In response to popular demand, here is our first ever ski binding comparison! In this article, our goal is to give you a sense of who all these bindings are intended for, what sets them apart, and hopefully give you more confidence when you’re choosing your bindings. Before we get into it, let’s talk about some self-assessment and general rules for choosing bindings. Do you consider yourself an aggressive skier? Do you know your Skier Type (1, 2, 3, 3+)? Do you know your DIN setting? These are questions you ideally should know the answer to, or at least understand what they mean. A type 3+ skier generally prefers their skis not to release, while a type 1 skier wants their skis to release in the event of a fall. This is going to have a big effect on your DIN setting, and ultimately what binding you should choose. As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to max out the DIN range of your bindings. For example, if you’re a type 3 skier and your DIN falls somewhere around 10, you don’t want to choose a binding with a DIN range to 11. Could it work? It could, but it’s not the safest choice and you’re kind of pushing the binding to its limits. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help determining what bindings would be right for you!
Marker 10.0 TP Bindings
At 1518 g, the Marker 10.0 is the lightest binding in this comparison. It also has the lowest DIN range at 3-10, and it’s the least expensive at just $129.00. That said, it’s still a good binding for a lot of skiers. Lighter weight women and men, younger skiers, and anyone who’s not putting a lot of strain and stress on their equipment. Think beginners, intermediates, and anyone who skis at a more casual pace and with moderate speeds. If you’re not pushing the limits of equipment, a lightweight binding has a lot of benefits.
Retail Price: $129.00
Tyrolia Attack 11
In a lot of ways, the Attack 11 is similar to the Marker 10.0, but it is a step up in overall performance. It’s still lightweight at just 1550 g, but you get a slightly higher DIN range that goes up to 11 a wider toe piece, and a binding that feels pretty solid for its price of $169.00. If you’re choosing wider skis more focused on all-mountain performance, there are benefits to the Attack 11 over the Marker 10.0 TP. A wider binding transfers energy more efficiently from your body to a wider ski. A great choice for more recreational all-mountain skiers, or lighter weight skiers like teenagers who are starting to ski more terrain and more aggressively.
Retail Price: $169.00
Marker Squire 11 ID
The Marker Squire has been around for a long time and is another binding that’s fairly similar to that 10.0 TP, but uses a little more technology, which ups the performance and overall feel. Marker’s Triple Pivot Light Toe Piece is like a miniature version of the Griffon and Jester toe piece, and is also used on some of their touring bindings. The Hollow Linkage heel piece is lightweight and efficient. It’s a sleek looking binding that’s great for a lighter weight skier, similar to the Marker 10.0 TP and the Attack 11. This new version of the Squire also accepts touring soles in addition to alpine and Grip Walk and comes in at just 1530 g, just a hair heavier than the 10.0 TP.
Retail Price: $189.99
Salomon Warden 11
The Warden 11 is another multi-norm compatible binding that you can use with alpine, Grip Walk, and touring soles. There aren’t a ton of bindings that will accept all 3 of those boot soles, so if you have a rockered touring sole boot, be careful what you’re choosing, but rest assured you have options. The Warden 11 is very similar to the Attack 11 and Squire 11, although the U Power toe piece does feel a little stronger overall. It’s reflected in the weight, however, as the Warden jumps up to 1860 g per pair. Some skiers love the connectivity and elastic travel in Salomon (and Atomic and Armada) toe pieces, and this is a perfect example.
Retail Price: $199.99
Tyrolia Attack 13
We’re really moving into the bread and butter of all-mountain bindings with these next 4. The Attack 13 and Marker Griffon in particular are found on more of our package ski and binding “Killer Deals” than any other binding. They’re a good value and they offer good performance for a wide range of skiers. The Attack 13 comes in at $199 with a weight of around 2070 g including brakes. It has that low stand height and wide platform that we’ve come to love on all-mountain skis. The result is a lower center of gravity, which a lot of skiers really like. The NX FR heel piece is stronger than what’s used on the Attack 11, making it a better choice for more aggressive skiers and will accommodate anybody from intermediates all the way up through more advanced and even expert skiers.
