How To Choose Ski Bindings | The Ski Workshop

Here's our guide to choosing the right ski binding

Ski bindings are perhaps the least sexy of the gear you’ll be buying. Safety, functionality and durability are the aim of the game here. In simple terms they have two jobs: keep you attached to your ski on the downhill and allow you to detach from your ski when you want, or rather need to, during a tumble.

When you’re choosing ski bindings you can break down the characteristics into DIN, elasticity, boot sole norm and durability.


The first thing you’ll need to figure out is what DIN you need. DIN refers to the force needed to release a boot from a binding, this value is standardised across the market so a setting will be the same no matter the manufacturer.

DIN is important to get right as it could be the difference between a pain free Jerry of the Day yard sale and something more nasty if the ski doesn’t release. Calculating your DIN takes into account your weight and ski style. Plug these two metrics into the table and it will tell you the winning number.

Start with this number and, as you gain more experience on the mountain, you will know if you need to bump it up or down a notch. When you are shopping for a new binding aim to purchase one that allows for adjustment either way.

Most adult bindings will have a good range of adjustment, often a lower model will have a DIN 3 – 11 range and an upper model in the 6 – 16 range.  Aim to get something that you will sit in the middle. For example if you have a din of 6 aim for the lower range and if you have a din of 10 aim for the upper range.

That said, all of them are calibrated so as long as you don’t go past the stated range they will work correctly.

Elasticity / Retention

An important characteristic of any ski binding is the amount of retention on offer. Retention (or elasticity) is basically how well is it able to hold your boot on the ski as you’re arching some high power turns. This can be through elasticity in the toe and/or heel and it’s usually marked in mm, showing how many mm the binding allows the boot to travel side to side, or forwards and backwards.

Linked to retention is forward pressure. Forward pressure is basically how well the binding can keep pressured onto the back of your heel as your ski flexes through the turn. As when your ski flexes, your binding moves away from the back of your boot – forward pressure makes up for this.

Boot Sole Norm

The next aspect of selecting a binding is to ensure it can work with your boot sole style. The main styles are alpine, GripWalk, Walk to Ride and touring. These styles refer to the shape and size of the heel and toe pieces on the boot.

There was once a single standard norm making it an easy choice, but now, with grippy rubber soles and touring rocker soles, there are a few options out there. They do have a habit of changing fairly regularly so be aware. If you have standard alpine soles then any binding should work, but if you have any other soles then double check the binding can accept them.

Brake Width

The final thing to consider when buying a new binding is what brake width you need. This is simple to figure out, just check the width of your ski and select a  brake width slightly wider. If you go too narrow the brake won’t deploy properly, too wide and the brakes will drag as you carve your trenches on the piste.


Ready to buy? Check out the latest ski bindings at Surfdome.

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