Binder Recommendations

DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
I've looked for this topic in the forums and couldn't find anything satisfactory, so I decided to make a new discussion. I apologize ahead of time if I overlooked anything.

I recently started skiing again this year after a 16-17 year break. I was 13 the last time I skied, so I didn't really have any equipment. I liberated what equipment I needed from my parents ski shed. This included a 1999 kd7000 with the original binders in size small. I'm a size 9.5-10 shoe and the binders will fit, but my feet feel like they're on fire after around 4 passes. I also managed to take a few nasty falls this year which did a number on the extensor tendon in my ankle and (along with some other related injuries) cut the season short. I feel that the binder may have been a contributory factor, so I'm looking for something safer.

Currently I want to keep the kd7000 and just replace the binders. I made a deal with myself at the beginning of this past season that I wouldn't get a new ski until I met some personal goals. However, given injuries and the resultant downtime I wasn't able to meet those goals this year, so by my own rules I'm stuck with the ski. Still, I don't think there's any reason to stick with binders which could contribute to further injuries and cut next season short again. Injuries really set me back this year and I don't want it to happen again. What binders would the community recommend for safety, performance, and comfort? Also, if there are any binder recommendations and considerations I'd love to hear them.

Safety is most important to me, but I would like to maintain as much performance/stability as possible. I'm currently skiing at 36 mph and hope to make it past 15' off and into some shorter lines next year.
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Comments

  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,645 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    Wileys or the D3 Leverage
    Shut up and ski
    DefectiveDaveEd_Obermeier
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,079 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Strada's or Vapor's.... whatever they call them now. As long as you use them as recommended!
    DefectiveDave
  • ralral Posts: 1,945 Mega Baller
    Forget your rules and change the ski and the bindings, and you will meet your goals (assuming they are ski related).
    Rodrigo Andai
    MattPCamSteven_HainesDefectiveDave
  • CamCam Posts: 394 Crazy Baller
    Agree with @ral
    Steven_Haines
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,891 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    It'll likely be cheaper to just pick up a used ski with bindings than to buy a set of new bindings.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
    DefectiveDaveCam
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 833 Crazy Baller
    Radar Vector is very comfortable.
    Maybe sligethly easier to loose than bindings with liners??
    I have never tried Stradas but it seems like I loose my ski just a bit more frequent compared to Strada ski budies.

    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
    DefectiveDave
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    @ral, @cam, and @oldjeep,

    I wish I could blame the ski. The primary reason I didn't make my goals this year was downtime. I spent around 2 months on the dock due to a few injuries including whiplash, a torn quad (basketball), and the ankle extensor tendon. I just need lots more practice. :-)

    I have considered that binders can cost just as much as a "new to me" ski. If I found the right deal I certainly wouldn't turn it down. However, if I end up getting a used ski I want to make sure it has a safe binder system first and foremost. While I know a new ski will have better performance characteristics, I think I'm currently still a bit weak in the fundamentals and won't be able to take full advantage of it. If I stick with my current ski it gives me something to look forward to later.

    @gms_peter, @MS, @Steven Haines,

    What are the pros and cons of the hardshell binders like the stradas/vapors compared to the more traditional binders like the Wylies/D3? I'm not entirely sure how the release mechanism is supposed to work on the hardshells. Is it like snow skiing or do you just slip out? Are the hardshells comfy?
  • ralral Posts: 1,945 Mega Baller
    @DefectiveDave,

    I would always say that it is the arrow, not the... But if the arrow is more than 15 years old, it has a significant impact. At your level, you will get several extra buoys if you switch to a modern ski.
    Trust us on this one

    Get a used ski with bindings as @oldjeep suggests.

    No binding out there is safe.
    Rodrigo Andai
    MattPDefectiveDaveEd_ObermeierSkoot1123
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    @ral,

    I will strongly consider getting a newer used ski. There seem to be plenty of options on ski-it-again and it won't cost much more than just getting the binders.

    I also realize that no binding is totally safe, and slalom in general isn't the safest of sports. I just want to minimize the probability of injury due to binder problems. I spent enough time hurt this year that it's made me a bit injury adverse, so I'll do everything I can to passively reduce the risk while continuing to ski. Going to a medium binder is probably the most important factor in my case, but I would also like to make an informed decision on the type of binder as well. :-)
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,079 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @DefectiveDave, yes, I think that the hard-shells are the most comfortable boots out there!

    The Strada boots are a slip type of release where the liner comes out of the shell. The release mechanism is bungy that wraps the outer shell around the liner. If that bungy is too tight then you risk injury and aren't using the binding as recommended by the manufacturer.

