Many casual skiers believe that lightweight ski-touring bindings must sacrifice some performance. While we continue to debunk that myth, G3 may have just ended the discussion altogether with the ZED binding. With the proven ION as the foundation, the designers started trimming the fat to minimize mass without compromising ski or release performance.
The ZED is the first “gapless” binding in its weight class with adjustable vertical and lateral release. No heel gap means the release stays consistent throughout the ski flex while offering additional energy and rebound to your skis. In other words, the designers wanted it light without sacrificing safety or ski performance. This will be the sweet spot for folks who want to travel far in the backcountry but aren’t ready to make sacrifices. To that end, G3 incorporated two heel-lifters, 30mm of boot-length adjustment, 10mm of elastic travel, and an optional brake into a clean and compact heel unit with an eye-pleasing lime-green accent.
The toe piece resembles the well-loved ION in many ways. A nice, wide hole pattern transfers power to the edges of even the widest skis and resists pull-out. The jaws are shaped and loaded with spring-strength to clear ice every time they are actuated, and a rubber Boot Stop ensures easy step-in. The G3 ZED is one of the first bindings to get pointed at on our wall.
Gapless heel with elastic travel along the ski ensures consistent release.
Toe wing geometry optimizes retention and snow clearance under the springs.
Boot Stop guides the toe welt of your boot into the binding for fiddle-free entry.
#3 Pozidrive heads on all adjustment screws simplifies your repair kit inventory.
Quickly adjusts 30mm for different boot sole lengths, enabling a boot-quiver.
Combined adjustment screw changes both lateral and vertical release.
Optional ION crampons allow for quick deployment during icy ascents.
Optional brakes are easily installed or you can go with leashes (not included).
Update 2019/20: G3 updated the design to not require the use of previously-included stomp pads when skiing the Zed without brakes. They also stiffened the heel compression springs to reduce longitudinal play when skinning.
Update 2020/21: This binding was renamed the ZED 12 to differentiate from the new ZED 9.
Update 2022/23: The ZED 12 is now black for a sleek look that will surely turn more heads.
Have three pairs of these - find them to be by far the most user friendly binding on the market. I know, ATK is now the "gold standard" but these have some features that I find top notch.
First - the crampon attachment (and crampons) are so simple and easy to use while on skins. I find myself being the one with the easiest time tossing on/off ski crampons any time I am in a group (everyone else tends to have to take skis off, G3 lets you pop them in by just taking a small lunge). Also, the wire used to pop them off lets them hang well on a harness or pack for those multiple on and off days on glaciers or traverses.
Second, the ability to add/subtract brakes is unique and also SIMPLE. I have a pair of brakes that I toss on and off depending on where I'll be (put on if skiing sidecountry from lifts, etc).
Last, I am very impressed with the retention of these bindings. I'm 185lbs and an ex ski racer - so prior to these I was very used to being timid about how hard I could push tech bindings. These, however, I find to be really trustworthy at speed, through crud and in deep snow.
How do you attach leashes to this toepiece? Can the ION LT leash clips be used?
Hi John, I have been attaching the leash to the center toe lever support with a girth hitch. The metal attachment that sits under the baseplate of the Ion LT will not work due to no cutout being molded to the base on the Zed, though the actual Ion LT leash should work fine with the girth hitch.
Have been using the Zed bindings without brakes for the past two years somewhat regularly including many relatively tame inbounds runs and on boilerplate conditions in the PNW. Very light for the the feature set it has and I have had no issues using them on my 4FRNT Hoji skis.
I like that I can go from flat to the highest riser w/o turning the heel. I also think the toe stop works pretty good for lining up the pins.
Comment on this review:
I’ve been having some trouble with the zed crampons paired with the zed bindings and f1 lt’s. The crampon has popped off a number of times.
Are there any alternatives or tips for using them? Really wondering about alternatives…
Curious as to why those crampons are popping off. Feel free to send us a photo of what things look like with you boot in the toe piece, and the crampon in place as well! Our email is email@example.com.
For an alternative, you can use Plum Ski Crampons with the Universal Crampon Mounts under our Plum Binding Parts listing. You will just end up with a few extra holes in your skis.
I used to really like these bindings - until they broke! I bought the first gen ZEDs in fall of 2018 and skied them for two seasons as my daily driver for the BC. I realized the toe was wiggling which was worrisome. Further inspection of the toe piece revealed a large crack all the way through the aluminum baseplate. If you think of the baseplate as clock, the crack was from the center out to the screw at 5 o'clock. Inspection of the other toepiece showed a hairline crack in the same location. G3's customer service reply said "Sorry to hear about your bindings. Unfortunately, they are no longer covered under the 1-year warranty period." Seems like a design flaw to me. Check your toe pieces and buyer beware! I am 5'10" and 165lbs, and am not an aggressive skier.
Crazy i have the same exact crack in mine. Same response from G3. Disappointing that they don't stand behind their products.
This has been my go to binding for the last two seasons. After 100+ days I have no complaints. They are secure, light, easy to adjust with the single adjustment screw and give a confidence inspiring click when you step in. The brakes Im not so sure of though, mine broke pretty easily with light use and so I just run them brakeless without issues. Hopefully G3 will create a solution for the brakes down the line. Overall super happy with them though.
Comment on this review:
Are leashes included with the bindings or do you have to purchase separately like the brakes?
Hi Jeffrey, leashes are sold separately.
Answer this question:
What model year are you currently shipping when folks order the Zed 12?
Hi Jessica, all our stock is from this season (2020/21)!
