The binding division of Northwave boots, Drake shares its sister brand’s heritage and reputation. The Drake Reload is their premium freestyle binding, perfect for blasting park laps all day. When they’re wanting to get their trick on, team riders Kohei Kudo and Antti Autti opt for this model.

Adjustability is right at the forefront of the Drake Reload, thanks to the ‘Light Saber’ baseplate. Two rock-solid levers allow you to adjust the heelcup without using tools, so you can get the perfect fit for your boots. The highback and ankle strap can also be adjusted independenty, with a total of 13 different combinations on the menu. The baseplate weighs next to nothing, and makes only minimal contact with the snowboard in order to let your deck flex more naturally.

"You can certainly ride this away from the park too, so it’s no one-trick pony, but the Drake Reload has the perfect features for freestyle"

The highback is a single component with a medium flex and an asymmetric shape. The design not only niftily incorporates the Drake logo, it also offers a little more tweakability than a standard highback thanks to the narrower section. There’s still plenty to rely on when you’re going hard on your heels, and if you like a bit of forward lean then setting it is a piece of cake.

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The chunky ankle strap is lighter than it looks, so you get plenty of support without any extra grams. It also contains real leather, so it can take a kicking. Meanwhile the urethane toe strap wraps snugly round the end of your boot, locking you in with comfort. The magnesium ratchets are far lighter than the aluminium equivalent, but just as strong - and given that they clear five latter teeth at a time, strapping in is lightning-fast.

You can certainly ride this away from the park too - Antti and Kohei certainly do - so it’s no one-trick pony, but the Drake Reload has the perfect features for freestyle. Those looking for a park binding should definitely take a look at this one.

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Tester's Verdict

Andrew Duthie - whitelines.com

This wasn’t the first time I’d tried a pair of these, but I’m glad I reloaded on the Reloads.

Like any good binding, once you’re all strapped in and away it feels fairly anonymous, the straps keeping you comfortable at all times and never budging a millimetre.

"Like any good binding, once you’re all strapped in and away it feels fairly anonymous"

Lord knows how much difference the asymmetrical highbacks really make compared to standard fare, but these ones certainly do the job. I can’t speak for the bindsing’s tweaking performance as I never had the chance (or, if I’m honest, the talent) but when gunning it the Reload always held strong.

It’s worth sitting down and really getting to know how all the adjustable parts work. A well-fitting boot is a happy boot, and any shape or size will be able to get along with these.

Trade Secrets

David Smania - Product Manager, Northwave/Drake

Every component of the Drake Reload has been streamlined to reduce weight, but it is still robust enough to handle the hardest impacts. With a toolless setup, it’s the top pick of our pro team.

After he tested it for the first time, our team rider and ambassador Antti Autti was quick to call it the best binding he has ever used.