You may have seen Knee Bindings popping up on the slopes and in magazines. Since they are (rightfully) gaining some steam we thought it was time to demystify what Knee Bindings are all about. After a fair amount of back and forth with a product developer for Knee Binding, I came to find there was a lot more to these bindings than just additional safety.
First and foremost, Knee Bindings are safer because they offer a release that other bindings do not. By providing what Knee Binding refers to as “PureLateral” release, these bindings allow for sideways release from the heel of the binding, a feat not matched in any other binding. In plain English, this means a Knee Binding can properly release a skier in backwards, twisting falls. These are the falls that claim the knees of many skiers and are the leading cause of ACL injuries in skiers.
While it shouldn’t be shocking that a company called Knee Binding built a binding to protect your knees, it is all the other design elements that really caught me by surprise. One of the best features of a Knee Binding is the hardest to spot. Both the toe and heel are only fixed to the ski in one location. By freeing the ski to flex under the boot and binding, a ski mounted with a Knee Binding can flex correctly from tip to tail. This allows a skier to engage the full edge of the ski and avoids creating a dead spot that can lessen the energy and grip of the ski.
So, they are safer and allow skis to work better, but that’s not all. Knee binding also addressed how the boot sits in the binding and transfers energy to the ski. Often the part of the binding you step on, known as the Anti-Friction Device or AFD, will be curved and/or more narrow than the width of the bottom of a ski boot. Knee Binding, however, designed their AFD’s to be the exact width of a ski boot sole (which is standardized) and are flat. This means the entire boot sole is in contact with the binding so there are no gaps between the boot and binding. The first thing this design does is provide a safer, more consistent release, but it is the second that really showed me they were thinking. By not allowing any room between the boot and binding, the amount of energy that is transferred from the boot to the ski is heightened. This means more of your energy makes it to the ski, making it easier to turn your skis.
While the main focus of the Knee Binding system is to save knees and prevent injury, it is the care and attention to detail that truly makes them stand out. Whether you are a hard charger looking for a high performance binding or a casual skier who values getting back to work on Monday Knee Bindings are definitely worth a hard look.