An Expert Guide to Burton Bindings

Published on 02/02/2024 · 12 min readConsidering Burton bindings for your snowboard? Snowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast explains everything from features to compatibility, and everything in between!
Gaelen Mast, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast

TL;DR: When buying Burton bindings, you should consider your skill level, riding style, and the brand of snowboard you ride to ensure you choose compatible bindings! You must choose between Burton’s Re:Flex or EST systems and traditional straps or their innovative Step On system.

Introduction

Hi! My name is Gaelen, and over the past 11 years, I’ve been able to snowboard 50+ days yearly in locations such as Vermont (the birthplace of Burton), Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska. In addition, I’ve worked as a rental technician at multiple mountain resorts and in a shop. I’ve also worked with almost 7,000 customers on Curated.com to help them find the right gear for their specific needs and wants!

Today we’re taking a deep dive into Burton, a snowboard brand that has withstood the test of time! In my years of snowboarding, I’ve owned multiple Burton products, been able to demo many more, and have attended exclusive events where I’ve been able to discuss upcoming Burton products with official brand reps. In this article, I want to focus on their bindings and cover everything you need to know when considering a pair!

Why Burton?

Burton Snowboards was established in 1977 by Jake Burton Carpenter in Vermont. The brand is an original snowboard manufacturer and is considered a modern snowboarding pioneer. Since their inception, Burton has consistently delivered high-quality, cutting-edge products, becoming a household name for winter sports enthusiasts. Burton’s snowboards, bindings, boots, and outerwear are considered “top of the line” and are designed to cater to all skill levels and styles.

What to Consider When Buying Burton Bindings

That’s me! I’m demoing the Burton Process snowboard and Burton Cartel bindings. Photo by Gaelen Mast

1. What Is My Skill Level and Riding Style?

Considering your skill level and preferred riding style is crucial when selecting Burton bindings, as choosing the wrong bindings will make it more difficult than necessary to ride. So take some time to think about your skill level; a good way to do this is to consider what level trails you spend the most time on! Your riding style can be a little more subjective, but to keep things simple, consider whether you lean towards all-mountain, freestyle, or powder riding. Your skill level and riding style will be the two biggest determining factors when picking a pair of bindings.

2. Will I Benefit From Burton's Step On Bindings?

“Step On” is a technology that allows riders to simply “step into” their bindings to secure themselves without using any straps you’d see on traditional bindings. These work with a specialized boot (only sold by Burton currently) that “clips” into multiple connection points on the bindings. Burton has been tinkering with the Step On binding idea since 1999, but the prototype for the modern binding has only existed since 2016. These bindings are very popular because of their convenience and ability to enable people who otherwise couldn’t snowboard due to the need to strap and unstrap traditional bindings repeatedly.

3. Do I Need Re:Flex or EST Bindings?

Burton produces nearly all their binding models in “Re:Flex'' and “EST” versions. Re:Flex bindings are mounted to a snowboard with a disc, much like bindings from other brands. EST versions of bindings have no disc and are designed this way to deliver a better board feel and response time than traditional bindings. However, they’re only designed to be mounted on the “channel system'' which is exclusive to snowboards produced by Burton. Therefore, you’ll want Re:Flex bindings if you ride a board brand that’s not Burton (although you can use them with Burton boards), and you’ll want EST bindings if you currently have a Burton board and want the unique benefits that an EST binding can provide.

4. How Much Should Burton Bindings Cost?

Adult Burton bindings currently range from about $180 to $550, with youth bindings being $100 to $180. Burton’s “traditional strap bindings,” with straps and ratchet systems, tend to cost $180 to $550. The exact price largely depends on their specific technology and what skill level they’re built for. Burton’s Step On Bindings ranges from about $300 to $440, with exact prices based on specific technologies and intended skill levels.

What Are the Different Types of Burton Bindings?

Photo by Still Shoots in Stills

Burton offers a diverse range of snowboards to cater to different riding styles, skill levels, and preferences. They make all-mountain, freestyle, and powder bindings, but so do other binding brands, so that’s not what we’re here to discuss. Instead, we’re here to discuss the different types of bindings unique to Burton. Each unique binding type offers benefits and potential downsides, which you should know before purchasing.

