One of the consistent hassles of snowboarding is strapping back in at the start of every run. Burton has tackled that hangup with the groundbreaking Step-On Binding; we’re kind of obsessed with it and will be documenting our experiences soon. Meantime, a new German brand has launched a Step-On rival that works with any soft snowboard boot. The brand is called CLEW, and ISPO just named its PreRider Limited Edition Binding a Gold Winner.

From what we have seen so far, this thing looks promising. CLEW has basically taken a traditional binding and separated it into two parts: a toe-strapped base you mount to the board and an ankle-strapped highback that attaches to your boot. To get in, you slide your foot under that toe strap and push your heel down to lock in. To get out, you pull the red handle at the top of the highback to release the locking mechanism.

At a glance, we see two advantages over the Step-On, as well as two downsides.

The Good

  1. Not unlike Apple, Burton is so big and so confident in its equipment, it sets things up in a proprietary way that kinda pressures you to invest in the brand’s whole set-up. And while the quality is often quite high, it comes at a price: the cheapest Step-On boot and binding combo for men is still $550. Meanwhile, CLEW’s binding appears to cost less than $300 US.
  2. We also kinda dig the fact that the release mechanism is located at the top of the highback, meaning you don’t have to lean down nearly as much to release it as you do to pull the Step On’s lever, which is located on the base of the binding.

The Bad

  1. Years ago we had a “revolutionary” K2 binding that required sliding the front of your foot under the toe strap, and while it is faster, it’s also a kinda awkward movement that gets more awkward as you tire throughout the day.
  2. Another thing we don’t love is the fact that if you fully unstrap, you have to walk around a bit gingerly because half the binding is still attached to your boot. Granted, you can fully detach that part before heading to the bar at the end of the day, but now you have one more piece of gear to manage.

At the very least, the PreRider is pretty damn intriguing. Just don’t plan on trying it out this winter; CLEW is currently hyping an October 2020 delivery.

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Steve Mazzucchi

Steve Mazzucchi is Gear Patrol’s outdoors and fitness editor. Outside the office, you can find him mountain biking, snowboarding, motorcycling or sipping a dram of Laphroaig and daydreaming about such things.

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