Is there any news for upcoming 19/20 season. Did G3 fix Zed's related issues with weak forward pressure compensation springs and ski crampons flat mode? Regards.
Hey Vadim!! G3 hasn't yet announced changes to the Zed this year. The movement of the heel when hiking on risers isn't really a design flaw, but part of the spring loaded/gapless design. In person, we haven't heard many complaints.
Thanks, Jeff! Got reply from G3.
For Zed's second year (2020) run: heel molds was changed a bit as well as the forward pressure compensation springs (stronger now). It is possible to retrofit the new springs into the old (2019) heels, and "it should totally eliminate the float issue". Crampons are the same.
Vadim, thanks for doing the research! G3 is stopping by this week to give us the skinny on the summer updates.
I'm glad that G3 is addressing the heel issues in the current model year, but I haven't tried the new design yet. When I use the heel risers, the heel unit springs back and my boot snaps down to flat. The riser usually jams up with the boot at that point, and I'm stuck. The forward pressure springs are too weak, and the risers have a ramp angle to them that facilitates this problem. Also, I have a lot of horizontal play in the heels before the rotational spring kicks in. This is very noticeable on firmer snow, feeling like the ski is unstable. Do you guys have the newer model in stock? This binding has the best toe on the market (for a beefier pin binding), but the heels need a re-do.
Answer this question:
Are you folks currently stocking the stomp pad kit with these bindings?
Hi Ian, I doubt we will have any until next season unfortunately.
Hi Ian, we have the stomp pad kits now available here. Note these are no longer necessary for the updated 2019/20 model.
Answer this question:
I'm very interested in the ZED binding but I have been reading a lot of online reviews complaining about the bindings moving backwards with each step when using the heel risers. I’m concerned about this being annoying and also for long-term wear/tear. Anybody else experiencing this issue? Thanks!
Hi Logan, there is a bit of backward movement with all heels that ride on springs. It's somewhat of a trade-off between release safety and skinning performance.
I contacted G3 directly regarding this issue and received an email. They stated the excessive rearward motion is a known issue and they are working on a fix for next year. The crampons not working in flat mode with the ZED is also a known issue they are working. Hope this helps.
I held off skiing the Hannibal/Zed's on a regular basis until we got more snow in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Lately, they have been the ski of choice and the Zed has performed very well. Today, I drove across a deep slash luge run type mogul and flexed the ski to a point that the heel released vertically or maybe I decelerated fast enough to trip the release. No face plant and the toe remained engaged. In the flats the system has not let me down when in carve mode.
The toe and heel pieces are easy to step into, the heel is easy to rotate into/out of ski or tour mode and the binding is light. Additionally, I have brakes but have not installed them.
I understand the hole pattern is the same as the Ion. But, on the heel piece, is the position of the holes relative to the heel pins also the same, so that you could replace an Ion with a Zed without redrilling, and still fit the same boots? Also, given the comment about the screws having unusually small heads, are the screws short enough for the thinner skis out there such as the Völkl BMT series? If not, are there compatible screws available in shorter lengths with the same heads?
Hey Jim! There's a ton of adjustment built into the heel track on both bindings, so unless your ION is slammed at the front or the end of the adjustment track currently then the Zed will line up perfectly after some minor adjustments. I think that if the skis you have require short screws, then the stock screws will likely be too long. The screws are pretty much impossible to source, so you'll probably need to shorten them with a grinder or something.
Answer this question:
I want a light weight binding for touring in the Alps. I've had my eyes on the Zed and the Marker Alpine, but can't decide which would be best for me. I am a beginner back-country skier (2 years experience off piste, but 20+ years experience on piste), and so far my tours have consisted of 2 to 3 hours of 1000+ meters ascent, but I plan on doing longer multi-day tours in the near future. So I place much value in light weight, but also want to have fun on the way down. I am not an overly aggressive skier (I have no plans of ever hucking off cliffs). Would you recommend the Zed over the Marker Alpine, or can you suggest another binding that would better suite me? Thanks!
Hi Brad, this is a difficult question to answer without more information from you. If you wouldn't mind filling out our online binding finder we will be happy to help you narrow down the choices.
Answer this question:
Can you compare the riser heights of the Zed to the Ions? I know the risers are going to feel shorter with the zero ramp angle but I'm wondering how much shorter. Thanks.
Hey Michael! We'll publish all of this once we have more well-rounded data on it, but as of now here is what we have for the difference between the effective riser height of each binding:
Flat mode: Zed has a +2.5mm delta versus the ION LT.
1st Riser: Zed has a -4mm delta vs ION LT.
2nd Riser: Zed has a -12mm delta vs ION LT.
Can you elaborate on the ZED's fastener screws lenght for QuiverKiller inserts? Mounting patters is really the same as for the ION?
Hey Vadim! The hole pattern is identical to the ION, though we are still working on the QK solution. The screws are much shorter than the ION and also have very tiny heads so we haven't found a viable QK fastener that we feel comfortable with. The adjustment plate slides over the heel mounting screws so a clean, flush mounting solution is absolutely crucial and so far, the heads are too big and won't allow for that.
Answer this question:
Is there going to be a Zed 10?
What do you think about the Zed 12 for lighter/less aggressive skiers?
Hey Jeff! No official plans yet, but I'd be surprised if we didn't see a Zed 10 in the near future. I think it's fine for lighter and less aggressive skiers (partly because the ramp angle is flat, that works really well especially for skiers like that) but only as long as they're within the release value range, otherwise the theoretical Zed 10 would be a better choice.