Hello and welcome to my Burton Photon boots review.
In this review I will take a look at the Photon as all-mountain snowboard boots.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Photon a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how they compare with other all-mountain boots.
Boots: Burton Photon
Price: $379 (USD recommended retail)
Flex Rating: Medium
Flex Feel: Medium (6.5/10)
Rating Score: 84.8/100
Compared to other All-Mountain Boots
Out of the 30 all-mountain boots that I rated:
Overview of the Photon’s Specs
Check out the tables for the Photon's specs and available sizes.
A little lighter than normal
Who are the Photon Most Suited to?
The Photon are best suited to anyone looking for a boot that's just on the stiffer side of medium - someone who wants a boot that can be versatile across a range of boards, but want to get good response of carves, but nothing overly stiff.
Matches best to boards with a flex between 5/10 and 7/10.
The Photon in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Photon are capable of.
Boots: Burton Photon 2022
Size: 10 (US Men's Sizing)
Date: February 4, 2022
Snowing. But quite a wet snow. Cascade concrete for sure. Visibility iffy in places and OK in others.
Temp: 30°F (-1°C). Apparently as cold as 19°F (-7°C) with wind chill but didn't feel that cold.
24 hour snow: 1.2" (3cm)
48 hour snow: 3.2" (8cm)
7 day snow: 10.2" (26cm)
Snow conditions on groomer: Soft, with fresh wet pow. Some well groomed other parts cruddy. Slow. Cascade concrete for sure. But not the slowest cascade concrete I've been in.
Snow conditions off groomer: Some good soft building on top. Still felt some crust in patches but pretty good all round.
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Board Demoed With: Lib Tech Terrain Wrecker 2021
Bindings Demoed With: Burton Malavita
Outersole Length: 30.2cm (mondo 28cm)
Difference between Mondo & Outersole: 2.2cm
Backstay Height: 11.9" (30.1cm)
Weight: 2lbs 1oz (940 grams)*
* Average of a sample of boots I've weighed was 1018g (2lbs 4oz), so a bit lighter than average - and you can feel it when you pick them up too. Heaviest were 2lbs 15oz (1320g) and lightest were 1lb 10oz (740g).
Width: Just a touch wider than medium. So, I would say medium bordering on mid-wide. Probably not wide enough for those with really wide feet, but for regular width or a little wider than normal feet.
True to Size?: Yes, IMO. I'm typically a 10 and the 10 fit me perfectly. Toes just touching the end but without pressure on them - and the boot fit really well all round, not just length-wise for my feet. I wouldn't buy this boot in any smaller a size but also wouldn't buy it in any bigger a size - so just right with the 10.
High or Low Arch: Average in terms of the pressure on the tops of my feet. Just right in the normal range.
I tested the Photon against my control boots (as always) and also against the Burton Ion. The Photon gave a little bit more when leaning into a hard carve than the Tactical ADV (my control boots) but not quite as much as the Ion.
When it came to short/sharp turns at slower speeds, the Photon wasn't as agile as the Tactical ADV but more agile than the Ion. Always amazes me how much difference different boots can make to these factors.
Had more heel lift than I'd typically get - and more so than on the Ion and the Tactical ADV. Still nothing too major, but heel hold not as good as I'm used to. That caused a little bit of rubbing on inside of my heel. Didn't cause any problems, but potentially could have caused a blister with continuous use. Heel hold does largely depend on the foot though - and I do have fairly skinny ankles.
One speed lace clip tightens the bottom 3 ropes and the other does the top 3. They are completely separate. So that allows for good independent adjustment of upper and lower sections of the outer boot. Not as much as traditional lacing but still good adjustability for the outer boot.
The liner has a standard lacing harness - with a better quality feeling clip than I've seen on a lot of boots lately, which was nice to see - and has velcro to help secure the top of the liner around the shins. I like how the velcro for the top of the liner works on these boots.
Let’s Break up this text with a Video
The Photon comes it at around 4:22
I found these boots really nice and comfortable from the get go. Right from when I tried them on. And then they got more and more comfortable as I rode them.
The only small thing was the slight rubbing on inside of heel from that bit of heel lift. It didn't cause any comfort issues to me for the day I rode them, but could have been a long term thing, if I was riding them a lot. But otherwise one of the more comfortable boots I've ridden, from the moment I put them on. Nice and snug but without discomfort.
Didn't absorb shock and chatter quite as well as the Ion - and certainly not as well as the Tactical ADV (which is the most shock absorbing boot I've ridden). The Ion and Tactical ADV outperformed the Photon in both the stomp test that I do in office and on snow. Not like super lacking in shock absorption or anything, but not amazing either.
On sole inspection the sole of the boot had very little flex. There was some flex towards the toes (there's always more there than the mid-foot and heel), but even at the toes not a lot.
And on snow that did translate to less board feel. The Ion even had more board feel - and typically a stiffer boot wouldn't have as much (the Ion is stiffer than the Photon) but in this case the Ion outperformed the Photon for board feel. Again though, it wasn't terrible or anything.
The sole seemed good quality - with average tread depth and a good variety in tread pattern. And felt like it had good grip when walking in them.
Nice and low profile. That combined with the Bevel in the toe, gives this boots a nice small footprint.
My foot was able to slip into the boot quite easily - and then had a snug feeling once it was inside. And with the speed lacing, it was really easy and fast to get the outer boot on. So, overall really easy entry/exit.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
TOTAL after normalizing
The Photon are a really solid choice of boots and a great choice for anyone looking for a boot that's better quality than the average boot and just that little bit stiffer than average, without being super stiff or unforgiving.
Someone looking for something that feels comfortable right out of the box will appreciate this boot too (noting that comfort will vary as all feet are different - but I found them super comfortable from the get go).
