Expert Review: Burton Photon Step On Snowboard Boots · 2022
This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard boots, which I purchased with my own money in September of 2020.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard boots, which I purchased with my own money in September of 2020.
The Burton Photon Step On Snowboard Boots are the perfect boot to unlock the full potential of the Step On system for aggressive or larger riders. For 2022, Burton added a Vibram sole, upgraded the pants clip, and added some new, killer colors.
About the boots I own
- Model: 2021 Burton Photon BOA Step On Boot
- Size: 10 Regular
- Lacing type: BOA
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 210lbs
- Street shoe size: 10.5
- Foot shape: Wide forefoot, medium arch
- Experience: 20 years of snowboarding
- When I bought these: September 2020
- Days tested: 30+
- Board: Salomon Assassin
- Bindings: Burton Step On Reflex
- Where I’ve used it: Blue Mountain, PA, Windham, NY, and Stratton, Killington VT
- Terrain: Groomers, chunky “powder”, spring slush, East Coast ice
How they perform
What I was looking for
I enjoy a stiffer boot, regardless of what board or binding I’m on, and I wanted the convenience of Burton’s Step On boot/binding system. Step On is a strapless boot/binding interface that allows one to “step on” to the binding and go using a pair of toe cleats and a latch on the boot heel. The system is super convenient and very responsive. The Photon boot turned out to be the perfect setup.
Why I chose this gear
I tried Step On with the Ruler Step On Boot and felt it was too soft for my riding style. The Photon’s additional stiffness brings out more of the performance of the Step On system, particularly when powering the toe side. While the Burton Ion is a little stiffer, the Photon is $130 less and still offers plenty of support.
What I love about them
- Size: Classic Burton fit runs true to size. I have a wider forefoot, and I still fit the standard width fine, with plenty of toe space and great heel hold.
- Comfort: Burton Imprint liners and great fit keep me comfortable. The boots felt ready to go right out of the box. Burton also features a pretty good stock footbed which works as well as an aftermarket footbed for all but the pickiest riders.
- Warmth: I have not had an issue with cold feet riding in these. Burton’s reflective footbeds are super warm, and a lower boot gasket ensures they never leak.
- Heel hold: The BOA closure and provided J-bars keep my foot locked in with no heel lift.
- Shock absorption: I’m not a big hit guy, but these did a great job reducing chatter on icy East Coast days.
- Responsiveness: In addition to the overall great responsiveness of the binding, this boot unlocks the benefits of the Step On interface and provides a little extra confidence when leaning into that toe side edge.
- Durability: The soles and BOA laces have held up great over two seasons of use.
- Versatility: The Photon is great for all-mountain riders that want to crank out turns. The boots shine, carving down morning groomers or slashing through spring slush in the trees.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Ease of use: The BOA power strap across the forefoot doesn’t recoil fully. It takes a bit of time to spin the dial to get the strap snugged up and ready to ride.
- Weight: While not overly heavy, the Step On interface adds some noticeable weight to the boot.
- Versatility: For park riders, I would recommend going with a softer Step On boot like the Burton Ruler or Burton Swath. The Photon combined with the Step On binding interface might be a little too responsive for rails and butters.
- Hot spots: There was some instep pressure on my left (front) foot during the initial break-in period (six days). A slight heel lift and a looser inner liner solved the issue.
- Other: Remember to use the pants clip on the back of the boot. If someone gets their pant cuff caught in the heel mechanism of the Step On binding, it won’t disengage, and they’ll most likely need to cut the cuff off their pants to get out of the binding. I’ve witnessed this in the wild, and it didn’t look like fun.
Favorite moment with this gear
Aside from keeping up with skiers getting off the lift, the convenience and speed make these shine. Most of my riding was quick laps before or after work, and being able to step “on” and go makes it easy to squeeze in a few extra laps.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Photon is one of the pricier Step On options. But if one loves a stiffer boot, it’s the way to go versus the softer and less expensive Burton Ruler Step On Boot or Burton Swath Step On Boot options.
Many go with Step On for the ease and speed of use, but once one begins riding the Photon boot, the performance benefits of the system really shine. Step On brings incredible power transfer to the board, and the Photon is an excellent boot for an aggressive rider to feel that performance.