Multiple Serious Design Flaws
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
- Fit: True to size
I have had my Shifts for a season and didn't have a day touring on them where I didn't encounter problems. It's surprising to see so many glowing reviews of a binding that, frankly, needs more product development.
There is a frequently talked about issue where the brakes will release in tour mode, which frankly isn't the end of the world. However, if you don't notice snow and ice will build up and make it somewhat challenging to get the brakes back into functioning tour mode. The brakes releasing in tour mode are also more of a problem if you don't have good form on kick turns and accidentally clip the transition piece in the heel.
The second problem I encountered was while descending. If you really carve on these bindings, or ski variable conditions they creak, flex, and make this popping sound in the toe piece. I had multiple instances throughout the season where I pre-released skiing moderate/mellow terrain. Not comforting.
The third problem is in the toe lever. After the bindings are in the cold for a little longer than 24 hours, the toe levers have a frequent problem of not staying in lock mode while touring. While I haven't seen this problem widely in other reviews of the binding, it was certainly a problem for me. I would be hiking and the toe levers come unlocked and just have the binding completely disengage from my boot. I took it into a shop several times and as long as the binding wasn't frozen it would work as expected. But it's a backcountry ski binding. It should perform in cold temperatures.
I would wait for the next generation of Shifts to be released. I would not by them again, however.