range that will keep you strapped in at any speed or upon strong impact.
Expert bindings can be designed for hard charging on-piste, exploring the backcountry or stomping tricks in the park. Each one will offer supreme durability, but will usually come with a steep price-tag.
The width of your ski binding brakes will need to correlate with the waist width of your skis. Each binding will be given a brake width in millimeters, with popular products offering multiple width ranges.
We recommend choosing a brake width that has a lower value that closely matches the width of your skis, but no more than 15mm wider. For example: If your skis have a waist width of 100mm; the ideal brake width would be between 100-115mm.
In the above scenario; the ideal brake width would be 100mm. Keep in mind that if the brakes are more than 15mm wider than the waist width of your skis; they will likely drag when carving.
It’s important to purchase your skis before selecting bindings to make sure you get an appropriate setup. If you are still on the hunt for a new set of skis; we also have guides listing the best skis for beginners, all-mountain, powder and park.
Best Overall Ski Bindings
The Marker Griffon 13 ID’s outstanding overall performance puts it firmly a the top of our ski binding shopping list. It’s probably the most popular binding on the market and is suitable for a range of all-mountain scenarios to suit the needs of most skiers.
The Griffon comes with an advanced/intermediate DIN of 4-13 that is incredibly consistent to release and has a super secure ‘locked-in’ feel. It’s a premium level binding that’s made from top-quality materials that are durable enough to cope under serious pressure for many seasons.
This time-tested binding is definitely one of the safest and most trustworthy on the market. Its also got the highest boot compatibility in our review and is capable of attaching to downhill, grip-walk, WTR and even alpine touring soles.
The Marker Griffon 13 ID continues to be a popular choice amongst piste and sidecountry skiers alike. It’s an ever reliable binding that provides the safety, consistency and durability you need to perform at your best on the mountain.
- Consistent release
- Time-tested reliability
- True all-mountain binding
- Accommodating DIN range
- Feels secure at all times
- Very durable
- Good power transfer
- Fair price
- Clip-in could be easier
Best Intermediate Ski Bindings
Itermediate skiers require a binding that’s safe, durable, lightweight and easy-to-use. Upon we review; we found the Tyrolia Attack 11 GW provided all of these attributes and more.
The Attack 11 GW is the lightest downhill binding in our review, which contributes to a playful feel on the snow. Despite being designed primarily from plastics; they retain a level of durability that’s superior to most alternate mid-level bindings.
Tyrolia have used a low stack-height that gives intermediates a heightened sense of control and connection to your skis. We feel the bindings provide a superb feeling and perception for the terrain that’s optimal for improving your technique.
The easy step-in, lightweight design and great control offered by the Tyrolia Attack 11 GW contribute to it being a natural choice for casual resort skiers. We believe these standout features make it the best intermediate ski binding on the market.
- Easy step-in
- Playful feel
- Low stack height improves control
- Good connection to the skis and snow
- Sensible price tag
- Trusted and time-tested design
- Lightweight plastic is less durable than top-level bindings
- DIN is not designed for serious hard chargers
Best Advanced Ski Bindings
Experienced piste skiers looking for a solid and reliable binding should be considering the Salomon STH2 WTR 13. It uses a sturdy construction that will hold up during seriously aggressive downhill skiing.
The low-profile nature of this binding increases your sense of control at all times. It also provides superb power transfer that can significantly improve your carving performance.
The STH2 WTR 13 is another time-tested binding that has shown consistency over a prolonged period of time and earned the trust of many hard chargers. Its tough maximum DIN of 13 and typically robust release have made it one of the most popular choices over the years.
Skiing at high-speeds requires a serious binding with a reliable release and durable construction. The Salomon STH2 WTR 13 is one of the most rugged choices around and a great option for heavy-users.
- Durable construction
- Low-profile control
- Reliable and consistent
- Time-tested and widely praised
- Easy step-in
- Safe and solid feel at all times
- Consistent release
- Lacks touring boot and GripWalk compatibility
- Not a freeride design
Best Expert Ski Bindings
Serious skiers require serious bindings. The Look Pivot 15 GW has been rated as one of the best ski bindings for many seasons and provides top-class safety, durability and retention that is solid across the entire mountain.
The metal construction used is remarkably durable and capable of handling the toughest rock drops, biggest kickers and highest speeds. The heel and toe pieces sit on a tiny footprint that allows for a completely natural flex pattern for any type of ski.
The incredible safety and retention of these bindings is mainly due to their heel-elasticity that allows your leg to move without the risk of pre-release or injury. The high reaching maximum DIN of 15 is also incredibly reliable and consistent.
In our opinion; the Look Pivot 15 GW has best-in-class performance across almost every metric and it’s no surprise that world-renowned skiers rate it so highly. In fact, its only real problem is that its level of performance is just not necessary for the average skier.
- Incredibly durable metal construction
- Amazing retention
- Heel elastic-travel prevents injury
- Allows a natural ski flex
- No pre-release
- Supreme performance across a range of environments
- Time-tested and trusted by the pros
- Widely compatible with most boot soles
- Steep price tag
- Too much binding for most skiers
Best Backcountry Ski Bindings
Heading into the backcountry requires a binding that’s lightweight enough to help your hiking without sacrificing too much downhill performance. Our pick of the bunch is the Atomic Backland Tour; which provides a supremely lightweight construction with great overall features.
The Backland Tour uses a simple design that does the basics incredibly well. It’s one of the lightest fully funtioning touring bindings on the market, weighing in at a featherweight 286g. Even with the decrease in weight; it’s still extremely solid thanks to its supreme build-quality.
Unlike other lightweight bindings on the market; the Backland Tour also offers a complete range of functionality. Three adjustable release settings, brakes and boot length adjustment are all included and have a typically easy-to-use feel.
The Atomic Backland Tour is the best backcountry ski binding in our opinion. It ticks all of the boxes with its solid, functional and lightweight design. If you’re heading for a hike this winter; it’s probably your best option.
- Solid construction
- Three release settings
- Complete backcountry functionality
- Good range of motion
- Efficient minimalist design
- Resistant to ice
- Downhill performance is adequate for most tours
- Very easy-to-use
- Not built for downhill hard-charging
- Top price bracket
Finding the best ski bindings is a personal choice, with products on this list are all capable of improving the skiing of a specific type of skier. You first need to assess your ability, type of skis and favored terrain before making an accurate choice.
The reviews and information we have included are based on years of industry experience, research and trial. After working on the snow and helping clients with equipment choices for many years; we’re confident in our ability to make an accurate assessment.
Be sure to read the full guide to get an idea of how to correctly choose appropriate bindings. Once you’ve got that knowledge; you can work with our recommendations to choose a product that suits your skiing.
James is the founder of SnowSunSee. He started skiing when he was five years old and has been a qualified ski instructor for 8 years. He has taught skiing in many countries, including UK, Europe, Japan, China and Malaysia. When he’s not on the slopes, James spends his time travelling the world one trail at a time.