Editors' choice for a featherweight ski binding from the 2018 Fall/Winter Gear Guide.
Addition by subtraction: That’s the thinking behind the 12-ounce ZED—the lightest full-featured alpine touring binding on the market.
The ZED builds on G3’s ION, a tester favorite for its fuss-free design and forward heel pressure. Like the ION, the ZED has a wide-jawed toepiece that’s not only easier to get into than other tech bindings, but also absorbs more energy before releasing—meaning you’re less likely to pop out prematurely on a sketchy slope. The heel piece is similar to the ION, but it’s where G3 tallied most of the binding’s weight savings: Designers cut out metal wherever they could without affecting the forward pressure. The result is a skeleton-like heel piece that still has a consistent release point regardless of how the ski flexes. (Nice touch: G3 added a single screw adjustment that tweaks vertical and lateral release points.)
Our entire team gave the ZED two thumbs up, from our novices (“It’s not finicky and I could actually clip in on my first try”) to our experts (“I felt comfortable laying into high- speed turns and sending it over small cliffs”). Another thing everyone can agree on? Going light.
Price: $499 (brakes aren’t included and cost $84 extra)
Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz. per pair (1 lb. 14 oz. with 100mm brakes)
See more of the Editors’ Choice Gear for Winter 2018
See the entire Winter Gear Guide