We all want to ride with comfortable feet during our snowboarding session, though that doesn’t always happen. Unrealized by many, snowboard bindings have the power to make or break your session. One thing people struggle with is figuring out how tight your snowboard bindings should be.
Snowboard bindings should have a firm grip over your snowboard boots without causing pain or stopping you from flexing your ankle. Having your bindings too tight will cause pain and discomfort throughout your session.
Not only is it important that you don’t have your bindings too tight but having them too loose could cause equal amounts of problems in your snowboarding journey. Below we discuss the signs to look out for with each of them. Once you know them, you can avoid them.
How Tight Should Snowboard Bindings Be?
Snowboard bindings should be tight enough to grip snuggly around your snowboard boots. You should be able to move your feet, but not the boot, a small amount in the bindings but still feel that they are firmly gripped. You should be able to flex your ankle without causing any pain.
To figure out how tight your snowboard bindings should be, we first have to understand the role bindings play on the board itself. Snowboard bindings are the connecting point between your feet and the snowboard.
They’re designed in such a way to transfer the optimal amount of power from your movements to the board. As such, it’s important to have your snowboard bindings on the right setting so you can get the most out of your ride. For these reasons, your bindings should grip snuggly around your snowboard boots.
Admittedly, that means there isn’t a hard and fast rule when it comes to tightening them, so you’ll need to make your own best judgment. However, as a rule of thumb, you should be able to move your feet (not your boot) a small amount in your bindings, but they should still feel as though they are firmly gripped inside the bindings.
3 Problems With Loose Bindings
1. Less Power Transfer
If you don’t have your snowboard bindings done up tight enough, one of the first things you’ll notice will be how sloppy your turns have become. If you board fast and aggressively, those dynamic turns you need to perform just won’t happen. This happens because thepower from your legs isn’t able to reach the board. Even if you’re turning with huge determination, the power is being wasted.
What we want, is the perfect amount of tightness from the bindings so we have optimal control over the board without it cutting off circulation to the feet. If your bindings are too loose, you won’t have that control and you’ll have almost no amount of power transferred.
2. Danger To You And Others
It doesn’t just stop with low power transfer. Having your bindings too loose could be a significant danger to you. If one or both bindings are too loose, you’ll ride trying to compensate for the unbalanced feel.
That’s something you aren’t used to, and not a style of snowboarding where you’ll be able to quickly adapt to the terrain. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time before you fall over and injure yourself or someone else on the slope. It’s something completely avoidable, and one of the main reasons it’s important to make sure your bindings are done up correctly.
3. Hamper Your Learning
While riding with loose bindings might be something advanced snowboarders will be able to get away with, it could be detrimental to a beginner’s progression. Riding with badly strapped up feet on your board will no doubt compromise the integrity of a perfect snowboarding technique.
That’s why it’s extremely important to help anyone out in your group who is a beginner. If they aren’t in lessons (or have recently come out of them) double check the way they’ve done up their snowboard bindings to make sure they’re ok. That way, they’re happier on the mountain, and you’ll be happier when they progress quicker so you can both start shredding big mountain lines!
3 Reasons Why Your Snowboard Bindings Are Coming Loose
1. Baseplate Screws
Your snowboard is constantly being exposed to intense amounts of vibration and friction. Think about the number of times your put your foot in and out of the bindings in a single day. Then, think about how many times you throw the board on the ground, throw it in the gondola, hit into other boarders, etc.
That’s not to mention the huge amount of vibrational energy you inflict on it when you’re charging off piste, on ice, over huge jumps, and hucking off mountains. Plus, the heat and cold pressures the baseplate screws to expand and contract ever so slightly each time you bring your board up and down the mountain. The temperature change may only be minute, but the effect is compounding.
It’s no surprise then, that snowboard bindings can sometimes find themselves coming loose. It’s nothing to be worried about, and nothing a little Loctite on the screws can’t fix. However, do give your gear a check for any cracks around the baseplate, and visually inspect the screws from time to time.
If it’s something that happens often or you notice irreparable damage, take it into your local ski shop to get professionally inspected. DIY fixes may only be able to hold up so long, and sometimes it’s far better to be safe than sorry when you’re on the mountain.
2. Snow In The Baseplate
Getting snow in your baseplate is usually something that happens after you get off the ski lift, or if you were to unclip while on the mountain for one reason or another. At the time you might think nothing of it, but if snow is left to harden or even freeze, your bindings won’t work like they’re supposed to.
