You’d be forgiven for thinking that picking the perfect stick is the be-all and end-all of buying a snowboard set-up, but you’d be wrong. If anything, buying boots and bindings is more important. Together they are the middle-men between you and your board. They determine how well your board reacts to your movement.
Each of these boots and bindings has been tested by the Whitelines test team out at the Snowboard Spring Break event in Kaunertal, and hand-picked for the Whitelines 100 Buyers’ Guide issue. So you can be sure they’re the mutts nuts!
There are three basic things that dictate how a boot will feel to wear and ride. these are fit, flex, and features.
Fit comes first. It is the most important aspect of buying a boot. Measure your foot size properly. Look at the profile of your foot, do the insole, toe and heel tests and then at the end of it all, get it heat-moulded.
Next comes flex. A more aggressive rider who hits big booters and stomps landings will favour a stiffer boot for increased ankle support, whilst a jibber or freestyler will lean towards a softer boot. The Whitelines team have used a flex rating from 1-10. 1 being soft as a sleeping kitten, 10 being ‘ard as nails (you get the idea).
Last on the list when choosing a boot is the bonus features. It’s all personal preference at the end of the day but find your preferred lacing system, your liner, footbeds, soles, backstays and tongues. They may seem like minor differences but they can equate to comfort and confidence.
Bindings are there not only to get you strapped in, but to transform your weight shifts into board movements; turns, ollies, butters etc. They’re a vital link in the chain of command between you and your stick, so it’s important that they work effectively with your boots and your board. Like boots, there are three main things to look for when buying bindings.
Just like boots, fit is the most important. Bindings come in different sizes to fit different boots, and a snug fit between boot and binding is essential for effective control. make sure your bindings will fit your and your board before you buy them!
Flex it another aspect to consider. This is determined by materials – the quantities of plastic, aluminium and other ingredients used to make a binding. It’s a question of personal preference, but there is a general rule of thumb: Softer bindings are more forgiving and easier to ride, making them good for beginners, jibbers and park rats who’ll need a bit of extra ‘give’ round their feet to help with sketchy landings. Stiffer bindings offer greater response, making them better for freeriders and advanced freestylers who need that kind of precision control at high speed. Look out for the flex rating alongside our reviews to see how stiff (on a scale of 1-10) the binding is.
Finally, you can look at the different features of the binding: Entry systems, highbacks, straps, tool-free adjustment, forward lean adjusters, cushioning and gas pedals.
Click through the following pages to see the boots – or find a specific boot below: