“Boots, meet board."
In a nutshell, that’s the role that your bindings play in the whole snowboarding game. It’s the interface that takes all your nuanced movements and puts them down into your ride, and if the lines of communication aren’t open then bad things can happen.
"While some models can be pricey, it’s perhaps the most cost-effective investment you can make over the long term"
You can technically use any decent binding that’s the right size, but it always pays to do your research and get the right pair for your needs. If you ride a soft, buttery board that’s great for presses, mounting some stealth-fighter-esque carbon fibre beasts onto it isn’t a good idea. And vice versa; good luck negotiating an Alaskan face with soft-flexing highbacks…
More so than your board or boots, a binding has the potential to last you for several seasons. While some models can be pricey, it’s perhaps the most cost-effective investment you can make over the long term.
Be sure to read our guide to Highbacks, Straps and Baseplates in order to get off on the right foot, then plunge head-first into our comprehensive guide to the best snowboard bindings of 2015/16.
Scroll through the list to your heart’s content, or skip to your favourite brand using the links below.
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi
Production: Ed Blomfield / Mike Brindley / Andrew Duthie / Sami Tuoriniemi
Burton Cartel Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Click any image to enlarge
Burton’s Cartel bindings are a straightforward selection whether you’re looking at the EST version for use with the Channel, or the Re:Flex version with a universal baseplate.
Pushing very slightly past the mid-point towards a more responsive ride, they’ve been added to their considerable features list this year with ‘Double Take Buckles’ for even speedier strapping in.
Burton Genesis Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Don’t let the space-age, multi-layered highback confuse you, the Burton Genesis is built for comfort above all else.
Available in Channel and Re:Flex options, its mesh-like sections are meant to offer suspension on another level to its competitors, and a new grippy toecap helps balance things out for locked in control.
Mid-stiff in flex, Jake himself favours these above all others - and if you get the EST version, you’ll find they have extra lateral hinges to help you get the most pop out of your board too.
Burton Malavita Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Followers of Burton’s recent team footage will be familiar with the sight of the Burton Malavita highback, which has become exceedingly popular in recent years.
This freestyle set of straps packs the new Hammockstrap, and grippy toecap combo, a zero lean highback and more – as well as the heel hinge on the EST version.
Burton Lexa Women's Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
The ladies Burton Lexa bindings have been leading the charge in women’s freestyle for a good long time now – and no doubt this year’s edition with a new supportive strap system and rapid Double Take buckles will continue down the same path.
Offering comfort and control, extras like the Heel Hammock in the highback help give a foot hugging feel to the Lexa’s solid frame.
Burton Stiletto Women's Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Sitting at softer end of Burton’s ladies’ range, the Burton Stiletto is an all-mountain binding that doesn’t break the bank.
Obviously not one for those after the most aggressive ride on offer, this will however work for riders who enjoy a lightweight, fun and loose feel with their straps – and the MicroFLAD forward lean adjuster will help give you a bit of extra juice when you do need more response too.
Drake Fifty Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
The Drake Fifty is one of the longest running (and still best-selling) bindings that Drake offer – giving weight to those that appreciate the enduring qualities of classic designs.
That’s not to say that the Fifty is tech-free though – Mach 5 ratchets slide through 5 clicks with every crank, and this year the bindings feature a new padding system for extra flex and tweakability.
Coming in on the freestyle side of things, the chassis on these is lightweight with adjustable forward lean – and thankfully it’s not a budget killer either.
Flow NX2 Hybrid Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
If you like your bindings powerful, but with a bit of an alternative system going on, Flow’s NX2 Hybrid should be right up your street.
The Hybrid version show here combines Flow’s quick rear-entry system with a more traditional two strap set up – but you can also get the NX2 with their PowerStrap which is designed to stay locked once you’ve worn it in.
The binding is built on a rockered aluminium baseplate, with padding in the heel and toe to transmit power to the edges, and responsive highback is highly adjustable so you can dial it in for a perfect boot fit.
Flow Omni Women's Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Similarly available with PowerStrap or Hybrid strap options, the Flow Omni is a women’s specific binding that you’ll find under the feet of riders like Czech ripper Sarka Pancochova.
With much more of a freestyle focus than the NX2, it’s a bit more forgiving in flex, but offers all the convenience of a rear-entry/hybrid system.
You’ll find the same Active Strap technology here that lowers the highback while raising the straps for quick entry, and the baseplate may not be lightweight aluminium, but it’s still rockered with padding at the toe and heel, for a natural-feeling, smooth dampened ride.
Flux GU Women's Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Not a million miles from the RL in design – the Flux GU are a women’s specific, park-focussed binding, with plenty of tweakability.
You’ll find the same highback padding combo on these, and 360 wrapping strap with pressure point free design; and tool free adjustment too, of course.
Flux RL Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Lightweight and soft – the Flux RL bindings are form-fitting bindings that have clearly had a lot of thought put into them.
Flux have fitted them with tool-free tech for easy adjustment on the fly, and unusual tech like fitting the strap between the heelcup and the highback helps create a clean 360 wrap around fit without pressure points.
The highbacks themselves are fitted with a combination of EVA foam for shock absorbtion, and harder sections to stop abrasion so these will stay comfortable for a long time to come- and the baseplate has adjustable cushioning at the heel and toe, with single density shock absorbing material throughout.
Head NX One Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Thanks to the added conveniences of auto opening straps, and extending adjustable toe ramps for varying foot sizes, it’s hard to go wrong with the Head NX1 bindings - especially at that price.
Open up the ratchets and the straps flip out for easy stepping in, so you’ll never have to kick your way into your bindings again.
In terms of feel, the NX1 is great for all-mountain riding, and features tool free adjustment so you can make tweaks as you change terrain and style (as long as you don’t hold up your buddies).
K2 Cinch CTS Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
K2 do a range of bindings to cater for both traditionalists, and rear-entry binding fans – and the K2 Cinch CTS provides a hybrid mix with both entry systems in one.
Designed to take all over the mountain, they’ll tighten right up to provide a responsive ride, and with the flip-down highback, sitting down to strap in should prove a thing of the past.
K2 Hurrithane Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
The buzzword for K2’s Hurrithane bindings is ‘tweakability’ – with the focus all over the urethane laced highback which takes lateral flexibility to another level.
Unsurprisingly they’re freestyle focussed, with an EVA footbed to help take the edge of landing impact – and tool free adjustment, and Easy Feed ratchet housing should save you time on the hill.
K2 Lien FS Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
The K2 Lein FS are the Tweakback version of this model, with more of a freestyle edge – but there are also the stiffer highbacked AT version to try.
One big selling point is the Tripod tech that has gone into the baseplate here, which has the aim of pushing riders to put pressure in different parts of their board, and come up with new styles and ways of choosing lines.
Nitro Ivy Women's Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Hitting the perfect midpoint in terms of flex, the Nitro Ivy bindings are out to combine comfort with response to encourage you to make the mountain your playground.
Packing a brand new Stealthy Air baseplate, with air dampening, and an asymmetrical highback with forward lean control – the fit on these is women’s specific throughout.
In the straps you’ll find a convertible toecap/strap at the front, and an ankle strap with a flex window so you can find the sweet spot for fit – and the ratchets are fitted with easy entry buckles to speed up the whole strapping in process too.
Nitro Team Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
We’ll try to stay away from the obvious talking point that comes with a pair of bindings with Burger and Fries graphic here, as the Nitro Team bindings are also a technical set of straps with heaps of features.
Air dampening helps keep things lightweight here, and a uniquely angled asymmetrical highback works with ergonomic ankle straps to make this a versatile favourite for Nitro riders all over.
Nitro Zero Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
You may not be too familiar with the Nitro Zero bindings just yet, as they were only introduced last year. But impressively, in that year they’ve gone from zero to best seller in the Nitro range!
Found under the feet of Sam Taxwood and Brandon Hobush, they share a baseplate with the Nitro Team, except for a small opening at the heel, which helps make them a bit more flexible and perfect for park.
Filled with bonus bits, you’ll find a stainless steel cable in the toestrap to stop stretching, freeze-resistant airpockets in the heel for cushioning, and a mini disc system underfoot to minimise deadspots and maximise feel.
NOW Drive Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Backed by the big mountain man himself, Jeremy Jones, the NOW Drive bindings (and their supercharged cousins, the carbon highbacked O-Drive) are most responsive sets NOW have on offer.
NOW’s skate-style hanger is in place as with the rest of the line, but these are undoubtedly for riders looking for quick powerful turns as opposed to a looser feel.
NOW IPO Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
The NOW IPO bindings are the longest standing set in JF Pelchat’s range - pushing for a fresh feel with skate inspired hangers that pivot around the midpoint of the baseplate.
Ride Revolt Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Urethane did great things for the skateboard, and now it seems to be finding its feet in freestyle bindings too. The Ride Revolt bindings use urethane in the highback to provide flexibility and damping without sacrificing support.
To maximise board feel, they’ve thinned out the aluminium baseplate, and used micro-discs for minimal interference.
Obviously all this will help work to bring out the natural feel of the board you’re riding, so you’re going to feel the benefits most on a board that isn’t a stiff flex powerhouse. Hybrid camber freestylers however? Well that’s a different story...
Ride Rodeo Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
You couldn’t really have a binding with this name without it being a freestyle specialist - and that’s exactly what the Ride Rodeo bindings are.
Aluminium baseplates and straps help keep things lightweight, and a large, wide highback allows for plenty of tweak with heaps of lateral flex.
Rome 390 Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
The mid-flex Rome 390 has a new strap going for the new season - but still aims to combine lateral flex with response to make a great all-mountain freestyler.
Joining the asymmetrical highback, and adjustable forward lean is another new feature - the V-Rod baseplate, put in place to optimise balance and feel.
Rome Targa Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
The Rome Targa bindings have stood up to some heavy hits in their time, not least from one Stale Sandbech - who gets his own colourway as one of three in this year’s line up.
One of a select few bindings with adjustable flex - you can crank them from mid to stiff using the ankle strap - and of course pair this with aggressive forward lean for the most responsive ride when you need it.
Salomon Defender Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Carrying on in the line of Salomon’s flexible-heelcup ‘ShadowFit’ design, the Salomon Defender is a fairly stiff all-rounder for demanding riders like pros Bode Merrill and Wolle Nyvelt.
With an asymmetrical highback and ankle strap fresh from last year’s revamp - and the kevlar wiring dialed for perfect fit, you should have no problems with comfort here.
Salomon District Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
For the Salomon District bindings, Salomon have tweaked their ShadowFit tech and paired it with the mid-flex asymmertrical District highback - giving it an extra edge for freestylers like Jed Anderson and Louif Paradis.
To help you dial your fit, Salomon have used Micro Max adjusters on the 3D asymmetric ankle strap, and the deluxe toe cap - on top of the benefits you’ll find from the flexible kevlar wire in the heel.
You’ll even find an adjustable toe ramp on the District, and a sliding adjuster works to attach the highback, while letting you tweak forward lean and rotation.
Salomon Mirage Women's Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
If you’re a female rider looking to get your hands on a women’s specific ShadowFit set of bindings, the Salomon Mirage is the one for you. They’ve been custom fitted for female riders with a geometry that’s all their own.
Fortunately, the Mirage has been dialled to give an all-round mid flex, so regardless of your choice of riding you should be well at home with a set of these at your fee - and of course, being ShadowFit, they’re dialled for comfort.
Not to mention little extras like the IMS discs will let you dial down your angles without losing screws in the process.
Switchback Ethan Morgan Pro Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
With Switchback’s modular design, there is of course always plenty of leeway if you want to design your own custom set. However, if you like the idea of rocking what Ethan Morgan favours, his pro combo is the obvious way to go.
'Wrapback' highbacks provide extra leverage for big presses and solid landings on these, as well as ST pads for cushioning without a shortage in response.
Technine Lucas Magoon Pro Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Keeping up appearances with one of the most easily distinguishable designs for the season, Technine’s Lucas Magoon Pro bindings are split right through the middle for flex, all the way down to the baseplate and disc; effectively giving a left and right side on each foot, with a highback that can even be let loose completely.
Keeping with the wide wingback design too, you can safely assume that the idea here is to give unprecedented feel for pop and presses, in a package that’s clearly been made to take to the streets.
Union Atlas Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Torstein Horgmo’s favourite, the Union Atlas binding is making a return for the new season; and although the man himself is proving to be a little less-than indestructible at present, that’s not a problem you’ll find with the bindings he wears.
Mid-stiff in flex, their Duraflex ST baseplates come with a lifetime guarantee – and canted gas pedals provide extra power to this big-hitting all rounder.
Union Contact Pro Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Highly recommended by Austrian ripper Gigi Rüf, the Union Contact Pro will need little introduction for many riders. They’re the supercharged version of the ever-popular Contact, with a stripped back construction to make them ultra-lightweight and mini-disc connection to the baseplate for excellent board feel.
Union Flite Pro Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
Also developed with input from Gigi, the Union Flite Pro continues to set standards for solid lightweight bindings at a reasonable price point.
Softer in flex than others in the line, they’ll be most suited to riders after a park orientated feel, but thanks to that featherweight construction, they’ll help provide fatigue free days when you take them around the rest of the mountain too.
Complete the package with tool-free adjustment, and a new mechanism on the aluminium buckles, and it’s hard to see where the Flite Pro are lacking…
Union Milan Women's Snowboard Binding 2015-2016
We’ve long been fans of the women’s specific Union Milan bindings – and coming into the new season, they promise even more for ladies with a freestyle-focused angle.
The asymmetrical highbacks offer a slightly soft mid flex with a custom fit for female legs, and an all-new Stage V baseplate offers response without stiffening up the whole unit.
Factor in tool-free adjustment, canted pedals for power and Union’s reputation for indestructible design, and you’ve got the whole package – ready to throw down tricks for many seasons to come.