Wakeboard bindings, or wakeboard boots as they are often called, are the devices that attach your feet to the wakeboard. Although they may be the last thing on your mind as you choose the style of your board, many wakeboarders would argue that the bindings for your wakeboard are the most important piece of equipment in a wakeboarding setup. Read on to learn how your wakeboard bindings should fit, styles you have to choose from, and which ones are right for your board.
How Should Wakeboard Bindings Fit?
Before you choose your bindings, you should first consider how they should fit. The bindings attach your feet to your board, so there are a number of things you want to keep in mind for both safety and comfort when out on the water. First and foremost, you want to make sure your bindings fit comfortably. But what does that mean? Bindings offer a variety of options to ensure that you can choose the ones that are the best fit for your foot, but as a general rule you want to make sure that you choose wakeboard bindings that are snug enough to not fall off while you’re pulling tricks, but not so tight that it’s painful.
Always be sure to try your wakeboard bindings on before you purchase them to make sure that you’re choosing ones with a secure and comfortable fit. As a beginner, try to find wakeboard boots that have a little more flex (see more about this below) to give you more freedom to maneuver as you learn how to ride and get more comfortable with being on the water. Once you have found that comfortable fit, everything else will likely be more of a matter of preference to your own personal style than anything.
If you plan on sharing a board, keep in mind that wakeboard bindings can be switched out to suit each rider. This will help with support and stability even if the board isn’t the exact right size for a rider.
Styles of Bindings
One of the first things you may notice when choosing wakeboard bindings is the variety of styles that are available for you to choose from. There are three main styles we will briefly talk about here, and each one has its own benefits and purposes:
- Open-Toe: If you plan to only have a single wakeboard for your boat, or if growing children are the wakeboard riders, then you’ll want to consider open-toe boots. These bindings give your feet some extra room to breathe and let riders grow into the boots to use them for a longer period of time, if needed.
- Closed-Toe: If you need a precise fit for control and leverage, then closed-toe boots may be right for you. Because of their precise fit, closed-toe bindings tend to cost more than other styles that are available.
- System: Similar to snowboard bindings, system bindings for wakeboards are more customizable and allow for more precise adjustments to be made than either open-toe or close-toe bindings, and thus may be better suited for more experienced riders.
Beginner wakeboarders will find that choosing their style of bindings comes down mostly to preference, although when it comes to customization of fit some styles are better than others. System bindings are great for all levels of riders, but as a beginner you may not need such a high level of customization right away. Instead, it may be preferable to consider where you’ll be riding. Close-toe bindings are great for wakeboarding in warmer climates, while close-toe bindings are typically better for cooler weather climates.
Which Bindings are Right for your Wakeboard?
Aside from the styles available, wakeboard bindings also vary in terms of their flex, closure systems, fit, and the way that they attach to your wakeboard. You’ll want to pay attention to each of these as you shop for new wakeboard boots and decide which ones are right for you, especially as a beginner. Before we talk about the best wakeboard bindings for beginners, let’s briefly discuss some key terms you need to understand to be able to find the ones that are right for you:
- Flex: Flex is the term used to refer to how stiff or soft the wakeboard boots are. Stiff boots provide extra ankle support, while softer ones grant more freedom and movement when it comes to doing tricks. If you’re familiar with snowboarding, then this is pretty much the same! Beginners should consider wakeboard bindings with more flex, in other words ones that are softer, for more maneuverability on the water.
- Closure System: Your wakeboard bindings’ closure system is exactly what it sounds like - how you tie or fasten the bindings to your feet to keep them secure. When choosing your bindings, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of closure systems including lacing, laces with fasteners, Velcro straps, or hinges. Which one you decide on for your bindings is more of a personal preference than anything, though they are important to finding the perfect fit.
Beginner wakeboarders should choose wakeboard bindings that are slightly more flexible, or softer, than those that a more experienced rider would use. However, although they should be flexible, they should not be loose! Your bindings should be snug enough to stay on comfortably without feeling too tight. This is something you’ll be able to feel when you try on your bindings, so be sure to pay attention to what your feet are telling you before you buy. From there you can choose which closure system you prefer. Finally, most wakeboards will use the same universal thread for attaching the bindings to the board, though some companies may use different lengths. This is something you’ll want to ask about before you buy!
Buying Your Wakeboard Bindings
When it comes time to pick out your wakeboard bindings, it’s a good idea to talk to someone in person before you make a final decision and buy. In person you’ll be able to try on the bindings and ask any questions you have to ensure that you’re picking the right wakeboard boots for your experience level and needs. Be sure to mention that you’re a beginner rider so you can select from stable, supportive, and comfortable bindings that will have enough flex to help you learn without being restrictive.
Looking for more tips on wakeboarding gear? Check out our beginner's guide to choosing the right gear for wakeboarding.