Getting your ski bindings sizing right is important as is making sure they are compatible with your boots.
Get it wrong and your bindings may not work with your boots or fit your skis. It’s also really important for safety reasons.
Skiing can be a dangerous activity. One way to lessen the danger is to make sure that your bindings are set up properly. They need to be correctly sized just for you. The ski boots that you choose need to be compatible with your bindings, as well. Not only will your safety be ensured, but the right bindings will help your performance!
Getting the Right Size Ski Bindings
When you start the search for the perfect sized ski bindings, there are several factors to consider.
The first is the width of the brake. Every ski binding comes equipped with a ski brake. These brakes are designed to snap down into the snow when the boot is released from the ski. The purpose is so that skis don’t run freely down the mountain after a fall. The brake size varies on different bindings, so it is very important to check out the width of the brake before you buy your bindings.
Ski widths are measured in millimeters. Usually, there are three numbers listed as the dimensions of the ski. An example would be 122-90-115. In these dimensions, the 122 is the width of the ski at the tip. The 115 is the width of the ski at the tail.
The number that matters for bindings, though, is the 90. This measurement is the width at the waist: the middle of the ski. Since this is where ski bindings are mounted, this is the number that will affect the binding brake size.
Once you know the waist width of your ski, you can start to fine-tune your search for the right size binding.
In general, you want the brake width of your ski binding to be slightly wider than the waist width of your ski. If the brake size is too narrow, the brakes won’t spring down into the snow effectively – in other words, they won’t work. If the brakes are too wide, though, they may catch on the snow, your pants, or objects in the snow like roots or rocks.
Most experts agree that your brakes should be no wider than 15 mm larger than your ski’s waist size.
Another item to consider if you are adjusting alpine bindings is the DIN setting.
The DIN range is a scale of numbers that lets the skier know when the binding will release. The lower the DIN number, the less force will be required to pop your boot out of the binding. The higher the DIN number, the harder it will be to release your boot. There is a DIN setting in the toe portion of the binding, as well as in the heel component. This number should only be set by certified technicians.
The DIN setting is determined by the skier’s height and weight, age, and skiing style. Additionally, the boot sole size plays a large part in the DIN range. All of these factors are very individualized.
For example, a beginner skier may have a much different DIN requirement than another beginner skier. Children are going to have a lower DIN than a grown adult, but both novice kids and grownups would have lower DIN numbers than advanced skiers.
The skiing style and terrain that skiers will encounter directly affect the DIN that you should have. Aggressive skiers who turn harder and power down uneven terrain will want their bindings to hold much longer than a conservative skier.
Different forces will trigger the binding’s release setting. If there is a powerful twisting force applied to the binding, the toe of the boot will release so that the skier is not injured. This is true if the boot twists left or right. If the skier lurches forward suddenly, the heel of the binding will release. The correct range of DIN will hopefully save the skier from injury. Generally, female skiers will not want a DIN higher than 11, and most males won’t need higher than 14.
Binding to Boot Compatibility
Besides the right size of brake width and DIN, another important decision to make when buying your bindings is choosing the right boot.
The correct boot for your bindings depends on the sole. There are several varieties of boots to choose from, ranging from GripWalk, Walk to Ride, touring boots, as well as standardized alpine boots. The sole of each boot needs to be compatible with the AFD (Anti-Friction Device) of the binding. The different categories of boots are made from various materials, with different grip on the soles. The AFD is unique to each type of binding: alpine, touring, WTR, MNC, and GripWalk bindings.
If you are into hiking up the mountain and charging back down, touring boots and tech bindings are for you. You would first find the touring ski you desire, and then choose the appropriate boot and binding type. Many companies have expanded their offerings to crossover boots, as well, which can give skiers the versatility of an alpine boot with a walk mode.
Much of the decision in buying boots that match your bindings is the terrain you will ski on.
Most resort skiers will want alpine boots, which are compatible with alpine bindings. Alpine bindings are very limited, though, as they are not compatible with most other boot setups. Skiers that want some uphill walking capability will need a crossover boot (such as GripWalk or WTR) and the matching binding. For the backcountry purist who will be doing a lot of uphill traveling, touring boots and bindings are the call. Touring boots are only designed for touring bindings and are not compatible with other bindings.
Boot-Binding Compatibility Chart
Tech Bindings (Pin)
Alpine Soles (ISO 5355)
Touring Soles (ISO 9523)
Walk to Ride
Your local shop, or their website, can guide you in the compatibility of different boots and bindings. It can be quite complicated and very important for your safety, so you want to be absolutely sure that your new bindings are compatible with your boots.
The correct sizing of your bindings is very important, both in brake width and DIN range. The appropriate boot is also critical in that it is compatible with the type of binding that fits your skiing style.