Are Ski Bindings Really Universal?

by Simon Naylor | Updated On: December 27th, 2021

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If you’re shopping for new ski gear, your skis must be of high quality, and your boots need to fit well and be comfortable. However, your bindings have equal importance. Depending on the type of boot you plan on using, or your skill level, you may need to reconsider your bindings.

Typically, most bindings are universal as long as the type of skiing you plan on doing matches both the boots and the bindings. For example, if you have boots designed for alpine downhill skiing, most bindings designed for alpine downhill skiing will be compatible. However, backcountry bindings require a specific style of boots different from alpine boots.

Styles of Bindings Available

The type of binding you will need will primarily depend on the kind of skiing you want to do. For most people, this means downhill skiing or backcountry skiing. The styles of boots, skis, and bindings significantly differ between the two main types of skiing. However, there are further categories to take into consideration when you choose what kind of skiing you will be doing.

ski bindings

1. Alpine Ski Bindings

If you are a downhill skier, you will want bindings built specifically for alpine skiing. Alpine boots are specifically designed to work with these bindings. Therefore, alpine ski bindings are universal to all alpine ski boots.

Integrated bindings are becoming more and more popular amongst alpine skiers. They are already part of the ski, so you don’t have to buy separate bindings. Integrated bindings tend to offer more flexibility to the ski, but they eliminate the option of choosing which bindings you want to be mounted on your skis.

Downhill ski bindings come with a separate head and toe piece. Brakes come down when your boot is out of the binding to prevent your ski from taking off without you down the hill and also to hold the ski steady while you insert your boot. The toe piece comes with a DIN setting window, allowing you to adjust the strength of the binding to your skill level and size.

ski bindings

2. Bindings for Backcountry Skiing

If you’re the type of adventurist that likes to skip the resort and chairlift, you are probably looking for equipment for backcountry skiing. Backcountry ski bindings are designed so that your heels are free and you and ski your way up the mountain. Once you’re on top, you can lock your heels back in so you can ski down.

You must make sure your boots are compatible with the kind of bindings that you choose to use for backcountry skiing. The difference between each style varies greatly. Alpine ski boots will not work with this style of binding.

backcountry bindings

Commons styles of backcountry ski bindings include:

Can Bindings Be Adjusted?

As long as you buy ski boots that are compatible with your bindings, it is straightforward and simple to adjust your bindings to your boot size and weight. Ideally, you would have a professional at a ski rental shop, but if you want to know your DIN value – use our handy Calculator.

If your bindings need mounting or re-mounting – this may involve repositioning the bindings and drilling holes.

What to Take Into Consideration Before Buying Bindings

Before buying bindings, you want to make sure your boots will fit with the style of skiing you plan on doing. You will also want to take into consideration your skill level. For example, bindings that hold your heal it would be ideal for beginners wanting to learn to downhill ski.

While not all ski bindings are universal for different types of skiing, most of them can be used with different brands and sizes of ski boots. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about not being able to find the right boots for your bindings. There will be plenty of options in sizes and comfort that will fit with your bindings, ensuring that you will have a great day on the slopes.   

Know Your Din Setting

Ski bindings should be fitted by a professional, but if you prefer to adjust them yourselves or want to know the approximate DIN setting you should be using – you can use the latest guidance from Salomon tech manual which we’ve compiled into an easy-to-use – Ski DIN Settings Calculator.

Simon Naylor, the founder of New To Ski, started skiing in 2005. He has continued to practice his skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other new skiers. He launched New To Ski in 2018 to help first-time skiers have more fun on the slopes and get out and explore the mountains safely.