The Salomon Defender binding made its debut last year, and certainly stood out from the crowd thanks to its ‘ShadowFit’ construction. Unlike most binders the heel cup is soft and malleable, which has obvious comfort advantages and a few others too.
This year the ankle strap has been made asymmetrical, meaning you can swap the left and right ones round for a different ride. As it stands they’re supportive as hell, but by swapping (and therefore flipping) them you get a looser feel that will suit those days when you’re not charging.
A layer of rubber sits inside the highback, gripping your boot firmly in a custom fit while also allowing you to ease off the buckles a little without compromising on response. The highbacks themselves are specially shaped to suit each leg, so will be comfortable and effective at all times.
“I wasn’t a fan of Salomon’s ShadowFit tech at first - it was too soft for my taste when I tried it on the District, but I thought I’d revisit it with the more freeride-focused Salomon Defender.
The ride feels very sharp, with the toe ramps and heel cup working hard to strike a balance between direct feel and dampening. The straps are very easy to adjust by hand, and there is no heavy padding.
The baseplate and highback have done away with unnecessary materials and there is no forward lean adjuster, so they are very light.
The one downside is that it takes a while to set up forward lean using the same adjustment you would normally use to rotate the highback, but it’s not something you do every time you ride.
I have ridden some very light and responsive bindings, but I wouldn’t call any of them comfortable. Salomon have definitely found a formula here with the Defenders, though. They’re light, sharp and easy on the feet - well worth the price tag."
"The ride feels very sharp, with the toe ramps and heel cup working hard to strike a balance between direct feel and dampening"