Retail Price: $199.00
Marker Griffon 13
The Griffon is a proven binding that’s very similar in a lot of ways to the Attack 13. Overall, its feel and performance is relatively similar to the Attack 13, but it does function a little different. Marker’s Triple Pivot toe piece is paired with a new Inter Pivot 3 heel piece. The Griffon feels solid, largely due to the single pivot heel that positions the spring vertically. It has a reassuringly strong feel when you’re stepping into your bindings to start the day. New for 2021, the redesigned heel piece is a little easier to click into at a higher DIN for lighter skiers, which was a common complaint about the Griffon, and we get compatibility with touring soles, which is pretty sweet. There’s a little more elastic travel in the Griffon heel piece compared to the Attack, but realistically not many skiers will notice a difference between them. Very comparable weight to the Attack 13 at 2040 g.
Retail Price: $229.00
Look SPX 12
The Look SPX 12 is another binding that’s a really good choice for a wide range of skiers. There are some technological benefits to Look’s toe piece, like it’s 180 degrees of release and multiple points of contact. The heel piece is relatively similar to what Marker uses, a single pivot system that positions the spring vertically, which works really well and provides a very solid, strong feel when you’re clicking in. Relatively new for Look, the binding is compatible with Grip Walk soles, but not touring soles, so keep that in mind if you’re skiing mostly in an AT boot. The heel piece doesn’t have quite as much elastic travel as a Pivot, but it’s pretty close, which is another big reason why skiers like Look. The SPX 12 comes in at around 2200 g for weight.
Retail Price: $229.95
Armada Warden MNC 13
All the benefits we explained in the Warden 11 are found in this 13 DIN range version as well, but the stronger overall binding is more appropriate for bigger and more aggressive skiers. This is another binding with a nice wider platform, which transfers power and energy to the ski very efficiently. Again, a lot of skiers like the feel of the Salomon/Atomic/Armada toe piece with the Automatic Adjusting Wings. It gives you a really solid connection to your skis, and there’s a little more elastic travel to the toe piece functionality, which is pretty cool. Multi Norm Compatible, so you can use them with your rockered touring sole boots too. The U-Power toe piece looks a little chunky, but it functions really well. 2260 g weight, similar to the SPX 12.
Retail Price: $269.99
Tyrolia Attack 14 AT
Just about everything that we said about the Attack 13 carries over to the 14, the difference being this is the only Attack binding that will accept a touring sole. If you like the sounds of the Attack (and a lot of people do), but need that touring boot compatibility, this is your binding. The effect of including touring boot compatibility is that the stand height is a little higher, so if you don’t need that compatibility, our recommendation would be to go with the 13 or 16, unless you’re specifically looking to be picked up off the ski a little more. The weight isn’t much different, just 1930 g per pair, and the piece goes up 50 bucks compared to the 13, which is still pretty darn reasonable at $249.
Retail Price: $249.00
Marker Race Xcomp 18
Most of the binding we’ve looked at so far, actually all of the binding we’ve looked at so far, are great options for all-mountain skis depending on your size, ability level, etc. This Race Xcomp 18 from Marker, however, is more at home on narrow, race-oriented skis rather than wider all-mountain skis. At 2600 g, it’s the heaviest binding in this category. It uses a lot of metal, which is necessary when you’re creating a lot of torque like you do in a race course. You can use it on a race plate on a dedicated race ski, but it’s also a good option for a dedicated carving ski that won’t ever see gates. Regardless of whether of not you’re racing, if you’re choosing this binding, you should be a high-level skier who is going to use it for frontside, carving application. Because of the metal construction, price jumps up to $309.
Retail Price: $309.99
Look Pivot 14 GW
The Pivot 14 from Look uses the same toe piece we saw in the SPX 12 above, but pairs it with the classic, iconic turntable heel piece. Pivots have a strong following, and there are a few reasons why. You get more engagement points than most other bindings, which creates a really good connection to your skis. You also get a lot of elastic travel in the heel piece, meaning it will actually keep you in your bindings longer than some competitor models. It also has the shortest drill pattern of any binding in this comparison. When you combine the short drill pattern and abundant elastic travel, you’re left with a binding that allows the ski to flex a little more naturally underfoot. With the Pivot 14, we’re moving into a range of all-mountain bindings that’s going to be best for advanced skiers on up. Pivots are also more expensive than bindings like the SPX 12, increasing a full $100 to $329.
