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The 7 Best Snowboard Bindings of 2020-2021

Heeeaaad, shoulders, knees, and toes! Heeeaaad, shoulders knees, and toes! Buncha great body parts right? As essential as they are, they’re only as good as the joints that connect them. If you’ve got a bum knee or ankle, there’s no way you’re going riding. The same goes for your snowboard bindings. Your bindings are the connective tissue that helps make this whole boarding thing work. They are the transfer point between rider input, and board output, between power and response. And we all know that if they are broken or malfunctioning you’re pretty much stuck wherever you are.

So let’s dive in to 2021’s best snowboard bindings! There are some old standbys from Union, Burton and Ride, one reimagined/resurrected brand in the Bent Metals, and some relative newcomers to the binding world - Arbor and Jones. Between them there is a full spread of options for every type and size of rider, and some key points of difference as well.

In an ideal world you never even notice your bindings. They should be light, strong, and hold your boots securely without being overly tight or too loose. You shouldn’t have to think hard to adjust them, and you should be able to do so with minimal effort and tools. We’ve pulled together a list of offerings that check all those boxes while providing novel, new, and trusted tech for 2021. If you’ve never put too much thought into choosing bindings, or if your old pair is barely hanging on, this list can help you upgrade for the upcoming season!

Union Force & Trilogy Women’s

Best 2020-2021 snowboard bindings

Ah the Union Force, what would snowboarding be without it? Over the past 16 years - that’s right, 16! - Union has refined the Force into what it is today. Now, we don’t want to Force the issue, hehe, but if you haven’t tried a pair by now, then you really need to jump on board. And for the ladies, the Union Trilogy is the women’s version of the Force, with all the same bells and whistles. They say you can’t improve on perfection, but Union is putting that maxim to the test. New for 2021 the Force and the Trilogy now come with upgraded straps. The Exoframe 2.0 ankle strap and Hexgrip toe strap are lighter and more durable than Force straps from years past. Speaking of years past - the Force is notoriously durable. In fact, we routinely see Forces from 5+ seasons ago still working like new! This alone makes them a great candidate for best snowboard bindings of 2021.

Between the Force and the Trilogy there is a pretty wide range of stylings and sizes to choose from. Black is classic, but that Sea Blue option is calling our name! This binding will honestly work for any level rider, but it does land on the stiffer side, so if that’s your style go for it, or pair it with a softer boot and board to split the difference. No matter what you do, it’s hard to go wrong.

Ability LevelFlexOriginal Price 
Intermediate - AdvancedStiff$259.95

Shop Force Men's >>>
Shop Trilogy Women's >>>

Burton Cartel X & Lexa X Women’s

Best 2020-2021 snowboard bindings

Another longstanding classic coming out of Vermont is the Burton Cartel X - and Lexa X! These are upon the standard Cartel and Lexa line, which haven’t gone away, drawing from the same esteemed history of performance bootholders from Burton. These aremedium-stiff bindings that can handle the most aggressive riding you can throw at them, but can also be playful paired with the right boots and board. The Lexa X falls on the stiffer side of the spectrum compared to similar offerings, making it one of the best women’s snowboard bindings for more advanced and aggressive riders.

A big problem with lesser bindings are hot spots or pinch points. They hold you in, but you sacrifice comfort. These binders feature all kinds of plush upgrades. They’ve got a Heel Hammock to hold your heel in place, Fullbed Cushioning, and B3 Gel underfoot for a damp ride. Truly the ultimate in binding comfort.

Another interesting feature of these bindings is you can really customize your preferred feel. The highbacks have a highly adjustable and precise forward lean system, and if you’re running a Burton board with the channel system you can place your stance anywhere. The Lexa X features an asymmetrical heel strap, which can be flipped between bindings for a looser or more critical ride. To top it off there are some pretty wild colorways this year! Pop those bright yellows on if you wanna show off, or stick with black to lay low!

Ability LevelStiffnessOriginal Price 

Shop Cartel X Men's >>>
Shop Lexa X Women's >>>

Union Atlas

Best 2020-2021 snowboard bindings

Break out your globe & a dart, giv ‘er a spin & a toss, and pack your bags for a globe-trotting snowboard adventure! If you’re looking for a binding that’s going to stick with you wherever you want to go, the 2021 Union Atlas can be your copilot. Union’s top of the line bindings are totally redesigned for 2021. If they are good enough for Kazu and Arthur Longo, they will most certainly stand up to anything you can throw at them.

All new this year is Union’s strongest baseplate ever - the Stage 7 Duraflex CB includes nylon for increased power and response. The same material is found in the highback for similar durability and performance gains. While the Atlas is definitely one of the stiffest offerings from Union, that doesn’t mean it’s not comfy as well. Vaporlite HD Bushings help with dampening your ride, and wide anti-slip straps mean you will feel super locked in.

The Atlas, like the Force profiled above, comes with canted footbeds. This means that the left and right footbeds are tilted slightly inward toward each other. This helps with fatigue as well as providing for a more direct power transfer between your legs and your board. The Atlas is a perfect binding for people who take their riding seriously, and who want a durable and reliable binding they can trust in any situation anywhere on the globe.

