- Price: £190
- Sizes: S, M, L
- Flex: 7
- Entry System: Classic
The Salomon Defender snowboard binding aims to strike the balance between comfort and response. There’s usually a trade-off in one when you ramp up the other, but this model is among the closest to deliver plenty of both.
There’s been little need for any drastic changes in 2016/17. Once again the key tech on display is Salomon’s ‘ShadowFit’ system, first introduced a few years back and now an integral part of the brand’s higher-end bindings. The heelcup is soft enough to manipulate easily with just your hand, so whatever boot you’ve got will be perfectly cradled. A wire made from Kevlar runs through it, strengthening it against damage and also improving the response on your heel edge. That stuff is what goes into bulletproof vests, so snapping it is next to impossible.
"A wire made from Kevlar runs through the soft heelcup, strengthening it against damage and improving response"
The ankle straps are designed to provide the perfect combo of support and flexibility, so you can reach more of those trickier grabs than usual. It’s fully adjustable without the need for tools, as is the toe strap, and both feature an easy-gliding lightweight ratchet that gets you in and out in no time.
The footbed is canted by 2.5 degrees, meaning that the outside of your foot sits slightly higher on your board than the inside. The resulting angle sits your whole leg in a more agreeable position, easing some unwanted pressure in the knee joints. Canted footbeds (and the angle of elevation) remain a matter of preference rather than standard practice, but it’s definitely something worth trying if you haven’t already. EVA cushioning directly under your foot absorbs heavy impacts and vibrations, and the toe ramp is easily adjustable if you prefer a bit of lift at the front.
The Salomon Defender also has a unique asymmetrical highback, so both legs get optimum comfort and support. Powerful riders such as Wolle Nyvelt and Josh Dirksen get the response they need from it, so you can expect the same.
Supposedly this is stiffer than the Salomon District, to be honest I couldn’t really notice a massive difference other than these being a fraction lighter.
"These bindings are so incredibly comfy, and the soft flexible heelcup allows for a great range of movement"
These bindings are so incredibly comfy, and the soft flexible heelcup allows for a great range of movement on the board and a surfy feel, especially in the powder.
A word of warning though: if you are a UK size 12 boot or larger, I would look at another binding as it seems difficult to centre on the board with boots that size.
Wolle Nyvelt - Team Rider, Salomon
I’ve been riding the Shadowfit Technology ever since Salomon first introduced the system. It’s just the best – they fit and adapt to the boot real well, and you get an awesome balance of being able to tweak but still having the best control.
The highback on the Defender is also really awesome. Its shaped well and has a perfect flex.