Recent production has brought some great binding technology, design and style to the industry. Everything from easier adjustments to comfort to optimizing the board flex, companies gave it their all this year.
Our selection was based on a variety of attributes listed below, but primarily we were looking for the best all-around bindings for everything from park to bombing down runs. While some have their advantages and disadvantages over each other, much like everything else in life, we feel any of our selected top five are an outstanding choice for any level rider.
The following were our main considerations:
- 0.1 The Construction
- 0.2 The Straps
- 0.3 Highback
- 0.4 Ease of Release and Entrance
- 0.5 Flex
- 0.6 Base
- 0.7 Price
- 0.8 Additional Features
- 0.9 The Decision
- 1 Our Overall Pick: Burton Cartel EST
- 2 Close Runner Up: Union Force
- 3 Second Runner Up: Burton Genesis EST
- 4 Third Runner Up: Union Contact Pro
- 5 Fourth Runner Up: Rome 390 Boss
Was it overall well-built and seamless with top tier materials?
Comfort, adjustability, strength, durability.
Feel, adjustability, flex.
Ease of Release and Entrance
Will you be able to keep up with your skier friends?
-Softer: terrain/more room for error
-Medium – all mountain
-Stiffer – riding fast and precision turning
Strong baseplate materials, optimize board flex, durability, shock absorption.
Worth the $$$’s?
Compatibility, ease of adjustability, etc.
After narrowing down a multitude of options, brands, and U.S. availability, our five primary choices were the following:
Our Overall Pick: Burton Cartel EST
The Burton Cartels don’t let down at any attribute. Beginning with the EST baseplate, it is constructed out of a combination of nylon and fiberglass that truly reduce the weight and give the rider a more natural board flex, and at the same time provides an awesome shock absorption cushion for going big with its AutoCANT sensoryBED padding. The Hi-backs have a great adjustable forward lean option that is tool-free, giving the rider the option from cranking it forward or back on the fly.
The ankle strap is known as their asymmetrical REACT strap, and is made of a very comfortable enduro padding that don’t sacrifice any responsiveness. The toe strap is a Gettagrip toe cap strap with a toe window, and it along with the ankle strap can be easily adjusted to however the rider prefers. Both have Smooth Glide buckles that are sure to be reliable and powerful for several seasons of shredding.
Of course as most of the other Burton bindings, they are compatible with the channel mounting system further adding adjustability to the list of positives. Unfortunately, this also brings the only real downside to these, which is that they are exclusively compatible with the channel system, limiting board options to only Burtons with that technology.
Overall these bindings are engineered a bit stiffer than the others on the list, but with the amount of adjustability options, any rider type or skill level can appreciate the Burton Cartels.
Close Runner Up: Union Force
The 2017 Union Forces are another all around great binding to consider for all mountain riding. They have a mid-flex feel, light, comfortable, and very responsive. The multizone force hiback gives the bindings an amazing heel side control and responsiveness, in addition to the 3D aluminum heel cups that reduce weight and increase strength. It can be easily shifted forward while on the go by a simple unlock slide and re-lock process as opposed to the use of a tool. The straps are a 3D direct connect strap system that distribute the weight in a nice even manner, with easily adjustable positions. All the hardware is made from a very strong steel ensuring a resistant and long lasting construction.
If you wanted to compare them Burton Cartels above, where they have an advantage is the compatibility and cost, but they fall slightly short on the shock absorption as well as overall adjustability. Other than that, they will provide any rider with an awesome all-mountain ride.
Second Runner Up: Burton Genesis EST
Coming in a price slightly higher than the other options, these are some of Burton’s best. They have a mid-stiffness feel, with a Hammock highback that gives a very responsives heel control, made of a combination of it’s rubber hammock material and a truly durable spine. Unlike the Cartels, the compatibility is with pretty much any board, with a hidden trap door for easy mounting. Just like the highback the ankle strap uses the Hammock technology to remove weight without sacrificing hold or comfort. The toe strap additionally is a lightweight, EVA with a strong grip. The Genesis EST’s are a great choice for the more intermediate to advanced riders looking for a long lasting and responsive binding.
Third Runner Up: Union Contact Pro
The Union Contact Pros are quite similar Force’s, with a few differences. They have contact pro highbacks as opposed to the multizone force highbacks, as well as a contact pro base that gives some extra shock absorption. Our personal choice was the Force over the Contact mainly for comfort and cost reasons. Although if you’re looking to go big, the Contact Pros may be a better choice for you. Either way they are a very high quality binding that won’t disappoint.
Fourth Runner Up: Rome 390 Boss
The Rome Boss’s are a medium flex, durable, responsive, and comfortable binding made for the all mountain rider. Starting with the baseplate, the V-rod baseplate gives the board a great natural board flex, while the sub-base V-pad absorbs shock like no other. The straps include the Contour Boss ankle strap that has a very comfortable feel that supports the boot in a natural way, and the Conform Strip toe strap that gives a solid grip on the toe. The 390 Asym highback is easily adjustable and has a canted shape inside for all around great riding.
There are many great choices out there but these were ours, and the runner ups were very all very close in quality and price. Feel free to drop some additional thoughts or choices in the comments.