the beginning of snowboarding time, bindings have worked
in the same way: put one foot in the base of each binding,
bend down and buckle two (sometimes three) straps across
your boot to secure them to the snowboard. You are now
one with your board -- until the next chair lift ride.
Now bend down again and un-strap the rear binding. Ride
chair. Re-strap. Ride down. Repeat.
the last few years, step-in bindings have stepped into
the scene. As opposed to the traditional strap binding
system, step-in systems let users step down and with
one easy click their boot is automatically attached
to the board.
many, the choice between strap and step-in bindings
is a tough one. Step-ins are definitely more convenient,
but many think that strap binding systems offer a better
feel. Let's look at some pros and cons of each system:
and easy -- step right in and start riding.
are stiffer. Some people like this because it offers
quicker edge to edge response.
are stiffer. The subtle balances that take place
within the foot while snowboarding get lost in a
stiff step-in boot. Tricks are more difficult because
it is harder to bend the ankle and the foot.
choices. Step in boots and bindings must work together,
so you must purchase them at the same time. And
there just aren't as many of them on the market,
making the ultimate boot fit harder to find.
Step-in systems are more spendy, but the gap is
boots and bindings are sold independently. Any soft
boot can pretty much go with any strap binding on
the market offering a lot of choices for the consumer,
who can buy any brand of boots this year any brand
of bindings next year, for example.
boot choices. A good boot with a good fit is essential
to a good snowboarding experience. More choices
= better chance of finding the right boot for you.
and cumbersome to get in and out for every chair
ease of being able to step directly into a binding is
a great selling point. But so far, the feel of a strap
binding system still outweighs the ease of a step-in
system for most snowboarders, including almost all the
pros. In past years hopeful retailers were stocking
step-ins; this year it appears that many specialty shops
are holding out for something better.
the meantime, step-ins are still great for some uses:
shops. Strap bindings take time to properly adjust
to different sized feet. With step - ins, find the
right size boot and you are ready to go.
skiers. Skiers already accustomed to the ease of being
able to step right into their bindings will find that
same convenience in a step-in system. Plus, skiers
usually feel comfortable with the stiffer boot offered
in a step-in system.
Future of Step-Ins
goal for step - ins might be to try to mimic the feel
of a strap system while offering the ease of a step-in.
Most riders agree that this combination is the ideal.
But is it possible?
if we can land a man on the moon... Most likely it is
only a matter of time. Until then, see you at the top
of the chair lift, strapping in.