There are a few things to consider when choosing your new bindings and sadly how they look is not top of the list sorry:
DIN setting– this is determined by your skiing ability, weight, height and boot sole length.
The type of skiing you will be undertaking- alpine, touring, telemark etc
The width of your skis- this will determine the brake width required.
And finally, yes, ‘How they look’, for many the most important factor.
DIN – is the industry recognised scale of release force for all bindings, the lower the DIN the lower the force required to release the ski bindings, and vice versa. When you purchase your skis a trained technician should then fit your bindings properly setting your DIN.
It is important to remember when choosing your bindings, try to keep with the mid range, so if your DIN is 7 a ski binding with a range of 4-10 would be ideal, but 7-12 would leave you too low on the range.
Skiing Type – sounds obvious but choosing a discipline specific binding is rather key, whilst a large proportion of skiers will stick to various types of Alpine ski bindings. You do not want to be hiking up the Haute route with your skins on only to realise you had an alpine binding fitted because it matched the colour of your skis. A touring binding allows the skier to lift the heel of their boot whilst hiking up, this can then be fixed in place for the downhill.
Ski Width – Quite simply the width of the waist of your ski will determine how wide your brakes must be, too narrow and when the bindings release the brakes will catch the edges and not deploy correctly. Too wide and they are likely to catch the snow when put on an extreme edge. Most ski manufacturers have bindings they recommend with a particular ski for maximum compatibility, but your local ski retailer/technician will always help selecting the best fit.
How They Look – if you ask my wife this is without doubt the most important factor when selecting any ski related purchase, some skiers would give little time to it. I would do what makes you happy, that is why we all ski after all. What I would say is most people will feel more confident if you look and feel the part, so don’t be afraid to pick those bindings that accent your helmet….. as long as they fit the purpose that is!
One last thing many skis will come with bindings included and this may make it easy for you to deal with this aspect of your gear. However, don’t be scared to change the bindings if your skiing needs this as it is such an essential part of the equipment package, it is sensible, finances permitting, not to scrimp here.
We hope this little guide gives you a smidgen of insight into the complicated arena of the ski bindings and hopefully it will help you ask the right questions when you go to buy or even hire skis.
DISCLAIMER: THIS GUIDE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED AS A “DO IT YOURSELF” GUIDE TO SKI BINDING MOUNTING, ADJUSTMENT AND/OR MAINTENANCE, NOR AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AND SERVICE. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR SKI BINDINGS MOUNTED, ADJUSTED, SERVICED AND INSPECTED BY A CERTIFIED SKI BINDING TECHNICIAN