    Like everything...not everyone likes hard-shells. If I were you, I'd see if I could try some to see if they are worth buying and sticking with. I think changing bindings is harder than changing skis!
    DefectiveDave
  • buskibuski Posts: 114 Baller
    No binding is 100% safe, but if you can get past the cost I don't know what gives you a better chance of being safe than white reflex & rtp or r-style as far as commercially available options go, unless you really want double shells. I don't trust bungee any more.
    DefectiveDaveKcSwerverskifan
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    @defectivedave My skiing partner was on the same kd ski. He got on a Strada and pb his second set, and has been skiing much better with less crashes. Ditch that ski and get you something newer. There great deals on Ski-it-again. Oh and I love my D3 T-factor binding. They give good support with having to tighten the cords a lot and they still have the rubber binding feel.
    DefectiveDave
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    @buski,
    Haha, I don't know if I can get past that cost. I'm going for safety on a budget! I've actually seen a couple of other boots like HO EXO which seem to have the snow skiing type quick release, but I haven't heard of anyone riding them. I'm curious, but I assumed there might be some drawback which was keeping people off of them. Seems like an overall good idea to me. Also, why no longer trust the bungee?

    @gregy
    There's a reasonably priced Strada on ski-it-again. It's pretty much exactly what I would be looking for right now, but it looks well used. Given it's the off season I have plenty of time to wait for a deal to come along. I actually did ride the T-factors earlier this year when riding a friend's D3 fusion. They felt pretty good, but I couldn't quite figure out what to do with the damn strap, that thing drove me crazy! Though I'd get used to something like that I'm sure.

  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    @defectivedave some people cut the straps shorter. I loop mine back into to the lacing above the foot. I've heard that the Fusion has some similarities to the Strada, I've been on a Mapple 6.0 its really forgiving of mistakes. There was one on ski-it-again for $500.

    I skied a D3X7 which I liked but was wearing me out. 2013 Obien Endo got some good reviews, 67" only one with new design that year, Overton's and others are selling them cheap because the name is changing and they are updated the other sizes. Seen a lot of HO A3s on ski-it-again as well, by buddy @toddl has been skiing well on one and chose it after test some other skies. Really most modern designs are going to be an improvement.
    DefectiveDaveToddL
  • buskibuski Posts: 114 Baller
    edited December 2013
    @DefectiveDave lots of people run various bungee-release bindings. In fact it's probably the most popular. It works for a lot of people. I had one broken ankle on a mid level bungee binding before I was in the course. In retrospect that one was probably my fault for having it too tight but at the time I didn't know any better. I briefly went back to rubber bindings after that but made they my feet hurt after just a few minutes. Switched to stradas which also work for a lot of people and I always made sure to run them super loose. Still I had trouble coming all the way out of them and had a lot of partial releases, a few of which tweaked my ankle up for a few days but fortunately no real injuries. There are other stories of people having the same issue here as well. Then it was like every time I put on my bindings I had to think/worry about how tight I'm making them, wonder if I'm going to come out or not if I take a fall, etc. I didn't want to play that game any more so I moved on.

    If you were even considering a new ski, changing that up to a year or two old ski on ski-it-again makes up the difference in cost.

    On a budget I'd go with rubbers (wiley, leverage, etc) especially if you are able to wear them reasonably comfortably.

    You don't see too many pro's on Exos or Stealths but there are people that use them, you can search for some opinions. I didn't really want full double boots so I didn't look at those, but I'd consider those and potentially talk to @gator1 about his mod. Those may or may not require adapter plates depending on the ski though.

    This all of course is just my opinion.
    DefectiveDave
  • estromestrom Posts: 512 Baller
    Get a ski that's a couple years old on ski-it-again, put some size medium wileys on it and go skiing. That set up will last you a long time and be a definite improvement over what you have.
    Skoot1123MattPDefectiveDave
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,645 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    If you want to move to hard shells, do it now.
    Shut up and ski
    Steven_Haines
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,345 Crazy Baller
    One more opinion for whatever it may be worth to you. At the level it sounds like you're currently operating at, adding in bindings you have to constantly screw with or think much about (hard shells) aren't going to be a positive. Like @estrom stated above, stay with some simple-to-use bindings for now (i.e. Wiley's or D3 Leverage) and keep is simple. Why add more variables to the equation until you're fully ready to take them on?
    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
    www.ez-slalom.com
    DefectiveDave
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    It seems like the Wylie's, D3 Leverage, and Stradas get the most recommendations and mostly everyone also recommends I get a new ski, haha.

    As for the binders, to summarize it seems as though there could be potential safety issues with the Stradas and other bungied hard-shell boots due to the potential for user error or other factors (@Steven Haines and @buski). However, the Stradas/Vectors in particular are recommended due to their comfort. Alternatively, the Wylie's and D3's have been recommended due to their simplicity and ease of use (@Ed Obermeier, @MS, @Estrom, and . Based on what I'm hearing so far I think the rubber binders are generally perceived as safer (and cheaper) while the hard-shells may be more comfortable and perform slightly better. I'm definitely leaning towards the Wylies and D3s in a medium binder size.