Retail Price: $329.95
Tyrolia Attack 16 GW
The Attack 16 from Tyrolia has all the same attributes as the Attack 13 that we’ve already talked about, but the binding uses more metal in its housing, rather than plastic, which makes it stronger overall. The 5-16 DIN range still accommodates a wide range of skiers, but the weight increases compared to Attack 11 and 13 to 2240 g. This makes it a little more fatiguing as it’s going to increase the total weight of what’s on your feet. Some hard-charging skiers, however, need the increased strength of the metal housing, even if their DIN setting isn’t necessarily exceeding the options on the Attack 13. It’s also more expensive than the 13, coming in at $349. If you like that wide platform and the super low stand height, but need a stronger, more durable binding, the Attack 16 is great. For an intermediate, it’s probably overkill, and you’d be better off with a lighter option.
Retail Price: $349.00
The Jester is quite similar to the Attack 16, in the same way the Griffon is similar to the Attack 13. The big difference here compared to the Griffon is we get magnesium instead of plastic, most notably on the heel piece of the binding, or actually the little wings that connect the heel piece to the track that drills into your ski. Magnesium is heavier than plastic, so the weight goes up to 2140 g. I suppose we’ll point out that the stand height on the Jester is slightly higher than the Attack, by just a couple mm, but they still feel very similar overall. You do get more elasticity out of the heel piece compared to the Attack, and some skiers really like that. It’s a great all-mountain or freeride binding for a similar skier to the Attack 16. Aggressive, athletic, and someone who puts a lot of torque and stress on their equipment. Similar price to the Attack as well, coming in at $359.
Retail Price: $359.99
Knee Binding Carbon
Knee Bindings were designed to solve the common problem of ACL tears. There’s some really interesting information out there from the guys at Knee Binding that point out how their bindings reduce the risk for knee injuries and specifically ACL tears. There’s lateral release out of the heel and the toe piece has single pivot wings, which is extremely unique. If you’re concerned about knee injuries, or maybe just coming out of a knee reconstruction, the Knee Binding Carbon is an interesting choice. They come in at a similar weight to other 12 DIN bindings at around 2040 g, but the price does go up quite a bit compared to those bindings, all the way to $369. Knee Bindings also all have a higher stand height than most bindings, 26 mm. Some all-mountain/freeride skiers might not like that, although it does tend to work really well on carving skis.
Retail Price: $369.95
Look Pivot 15 GW
The Pivot 15 from Look was gone for a while, but due to popular demand, it’s back. These next two bindings are basically identical, just with different DIN ranges. The difference between the Pivot 15 and 18 compared to the 14 is the toe piece. Instead of the toe piece on the 14, these both use a full metal toe piece. Pivots in general are widely regarded as having some of the most consistent release values thanks to the 360 degree rotating heel piece and the 180 degrees of release in the Race Aluminum toe piece. Same short drill pattern, same low stand height, same feel as the 14, but with the bomb-proof toe piece. Realistically the only downsides to these bindings are the weight, the price, and some amount of user-friendliness. They’re on the heavy side at 2490 g, the expensive side at $399, and some skiers get annoyed by the fact you have to line up the heel piece when you’re clicking into your skis, but those feel like pretty minor concerns considering the excellent performance of the Pivots.
Retail Price: $399.95
Look Pivot 18 GW
Both the Pivot 15 and 18 are bindings that should be chosen by a high-level, relatively aggressive skier. If that doesn’t sound like you, we would recommend sticking with the Pivot 12 or 14 if you want to stay in this collection. The full metal toe piece isn’t something that makes sense for every skier. It’s heavier, it doesn’t have any vertical release, but with its strength and the elastic travel of the heel piece, you can rest assured you won’t come out of your bindings unless you absolutely need to. If you think about the Skier Type chart, (1, 2, 3, 3+), the Pivots are really best for type skiers and above. Part of that identification is that a type 3 skier typically prefers their skis to stay on during a fall, and that’s a good way to think about the Pivot 18. Both the 15 and 18 come in at $399.
