I am yet to try the Burton Step On bindings but I would be remiss to have a snowboarding website and not bring up the topic.
Love them or hate them, Burton are doubtless one of the most innovative snowboard companies going around – at least where bindings are concerned anyway.
They have EST channel bindings which go with Burton’s channel system boards – the only company that really does anything outside of standard 2 x 4 bindings, these days.
And now the Step On.
What are Step-On Bindings?
These are essentially what they sound like. Bindings that you just step into.
So, there’s no need to strap in when you get off the lift – you just step-on and ride off.
Much like old “Step-In” bindings were supposed to do but didn’t do very well.
You do however require special boots that specifically fit into the bindings. So, if you are planning on making the switch you will need to invest in new boots as well as the bindings – and you will be restricted to Burton boots only.
So, if Burton boots don’t tend to be a good fit for you, then the step-on system may not be for you – or at least not yet. If it takes off, then no doubt other companies will make boots that fit into them.
How Do You Get Into Them?
There is a connecting hook in the highback and there are two connectors on the sides of the bindings.
There are corresponding cleats on the back of the boot and the sides of the boot.
The heel goes in first and you should hear a click – but, apparently, it’s subtle. Then you push the toes in to engage the other two cleats on the sides of the boot. There is, apparently, a louder click for the side clicks.
See video below for demonstration for how they work.
How do You Get Out of Them?
There is a lever on the side of the bindings that releases the heel hook to allow you lift your heel out. Then you twist the front of your foot to get loose from the toe hooks.
This is apparently pretty easy to do.
How Easy Are They?
From reports of people who have tried the system, it doesn’t take too long to get to a point where you can can step in (sorry step on 😉 ) as you come off the lift, so you can ride off as fast as a skier does.
At first it takes a little bit of getting used to – but not that long by all accounts.
Why Step Ons?
Apparently, Jake Burton asked for them because he wanted them himself. So, if this is something that you would like, then you’ve got him to thank!
But I think it goes further than that.
I think there is a desire amongst some snowboarders to be able to strap in faster – hence the rear entry/speed entry bindings produced by Flow and GNU. And this is probably more augmented for those who tend to ride with skiers and want to be strapped in faster so as not to hold them up.
For those of use who aren’t concerned about holding skiers up for an extra 15 seconds (I mean come on guys!) or taking a bit of time at the top of the lift to take in the view, then there’s less incentive but it’s certainly clear there is a reason why these are coming out.
And maybe it’s also a way to attract new snowboarders and get some skiers to switch to snowboarding.
What People Who Tried Them Thought
Below are some links to a few different reviews of the Burton Step On system. I will reserve my judgement until I have had a chance to try them for myself.
>>Transworld Snowboarding Step On Review
>>King Snow Mag Step On Review
Is This a New Idea?
Strapless, step-in bindings have been tried before. This isn’t a new idea. But it’s never really been done well. Will Burton’s new strap-on bindings change that?
From the accounts I’ve read so far, they are a darn sight better than anything that’s come out before. Whether they’re good enough to foot it with strapped bindings is yet to be seen but there’s potential there.
It’s no surprise that this was thought of, given that this is essentially how skiers get in and out of their skis.
Will the Board Come Off?
It might be true that skiers already use a similar system. But when you see a skier take a good tumble their skis often come off.
We definitely don’t want this to happen with a snowboard – and certainly don’t need it as skiers sometimes do.
So, what’s the verdict on this?
From all of the reviews that I’ve read so far no one has reported coming out of the Step-On bindings. But time will tell and we’ll get an idea over the next season whether we get any reports of people releasing from the bindings.
Are They Compatible with All Snowboards?
It sounds like they have made them compatible with all current snowboard bindings mounting systems – so you’re good there.
But Do They Perform as Well as Strap-In?
This is still yet to be truly decided but the reports are positive so far. No one is claiming that they’re better but most say they’re as good.
The Pros and Cons
There are a number of pros and cons and it seems at the moment that the pros will outweigh the cons for some and visa versa for others.
- Fast to get in and out
- No need to bend down or sit down when getting in
- You have a minimal selection of boots.
- They have to be Burton (which usually isn’t a bad thing but Burton may not fit your particular foot well); UPDATE: DC are also now making some Step On boots
- There is a limited selection (2 men’s and 2 women’s); and UPDATE: There are more options now
- All boot options use the Boa lacing system – this is fine if you like it but if you don’t, then it won’t suit you UPDATE: There are non-BOA options now – but still quite limited
- You have to get new boots to use the system
- Can’t use the boots in other bindings
- Can be tricky to step-on if you’re on a steep slope
- Apparently, there is a bit of a clicking sound as you ride
A number of these cons might become obsolete if these become popular. For example other boot companies might start making boots for them and Burton might offer more boot options down the line too.