By clipping your boots into baseplates that have snow in, the few extra centimeters of snow mean the straps won’t be as tight as they should be. If the temperature heats up and softens the snow, or if it falls off naturally, you’re left with loose bindings that don’t support your feet.
As we’ve looked at above, loose bindings can be extremely dangerous at worse, and at best they’re going to completely mess up your technique. After each ride up the chair lift, make an effort to clean out your bindings with your glove. It doesn’t have to be completely thorough but getting out the majority of snow before you strap in and set off is the safest way to go.
3. Wear And Tear
The final reason your snowboard bindings might keep coming loose is due to wear and tear. Think about all the abuse your poor snowboard gets in a single day, now multiply that by the number of days you board each season and you’ll start to understand how likely it is for the kit to fail.
Other than the possibility of straps coming loose where they’re attached to the binding itself, the individual ladders on the strap can eventually become too flat to hold your boot in place. This won’t happen for a really long time if your bindings are new, but if you’re picking up a rental board or any second-hand gear, it’s worth checking they haven’t been worn down too much.
3 Ways To Know Your Snowboard Bindings Are Too Tight
The first way you’ll know if you’ve tightened your bindings too much is through dimpling. This refers to how tight you’ve tightened the baseplate on your board, not the binding straps around your foot. The result of overtightening your binding’s baseplate is a small bump on the underside of your board.
As you might have guessed, this small bump is the damage your screw has done to the base of your snowboard. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but how serious it depends on a few different things. The construction of your board has a big part to play, as does the action you take next.
Some people would suggest loosening the screws and riding to flatten it out, and others would suggest literally trying to hit the bump out. Unless you have a detailed knowledge of your own board and are happy with taking its life into your own hands, we can only recommend taking it to a specialist board shop and asking a professional. Though, loosening your screws after you’ve noticed it definitely isn’t a bad idea.
Prevent Overtightening Your Binding Baseplate
Sometimes dimpling can’t be helped, even if you haven’t tightened those screws that much, the construction of the board may have other plans. There are, however, a couple of measures you can take to ensure you don’t overtighten your snowboard binding’s baseplates in the future.
If you don’t ever want to deal with your baseplates coming loose, and therefore accidentally overtightening them, you could apply a small amount of Loctite blue to the screws before tightening them to your board. This should help prevent them from falling lose due to friction or vibration.
Another way you can prevent accidentally overtightening your baseplates is by making sure you have the right screws. All baseplate screws are M6 size, but the length varies depending on the thickness of the binding. It’s far too easy to swap out bindings and use the same screws even if they’re too big, so don’t make that costly mistake and always check!
2. Inability To Flex
We’ve already talked a bit about how important it is to keep your bindings tight enough so they can efficiently transfer power from your legs to the board, now we’re going to discuss the opposite. Your bindings need to be loose enough so your ankle is still able to flex.
To be able to make quick and dynamic turns, your entire body needs to work in sync. One important thing this include is allowing your ankles to flex when they need to. If your bindings are too tight, it’s not going to be possible.
If you’re a beginner, your experience will be akin to snowboarding like you’re the Tin Man from the wizard of Oz. If you’re more advanced, over-tightening your bindings might mean your snowboarding technique on the day cannot tackle technical terrain.
3. Pain In Your Feet
The biggest warning sign that you’ve got your binding straps far too tight is a pain in your feet. You’ll likely feel pressure points on your feet which will make your ride an extremely uncomfortable experience. Not only that, but by not addressing these pain points quickly, you run the risk of losing circulation to your feet.
Losing circulation to your feet in any situation is bad, but not allowing your body to pump blood around itself at a normal rate is a quick way to freezing cold extremities. If you’ve ever been skiing or snowboarding with cold feet, you’ll understand how unpleasant the experience really is.
If your toes are touching the ends of the boot during all parts of your flex motion, your boots are the problem. If your toes touch only when you’re standing straight, but all the other areas of your boot hurt, your bindings are the culprit.
It’s hard for beginners to gauge how tight snowboard bindings should be, but it’s important to get it right. Snowboard bindings should have a firm grip over your snowboard boots without causing pain or discomfort. If you notice either of those problems, fix them before they ruin your snowboarding!