Last week, I headed to Mammoth Mountain for an event called Outpost Trade. One of the sponsors was Burton, who brought their new Step On boots and bindings for anyone to test out. While I am not a snowboarder myself, I spent three days riding with people who are and let me say from a skier’s perspective, you’ll never have to leave your snowboarder friends at home again.
This isn’t Burton’s first attempt at a step-in binding — the company came out with one years ago but it didn’t quite live up to their high expectations. So Burton went back to the drawing board, putting together a skunkworks team that was tasked with nothing but creating the ultimate binding in terms of saving time, reducing the number of times you touch the binding, never having to sit down, and last of all, did not look kooky.
Using similar technology to what Burton has been using in their traditional strap buckles for years, the Step On binding locks your boot into the binding without the need for straps. Three connection points – two by the toe and one at the heel – securely lock your boot to the binding.
Toe cleats located on each side of the forefoot lock into hooks found on the toe side of each Step On baseplate. A larger cleat at the heel slides and locks into the heel buckle. Designed using the same principles as locking teeth found in traditional binding buckles, this component features two levels of connection to accommodate for varying accumulations of snow and icepack.
A simple, low-profile release lever is found on the heelcup of the binding. Pull the lever up, let it go, and your boot is released, allowing you to step out. The handle automatically resets after you step out, so you can step right back on if needed.
A built in ankle strap on the Step On boots lets you adjust the heel hold and forward flex stiffness. Fit is further controlled by a bomber Boa dial lacing system.
By the end of a day testing out the Step On system, one of the guys I was riding with was able to clip in straight off the lift and keep riding down the mountain. I didn’t have to wait for him at all and it was fun to watch the other snowboarders look on with curiosity. One of the female snowboarders I rode with said she felt more secure and rode better in the Step On bindings compared to her normal buckle bindings.
The Burton Step On boots and bindings bundle retails for $620 (women’s)-$650 and is available now.