Finding a good pair of snowboard bindings can make a huge difference when snowboarding. Bindings are a crucial part of your snowboard equipment, and if they are fitted well, they will give you more control, more comfort, and overall a better riding experience. They are the connection between your body and your snowboard – transferring the energy from you to the board and absorbing the vibrations. This is why there are female and male bindings.
Why Look for Female Specific Bindings?
Some still consider snowboarding as more of a male thing, and though it’s far from the truth, the number of snowboard bindings for men exceeds the number of those for women. However, with so many women thriving in snowboarding, there are more and more different women-specific quality snowboard products out there, and bindings are one of those products that you could benefit from greatly.
There are many reasons to get a pair of womens snowboard bindings and not those for men, especially if you’re a beginner. Designed specifically for female feet and snowboard boots for women riders, women’s snowboard bindings are very helpful for learning and progressing more easily, since the better they fit the more efficiently the power from your body will be delivered to your board.
One of the biggest differences between men and women snowboard bindings is the highback. Since female calves are lower on the leg then men’s, in order to give you more control and to fit us better, the highback on ladies snowboard bindings is shorter. Apart from this, they are narrower, since women have narrower feet. Because of this, female boots will be loose in bindings specifically made for men.
Choosing the Right Type of Bindings
Apart from opting for women-specific binders, there are other things you need to consider before buying a pair. In order to choose the most suitable snowboard bindings for you, first, it’s vital to take into consideration the style of riding you prefer, as well as the board and boots that you use.
Different types of flex are more suitable for different riding styles because the flex determines how the power from your body is delivered to the board. Now, it’s also important that you have a similar flex between the board, the boots and the bindings, for the best control, this means that soft boots and stiff bindings will make the energy transfer more difficult.
The flex rate goes from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest, and 10 being the stiffest). Softer flex means that the materials of the highback, heel cup, baseplate etc. are made from softer materials, while stiffer flex means tougher materials.
If you are a beginner, or if you prefer freestyle or park riding – that is preforming tricks, then you may benefit more from softer flex, because softer bindings are less sensitive to movement, meaning they don’t react to every movement. Soft flex bindings are generally rated 1-2.
Those who want to do a little bit of everything, falling into a category called all-mountain, will benefit from medium flex. Medium is considered an all-purpose flex, good for groomed runs, park, or powder snowboarding. Medium flex bindings are generally rated 3-5.
Bindings made from stiffer materials are best for ultimate control and better energy transfer to the board. They respond best to the rider’s movements, without losing energy. They are the best option for challenging terrains, for powder and for going fast. Stiff bindings are generally rated 6-8, while 9-10 ratings are very stiff.
Strap vs. Speed-Entry
The most common type of snowboard bindings is strap bindings. They are a very versatile option, suitable for all ride styles and levels, featuring straps that you’d have to manually buckle and unbuckle. Traditionally the have two straps, which allow for different adjusting option and great support. The ankle strap secures the boot into the heel cup area against the highback, while the toe strap secures the toes and ball, protecting your foot from unwanted movements.
As the name suggests, speed-entry bindings are designed to easily put on. They aren’t as common as the strap bindings, but they are becoming more and more popular, because of how fast and convenient this binding system is. Burton’s Step-On women’s bindings are the last innovative example, inspired by how skiers lock their boots to the skis, designed for fast, easy and convenient entry without sitting down and strapping.
As abovementioned, a good fit is crucial to secure and comfortable snowboarding and womens snowboard bindings generally come in smaller sizes. Although bindings usually come in sizes like small, medium or large, you should always check the manufacturer’s size chart, since sizes can vary from brand to brand. Getting the right size is important for comfort and, ultimately, safety.
First of all, the snowboard binding should fit your boot; and, of course, female boots fit women bindings best. The best way to check if the width and length of the boots and the bindings are well fitted is to place the boot in the binding. You should make sure that your boots don’t hang too much off the bindings, and that the straps are very tightened or too loose. The next step is to make sure that the heel is snug in the binding. Well-fitted snowboard binding should allow the boot to flex.
Lastly, when you are choosing snowboard bindings, it’s also crucial that you don’t forget about compatibility. Make sure that the baseplates are compatible with the interface on your board, since there are different bolt patterns on different boards.