Mannuronan C-5 epimerases catalyze the epimerization of monomer residues in the polysaccharide alginate, changing the physical properties of the biopolymer. The enzymes are utilized to tailor alginate to numerous biological functions by alginate-producing organisms. The underlying molecular mechanism that control the processive movement of the epimerase along the substrate chain is still elusive. To study this, we have used an interdisciplinary approach combining molecular dynamics simulations with experimental methods from mutant studies of AlgE4, where initial epimerase activity and product formation were addressed with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and characteristics of enzyme–substrate interactions were obtained with isothermal titration calorimetry and optical tweezers. Positive charges lining the substrate-binding groove of AlgE4 appear to control the initial binding of poly-mannuronate, and binding also seems to be mediated by both electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions. After the catalytic reaction, negatively charged enzyme residues might facilitate dissociation of alginate from the positive residues, working like electrostatic switches, allowing the substrate to translocate in the binding groove. Molecular simulations show translocation increments of two monosaccharide units before the next productive binding event resulting in mannuronate and guluronate (MG)-block formation, with the epimerase moving with its N-terminus towards the reducing end of the alginate chain. Our results indicate that the charge pair R343–D345 might be directly involved in conformational changes of a loop that can be important for binding and dissociation. The computational and experimental approaches used in this study complement each other, allowing for a better understanding of individual residues’ roles in binding and movement along the alginate chains.