Ability LevelStiffnessOriginal Price 

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Arbor Hemlock

Best 2020-2021 snowboard bindings

Don’t be scared, Arbor is not out to poison you! In fact, the Arbor Hemlock bindings might actually be the antidote to your boarding woes. Coming in at a very wallet-friendly price, these bindings are do-everything, no-gimmicks, work-horses that will get you to every corner of the mountain in style. The Hemlocks are a slightly softer binding, but with strength at their limits when pushed. Take it together and their some of the best cheap snowboard bindings.

Built on top of the System X baseplate, the Hemlocks transfer rider energy evenly across the base of the bindings, via an X shaped chassis. This means quick response, less fatigue from working harder than you need to, and a natural feeling connection to your board. Arbor also uses a rubber dampening system underfoot to diffuse chatter and reduce the severity of impacts from landing those massive cliff drops and park jumps you’ll be charging this year! Don’t worry though, these tech features work on groomers, boxes, and in hippy pow as well.

Speaking of, if you’ve ever had one of those powder panic moments where everyone seems to be strapping in faster than you, the Hemlocks can help in that regard. They feature Arbor’s proprietary Bow-Strap Adjuster design. This means that your straps are pre-formed to stay out of the way when placing boots in bindings, while maintaining strength while strapped in. This means you can be first out of the gates when time is of the essence this coming winter!

Ability LevelFlexOriginal Price 

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Bent Metal Transfer

Best 2021 Snowboard Bindings

If you’re ever perusing Craigslist and come across a vintage Lib Tech board, there’s a good chance it’s got a pair of old Bent Metal bindings on it. For a while, these mythical beasts went the way of the Dodo, but they’ve been resurrected and seriously updated for the modern era. The Bent Metal Transfer Bindings are right in the sweet spot between soft and stiff, and priced reasonably as well!

The reviews are in for Bent Metals, and they are overwhelmingly positive. First on everyone’s list seems to be comfort. The straps are form-fitting, medium flexing, and light. They don’t slip, and don’t create pinch points. You won’t notice them, and that’s a good thing. There are a couple of things that really set Bent Metals apart from the other bindings on this list. First are their revolutionary Drive Plates. These are essentially miniature snowboards that go under each boot. They have insane energy transfer and make for a more natural feeling ride. Secondly is their “Cube” forward lean adjuster. No more squinting in the snow to see what setting you are on, with the cube, it’s easy to choose one of 4 options and to adjust on the fly.

If you've been sticking to the same brand year after year, maybe it’s time to give something different a shot. After all, if they are good enough for Jamie Lynn, the Bent Metal Transfers have got to be good enough for you!

Ability LevelFlexOriginal Price 

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Ride C-8

Best 2020-2021 snowboard bindings

C for composite, 8 for flex rating. Pretty straightforward, and honestly a little refreshing. No more wondering what you’re in for or theorizing what a name might mean. If you want a more aggressive and technologically advanced binding you up your C-number, want to save some cash and like more forgiving bindings, then dial it down. If you are more into all Aluminum bindings, you opt for their “A” series. Easy peasy.

The Ride C-8 binding makes our list because it is a truly streamlined and versatile binding. It combines the advantages of an aluminum heelcup - durability, and power - with the smooth and damp ride of a composite baseplate and chassis. Throw in the Slimeback Highback made using urethane and you’ve got a perfectly balanced binding under your feet.

Speaking of feet, these C-8s are designed to keep them happy. They have canted footbeds for a more comfortable and powerful ride. You can also reverse your ankle straps to fine tune your binders. Use the stiffer side for more aggressive riding or flip them for a more flexible feel. The footbeds also have integrated rubber pods throughout for impact dampening and smooth moves all over the hill.

Ride Snowboard Bindings

Ability LevelFlexOriginal Price 
Beginner-ExpertSoft-Stiff$1509.95 - $419.95

Shop the C-8 >>>
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Jones Mercury

Best 2021 snowboard bindings

If you are looking to heat things up this winter with new and exciting bindings, the Jones Mercury Bindings could be for you. Built using Now Bindings Skate Tech, the Mercury is a freestyle/freeride binding that has a whole slew exclusive tech that we’ll get to below. Now we know sometimes change is hard, and you wanna stick with what you know, but also know this - Jeremy Jones switched to using Now Skate Tech in 2009 after one day of riding, he was that convinced.

There is a ton going on with these, and we encourage you to go to the Jones and Now sites to really dive deep, but these are NOT like the other bindings on the list. Sure they’ve got light and ergonomic straps, toolless adjustment, and lots of plush dampening accessories. But what really makes them stand out is the Skate Tech. The bindings themselves are actually attached to the board by two central Kingpins. Power is transferred to your edges via the magic of leverage! You can even swap out softer Bushings if you want a more forgiving ride.

What all of this means is Now and Jones have come together to make a binding that is unparalleled in comfort and power transfer. But don’t take our word for it - grab a pair of Mercurys and see for yourself!

Ability LevelFlexOriginal Price 

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