Buying Guide for Kids Snowboard Bindings
By Steve Kopitz
Snowboard bindings are often one of the most overlooked parts of a setup. However, a bad/mismatched pair of kids snowboard bindings can ruin your grom’s snowboard setup. Well, maybe not completely ruin, but definitely negatively affect the performance of said setup. With so many varieties of snowboard bindings available, you have to power to select the optimal binding for your grom’s setup. We know that choosing the right binding can be a daunting task though so we’re here to help.
Snowboard bindings have evolved along with snowboards and snowboard boots. Over the years, many styles have come and gone and many more remain and evolve. All of this is likely causing you a headache right now. Don’t fret friend, we’ll have you up-to-par in no time! Take note that the majority of snowboard bindings are grouped into two general categories: Traditional and Quick-Entry. There are more sub categories, but since we’re talking about kids snowboard bindings, we won’t go there.
Traditional bindings, just like its namesake, are the original style of bindings. Although they might not resemble their very first relatives, the concept is the same. Traditional bindings have five major components: chassis, highback, ankle strap, toe strap, and ratchets.
Traditional binding design has come a long way and is still the most popular style of binding. Straps are more comfortable and ratchets are more buttery smooth. Any boot can be used with any traditional strap binding, but do note that manufacturers that also make boots design them to fit their bindings perfectly. That’s not to say you can’t get a perfect fit with other brands though.
The toe cap style is just a traditional binding with a different type of toe strap. Burton was the first brand to introduce this style and many companies have followed suit. The most popular type of toe strap is the convertible styles. These styles allow your grom to choose whether they want to rock the strap over or on top of the toe. The benefit of going over the toe is that it causes less pressure points and pushes the boot back into the heel cup for optimal fit.
Once upon a snowboard time, adults had the option of riding with “step-in” bindings. These bindings had special hard/semi-hard boots that “clicked” into the binding plate on the snowboard. Although this technology is a rare sight these days, the demand for a quick-entry system remains. Quick-entry bindings were introduced to the snowboard market that was basically modified traditional bindings. Flow was the first company to introduce this design and other companies such as K2 have since followed suit.
Kids quick-entry bindings take cues from their adult counterparts so your grom can also enjoy the speedy/easy benefits. Quick-entry kids snowboard bindings usually have a one ratchet design with varying types of straps. The ratchet is located at the ankle strap and is oversized for dexterity.
Snowboard bindings take a major beating so quality is a pretty big concern. Kids bindings are rather affordable as it is, but even they have a tier of quality. In the snowboard industry, you can indeed infer how much quality and tech goes into a product via pricing. If you are buying the cheapest binding in a brand’s line-up, expect it to have less tech than their more expensive models. Entry-level bindings are great for beginners, but expect your kid to want more performance as they progress.
Pricier bindings will have more tech thus providing more performance. They also tend to be of better quality which means it will also stand up to more use. Keep in mind that bindings can be swapped between boards (with few exceptions) so it’s not a bad idea to spend a little more on quality. This will allow your grom to progress into the binding and it will usually last longer.
A few examples of tech are: more dampening in areas like the footbed and highback, more adjustment options, and more responsive ankle straps. Overall, kids snowboard bindings are soft and forgiving because let’s face the facts, us adults are stronger than them.
As mentioned earlier, the majority of kids bindings can be swapped between snowboards. There are two reasons for this:
1) There are two types of mounting patterns on kids snowboards: 4hole or Burton 3D
2) The majority of kids snowboard bindings have a universal mounting disc that accounts for these two types of mounting patterns
There are a few kids snowboard binding types out there that won’t accommodate the Burton 3D so pay close attention to the information in the “Product Specifications” box on the product listing page.