What Are Flow-In Snowboard Bindings?

Snowboard bindings come in several different varieties, giving riders some options. The bindings are the components that attach to the board itself and lock in a rider's feet. Depending on if you are a racer, a freestyle or halfpipe rider or an all-purpose snowboarder, different bindings might be appealing. Flow-in snowboard bindings are a relatively new type available. Basically a hybrid of two other types of bindings, the flow-in variety blends control and ease to give a rider the best aspects of other bindings.

Strap Bindings

Strap snowboard bindings are the most popular type found on boards. Combining a high back plate, a base plate and 2 or more crossover straps, this type of binding is easily adjustable, very secure and provides maximum comfort when riding. Light and strong, strap bindings come with back plates of differing height to accommodate different types of rider. The biggest disadvantage with this type of binding is inconvenience. Riders have to loosen the straps by hand on one binding to release their boot, allowing them to walk up to the lift chair or elsewhere.

Step-In Bindings

To fix the inconvenience issue associated with strap bindings, step-in bindings came on the scene. Like on skis, step-in snowboard bindings require a rider to step down and click into the binding. This saves time otherwise spent tightening or loosening up straps when getting on or off a board. On the downside, the boots worn by riders with step-in bindings have to match the binding type. They are stiffer, not as soft and less flexible. Tricks are harder to do with this type of binding, but skiers who crossover to snowboarding may find that this type of binding provides an easier transition.

Flow-In Bindings

Flow-in bindings are somewhat new. Their design attempts to combine the best of both strap and step-in bindings to create a binding that provides the ease of stepping in along with the comfort, security and flexibility of the strap variety. Flow-in bindings look more like strap bindings. They consist of a base plate on which the foot is placed and a high back plate to support the ankle and lower calf, but instead of straps going over the top of the boot, flow-in bindings have a single tongue. The tongue covers most of the top of the boot. This locks the feet in, allowing a rider to do more complicated tricks.

Operation

To use flow-in snowboard bindings, first the high back plate is pushed back. A rider then inserts the boot into and underneath the tongue, at which point the back plate is locked in. The result is that the boot steps in, requiring no fastening of straps. Thanks to the tongue, feet are kept comfortably in place. Additionally, soft snowboard boots may be worn as with strap bindings, adding to the comfort of the ride. While getting in and out of flow-in bindings is easier, one potential drawback is making adjustments. Strap bindings are easier to adjust than the flow-in type. However, once the adjustments are made to accommodate boots of a given size, getting on and off the board is a breeze.