Retail Price: $399.95
Marker F12 EPF Tour
The Marker F12 Tour one of few bindings that’s still carrying the torch for the frame touring binding market. This is essentially a Squire that’s mounted to a frame for touring capabilities. If you recall about the Squire, it’s not the burliest, strongest binding, but that kind of makes sense for a touring application as you often want to keep your equipment as light as possible. As we’ve talked about before, frame bindings are a good choice if you’re relatively new to alpine touring. You don’t need tech fitting toes (pin tech) on your boots. In fact, you really don’t even need to have a touring boot. It’s not idea, but a regular alpine boot can click into the F12 Tour and use the uphill capabilities, which is a good way to save some money if you’re just getting started.
Retail Price: $429.99
Marker Jester Pro
The Jester Pro is basically identical to the Jester, but the DIN range goes up to 8-18. Not all skiers will even fall into that DIN range, and even if you do, a skier who is somewhere in the 8-10 range probably doesn’t need to bump up to the Pro. That said, this is a good binding if you’re a really high level skier who is very demanding and hard on your equipment. We see a lot of professional skiers on the Jester Pro. I used to compete on it in slopestyle, although I went back and forth between it and Pivot 18s. For an application like that, they’re really good. Strong, trustworthy, confidence-inspiring. The last thing you want to think about in the start gate is whether your bindings are going to perform correctly, and these 18 DIN options are proven to perform.
Retail Price: $429.99
Salomon/Atomic/Armada Shift 10
The next 4 bindings are perfect examples of new technology creeping into the world of ski bindings. The Shift 13, which we’ll talk about next, was the first binding to integrate a pin-tech system with a classic alpine binding on the way down. The toe piece transforms from pin-tech on the way up, to a DIN-certified, releasable toe piece on the way down, that’s designed based off the Salomon STH (a binding we would’ve loved to have in this comparison). This new 10 DIN version was produced in response to ligher weight skiers who wanted this technology, but didn’t fall into the DIN range of the Shift 13. These bindings blur the lines between alpine touring and resort skiing, and are a perfect choice if you’re looking to do a little bit of both and want to do it all on one pair of skis. Lighter than frame bindings too at just 1370 g!
Retail Price: $549.95
Salomon/Atomic/Armada Shift 13
Same performance and same technology as the Shift 10, but in a 6-13 DIN range instead of a 4-10 range. The weight goes up a little bit too to 1700 g, and the price by $50 to $599. This makes it a better option for more aggressive skiers or those who need a higher DIN setting than the Shift 10 offers. Although this is only their 3rd year in existence, the Shift has already earned a strong following and has basically become the benchmark in performance for these hybrid resort/AT bindings. You can find a full review of the Shift 13 on Chairlift Chat where we talk in depth about all its technology and performance.
Retail Price: $599.99
Marker Duke PT 12
The Duke PT 12 is the lighter version of two new bindings from Marker. These binding were essentially developed in response to the Shift and mark another step away from frame bindings that we’ve been using for the past couple decades. The Duke PT 12 has a lighter weight heel piece than the 16. In fact, it saves 400 g off the total weight of the bindings. It’s very close to the heel piece used on the Squire. The toe is basically the same as the 16, with the same option to completely remove the alpine version of the toe leaving just the PIN tech. This is how Marker achieves a relatively lightweight feel on the ascent with a stronger, safer feel for the descent. In uphill mode, they’re just 1700 g, which is basically identical to the Shift 13 weight.
Retail Price: $599.99
Marker Duke PT 16
The Duke PT 16 is the stronger, heavier version of the 12. This binding uses the Jester heel piece, which brings the weight up to 2700 g in alpine mode (pretty heavy!) and 2100 g in touring mode. For some skiers, that’s going to feel too heavy. For others, however, the Duke PT 16 offers strength and confidence not yet found in any hybrid touring/resort binding, at least when excluding frame bindings. It is, without question, a stronger binding than the Shift 13. If you’re out there building 100 foot backcountry jumps or dropping 50 foot cliffs, it might be worth going with the Duke PT 16, but you really have to think about your level of aggressiveness, how much you’re asking out of your bindings, and whether or not it makes sense to increase a full 1000 g over the Shift 13. Regardless of your decision or which aligns better with how you ski, it’s really valuable to have these both on the market.