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Main Equipment Strap-In or Step-In Bindings

Strap-In or Step-In Snowboard Bindings

Deciding on whether to go with traditional strap-in snowboard bindings or the more recent step-in bindings will be one of the first decisions you need
to make before purchasing your snowboard bindings and boots.

The original idea behind step-in bindings was to allow the rider to quickly step onto the board and take off with a minimum of fuss. This level of convenience would be particularly handy when jumping off the chair lift as opposed to having to sit on the cold snow or bend down to get your straps into gear.

All of this sounds good in theory but there's more to consider than just the theoretical level of convenience step-in snowboard bindings provide. Let's have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both systems.

Convenience

As mentioned previously, step-in bindings will allow you to get attached to your board quickly and easily as opposed to the cumbersome strap-in system.

However, step-in bindings can sometimes become a real pain if they refuse to work after being clogged with snow. When this happens, you'll find yourself having to sit down or bend over to dust off the snow before being able to step-in again which, when you think about it, pretty much defeats the whole purpose of getting step-in bindings in the first place.

Response

If you're a response junkie who likes quick transfer of bodily movement straight to your board, you'll probably like the overall stiffness of the step-in interface and the fact that the base of your boots are virtually stuck tight to your board.

This level of stiffness will probably not suit freestyle riders who prefer a little bit of give, freedom of movement, and a better feel for the board that you can only get with soft boots and strap-in bindings.

Comfort

You'll sacrifice a great deal of comfort if you choose to go with step-in bindings. This is attributed to the overall stiffness
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of the unit as well as the general construction where the metal locking mechanism is sometimes built into the soles of the boots adding additional weight. This becomes a significant issue if you need to hike over a distance and your feet start begging you to stop.

Contrast this with traditional soft boots which, assuming you are wearing the right size, can be used for anything from riding, walking in the snow or even driving a car if you have to.

Flexibility and Choice

Speaking of the locking mechanism being built into the boots, if you decide to use step-in bindings, you'll have to purchase both boots and bindings using the same step-in interface together to make sure that they are compatible. This greatly limits your flexibility when it comes to choice of boots.

Strap-in systems, however, will work with pretty much any non-step-in boots allowing you the flexibility of choosing the most robust bindings while going for the most comfortable and fitting boots you can find.

And the Conclusion? If you're still unsure as to which snowboard bindings system to go for, you probably can't go wrong with sticking with traditional strap-in bindings. Whilst you may occasionally find yourself fumbling with the straps in frustration, the benefits you get in comparison to step-in bindings far outweigh any minor and temporary inconvenience you experience.

If you're still unconvinced, go ahead and try out some step-in bindings either by borrowing them from a friend or renting them from a shop. You could well find yourself thinking they are the best little gadget to have ever been invented for snowboarding. As with anything else, it all comes down to personal preference.

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