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you’re interested in learning more about the Photon, 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 Photon compared to other all-mountain boots, or want to check out some other options, check out the link below.
Hi Nate, first of all thank you for the great reviews, you have helped me a lot with your guides! I am an advanced rider and just changed my old gear (beginner rocker board, noname bindings, burton motos from about 10 years ago, yes I know very old) to some better stuff this season, and absolutely love the transition!
I got myself a Yes Greats Uninc 2019-2020 in 154cm, with Burton Malavita bindings (M), and started to transition from regular only riding to learing riding switch, doing 180s, butters and even landed my first 360 last week (last day of the season here in austria). Thanks to you, I got the Yes Greats, because I am really focusing on buttering / flatland tricks, but also want to bomb down and do some carves (don’t have many features in my ski resorts).
I tried to test some boots, but as it was nearly end of season I only could test out one Salomon (which is not the right fit for me).
I do feel that my boots are dead by now and are holding me back from more progress, so I need some boots that fit my riding stile. As I said I really fell in love with buttering and flatland tricks, and I am woundering what sort of flex would be ideal for my case.
I have Mondo 26,5cm, and I think that a mid-wide Burton boot or similar would fit me the most. I really want a Dual Boa, and found some potential boots:
Burton Photons and Ions look promising, but so do for example Ride Lasso, or Deeluxe ID. What would you recommend? I’ll probably wait for the start of the next season and then will try as many boots as possible and hopefully learn even more than this season, I’m hooked!
PS: when I am boarding I get very sore feet after a long day of learning tricks, and during the day have to make several short breaks during a single run because my feet are hurting, do you think tighter boots with better support will mitigate this?
Thanks in advanced and with best regards,
Thanks for your message. I think the Photon could work well. The Ions don’t have articulating cuffs and might be a bit stiff for the style of riding you’re wanting to do. The Photon are a bit more flexy, articulating and a really good match for the rest of your setup, IMO. So those would be a good bet. The Swath BOA or Ruler BOA could also work, if you wanted to go softer, but if you wanted a bit of extra stiffness, then the Photon would be the goer. The Swath still a bit stiffer than the Moto though. Motos, especially 10 year old ones, are really soft.
We haven’t tested the Deeluxe ID, but the Lasso could work. They’re a touch stiffer than the Photon, in my experience, but not by a lot. However, I would say they aren’t what I would call mid-wide. They aren’t super narrow or anything either, but what I would call right in the middle in terms of width. If you’re looking for something a little wider, they may not quite fit how you’d want them to.
In terms of your foot pain, it’s possible that your boots are too big – or just too worn out/packed out and you’ve got too much space in there. If your boots are too big, then your feet have to work harder, which might be part of it, but it’s hard to say for sure exactly what might be causing it. But if you size correctly, hopefully that issue won’t be there with new boots. But yeah, it’s most likely to be boots that are causing the sore feet, IMO.
Some things to keep in mind for boot fit:
>>How to Size Snowboard Boots
Sizing Snowboard Boots: The Different Brands
Hope this helps
Thank you very much for the detailed answer Nate, I really appreciate your efforts! I will definitely try the Photons for next season, since I do have wider feet (when compared to my Mondo size). I was very unsure before if the flex of my board / binding would be a good fit with the said boots, since I heard that you have to “flex match” your equipment if you want a good overall feel.
Have a great day and thank you again for your great work!
You’re very welcome Matthias. Glad we could help and hope the Photon’s treat you well.
Hi, i have Jhones Frontier with Burton Genesis bidings. I am an intermediate rider hitting groomers and ocasionaly light offpiste terain (no park).
Do you think that Photon Boas are a good match for me?
Thanks in advance!
Thanks for your message.
I think the Photon Boas should work well for what you’re describing and your setup. Note that the most important thing with boots is their fit – so as long as they are a good fit to your feet, then they are a good bet. In terms of flex match and matching to your riding style and your gear, they should work well.
Hope this helps
I have just received my photons and they are super comfortable. I am a size 10 in almost every shoe i have ever worn. i have a size 10 photon. i have a concern with my toes touching the end. its not uncomfortable atm however its enough to be concerned how they may feel on a heelside carv. do they pack out a bit?tey supposed to be touching? im really on the fence weather i should go to a 10.5.
Do you have any thoughts on this matter? everyone says they are true to size so just trying to figure this out.
Thanks for your message and really good question.
Yes they will pack out a bit and touching the end is fine. In fact, ideal fit is that your toes are just grazing the end in a normal standing position. So long as there isn’t too much pressure on your toes and your toes don’t have to curl or scrunch up to be comfortable, then you’re fine. So it sounds like you’re fit is just right. If you are concerned that there is a bit too much pressure there, then you could always heat mold with a toe cap to give your toes a little more space, but from you’re describing they sound like they’re a good fit to me.
Nice review. I Just got these with the Boa system. They feel and fit awesome. I have not ridden with them yet. Outgrew my old equipment and upgrading. A 2022 custom will be under the christmas tree this year. Now its a toss up between est cartel x and est malavitas. Leaning toward cartel x for the response. Malavita comfort sounds nice too though. I mostly free ride. My old bindings are 2008 cartels. Love em. Any thoughts?
Thanks for your message. Great christmas present!
I would be leaning Cartel X as well. The Malavitas would definitely work with the Custom/Photon Boa (I tested the Custom with Malavitas, and it definitely works) but I think the Cartel X would be more optimal. A slightly better flex match to the Custom – and, IMO, a better match with the style you’re describing. Again, Malavitas wouldn’t be a wrong choice, but I think the Cartel X would be the more optimal choice, in this case.
Hope this helps