Tested with the Airwalk IQ Freeride boot.
Ease of entry: Average
Ease of exit: Average
Snow clog factor: Average
Step in on the fly? It’s possible.
At its best, you slide in like buttah, baby-easy as Burton’s SI (surprisingly, it feels similar) but few would call entry into the tricky-at-times I.Q. a no-brainer. Entry is made easier, though-as with virtually all external-highback systems-by adjusting the heelcup, which provides more room for the boot to enter the binding mechanism.
The bindings themselves have a lot of spring tension and a strong snap! on entry that inspires confidence-once you’re in, you won’t be coming out (until you decide to). The Airwalk is also light, and more low-profile than other step-in bindings.
Dismounting from the setup is a single-hand operation. Incorporated into the exit is a unique release-and-coast option that allows you to either step out, or reenter on the fly (once you trip the lever to exit, you don’t just pop out, you have to snap the boot out of the binding). Add-on toe ramps provide extra response. Snow clog is negligible but might prove problematic.
Thumbs up: Highback and entire system feels like home (like strap bindings) when riding. The release-and-coast feature’s cool.
Thumbs down: If you miscue the binding on entry, an extra finger-pinching move is required to reset it.