Best Budget Ski Bindings of 2021-22

Ski bindings have a crucial role in skiing as they are the connection between your skis and boots. They play an important role in power transmission, responsiveness, and safety. Ski bindings keep your boots fixed through rough snow and fast skiing.

Ski bindings also provide suspension so that your boot floats on the ski. When buying ski bindings, look for the following things:

  • Boot sole compatibility
  • Brake width
  • DIN

If you are looking to buy ski bindings on a budget, this guide will help you select the right option for you.

1. Tyrolia Attack 11 GW

Tyrolia Attack 11 GW
DIN: 3-11
Sole compatibility: Alpine, GripWalk
Brake sizes: 85, 95, 110mm
Weight (pair): 7.4 lbs.

Tyrolia Attack 11 GW is an option for beginners and intermediates who are often trying out different things and don’t want to exceed their budget. These ski bindings were developed with safety and performance in mind making them ideal for beginners and intermediates. Attack 11 GW feature the FR3 Pro toepiece. The new design of the toepiece makes it compact, low, and easier to step in. The new design also improves fixation and power transfer so that you can ski confidently. The lightweight toes are strong enough for most resort days.

The Attack 11 bindings are Alpine and GripWalk compatible which is to keep in mind when selecting your boots. It features an AFD plate that can be lowered or raised for the boot to safely conform to the binding reducing the risk of prerelease.

The bindings have a stack height of 21mm. It is low enough to let you feel the terrain and the connection with your skis. But at the same time, the stack height provides you with the leverage to make high turns should you become ambitious. These bindings also feature a lower DIN value. The build also comprises lightweight plastics. A lower DIN value and the construction of the Attack 11 GW don’t make it suitable for hard or heavy riders looking for competitive performance. They are suitable for casual resort skiers.

What I like: A great value binding for beginner and intermediate skiers.

What I don’t like: Lower performance threshold.

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2. Marker Squire 11

Marker Squire 11
DIN: 3-11
Sole compatibility: Alpine, GripWalk
Brake sizes: 90, 100, 110mm
Weight (pair): 3.6 lbs.

Marker Squire 11 is an excellent cheap ski binding for beginners and intermediates. It has been a favorite from the beginning. But for 2021, it features an all-new design having a modern-shaped toepiece with an anti-ice rail protective plate. It is an ideal ski binding for women and lightweight skiers. The Triple Pivot Light 2 Toe is GripWalk ready and fits Alpine and GripWalk soles. The anti-ice rail on the toepiece is a neat feature. You can use it to scrape off snow from the soles of your boots so that it doesn’t mess with your DIN settings.

The heel piece features a stainless steel AFD gliding plate that supports precise release increasing safety. The performance of the AFD gliding plate is not affected by dirt, snow, or ice. You don’t have to work extra hard to maintain it. The AFD also features an individual adjustment system. Individual adjustment can be used to optimize performance for different circumstances like racing and ski touring. It provides Squire with the versatility to perform optimally in a variety of situations. The heel piece features a Hollow Linkage heel design which requires 30% less step-in force than traditional alpine binding.

What I like: A lightweight and dependable binding for casual skiers.

What I don’t like: Slightly expensive than Tyrolia Attack above.

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3. Marker Griffon 13 ID

Marker Griffon 13 ID
DIN: 4-13
Sole compatibility: Alpine, Touring, WTR, GripWalk
Brake sizes: 90, 100, 110, 120mm
Weight (pair): 4.5 lbs.

Marker Griffon 13 ID is aimed toward freeriding enthusiasts. These ski bindings are known for their excellent performance and reliability. Marker has redesigned the Griffon 13 for 2021 improving these already popular ski bindings. The redesign features Marker’s Triple Pivot Elite 3 toepiece. The construction of the toepiece provides it with an impressive retention system for freeriding. The toe features a horizontal spring with a sole plate at 5o to provide the highest energy absorption. It also reduces the risk of early release which may cause serious injury.

All Marker bindings except for the Jester Pro are equipped with movable AFD. Its mechanism is similar to the one in Marker Squire 11 mentioned above. It doesn’t require heavy maintenance and supports precise release increasing safety. Marker’s Sole.ID technology adjusts the AFD plate to accommodate the boot sole cutting down the time on adjustments.

The heel piece has been reworked for 2021. The new Inter Pivot 3 heel piece is the newest generation with improved step-in performance. The heel bracelet is made of magnesium for efficient power transmission and energy absorption. The step-in performance has also been improved which had been complained about previously. The heel used to make it hard to step out but it has now been fixed in this new iteration. The downhill performance is excellent with no wiggle or movement.

