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.

Top down view of the Burton Photon Step On Snowboard Boots · 2022.

Getting ready to Step On it at the summit of Stratton. All photos by Chuck T.

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About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard boots, which I purchased with my own money in September of 2020.

My take

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.

Front of the Burton Photon Step On Snowboard Boots · 2022.

About the boots I own

  • Model: 2021 Burton Photon BOA Step On Boot
  • Size: 10 Regular
  • Lacing type: BOA

About me

  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 210lbs
  • Street shoe size: 10.5
  • Foot shape: Wide forefoot, medium arch
  • Experience: 20 years of snowboarding

Test conditions

  • 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

Ease of Use
Heel Hold
Shock Absorption

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.

Side view of the Burton Photon Step On Snowboard Boots · 2022.

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.
Back of the Burton Photon Step On Snowboard Boots · 2022.

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.

Final verdict

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.

Selling Burton on
Burton Photon Step On Snowboard Boots · 2022
Meet the author
Snowboard Expert Chuck T
Chuck T
Snowboard Expert
Chuck here! How can I help?
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Written By
I'm East Coaster recently transplanted to to Colorado to chase soft turns and big mountains. I like speed, steeps, and mellow laps with my kids. I've spent the last 20 years in the snow sports industry working as a buyer, manager, and director in retail and rental shops. I've been demoing and testin...

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