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Burton Photon Step on Boots review - 2 weeks use (stiffness lost/liner pack out/shell durability issue)

782 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Spaceship
So I got these photons step on early December 2022 along with my girlfriend's limelight step on at the Burton Niseko Store.

Have to say I'm extremely disappointed in the quality of the boots. I rode the DC Judge step on from last year for 20 days which I like but was packing out for me hence I got these boots for the season

1) stiffness totally gone after 10th day. The boots pretty much flex like a woreout 100+ boots. I ride steeper lines down at hokkaido niseko side country gates and tree runs and I will not bring this out with me for those days (sticking with my regular K2 Thraxis from 2014 that still have stiffer flex than these new boots).

2) boot starting to pack out much quicker and I'm getting heel lift already. I tried putting remind insoles in the boots which helped the issue a bit but eventually pack out even more. When I tested in the store it was a tight fit

3) shell durability is pretty poor. I'm quite sure the material used are for showroom aesthetics and have not consider real life riding use. 3 hours in the boot toe portion was damaged quite considerably whereas my DC Judge or K2 Thraxis won't have these issues. Even my old Burton Ruler wasn't this bad

4) New BOA coil pop out just as easy as it is to pop back in. Was riding tree run and probably a branch caught the BOA coil on my right foot (I'm regular). Almost hit a tree not knowing the toeside got compromise from lack of support since there's no backup ankle strap holding on the toeside pressure. This is more of a self issue but with Step on, it's an inherent issue that no strap will protect any part of the boots from branch sticking out.

5) GF boots also suffer shell durability/ liner pack out issues in the last two pictures. She's a beginner rider and is not as hard on her gear nor use as often (6 days max). However the same shell / liner pack out issue is occurring

6) Abysmal customer service in Burton Niseko Hokkaido. This store from my understanding is franchised out by Rhythm and all they care is about the potential sales. I walked in with the popped out BOA mentioned in point 4 and the sales representative Daisuke pulled me aside and pop the BOA back in without trying to understand how this happened. The guy blamed the issue on BOA and that this is a new system which Burton is not responsible for (although the boots does have Burton written all over). I'm more frustrated by the fact that he ignored any of my feedback after he popped the boa back in and start serving other customers. Turns out new potential customers are more important than repeating customers who buy gear yearly since 2008 from Burton. I realize this is a franchised shop by Rhythm and they don't care about screwing up Burton's reputation but this is a major safety concern that should be listen to.


Now I use these step on on easy riding days when I'm teaching beginner on slope. I'll probably go with DC judge again as they do last longer. Burton stuff don't last as long as require you to keep replacing them mid season
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Damn. Tempted to sell these things before I even put a day on them now. The Photon boot shell bunches and bulges around the BOA strings when I tighten up the top BOA just fitting them in the living room. I can almost max the faux ankle strap out on my low volume feet without any days on the snow. Thicker insoles would fix that but then the lower tongue attachment starts to get tight and irritating on the top of my foot. Guess I can foam back the faux strap.
 

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Burton boot durability is bad in my opinnion nowdays. Sad concidering ions cost 500 and have same issues. When shells start to fold it goes fast from there. Almost like if shells were made from cardboard and contact glue. 500$ boots should last more than 20 days without getting annoying soft flex over rated shit goodride hypes.
 

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I rode photon step on last year for 10 days and it was softer and softer. I change them for the Ion this year and it’s a lot stiffer and a better fit for me. Time will tell if they keep up their stiftess. I was not sur about the speed laces at first but it works well.
 

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If you guys are harder riders or ride many days, I would stay away from the models with the fake ankle strap (Ion or Photon). The Boa for the ankle strap will get loose over time and pop out randomly, especially when you are clicking in on the move. Common issue that comes up if heavier usage. I ran into this problem maybe one third into the season in (rode for about 40-50 days that season), switched to DC Control boots about midway through the season due to fit issues and the ankle strap being annoying of the Photon.

Only reason to get Photon is if you need the wide version. Otherwise go with boots that do NOT have the fake ankle strap. I personally liked the DC boots over Burton for my foot shape. I only look at two Boa models or lace models over single Boa (imo single boa cannot get great fit).
 

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I have the exact same complaints about my photon step on boots. The flex is all but lost after about 10 days of riding this season. When I first got them I could barely flex the boots. Now they are like marshmallows. Granted I ride really hard and do big, deep carves, but I would still expect the flex retention to be at least 30 days.