What I like: Solid performance, great power delivery, good reputation

What I don’t like: Difficult to step into when you are in the powder.

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4. Look NX 12 GW

Look NX 12 GW
DIN: 3.5-12
Sole compatibility: Alpine, GripWalk
Brake sizes: 90, 100mm
Weight (pair): 4.4 lbs.

Look NX 12 GW is a lighter but fully functional binding for recreational skiers. It has a wide step-in zone that offers easy entry and exit. It has longer lever arms for effortless unclicking. The NX 12 has a lightweight construction from composite materials which makes skiing and carrying skis in a backpack easier. The Full Action Toe of the NX 12 is a marvel. It features a 45mm elastic travel for excellent shock absorption. Look-Binding is the only binding brand to develop the 180° true mechanical upwards release which functions independently of the heel. The toe also features increased coupling strength for maximum power transmission.

Four points of contact with the boot also enhance power transmission. The result is an enjoyable skiing experience where most of the power from your boots gets transferred to your skis. The NX 12 is compatible with GripWalk and Alpine ISO 5355 soles. The DIN range of the NX 12 is 3.5-12 which is low. The low DIN value along with a lightweight construction indicates that is meant for lightweight skiers or beginners, experienced skiers need to look elsewhere.

What I like: Great binding for those just getting into skiing.

What I don’t like: Low DIN means it’s meant for lightweight skiers.

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5. Salomon Z10 Ti Women’s

Salomon Z10 Ti Women’s
DIN: 3-10
Sole compatibility: Alpine
Brake sizes: 100mm
Weight (pair): 3.8 lbs.

Salomon Z10 Ti Women’s, as the name suggests, is aimed toward women. But it is also popular among lightweight skiers. It provides some features that make it easy to use for women and beginners. It is very easy to step in because of automatic adjustment. The toe automatically adjusts to the width and height of the boot as you step in. This relieves you of all the time you would waste tinkering with these settings. The ease of use makes it a popular option for women who usually don’t like to get tangled up in technicalities.

The toepiece has larger wings than normal bindings. The wings provide superior power transmission and better centering. The toepiece also features a Vertical Progressive Pivot which is a controlled release mechanism for backward fall. A controlled release is a safety option much suitable for beginners. The Z10 Ti has a low stack height which gives you more feel of the terrain. Your skiing experience becomes more enjoyable as you adjust to the feedback from your skis. The Z10 Ti also features Titanium components that reduce weight and makes it easier to ski and carry skis. Titanium components also make the Z10 Ti durable so you won’t be worrying to replace them soon.

What I like: Well built, performs as expected, easy to get boots into

What I don’t like: Limited sole compatibility

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6. Salomon Warden MNC 13

Salomon Warden MNC 13
DIN: 4-13
Sole compatibility: Alpine, Touring, WTR, GripWalk
Brake sizes: 90, 100, 115, 130mm
Weight (pair): 5 lbs.

Salomon Warden MNC 13 came into being as a result of different boot sole standards. And the fact that there are people who are confused by them and don’t want to indulge in the whole matter altogether. These people are usually called beginners. Warden MNC 13 is a lighter offering in the Warden lineup. But it is compatible with all boot norms. GripWalk, WTR, DIN, Touring, you name them. Warden MNC 13 can adjust to fit them all. The versatility that this Warden offers is what makes it special.

The independence to swap between different boots is ideal for beginners who have little to no idea about compatibility. Some people like to avoid compatibility issues and want a one-option-fit-all. The Warden MNC 13 is something they should consider. But that is not the only ease of use that the Warden provides. The toepiece has an automatic wing adjustment that adjusts to the width and the height of the boot by simply stepping in. This is another beginner-friendly option.

Like the Salomon Z10, Warden has a low stack height which gives you better feedback from the terrain. The Warden also features Freeski brakes that are self-retracting and eliminate hangups on switch landings.

What I like: Easy entry and exit, a wide platform, and low stack height

What I don’t like: Height-adjustable toe and sliding AFD mean lower precision and energy transfer.

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7. Atomic Warden MNC 13

Atomic Warden MNC 13
DIN: 4-13
Sole compatibility: Alpine, Touring, WTR, GripWalk
Brake sizes: 90, 100, 115, 130mm
Weight (pair): 5 lbs.