The five main categories of Burton snowboards include:

1. Traditional Strap EST

Like many other binding brands, traditional EST bindings from Burton use a traditional toe and ankle strap with a ratcheting system. However, the EST version means they have no disc, which normally sits within the binding’s base plate. This makes the binding lighter, provides a better board feel, and a more instantaneous energy transfer from binding to board.

Benefits:

  • Tried and true traditional straps that are easy to use and repair
  • Unique benefits from Burton’s EST technology

Be Aware:

2. Traditional Strap Re:Flex

Traditional Re:Flex bindings from Burton are the most similar to bindings from other brands. They also use a traditional toe and ankle strap and a ratcheting system featuring a disc within the base plate. This disc allows riders to mount this type of binding to any brand of board, including Burton.

As a side note: Not all binding brands can be mounted to Burton boards as Burton uses a “channel system” mount, but Re:Flex bindings are compatible with this channel system.

Benefits:

  • Tried and true traditional straps that are easy to use and repair
  • Can be mounted on Burton boards or any other brand of snowboard

Be Aware:

  • Lacks benefits of an EST binding
  • Customers may be paying a premium for a Burton product that is essentially the same as other bindings on the market.

3. Step On EST

Step On EST bindings don’t use any traditional straps. Instead, they feature a “clip-in” system that allows riders wearing Step On boots to step onto them to be secured into the binding. They also have the added benefits of Burton’s EST system: being lighter, providing better board control, and responding faster.

Benefits:

  • Unique benefits from Burton’s EST technology
  • Convenient compared to traditional strap bindings

Be Aware:

  • Can only be mounted on snowboards from Burton
  • Require specialized boots from Burton to work with Step On bindings
  • Not 100% hands-free
  • Release from the bindings requires pulling a quick-release lever on the bindings

4. Step On Re:Flex

Step On Re:Flex bindings work the same as Step On EST bindings; they have no straps and require specialized boots that can clip directly into the bindings to secure riders. In addition, you can mount this version of the Step On bindings to any snowboard brand, including Burton.

Benefits:

  • Convenient compared to traditional strap bindings
  • Can be mounted on any brand of snowboard

Be Aware:

  • Require specialized boots from Burton that are designed to work with Step On bindings
  • Not 100% hands-free
  • Release from the bindings requires pulling a quick-release lever on the bindings
  • Lacks benefits of Burton's EST technology

5. Step On Loback

Step On Loback bindings from Burton are a specialized type of Step On binding with a smaller highback (the back section of a binding that your calf presses against). These bindings are currently only produced in a “Re:Flex” version, meaning they can be mounted on any brand of board. The lack of highback is supposed to make them feel less restrictive and more playful, making them ideal for freestyle riding where maximum movement is necessary.

Benefits:

  • Convenient compared to traditional strap bindings
  • Can be mounted on any brand of snowboard (current version)
  • Better for freestyle riding than normal Step On bindings.

Be Aware:

  • Less suitable for more aggressive or high-speed riding
  • Require specialized Burton boots that will work with Step On bindings
  • Not 100% hands-free
  • Release from the bindings requires pulling a quick-release lever on the bindings
  • Lacks benefits of an EST binding

Features to Look Out for When Buying Burton Bindings

Photo by LightField Studios

When looking for Burton bindings (and from any brand), consider these general features and technologies:

  1. Flex Rating: Indicates the stiffness or softness of a binding which affects responsiveness and feel. Stiffer bindings offer more support and control, while softer bindings provide a more forgiving ride but less boot support and responsiveness.
  2. Straps: Ankle and toe straps secure your boots in the bindings. Look for comfortable, adjustable, and easy-to-use strap systems.
  3. Buckles and Ratchets: These components allow for quick and secure adjustment of the straps. Durable, smooth-operating buckles are essential for a hassle-free snowboarding experience.
  4. Cushioning: Padding in the footbed and straps enhances comfort and shock absorption. However, the more cushioning a binding has, the less board feel you’ll have.