    My plan now is to start hunting down some newer skis with binders on ski-it-again and to see if I can get a deal. Thank you everyone for your help!
  • ChurchyChurchy Posts: 14 Baller
    @DefectiveDave I changed from a rubber front binding to a Reflex front due to suffering several strained ankles. After 3 seasons on it I have not had a single sprain that has kept me off the water (touch wood). Second hand set ups come up occasionally on ski it again or you could try a wanted ad to see what people have lying about. Even at ~400 new it doesn't take many days off work to justify the extra coin
    DefectiveDave
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    @Churchy, thanks for the recommendation. The reflex's and similar boots do indeed seem to be quite safe. Unfortunately I was a bit turned off by the initial cost. Also, people manage to talk me into getting a new-to-me boot/ski combo and it's incredibly difficult to find those with the reflexs in my size. :-)

    It's actually been quite difficult to find the right combination of sizes period on ski-it-again. Right now there's a good deal on a used Strada (binders and all), but the boots are a bit big (size 11 and I'm a size 9.5 shoe). I guess I just have to be patient. I think that despite what I said earlier, I managed to talk myself into a Strada, and right now I have a wanted add on ski-it-again. I value the opinion and input from those who recommended the traditional Wylie type binders, but I've had difficulty convincing myself given the trouble I've had with similar KD binders this year. Based on the input in this thread I'm fairly confident that the Strada will be safe so long as I don't overtighten the top bungie; I'll just have to get used to the extra vertical looseness (which others indicate is manageable).
  • ntxntx Posts: 847 Crazy Baller
    @DefectiveDave You may have a hard time finding the ski and binding combo you want at ski-it again. I would suggest buy them seperate. I would be VERY carefull with any bungie type binding. Unless you are into 32 off at max speed, I would stay with a more tradtional binding like the Wylie's. I have seen too many skiers that are on equipment that is not suitable for the level or style of skier. Keep in mind, that there are huge levels of skiers here, and what works for a guy at -35 off who never gets his shoulders in front of his hips, may not be the best set-up for a -15 off guy wko goes out the front at least once in every set. If that's the case, the bindings are not the problem. Guess what? It is most likely also not the ski. Be realistic in your skill level and buy based on that. I for sure am not putting my just turned 16 year old driver into a new corvette. Her skills do not match the car. Same goes with skiing. Good luck and have fun.
    DefectiveDaveEd_Obermeiergsm_peter
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    @ntx,

    Thank you for the advice. I think I've reached the same conclusion regarding the binder/ski combo and I'm just looking for separate deals. Also, I fully acknowledge that my skiing is definitely an issue. :-)

    Practice and work on fundamentals will have far more of an effect on my skiing than a binder and new ski will. I'm not looking for equipment to improve my skiing, but rather to make it "safer" so I can better avoid injury when I do inevitably take a nasty spill. Part of the equation is equipment and the other is smart practice/improvement. This past year I kind of had the philosophy that I should never re-run a pass that I had been able to make twice in a row. The theory being that I would be forced to improve. The reality was that I ended up skiing at speeds I wasn't quite prepared for, taking lots of hard falls, and developing bad habits.

    Next year I intent to spend more (or maybe all) time at speeds/lines which I can handle while I improve basic techniques. This was the approach I took at the end of this past season and it was much more fun and productive. In fact I made 50% of all of my improvement in the last few weeks of the season. I also hope to have equipment in place where I feel confident that I'm not as likely to incur the same types of injuries I did this year.

    The Strada's seem like they could perform this function by allowing the foot to more easily slip out the front so long as the bungies aren't too tight. I'm having trouble trusting the Wylie type boots at the moment because that was the type of boot I had last season which seemed to strain my ankle every time I popped out during a fall (intended removal after skiing was nice and easy). I also find the supposed comfort of the Stradas appealing considering my feet turned to pins and needles after 10 minutes in the water last season. Are the Strada's more of a niche high performance boot and not suitable to someone of my skill level? What would be a potential drawbacks of the Strada for someone like me? I don't want to get one and then find out that I break my ankles when I make a turn because I can't handle the lateral stiffness.
  • BRYBRY Posts: 593 Crazy Baller
    "that was the type of boot I had last season which seemed to strain my ankle every time I popped out during a fall"
    "my feet turned to pins and needles after 10 minutes in the water"
    "original binders in size small. I'm a size 9.5-10 shoe"

    @DefectiveDave From the comments above I really think those were way too small and therefore will not (did not) work properly. I saw it a lot when I used to teach snow skiing, people would use old or "got a deal" stuff that was the wrong size and/or wrong type. Invariably they would say they "weren't good enough" to need the proper equipment. Saw lots of injuries as in particular mis-sized equipment doesn't work as designed, release forces too light or too high. Any one who says "they arent good enough" are really the ones who need correct fitting equipment as they don't have the skills to protect themselves from the improper fit.