If you want similar features as the Salomon Warden MNC 13, but in a different brand, then Atomic Warden MNC 13 has you covered. It has almost the same features as the Salomon Warden MNC 13. Even the price of both of these bindings is the same. Both only differ in looks. However, there are a few differences that make the Atomic Warden MNC 13 stand out which is why it makes it to this list. Atomic Warden 13 was a popular ski binding, but now, it is Multi-Norm Compatible (MNC) certified. The previous versions only supported the ISO 5355 Alpine soles. This new version is compatible with all of them.

It features a U-Power Toe for precise steering and efficient power transfer. The low stack height makes you feel connected to your skis, which results in an enjoyable skiing experience. You have control over the moves you make while making fine adjustments from the feedback from your skis. Like the Salomon Warden MNC 13, the Atomic Warden MNC also comes in the automatic wing adjustment. The wings automatically adjust to the width and height of your boots. These bindings also feature an oversized platform that is 71mm super-wide for maximum lateral support.

What I like: Good reputation, safety, performance, and reliability, easy to pop into

What I don’t like: Limited adjustment range.

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8. Look SPX 12 GW

Look SPX 12 GW
DIN: 3.5-12
Sole compatibility: Alpine, GripWalk
Brake sizes: 90, 100, 120mm
Weight (pair): 4.8 lbs.

This Look SPX 12 GW is the fourth iteration of its kind. But what may come as disappointing to many people is that it doesn’t provide any upgrades over the old yet, costs the same. It’s like Look added the phrase “new generation” to their binding and pushed it onto the market. However, it’s still a good binding mostly aimed at beginners and lightweight skiers. Full Action Toe has a 45mm elastic travel and delivers best-in-class retention and release system. Increased coupling strength ensures maximum power transmission.

SPX 12 also features Look’s signature 180° multi-directional release system which functions independently of the heel. It provides better protection in case of a fall. The binding supports ISO 5355 Alpine and GripWalk soles. To support both sole types, Look has reinforced the toe housing, increased the toe ramp, and elongated the wings.

The heel piece of the SPX 12 also features a 27mm vertical travel to provide the best shock absorption. It also improves retention and reduces the risk of unwanted prerelease. An oversized heel pivot increases the coupling strength and provides efficient power transfer. However, there may be a little compromise on the value as it has a lower DIN compared to the competition like the Griffon mentioned above in the list and as mentioned above, no upgrades over the last iteration.

What I like: Good option for intermediate to advanced resort skiers.

What I don’t like: Power transfer is on the lower end.

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Best Budget Ski Bindings: Comparison Table

Tyrolia Attack3-11Alpine, GripWalk85, 95, 110mm7.4 lbs.
Marker Squire3-11Alpine, GripWalk90, 100, 110mm3.6 lbs.
Marker Griffon4-13Alpine, Touring, WTR, GripWalk90, 100, 110, 120mm4.5 lbs.
Look NX3.5-12Alpine, GripWalk90, 100mm4.4 lbs.
Salomon Z103-10Alpine100mm3.8 lbs.
Salomon Warden4-13Alpine, Touring, WTR, GripWalk90, 100, 115, 130mm5 lbs.
Atomic Warden4-13Alpine, Touring, WTR, GripWalk90, 100, 115, 130mm5 lbs.
Look SPX3.5-12Alpine, GripWalk90, 100, 120mm4.8 lbs.

Critical Ski Binding Considerations

How to Choose Ski Bindings?

Ski bindings are the link between your skis and boots which makes them an important piece of skiing. The right ski bindings prevent unwanted prerelease which may cause a crash. But the binding also allows for timely release to prevent injury to the ankles and legs. But selecting a pair of ski bindings can be tricky. They are a complicated piece of equipment and there are some parameters that you need to be aware of to select the right one for yourself. But being tricky doesn’t mean it’s hard.

The waist width of your skis determines the brake size. Your skiing ability, weight, height, and boot sole length determine your bindings release force (DIN). You can look at DIN charts to get a rough idea of what DIN range you fall in. Once you have figured out the brake size and the DIN range of your bindings, you can look for other features in your bindings. Here are a few things you should know about while deciding to buy your ski bindings:

Types of Bindings

The type of ski bindings that you should get depends on the type of skiing you are planning. Do you want to go fast while on a resort? Or do you want to go backcountry skiing? Such questions will determine the type of your ski bindings.

There are two types of ski bindings:

  1. Downhill
  2. Backcountry

Downhill Ski Bindings

Downhill ski bindings are a common type of ski bindings that you will see because they are used at resorts. They have two main purposes: they hold your boots so that you can control your skis, they release your boots in case you fall to prevent serious injury. Downhill ski bindings have a separate toe and heel piece. They have brakes that stop the skis after release and keep the skis in place while you clip in. Downhill skis are often sold with integrated bindings that work with those specific skis.