Who Will These be Best For?
From what I can see the main market is for:
- Older riders who have trouble getting up from sitting down to strap in or struggle to bend over to strap in standing up
- Those who can’t, haven’t yet mastered or don’t want to learn how to strap in standing up and don’t like doing it sitting down
- Beginners who find it difficult to get going from a seated position and who haven’t yet learned to strap in standing up
- Anyone who wants to get going off the lift as fast as possible
- Anyone who rides with skiers a lot and wants to be able to get going as quickly as them
Will This Revolutionize Snowboard Bindings or be a Passing Fad?
Will we look back in 10 years time, or even 5 years time and say “I can’t believe we ever had to strap into out bindings!”; or
Will these be around for a season or two and then disappear or be confined to a small niche section of snowboarders?
What do you think? Would you give them a try?
Would love to hear what others think. Just leave a comment in the comments section below.
Max Lai says
Hey just something you may want to update in your article – as of last year, DC are started making boots for Burton’s step on system. They are called the DC Control Step On boots. This season they expanded and added the venerated Judge boots to the lineup. So any fans of DC boots can also try the system. They also have 2 different boots for women. Last season Burton had 5 different boots for men – the Ion, the Photon, the Swath, the Ruler, and the Photon Wide. It’s true the limited selection in boots is a con, but finally this year I was able to find a boot that fit OK, the Photon Wide. I’ve been trying ever since it came out, for the same reason as Wayne Cunningham posted. I’m older, and while I can still strap in, I hate making all the skiers wait for me. I’m also fatter now and that makes all the difference. Also of note, I love asked every shop around me if they tried it and liked it, and the majority of the reactions were positive. Here’s hoping I enjoy these boots and they work well!
Thanks for the message.
I did update the post in June last year, to mention that DC are now making step on boots and that Burton now have more options. But I should maybe go in and list the particular options that are now available, when I find the time – crazy busy right now testing gear!
I’ve also since been able to test Step Ons, which I should also update the article for.
Hope the Photon Wide treat you well!
Wayne Cunningham says
Just turned 70 on Dec. 1. Rather than sitting on my ass to strap in for the last 15 years or so I do the toe touch to engage the strap bindings. While this vertical yoga has kept me limber, I want to keep up with my ski buddies when I get of the lift. So took the plunge and just purchased my first set of Burton step on boots and bindings. Hope these puppies will help me ride well into my 90s. Peace out.
Thanks for your message. And your inspiration! Hope I can be in the same shape as you when I’m 70 and still going strong. Hope the Step Ons treat you well!
Darrin Bragunier says
DC makes boots that work with Step on bindings. Burton licensed them to DC snowboard. Hopefully other companies in the future will be able to have compatible boots.
Thanks for your message.
Yeah DC have made Step On boots, since I published this article. Thanks for pointing it out, so I can update it. And yeah, would be nice to have a couple of other brand options. Maybe ThirtyTwo or Vans. Can’t see anyone who also makes bindings doing any step on compatible boots, but some others might?
I have been riding with Burton binding and boots from day one. Just started with Step-ons (Women’s Ritual) this season and I adore them. They have changed the game for me. I’m not a big powder chaser so that hasn’t been an issue, but I have ridden these in the park and feel they function as well if not better than my Lexa bindings. I love them. Though I will say the $650 was a huge leap of faith, but so far is paying off big time.
Thanks for your feedback and insight. Great to hear and glad you’re investment is paying off!
Max Nguyen says
First season they came out I got a pair of photons step ons. Rode them 85 days and after getting used to them (2days) and braking them in so there is no pinky to pain (7 days) I really didn’t have a single thing to complain about.
They are comfortable. Responsive. Easy to get in and out.
I started getting into the terrain park so this last year I thought a traditional set would be better.
I’m not sure if they are or not. But I feel like step on were just as good.
My daughter just turned 2 and I’ll be trying to get her on the hill next season. I will 100% be getting step on again just for how awesome they are for getting in and out. I’m sure I will like that as teaching a toddler will be challenging in itself.
Thanks for your input. Good to hear experiences of Step-ons, as I still haven’t tried them. Definitely want to make things as easy as possible teaching a toddler, for sure! My 3 year old got on the hill this season just gone, and it was fun but also challenging.
