At a half-pound less than the nearest competitor, the TLT Vertical is simply the lightest A.T. binding on the market. Period. And that kept our legs fresher on the ascent, which we really appreciated when we got to the good stuff—going down. The Vertical also sits low (more flush) on a ski, which makes you more stable with a big pack, and creates a smooth power transfer from boot to ski.
Two tiny locking mechanisms at the toe and heel click securely into holes on Dynafit-compatible boots, creating a remarkable side-to-side stability for the weight. “It’s like learning to trust gear in rock climbing,” says one tester. “Once you realize how bomber these are, you can throw all of your weight into them.” But they’re not perfect: It takes practice (clicking in is not always automatic, which can be scary on steeps and in whiteouts), and many found the three-level heel lifts (for climbing) difficult to adjust without bending down and using their hands. $480; 2 lbs. 4 oz. (with brakes); dynafit.com