Then one of my top boa completely came loose one day during lunch and it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to plug it back in. I thought my afternoon was ruined (best powder day I’ve ever had) but thankfully I got it back in.

Then there’s still the ongoing issue of the fake ankle strap boa releasing by itself randomly, all the time!

I just picked up a set of K2 boots and Union strata and plan to only use the step on system for the days I teach as a snowboard instructor. It’s a shame since I really love the convenience of step on system, but Burton boots really suck and my feet are too narrow for the DC judge.
 

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...I just picked up a set of K2 boots and Union strata and plan to only use the step on system for the days I teach as a snowboard instructor. It’s a shame since I really love the convenience of step on system, but Burton boots really suck and my feet are too narrow for the DC judge.
You should check out Nitro boots and see if they work for your foot shape. Nitro has step-on boots too (but all are lace / speed lace versions - they don't have any boa sadly).
 

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You should check out Nitro boots and see if they work for your foot shape. Nitro has step-on boots too (but all are lace / speed lace versions - they don't have any boa sadly).
I didn’t even know that nitro made boots for step on, so thanks for letting me know. Unfortunately I really don’t like the speed lace. I had Burton rulers with speed lace in the past and just hated all the extra lace…

I’m really struggling with going back to strap bindings, since I believe they will go obsolete within the next decade as step ons gradually take over the market. I really love my step on system except for the boots. Maybe I should just keep coping with my photons and return the k2 boots plus Union bindings… and just wait for more brands to produce better boa step on boots.
 

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Not quite sure how we get there. Soft boots have always broken down with use. Straps can slow that down and fill in for soft and worn boots. Boots need to be redesigned from the ground up to deal with the stress of being the boot and the strap.

A decade is a long time. Ride straps be happy and check back in 5 years.
 

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I didn’t even know that nitro made boots for step on, so thanks for letting me know. Unfortunately I really don’t like the speed lace. I had Burton rulers with speed lace in the past and just hated all the extra lace…

I’m really struggling with going back to strap bindings, since I believe they will go obsolete within the next decade as step ons gradually take over the market. I really love my step on system except for the boots. Maybe I should just keep coping with my photons and return the k2 boots plus Union bindings… and just wait for more brands to produce better boa step on boots.
Ya, I agree step in systems are really popular, but there will always be die-hard strap users. At Hunter, at least 25% of riders seem to be using Burton Step-On or Flows.

You know... since you're mentioning that you like the feel of straps but also like quick entry, maybe try to grab a pair of Nidecker Supermatic. Best of both worlds & get to use whatever boot you like. Other option is Clew bindings but I haven't tried then.
 

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Ya, I agree step in systems are really popular, but there will always be die-hard strap users. At Hunter, at least 25% of riders seem to be using Burton Step-On or Flows.

You know... since you're mentioning that you like the feel of straps but also like quick entry, maybe try to grab a pair of Nidecker Supermatic. Best of both worlds & get to use whatever boot you like. Other option is Clew bindings but I haven't tried then.
Thanks. I’ll check out the Supermatic. I don’t actually like straps actually, since they’ve always caused pain on the top of my foot when dangling the board on the lift. I actually really like the Burton step on bindings without any straps - simple, light-weight, and tight and responsive. The lack of forward lean annoyed me in the beginning but I have no problem carving low without large forward lean anyway.

My concern with the strap-style step on like the Supermatics is that the straps can’t be too tight, or else it’s hard to step in, but I have to try to know. The Supermatics are also $400 which is too expensive IMO…
 

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Thanks. I’ll check out the Supermatic. I don’t actually like straps actually, since they’ve always caused pain on the top of my foot when dangling the board on the lift. I actually really like the Burton step on bindings without any straps - simple, light-weight, and tight and responsive. The lack of forward lean annoyed me in the beginning but I have no problem carving low without large forward lean anyway.

My concern with the strap-style step on like the Supermatics is that the straps can’t be too tight, or else it’s hard to step in, but I have to try to know. The Supermatics are also $400 which is too expensive IMO…
Rome bindings with the pivot mount at 12 generally resolve that strap pain issue.
 

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Bummer to hear that … Yeah I tried on some Burton rulers and the fit was not that great and it seemed like they were gonna fall apart after one season … went with K2 Maysis and Love them.. had Darkos for a couple years and they held up great.
 
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