clew snowboard binding review

Clew Step-In Snowboard Bindings Review [2024]

by Samuel

Snowboard bindings; they are the second most important feature of snowboarding… right after the snowboard itself.

In recent years, step-in bindings have begun popping up in every ski resort across the globe. But are they the real deal?

My name is Samuel and I traveled all the way to Europe to test a pair of Clew Freedom 1.0 snowboard bindings.

I will be covering the binding’s technology, performance, how they compare with other, similar products, and the impact they are having on the snowboarding industry.

Let’s “step right in” (see what I did there). 

My Background

As a snowboarding expert with Outdoor Master, I know a thing or two about snowboards and bindings. As a former snowboard instructor at Steamboat Springs, I can tell you firsthand that a reliable pair of bindings makes a world of difference when it comes to carving, jumping, buttering, and more!

With brands such as Burton, K2, and Nidecker joining the effort to manufacture high-performance step-in bindings, Clew has emerged as one of the most innovative and efficient pairs on the market.

But before we get into how they felt on the slopes, let’s discuss how they work.

Clew Bindings Step-In Technology; How Do They Work?

The Clew Freedom 1.0 features traditional snowboard binding technology. That’s right, these bindings can perform just like traditional bindings!

With tech that is compatible with virtually any snowboard and all snowboard boots, the Freedom 1.0s has become one of the most competitive step-in bindings on the market.

clew snowboard binding test

Unlike Burton’s strapless binding systems and Nidecker’s Dual Entry technology, the Clew binding offers an innovative feature that allows users to enjoy true step-in bindings without losing those all-important straps.

I know what you think: “But if they have straps, how can they be step-in bindings?!”

The How To: Explained

To begin the process of turning this pair into the step-in bindings they were intended to be, one must strap into them like a pair of typical snowboard bindings.

Once strapped in, one simply must pull the red handle on the rear side of the highback to lift the heel out of the binding. After stepping out, the heel strap of the binding and the highback comes with and the toe strap stays connected to the base of the binding. Viola!

clew snowboarding bindings - back

To re-enter the binding system, all one has to do is… you guessed it, step in! That said, one must fit the toe of their boot inside the toe strap before pressing the heel into the desired notch in the bottom of the binding.

There will be a snapping sound and you’ll feel the boot click into the base of the binding, which means they are ready to ride!

For a more detailed, visual explanation of how to step in and out, here is a video:

Clew Binding Performance: How Did They Feel?

When it comes to snowboards, boots, and bindings, I’m kind of a snob. I typically err on the side of traditional gear. I’m not a huge fan of BOA technology and I don’t mind ratcheting into my bindings after getting off the chair lift (even if I have to sit down from time to time).

That being said, the Clew Freedom 1.0 bindings took me by surprise. Although they are classified as “step-in” bindings, they retain enough traditional technology to put a person like me at ease.

In terms of convenience, it doesn’t get better than these. Stepping into my binding after getting off the chair lift was extremely easy, and most times I didn’t even need to stop moving to do so.

"My skier friends were glad they didn’t have to wait for me to strap in like usual!"

However, I learned pretty quickly that it is difficult to step into your bindings if there is any kind of snow build-up. When that happened, I simply used my glove to wipe away any snow that was blocking my entry.

While in Val Thorens, France, I was able to get in and out of my bindings with ease. On one occasion, I stepped out and walked to a nearby grocery store before snowboarding back to my chalet with groceries in hand (I got a few perplexed looks on the slopes).

Stepping out was just as easy, although sometimes I had to pull pretty hard on the hard handle to get my heel out of the base of the bindings.

That said, it was more of a timing issue on my part. You have to pull and step out together in one motion.

On the Groomers

The Clew bindings worked well on the groomers. Val Thorens had some really hard-packed snow on their trails, and the Clew bindings gave me enough support to withstand the icy patches.

Conversely, the bindings were admittedly a bit heavier than most, and they lacked maneuverability and forgiveness.

Other than that, I was comfortable on both my heel and toe edge, and hitting deep carves was no problem. Having the traditional bindings made a big difference in that department.

the clew snowboard bindings in powder

In the Backcountry (Off-Piste)

The powder is where these bindings shined. In Val Thorens, there are countless off-piste opportunities to take advantage of, and the Clew Freedom 1.0s offered support and stability in the deep powder.

Without the trouble of strapping in before each run, I was able to enjoy the Val Thorens off-piste scene more.

Despite their heavy weight, I didn’t feel as though they were restrictive whatsoever. Again, the traditional setup of the Clew bindings made me feel right at home as I carved through the French backcountry.

Industry Impact and Reception

The world is taking a liking to the Clew step on bindings. For a brand that is only 7 years old, Clew has taken the snowboarding scene by storm with its innovative bindings.

clew snowboarding binding logo

The founders of Clew were keen on keeping the straps of the snowboard bindings. In turn, those who wear step-in bindings can all agree on the importance of straps on bindings.

Brands like K2 and Burton have step-in bindings… but do not feature straps!

This has led many to the Freedom 1.0s, a binding that offers the convenience of step-in technology with the familiarity of a traditional binding setup.


Clew bindings are manufactured in Weilheim, Bavaria, and shipped to over 40 countries worldwide. The brand adheres to sustainable practices such as using environmentally friendly means of transportation and limiting the amount of plastics that go into constructing a pair of bindings.

The brand continues to grow and endear itself to the snowboarding community.

Alternative Binding Options

Whilst Clew’s version of the “Step On” binding is pretty unique, the concept itself is by no means new.

Many brands have tried (and arguably failed) over the years. 

But… the past few seasons have seen a resurgence in Step On popularity. The most notable examples are of course from the big “B”, but Nidecker came in hot with the much-awaited Supermatic. 

In fact, the Supermatic won our “binding of the year” award this season. Well worth checking out!

rear entry snowboard bindings

The Nidecker Supermatic

What's Next for Clew?

With the anticipated release of the 2024/2025 CLEW Freedom 1.0s, riders can look forward to updated technology and a seamless transition from traditional to step-in bindings.

Personally, I was satisfied and pleased with the performance of the 23/24 Clew bindings. The brand has lots of room to grow, though, and I am excited to see how they progress.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Subscribe for discounts AND A Chance to win $50!

Sign up to our newsletter for entry into the annual $50 gift card draw.

Subscribe for discounts AND A Chance to win $50!

Sign up to our newsletter for entry into our annual $50 gift card draw.