Been using this year model with the rulers. I have to say these are a great pair of bindings. I have the cartels and union super force bindings and compared them to my bsod and ns west. It’s a really different type of riding experience. Both the cartels and super force are great bindings and I felt I had great control on both boards. But once I started using the Step ons I felt I had so much more control going from edge to edge. The two boards i have naturally had very great response rate but it felt even better with the stepon. I assume its because the bindings and boots are stuck on the board so once your feet lifts the board lift. But regular bindings there is always some give becuase we are using the straps to pull the board.
Getting in and out of the board. I did spend 15 min figuring out how to get in and out of the board properly the first day I brought it home. Once I figured it out after watching a few burton videos it now takes me 2-4 seconds to step on and off. I can be skating off the chair lift and while I’m skating step on to them and just continue riding. That right no stopping.
There has been once where I thought I stepped on and it didnt and my feet came off the board but that was my first day with it and I havent had the problem since. I’m sure it was cause I was a noob.
I do have one issue with this binding after using it for so long now is that on my right boot the top outer clip i sometimes have to put a little extra pressure for it too lock. But besides that the ride is great.
I originally thought these would be my casual riding boots and I would keep my thirty twos and union bindings for more aggressive days. But I think the step on has replaced them completely as I feel I have way more control when I’m riding.
Previously people have claimed there was hotspot near their toe. I have yet to experiance that in the 2018-19 version. Not sure if the boots just fit my feet or they have fixed the issue. But I currently have no issues and the boots feel great. Better than thirty twos. Definitely not as comfortable as the deeluxe boots.
Anyways I would highly recommend trying the Step ons. Especially for new riders just getting into the sport. They are easy and quick to use. And you will save a lot of energy not having to strap in and out while sitting down. Or people that ride groomers only at resorts they will slay those just fine. I think for more experiance riders it’s more of a preference. The ride feels different when using stepon compared to tradional bindings. But it’s not a negative it’s just preference.
Thanks so much for your detailed account of your experience with Step Ons. Great to get others inputs and I’m sure this will be very useful for anyone reading this and considering Step Ons.
Veda Loca says
Hire someone to teach your kids. Coming from a mom who has done both. Kids will be less whiny with others than w you.
Great point and I agree – kids do tend to be less whiny for other people. I have my kid signed up for lessons this winter – and look forward not having to do the teaching!
Peter Donahue says
I bought and used Step Ons with Photon boots last season. Used 6 days total. I found them to be rather disappointing. I had used Clickers for many years and thought these might be a good replacement. Wrong. These are harder to deal with than strap bindings. Hard to click in, hard to release. I gave them a chance, but was very dissatisfied. I still can’t believe that this is the setup they came up with. Hard to step in heal first. Big problems with getting the back foot to lock all the way in. I had one of the front cleats twist out a couple times on big turns. That was dangerous. I’m going back to straps because of these. These will join the ranks of failed step in bindings before long.
Thanks for your input.
Good to hear people’s experiences of Step Ons. I haven’t tried them (and have too much gear to test as it is, so probably won’t venture into step ons, at least not in the near future), so it’s good to get some insight from someone who has had experience with them.
Then you’re doing something wrong. Are you sure you had the right size boots and bindings? If you’re engaged in the heel point you aren’t coming out even if you haven’t engaged the toes, one toe side turn and those puppies are going to engage though.
I rode k2 clickers over the last 3 seasons. After ripping the soles off 2 pairs of boots I went to the step ons. I’ve only ridden strap bindings on one run back in the 90’s so I can’t compare. But to the clickers they’re worlds better. The interface is so easy to use I can step on while riding on the chair! When I get to the top I stand up and go. The board feel is amazing in comparison and I’ve been able to ride harder for longer. Truly allowed me to up my game. I’ve never come out of the binding and I’ve done some pretty knarly stuff as well as some good falls. If you’re using the proper size binding to boot I don’t see how coming out of the binding unless you release the heel manually is ever going to happen. They’re a great setup and this year I bought 2 more bindings and another set of boots.
Good for snow domes and short drag lifts where youre strapping in a lot. I used to have Flow bindings which were great at the snow dome But a right pain if you crashed in deep powder. If I was rich I would try these (not at all likely). I would never dismiss anything without trying it.
Definitely agree that they’re worth a try. And you make a good point re snow domes and short lifts
Definitely something I want to give a shot. I’ve had some buddies at shops try them and swear by them. Enough for me to buy a set to try for sure.