These ski bindings also feature an anti-friction device (AFD) in the toe piece that helps the boots slide out if it needs to release which usually happens in case of a fall. The DIN setting window on these bindings is present on the toe piece. The DIN setting is usually done by the shop technician when you buy your ski bindings. Although you can perform the DIN settings by yourself, it’s recommended that you let a certified technician do that. Or at least have your bindings checked by one after you set the DIN.

As you can guess by now, all the ski bindings in this list are downhill.

Backcountry Ski Bindings

Backcountry ski bindings have a more general function than simply going downhill. They can also go uphill. These ski bindings allow you to go beyond the resort and explore different other terrains which would be difficult to do in downhill ski bindings. You often come across uphills and descends during backcountry skiing. Backcountry ski bindings free up the heels when going uphill so you can sort of walk when going up the snow. But these ski bindings lock the heels when you have to go downhill.

Backcountry ski bindings also feature heel risers which prevent strain in the Achilles tendons when going uphill. For ski touring like in cross-country, your strength, weight, and how light your gear is, are the things to keep in mind.

Backcountry ski bindings have different types based on the type of backcountry skiing you want to indulge in. Types of ski bindings are as follows:

  • Frame bindings, as the name suggests, involve a frame. The frame connects the toe and the heel pieces so the whole binding becomes a single unit. However, the frame lifts with the ski boots giving you the ability to switch from skiing to touring. They may or may not have brakes. Frame bindings are good for skiers who are new to touring. They are also good for those who want versatile bindings which can work on a resort as well as the backcountry. Just keep in mind that they are heavy.
  • Tech bindings are also referred to as “Dynalift bindings” because Dynalift was the first brand to use them. Other brands also introduced their tech bindings later on giving the consumer more options and making the tech binding market more competitive. These bindings have pins in toes and heels that attach to specific boots. It’s similar to cycling where certain shoes featuring a certain cleat type attach to specific pedal types on the cycle. You would have to be careful about the compatibility of your shoes and bindings. Tech bindings hold the toes of your boots in place while they release the heel of your boots which helps you climb uphill. However, if you have never used tech bindings before, lining the pins can take some getting used to. These bindings are the lightest bindings among all. To save weight, they don’t come with brakes. But you can add the brakes if you want to. Tech bindings are for experienced backcountry skiers who want lightweight gear for ski touring.
  • Telemark bindings are a special type of bindings in which heels are always free for climbing up. They come in two categories: 75mm and NTN (New Telemark Norm). The 75mm have a toepiece with a spring-like cable going around the back of the boot. They don’t have any lateral release mechanism which increases the risk of an ankle injury. NTN has a spring-less binding system. It also has lateral release. It is now replacing the 75mm.

Brake Width

Ski brakes are the arms attached to the sides of the bindings. As the name suggests, they are brakes. But why do ski binding need brakes? Well, ski bindings need brakes to stop the skis after the skis have been released. Otherwise, the skis will stray far off in case you fall or release your skis going downhill in response to an imminent danger. Getting your run-away skis from a long distance every time you release them is annoying. It can also be dangerous to other skiers if you are on a resort. It also increases the chances of you losing your skis. Hence, the brakes on the ski bindings stop the skis after the skis are released.

Brakes also hold the skis in place for you to safely and conveniently click in. The ski waist width of your skis determines the width of your brakes. Brake width refers to the distance between the two brake arms. For example, if the ski waist width is 80mm, then brake width should be at least 80mm and no more than 95mm. Narrow brakes won’t clear the edges of the skis and won’t deploy properly. Brakes too wide would drag when ski edges are used during turns or steeper terrains.

What is DIN?

DIN is short for Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Institute for Standardization). It is the standard scale for release force setting in ski bindings. An identical set of standards is published by International Standards Organization (ISO) but DIN is still referenced mostly. DIN setting is done by the shopkeeper based on your weight, height, and ability level when the bindings are mounted on your skis. A lower DIN means a lower force required to release your boots from the bindings. It’s good for beginners. Experienced skiers go for higher DIN.

Boot Sole Compatibility

You have to make sure that your boot soles are compatible with your bindings. Boots have different categories. The most common categories are the ISO 5355 Alpine, ISO 9523 Touring, Walk-to-Ride (WTR), and GripWalk. New boots require bindings to be adjusted to new boot soles and tested by a certified technician. It may also require the bindings to be re-mounted on the skis.