Welcome to a special Buyer’s Guide feature from FREESKIER. Here’s a close-up look at the best ski boots of the year. Click here to explore the entire 2021 FREESKIER Buyer’s Guide.
Dynafit ST Radical
There’s hardly a more classic touring binding design than Dynafit’s Radical series. Providing everything an AT skier needs and nothing you don’t, the latest ST Radical is available in blue or silver and is constructed with a combination of forged aluminum and stainless steel for strength when it matters most. Furthermore, it’s competitively priced to get you out on the skin track without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for one of the best ski bindings around that offers no-nonsense, lightweight performance, this is the solution.
Salomon S/Lab Shift MNC 13
The revolutionary Shift MNC made its debut two years ago. Since then, it’s completely changed how freeride skiers approach a ski setup and it’s still one of the best ski bindings on the market. The first binding to effectively eliminate the need for two setups—one alpine, one backcountry—the Shift offers a reasonably lightweight solution for ascending with a tech toe and descending with a fully alpine-style binding. With the push of a lever, two arms on the toe piece splay out to reveal tech pins. When it’s time to relish in those turns you just earned, simply pull the lever up while you push the arms in and you’re back in alpine business.
Marker Griffon 13 ID
Maker’s Griffon got a complete overhaul for this winter. First off, SOLE.ID compatibility ensures the binding can be paired with almost any boot sole on the market by adjusting the AFD, though this adjustment should be left to a professional. Those of you who’ve used Markers in the past know that the secure feeling they provide also requires a hefty bit of force to lock into the heel piece but this one has been redesigned for easier step-ins, especially when wearing rubber-soled boots. The Griffon is an ideal alpine solution for intermediate-to-advanced alpine skiers.
Look Pivot 15 GW
Look introduces the all-new Pivot 15 GW (GripWalk) this year with the same elasticity that pro riders covet but in a 15-DIN version that’s better-suited to most skiers’ needs. The Pivot’s toe and heelpiece provide up to 45 millimeters and 25 millimeters of elastic travel, respectively, eliminating the dreaded pre-release. Furthermore, the low-profile design of this binding minimizes the vertical space between your boot and ski, effectively mounting you right on the topsheets. And if all that functionally wasn’t enough for you, the binding comes in flashy gold and yellow/purple colorways to match your skis and steeze.
Tyrolia Attack2 14 AT
Accepting alpine, GripWalk and touring boot soles, the Attack2 14 AT has the most boot sole compatibility in Head’s Attack2 lineup and ensures that no matter what boots you’ve got on your feet, you can count on efficient power transmission and a safe ride. This is enabled through the FR PRO2 toe piece which easily adjusts to different sole thicknesses and boasts a 77-millimeter AFD to aid with elastic travel and efficient re-centering of your boot. Finally, the three-piece, NX heel allows you to step into the binding with a solid click without having to apply mega force to your boot. Easily one of the best ski bindings of the year.
Marker Duke PT 16
As skiers across the globe continue to explore the backcountry, there’s a growing need for bindings that offer the best of both worlds: proficient, easy-to-use tech for the uphill with impressive performance on the downhill. For years, Marker has been working toward satisfying this massive consumer need and, this season, it’s coming out swinging with the Duke PT, one of the best ski bindings available this season. In alpine (downhill) mode, the binding boasts every quality you’d expect from a Marker product; a healthy 6-16 DIN range, solid alpine heel piece and a toe piece that safely wraps around the front of your boot. This ensures the sendiest of skiers can really crank ‘em down but expect to release safely should anything go south.
However, the real innovation here is centered in the Transformer-like toe piece. To switch the binding from ski mode to walk mode, just unlock the upper part of the toe piece, rotating it forward, toward the ski tip. Underneath—voila!—you’ll find tech pins for your touring boots. At this point you can choose to leave the 300-gram toe piece attached to the baseplate or remove the upper portion and stow it in your pack to save weight on each step. When it comes time to re-attach, Marker’s Auto Quad Lock ensures the binding stays in place thanks to four different locking points. Like we said, the best of both worlds.