    I would chime in with everyone that proper sized Wiley's are your best bet. That so many varied posters are saying that should get you to consider. Unfortunately your experience with that type is very skewed due to improper sizing. A more current ski will also help you out more. They are easier to ski, not just add bouys. The proper one for you will help you out of errors so you will pile in less. Personally IMHO the Reflex/RTP/Remi Rear is the best setup right now but there's a lot to be said for Wiley's simplicity and easy release. Think Jeff Rodgers did his record in them back in the day?

    BTW, I have the exact size foot as you, 9.5-10. Now idea how you got in a small. I'm usually tight in medium and slightly loose in large. I do have a pair of SuperFeet Animals Medium Left Front, old but in great shape, for say a couple bottles of Kilo Kai (~$40 plus shipping for the pair) if your interested. They are a bit stiffer than Wileys but I never cinched them down,


    DefectiveDave
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,345 Crazy Baller
    "that was the type of boot I had last season which seemed to strain my ankle every time I popped out during a fall"
    "my feet turned to pins and needles after 10 minutes in the water"
    "original binders in size small. I'm a size 9.5-10 shoe"

    @DefectiveDave From the comments above I really think those were way too small and therefore will not (did not) work properly. I saw it a lot when I used to teach snow skiing, people would use old or "got a deal" stuff that was the wrong size and/or wrong type. Invariably they would say they "weren't good enough" to need the proper equipment. Saw lots of injuries as in particular mis-sized equipment doesn't work as designed, release forces too light or too high. Any one who says "they arent good enough" are really the ones who need correct fitting equipment as they don't have the skills to protect themselves from the improper fit.

    I would chime in with everyone that proper sized Wiley's are your best bet. That so many varied posters are saying that should get you to consider. Unfortunately your experience with that type is very skewed due to improper sizing. A more current ski will also help you out more. They are easier to ski, not just add bouys. The proper one for you will help you out of errors so you will pile in less.
    Absolutely solid advice from @BRY. IMO you'd do well to heed it.

    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
    www.ez-slalom.com
    DefectiveDave
  • ZmanZman Posts: 1,928 Mega Baller
    Will ditto @Ed O and @BBY And, you should strongly consider the Superfeet Animals. I loved those until the Animals changed materials - then had to change brand. If you don't take them, maybe I need to talk with @BBY
    DefectiveDave
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    @BRY

    The only way I was able to fit in them was by soaping the crap out of them. People kept telling me my feet should fall asleep after several passes so I assumed it was fine. I did loosen up the cross-straps and that seemed to help fit it a little easier.

    However, you're absolutely right that sticking with the Wylie type binders is the most consistent advice I've been receiving. It is entirely likely that my problems have come from the binder being small. The most cohesive and persistent argument so far has been to go with the Wylie's, so I'm going to trust the experience of you guys rather than what is likely my own biased (and rather limited) experience. I'll get some proper fitting Wylie type binders to replace my current set. I'm also tempted to take up your offer for the Animals, but would it matter that I'm Right-Foot-Forward?

    Thank you BRY, @ntx, @Ed Obermeier, and @Zman for helping to finally convince me.
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,345 Crazy Baller
    Wiley's, Animals, D3 Leverage, all are good and similar type high end rubber binders. Don't think you could go wrong with any of them. FWIW I went through a couple pair of the KD binders back in the day and liked them just fine. Get the right size and you're good to go. You may need some lube to get into any of them but your foot shouldn't be cramping up, if so they're just plain too small. Best of luck!
    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
    www.ez-slalom.com
  • BRYBRY Posts: 593 Crazy Baller
    @DefectiveDave You could probably use the Animals opposite foot but they are kinda designed L/R. There is a arch support that can be dialed up/down. Think at this point pop for some proper fit Wileys. Darren and the crew at Wiley's are great at helping out with fit if needed. They've seen/heard everything over the years, at least twice.

    @Zman Shoot me a PM if interested. I got off them when I went to a Goode (no inserts). That got me on the hard shell carousel $$$. Just sitting on my shelf, keep thinking may use them but really probably never will. They could use a good home with someone who appreciates them.
  • epyscsepyscs Posts: 76 Baller
    Most recent bindings will work for you, but I would echo the concerns of others. Bungee type bindings are inherently more unsafe due to the ability to over-tighten the binding and getting a non-release.

    I would certainly recommend you consider Reflex. The shell certainly protects the foot and despite the price they last well and are comfy.
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