Hello and welcome to my Burton Imperial review.
In this review I will take a look at the Imperial as all-mountain snowboard boots.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Imperial a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how they compare with other all-mountain boots.
NOTE: The 2021 model was the last model of the Imperial, so this review will no longer be updated. The Imperial has essentially been renamed the Photon - the Imperial was always basically the speed lace version of the Photon Boa, so this makes sense. The 2022 Photon has a couple of changes from the 2021 Imperial, but nothing major.
Boots: Burton Imperial
Price: $339 (USD recommended retail)
Flex Rating: Medium
Flex Feel: Medium (6.5/10)
Rating Score: 85.3/100
Compared to other All-Mountain Boots
Out of the 37 all-mountain boots that I rated:
Overview of the Imperial’s Specs
Check out the tables for the Imperial's specs and available sizes.
Lighter than Normal
Who are the Imperial Most Suited to?
The Imperial are best for anyone looking for a speed lace boot that want something on the stiffer side of medium (6.5/10).
Would work best with boards with around a 4-7 flex, ideally 5 or 6.
The Imperial in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Imperial are capable of.
Boots: Burton Imperial
Size: 10.5 (US Men's Sizing)
Date: February 7, 2020
Conditions: Mix of snow and rain, but snow for the most part all be it wet snow.
Had snowed overnight a little but nothing epic
Groomer was soft packed and mildly slushy in parts. Off groomer was very similar- soft but not deep fresh
Temperature was around 0 degrees. A bit of wind but only noticeable on lift
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Board Demoed With: Rossignol One LF 2018
Bindings Demoed With: Burton Malavita 2017
Outersole Length: 31.1cm (mondo 28.5cm)
Difference between Mondo & Outersole: 2.6cm
Backstay Height: 30.4cm
Weight: 940 grams*
* Average of a sample of boots I weighed was 1006 grams, so a good bit lighter than average. Heaviest were 1320 grams and lightest were 740 grams.
Burton rate their "support" as medium, but with a firm flex tongue. They feel just on the stiffer side of medium. I would say around 6, pushing 6.5.
Width: Mid-wide. If you've got super wide feet, you'll probably want a wide-specific boot, but for those with just wider than normal feet, these should accommodate well.
True to Size?: Yeah, I would say true to size. I rode the 10.5, when I'm typically a 10, and whilst the 10.5 was fine for demoing purposes, I think the 10 would be the better bet in the long run for me, so I'd say true to size.
High or Low Arch: Felt like the arch was quite low to begin with. There was pressure on the top of my right foot. But once I heat molded that settled down a lot. And then after the first lap I didn't notice it at all. So, I'd say normal arch.
Good overall response. Maneuverability at slow speeds was still decent vs my test boots - maybe half a step down, but my test boots (Vans Aura) are a little softer and easier to maneuver in at slower speeds.
The Imperial did give a bit more on a carve vs the Auras. I felt like I could hold a carve a little deeper and for a little longer.
It's not epic hold, but it's decent enough. There's not a lot of lift but there is some there. Wasn't bad enough lift to bother me.
There's some good separation between the upper and lower zone speed laces, so you can get a different tightness for each section if you wish.
Let’s Break up this text with a Video
Very comfortable feeling boots for me. No cramping, no pressure points (a tiny bit on the top of the right metatarsal, but I get that with almost every boot and it died down the more I rode in them, and a lot after heat molding). Felt good all round - shins, calves, heels, ankles, toes, all very comfortable.
There's some decent shock absorption in these boots, without it being epic. But enough for me personally.
Decent board feel. Half a step down from my test boots, but pretty good none-the-less.
Looks and feels like a quality sole. Decent tread. Felt fine walking in car park and on snow. There's a good bit of rubber in the sole, so it should last a good while.
Really decent reduced outer sole. The 2.6cm difference between mondo and outersole length is better than average and on top of that the Imperial (typical of Burton boots) has a good amount of toe bevel, more than any other boot that I measured the toe bevel on.
I'm not a big fan of the feel of doing up speed lace boots. They can feel a bit cumbersome. But it is a little faster than double boa or traditional lace. And once you get them in they do feel as tight as you want them, so it's all good. There's just something that I find less satisfying than when tightening traditional lace and boa.
The liner has velcro and a typical lace harness. The velcro feels nice - it offers a nice snug fit around the top of the liner, with the harness more focused lower down the liner.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
TOTAL after normalizing
The Imperial are an all-round good quality boot, offering a great mix of comfort and response in a low profile outer sole.
Great option for anyone looking for a mid flexing boot that's just on the stiffer side of medium.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you’re interested in learning more about the Imperial, are ready to buy or want to research current prices and sizing availability, check out the links below.
If you want to see how the Imperial compared to other all-mountain boots, or want to check out some other options, check out the link below.