Snowjam bindings and size issues
New poster, new boarder. I went snowboarding for the first time a couple of weeks ago at Whitetail (in PA). I'm looking forward to many more good times on the slopes.
I am 31 years old, 6'2" tall, weigh about 175lbs. and plan on just freeriding for the time being. I'm in the metro D.C. area, so I'll mostly be riding on the east coast, except for some possible trips to Utah. I have picked up some Solomon boots in a size 11.5 (I followed y'all's advice and picked the boot that felt the best) and a used Burton board (it is a more, ah, experienced board and will be replaced sooner than later, but for now, it will get me down the slope). Looking for bindings to complete my gear, I ran into a size issue - I am right between sizes.
I am looking at the Snowjam Aluminum Pro Bindings. The large fits boots up to size 11. The Extra Large fits boots size 11 and up. The XL seems to be the better choice, by a half a size, as per the manufacturer's terms. However, I have heard that Solomon boots have a slimmer form factor than other boots, so I am thinking that they might squeeze into the size Large. Why do I want size Large? It is available at a lower cost than the Extra Large.
Do manufacturers leave a little wiggle room in their size specifications? (Would a binding rated through size 11 fit an 11.5 anyway?) Irregarless, if your boot is right between binding sizes, would you rather have the smaller size, or the larger?
Also, does anyone have any experience with Snowjam bindings? I have read some people bashing their boards, but how are the bindings? If you don't recommend the Snowjam's, what binding would you recommend? (Below $65, I am not prepared to splash out the cash necessary to buy Rome 390's - the forum favorite.) Also, are aluminum bindings a good idea for a beginner?
As an aside, how long do bindings usually last (decent quality one's)? If I pick up higher quality bindings, will they last longer than the economy models?
Thanks for reading. I look forward to your thoughts.