The Best Ski Bindings

A binding is what physically connects you to your skis, and it is responsible for transferring the power from your legs, through your boots, and to the ski so that the ski can respond the way you want it to. Since a binding is screwed into your ski, it is also a difficult piece of equipment to swap out if you are unhappy with your purchase, so choosing wisely is key.

There are two primary types of bindings: alpine bindings, which are for downhill skiing at a ski resort, and alpine touring (AT) bindings, or randonee bindings, which are for backcountry skiing. AT bindings release to allow for uphill travel, while a standard alpine binding remains stationary at all times.

Alpine bindings come in two distinguishable types: integrated bindings and non-integrated bindings. Integrated bindings come as package with a pair of skis when you purchase them. They are designed specifically for use with that one particular model of skis, and are most often found on beginner or frontside skis. If your skis come without bindings included, then you will need to select a pair of non-integrated bindings to be mounted on your skis.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Dynafit Beast 14
93
Ease of Entry 9
Ease of Transition 7
Uphill Performance 9
Downhill Performance 10
Security 10
Value 8

Lighter weight toe piece than the Beast 16

Great Vertical release Characteristics

Prevents accidental heel release better than other AT bindings

Same as its big Brother (Beast 16), you can’t tour flat

Transitioning from tour to ski is only for the strong

MSRP
$750.00
BEST DEAL
Salomon MTN Tech Binding
90
Best in Class
2017
Ease of Entry 7
Ease of Transition 8
Uphill Performance 8
Downhill Performance 8
Security 9

Secure, once you are in

Clean, well functioning design

Good uphill efficiency

Very easy to switch modes

Optional brakes

Touchy step-in

Bouncy lifter levers

Fiddle factor for adjusting release

Brakes impede flat touring

MSRP
N/A
BEST DEAL
Marker Baron
87
Ease of Entry 9
Ease of Transition 6
Uphill Performance 4
Downhill Performance 10
Security 10
Value 8

Good power Transmission to the Ski

Low Stack Height

Easy adjustment between AT and Alpine soles

Super secure feeling upon clicking in

Heavy

Transitions are a bit slow

Tends to ice-up on binders

MSRP
$379.00
BEST DEAL
G3 Ion
87
Ease of Entry 8
Ease of Transition 5
Uphill Performance 8
Downhill Performance 8
Security 8

Easy to step into

Clean design

Easy heel lift transitions

Kiss mount on the heel

Step out for ski to tour transition

Occasional snap back into ski mode

MSRP
$530.00
BEST DEAL
G3 Ion LT
87
Ease of Entry 7
Ease of Transition 7
Uphill Performance 8
Downhill Performance 7
Security 8

Solid & secure toe piece

Simple mount with no extras

Good lifter levels

Ski crampon mount is easy

Easy lifter mode transition

Strippable release adjustment screws

Harder to step into the toe

Non break away leashes are the only option

MSRP
$479.00
BEST DEAL
evo
Marker Duke
85
Ease of Entry 9
Ease of Transition 6
Uphill Performance 3
Downhill Performance 10
Security 10
Value 7

Rock solid downhill performance.

Easy step in design, just like an alpine binding.

New and improved heel lifter.

Heavy.

Stack height off of ski.

Need to remove ski to change for hike and ski modes.

MSRP
$449.00
BEST DEAL
Dynafit Superlight Touring Binding
85
Ease of Entry 6
Ease of Transition 7
Uphill Performance 8
Downhill Performance 7
Security 7

Simple & easy to use

Weight to performance ratio

Few moving parts

Easy to switch between climbing levels

Toe lock out is a bit finicky

Touring flat is accomplished by being between modes

The highest heel lift is not high enough

Zero adjustability once it is mounted

MSRP
$550.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Fritschi Vipec
84
Ease of Entry 3
Ease of Transition 9
Uphill Performance 8
Downhill Performance 7
Security 7

Transitions are really easy

Release setting on both toe and heel piece

Finally something not an inch off the ski from Fritschi!

A lot of plastic parts

The heel risers feel flexy and breakable

Difficult to step into

Pricy compared to competitors

MSRP
$599.00
BEST DEAL
Plum Guide
82
Ease of Entry 5
Ease of Transition 6
Uphill Performance 9
Downhill Performance 8
Security 7
Value 7

Lightweight.

Minimal moving parts.

Very clean design.

All metal design.

Pricey.

Hard to get a hold of Stateside.

Very hard to accurately adjust.

MSRP
$699.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
G3 Onyx
78
Ease of Entry 4
Ease of Transition 8
Uphill Performance 7
Downhill Performance 6
Security 5
Value 8

Ski to tour mode without unclicking.

Transitions done easily with a ski pole.

Not too heavy.

Lower price.

A bit of slop if you are a big guy.

Everything is plastic.

Hard to be sure you are in ski mode sometimes.

MSRP
$450.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Dynafit Radical FT
77
Ease of Entry 5
Ease of Transition 7
Uphill Performance 5
Downhill Performance 8
Security 8
Value 4

Easier to switch between different heel lift heights.

Transitions done easily with a pole.

Easier in and out of toe piece.

Suffered from some manufacturing defects (see review).

MSRP
N/A
BEST DEAL
Fritschi Freeride Pro
77
Ease of Entry 8
Ease of Transition 9
Uphill Performance 5
Downhill Performance 5
Security 5
Value 5

Easy in and easy out.

Very easy to switch between ski and tour modes with no step out.

High heel lift.

Very high off the ski.

As a big guy, I experienced a bit of slop.

Not as responsive as an alpine binding.

MSRP
N/A
BEST DEAL
Marker F12 Tour
77
Ease of Entry 9
Ease of Transition 5
Uphill Performance 3
Downhill Performance 8
Security 7
Value 5

Rock solid downhill performance.

Easy step-in design, just like an alpine binding.

Integrates the same new heel lifter as the Duke.

Stack height off of ski.

Need to remove binding for both climb and ski transitions.

Noisy.

MSRP
$430.00
BEST DEAL

What is a ski binding?

by: Last Updated:

The primary components of a ski binding are the heel piece and the toe piece. Each of these pieces releases separately in the event of a fall, with the aim of preventing injury by releasing from the appropriate direction at the appropriate time. The biggest difference that you will notice in alpine bindings is the release settings. Bindings that have higher (harder) release settings will be more desirable for advanced skiers, while bindings with lower (easier) release settings are more appropriate for beginners. The most important factor for you to consider when purchasing a binding is to make sure it is compatible with your boots and your ski ability.

If you are new to skiing you can choose a less expensive binding with lower release settings. If you are an aggressive skier, you will want a binding with higher release settings so that you are unlikely to release from your bindings prematurely.

Finally, make sure that a professional mounts and adjusts your bindings for you. Setting the release tension on a binding (also known as DIN) is a skill that professional ski techs become certified in, and they will be able to most appropriately set your DIN for your skill level to reduce the chance of injury.