Specific features and technologies unique to Burton bindings:

  1. Re:Flex: We’ve discussed this one at length. Re:Flex is a variation of Burton bindings you can mount on any snowboard brand, including Burton. It features a disc within the base plate, just like snowboard bindings from other brands.
  2. EST: We’ve also discussed this technology at length. EST is a version of Burton bindings built specifically for Burton's channel system and doesn’t have a traditional mounting disc that provides a better board feel and responsiveness.
  3. LoBac: This model of Step On bindings features a smaller highback and allows for less restrictive riding.
  4. AutoCANT: This cushioning system aligns with your natural stance, reducing fatigue and promoting a more comfortable ride.
  5. Flex Slider: This is part of a binding’s ankle strap that flexes and fully opens for easy boot entry and exit.
  6. Hammockstrap: This ultra-minimalist ankle strap design is designed for enhanced response and reduced weight without sacrificing comfort.
  7. Supergrip Capstrap: This toe strap design conforms to your boot's shape for a secure, pressure-free fit.

While technologies 4-7 are good to understand, don’t sweat them too much. They won’t play major roles in how your Burton bindings perform, so it’s not worth stressing if your Burton bindings do or do not have this technology.

How to Choose the Right Burton Bindings for You

Now that you’ve learned all this new info about Burton bindings, it’s time to implement this knowledge! Below are three scenarios involving snowboarders with specific needs and wants for new bindings. For each scenario, I’ll review what they’re looking for in a new binding, features they should look for to choose the right binding, and actual Burton binding products that would fit these criteria. Who knows, maybe you’ll even figure out the best Burton bindings for you based on this exercise!

Jason

Needs: Jason is an older snowboarder who’s been riding for a long time. At his age, strapping and unstrapping his current bindings is beginning to become a pain and put a damper on his snowboarding. He’s looking for more convenient bindings but only wants new bindings and has no intention of upgrading his current (non-Burton) snowboard.

Features to look for:

  • Step On bindings for quick and easy entry and exit
  • The “Re:Flex” version of Step On bindings since he rides a non-Burton board
  • Specialized Step On snowboard boots that are compatible with Step On bindings

Products to consider:

Tony

Needs: Tony is a new snowboarder but is progressing much faster than most beginners, so he needs a binding that can keep up. He’s not interested in Step On bindings as he thinks they’re quite expensive when considering the boots. However, he does have a Burton board, so he wants Burton bindings. Additionally, he’s looking for something that will give him a playful feel, as buttering is one of his favorite things to do on the hill, and his current bindings are holding him back.

Features to look for:

  • Traditional strap bindings so he can use any boot with them
  • EST version of bindings (if possible) for more board feel
  • Soft/medium binding flex for a more playful feel

Products to consider:

Cassandra

Needs: Cassandra is a very hard-charging lady shredder who doesn’t care what kind of bindings she has; she just needs them to keep up with her riding. She wants Burton bindings because she has a Burton board, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to be locked into owning Burton boards forever.

Features to look for:

  • The “Re:Flex” version of bindings that will work with Burton and non-Burton boards
  • Lots of binding cushioning for high-impact riding
  • Higher-end binding from Burton for more durability over the long run

Products to consider:

Find the Best Burton Bindings for You

You’ve reached the end of the article, so congrats! Hopefully, learning about all the different versions of Burton bindings hasn’t made your head spin too much. I’ll be the first to admit Burton snowboard bindings can be quite confusing. All the variations have potential advantages and drawbacks, and only certain variations of their bindings will work with snowboards that aren’t from Burton! So even if you can wrap your head around it all, you must figure out which binding benefits would be worth it for you and which drawbacks you can live with.

Fear not, though, because you don’t need to figure this out alone! That’s because here at Curated, you can connect with and message a Snowboarding Expert in real time! So whether you’ve got no idea which Burton binding would be best for your snowboarding ability and style, or if you just want to double check to confirm that the Burton bindings you’re leaning towards will be compatible with your current snowboard, we are here to help you get the perfect fit, so chat with me or one of my fellow Snowboarding Experts here on Curated.

All you need to do is fill out a quick quiz that provides us with the necessary info to help you, and you’ll then be connected with one of us in a matter of minutes, and from there, you can message your Expert for as long as you’d like until you’re satisfied! Then, once you settle on gear, you can purchase it straight from Curated. It’s the easiest way to eliminate buyer’s remorse for good!

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

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