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In terms of safety, bindings are the most important piece of your equipment.
They need to hold the foot firmly to the ski and yet be sensitive enough to release should a fall put excessive strain on your leg.
They need to retain enough elasticity to pull your boot back to the centre of the ski in the event of a near-release.
There are many different types of binding on the market and which one you chose will depend on your skiing style and the type of terrain you ride (piste/off-piste/park etc.).
Heel-piece: This releases upwards, opening in a forward fall. Some models offer a diagonal or sideways heel release
Toe-piece: This allows sideways release in the event of a twisting fall. A Teflon anti-friction pad under the toe allows the boot to slide easily even when your weight is pushing down on it during a fall.
Brakes: When you step in, the brake lifts out of the snow. If your binding releases, the brake springs back down, preventing the ski from escaping down the mountain and causing injury to other skiers.