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I'm tired of having to ratchet down my binding straps so tightly that the blood stops, in order to get the quick, stiffly linked response that I want from my edges. By the end of the run my feet are killing me and I have to loosen the straps for the ride up. It is just too much of a pain in the foot...always having to deal with weird pressure points and vise-like clamping.


I've just upgraded to a boot that fits my foot shape and ankle better, and should cut way down on heel lift, maybe even eliminate it.


While shopping in Kanda last night I was drawn to the hard boots and risers and platform bindings... I suppose that kind of thing would solve my boot/binding issue, but I don't like hardboots for anything else, like walking or pipe or whatever.


So I had a look at the Flow bindings. I tried them on in the shop with my new boots, and they seemed to give a really tight, stiff boot-binding linkage, without causing any painful or circulation-cutting pressure points.


I was all set to buy them on the spot but they didn't have the ones I wanted in stock. After I got home I poked around on the Net and found varying opinions, ranging from quality problems in '99 to claims that the wire cable stretches and the linkage, though firm-feeling in the shop, gives a lot and flexes if you load it up during hard carving or edging.


Based on what I found on the Net (and it wasn't much) I came away with the impression that the Flow bindings are super convenient like a step-in, great for powder runs or freestyling, but not a great choice for hard freeriding or hard-charging on steeps because they aren't stiff or responsive enough.


I don't know whether this is true or not, but that is the impression I got.


Does anybody have these bindings, and can you let me know what you think of them?


Ben? Jinja?


A couple of threads I saw suggested that a good solution for someone who wants a really stiff boot/binding linkage is the K2 Aggressor boot + clicker. That boot is the stiffest soft boot on the market, and actually has front and back ridges so you can mount plate bindings and use it on an Alpine, freecarve or race board.


The boot part of that sounds like exactly what I need, but I am not too fond of Clicker bindings.


Wish I could find a 3-strap binding like Burton used to make.



badmigraine in Tokyo.

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good analysis Bad migraine -you sure have done your research

I spend the winter up here in Niseko and after trying flows 2 years ago (borrowed Ben's) I was not sold on them.

then just this season I bought a pair. The new ones are better,but still like everything they have their limitations.

My summary - I am going to keep riding them in niseko as its powder most of the time but when i travel elsewhere where it isnt powder I will go back to strap bindings.

on hardpack or steeps they just dont feel quite as strong or durable as strap bindings.

The convenience of them is unbeatable. and they feel great to ride in.

Niseko is a place where you do a lot of skating and strapping in and out.

Flows are a wonderful compromise between the conventional step ins and the old strap binding system. You will enjoy the ride.

If you do buy them, dont forget to loctite the ankle screws as they can come loose frequently, especially if you wear them tight. Also be careful of heel lift.

FYI I use them with Northwave boots and they fit sweetly. I am a size 41 NOrthwave and have size L Flows (29). Make sure you get the right size binding.

go with the flow

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I have not tried the Flow bindings, however, used have something similar made by Winterstick in Utah about 14 years ago. Worked great in powder but a little sketchy on hardpack.


Been riding hard boots and plate bindings for about 15 years (last 10 years solid). Picked up a set of K2 Sidewinder boots (1 step below Aggressor boots you mentioned) this fall. Tried them once in Gifu area and put them on the shelf until I can get them dialed in - the upper liner is really stiff and they kicked the crap out of my shins and calves. The K2 Clicker bindings were also a bit of a challenge when packed with snow. Said more than a few 4 letter words that day!


Raichle makes a sweet hard boot with great liners, however, they are expensive. Plate bindings are sweet - one click and you're in. The down side is flexibility - limits what and where you can ride. Steeper hardpack runs can be a big challenge.


I just bought a set of Burton Ruler soft boots and am amazed with the fit. The liners that came with the boots are really nice (I am convinced that the liners are key to boot fit). Tried them last weekend - it was the first time I rode soft boots and strap bindings in 10 years. Couldn't believe how comfortable they were.


As far as your new boots, have you tried custom footbeds (insoles - molded to your feet)? Makes a huge difference. Tried them a long time ago and have been hooked ever since. Used to get cramps in my arches until I tried them.


Sorry to ramble so much.


I would try your new boots first before dropping cash for new bindings. If the boots fit like you say, you will probably be a happy (happier) camper.


Good luck!

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Talking of insoles, some off the shelf insoles from any shoeshop can make a big difference. I have two insoles in my soft boots, one set made of woollen felt. Works very well. Worth a try before you spend lots of money on other solutions.


Burton boots feel the best of all the boots I've tried on. A really snug fit around the heel/ankle. I tried some Airwalk boots that have horrible ankle klamps built into the liner that poke into the veins in your ankles, hurt, and don't do anything. Smart bit of design that.

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Pete makes sense in his post.


The ankle screws will come undone, infact I became a victim to this twice (wasn't smart enough to learn the first time round ;-)). So be careful of that and check for tightness regularly.


Also, make sure you bring your boots to the shop when buying. Some boots, such as my girlfriends' Salomons don't seem to fit the best with Flow.


As Pete says, binding size is also important.


But I love Flow, I think they're plenty durable, and I have no problems with heel lift. You will need to spend time at the start tweaking the bindings, but once you're dialled in and tuned up, it's a smart choice.


Don't base an opinion off everything you read on the 'net. Of course everyone with a bad/horror story is going to bad-mouth the product on the web, and you won't read from all the happily satisfied consumers nearly as much.


My boarding is fast-charging carving and powder-hounding, so I can't speak of how Flow would hold up in the board park though....

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I totally love my Flow bindings. No heal lift at all and great comfort. They are also the best in powder or tree runs where you have to get in and out of bindings frequently and in difficult conditions.


I did have a problem with a bent binding on the very first set I bought 5 years ago - flow replaced it no problem.


The new ones are sensational although the toe ramps poke over the top of my Palmer power disks, doesn't seem to cause too much of a problem.


My carving has improved immeasurably with their boots tho. They are really stiff and small which is a bonus with my big feet.



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I tried my new boots last weekend at Kandatsu and there was zero heel lift... I also tried out my new Palmer Power Link binding risers.


I don't know the actual share of credit each of these two products deserves for the vast improvement, but they have solved my problem.


The outer part of the tongue of the K2 boot is hard plastic, like on a hard boot (even though the inner part, and the rest of the boot, is soft). This means when I ratchet down the two straps on my binding, there is no pressure point, the entire tongue is pushed evenly down onto the top of my foot. Comfy and tight!


There's no heel lift in that boot either. The liner has a proturbance to keep the heel/ankle down in the boot, that matches the shape of the back of my feet. The similar proturbance in Burton and Salomon boots just hits my bones and tendon attachment points in the most painful way. I literally had to rip the boots off in the shop, then stand there gasping in disbelief at how uncomfortable they were.


Well, the new boots and the Power Links make me feel like I am directly attached to my edges, like I am riding on a knife. Feels great!!


Highly recommended!


Next I need to try hard boots and plates, but I think that may have to wait until next year.


[This message has been edited by badmigraine (edited 23 January 2002).]

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