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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Coming from Cartels, I bought Step Ons their very first season and I've put 20+ days in them since. Here's my unbiased review.

Pros:
  • Quickest binding entry possible. Yes even faster than you people who can strap in while moving.
  • Uniform boot tightness. Once you set up your boots perfectly, you don't have to worry about your bindings making them tighter.
  • Less straps to get in the way. Less overall frustration accidentally standing on a strap.
  • Lighter board. It's easier to carry around your board without straps flopping all over the place and their weight. Your boots are heavier though.
  • Uniform feel. With Step Ons you're either in or not. There's no variation in strap tightness, for example, that may impact performance.
  • Durability. There are so few moving parts on a Step On that I can't imagine it breaking. No ratchet springs, strap screws, or other small parts to break.
  • Works well in powder. Despite what some people say, I never had any issues locking in even on whiteout pow days with snow in the binding. Heck you can lock into a Step On even in zero gravity with nothing to push your board against.
Cons:
  • Lack of forward lean. IMO the biggest downsides of Step Ons. Too much forward lean would make it impossible to lock in the heel (per Burton customer service), so even max forward lean feels like 0 degrees. This makes Step Ons a lot weaker for carving.
  • Lack of adjustability. Again another inherent weakness of Step Ons. They require a precise fit on your boot attachments, so any adjustments on your bindings would break alignment with your boots. There's probably nothing they can do about this other than redesigning the system from the ground up.
  • Limited boot selection. There's only a handful of boots you can use, even though DC is getting in the game.
  • Can't try another binding. Want one stiff binding setup and another flexible one? Too bad!
  • Can't swap gear with friends. If your friends aren't using Step Ons too, you can't try each other's gear.
  • Tight toe box. Boots that normally fit you well will feel tight in the toe box due to the stiffness required there to lock in.
  • Limited availability. Boots and bindings have sold out every season since launch.
  • Harder to unstrap. Twisting your foot out is tough in many situations such as when you're seated or moving. It requires a surprising amount of force to twist out. Overall regular bindings are easier.
  • Not as responsive as stiffer bindings. You have to put in extra work to get the same result as stiffer bindings such as Now Drives.
  • Makes choosing gear boring. If you have a spending problem and enjoy nerding out about gear all the time, Step Ons makes life a little duller by making two choices obsolete (bindings, boots).
Overall after fully converting to Step Ons, owning two pairs of them and two pairs of their boots (Ions, Photon), I've fully switched back to regular bindings.

I adored Step Ons when I first tried them. They seemed as good as my Burton Cartels in every way plus a ton of overall convenience. I generally considered them the future of bindings (I still do, to an extent). But after trying a regular binding (Now Drives) after adjusting to the Step Ons, the difference is immediately noticeable. I fell down on my first few turns because I was used to leaning so far over for my bindings to respond. Laid out carves that I was trying to learn suddenly became natural. Heck, even skidded turns were easier to do on the regular bindings, especially on my 10/10 stiffness full camber board. I felt in touch with my snowboard once again, and I never knew that was gone when I was on the Step Ons.

After switching to regular bindings I really started to appreciate how easy it is to get in and out of Step Ons. Fiddling with straps, especially on uneven terrain, is such a momentum killer. Small things like accidentally stepping on your straps / ladders while buckling in seem extra frustrating knowing that you don't have to deal with any of that in a Step On. Also, dealing with foot numbness due to over-tightening is another pain that you never deal with on Step Ons. I miss setting up my boots once and forgetting about it for the rest of the day.

Overall I really want to be 100% Step Ons and I've spent the money on them to prove it. But there is an unavoidable tradeoff you make in terms of performance and convenience. Even though I really value convenience (ex: using BOAs instead of traditional lacing), the Step On tradeoff is too high IMO for an advanced rider or better. I hope Burton proves me wrong and finds some way to improve Step Ons, because I'd gladly buy another two sets if they did.

Hope you enjoyed this review!

Separate review: Ions vs Photon Step Ons
  • Ions have a larger, more comfortable toe box. Better for people with wide feet
  • Photons seem easier to get a tight fit, probably due to BOAs. Speedlace Ions on max tightness felt looser overall
  • Even though the Photon has two BOAs, the first one tightens the whole boot. It's not a true dual zone system.
 

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Can you expand a bit on the difference in responsiveness you felt switching back to your Nows? Was it the stiffness, the forward lean, or something else that made the difference?
 

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I’m at around 25 days on Step Ons this season (Swath Step Ons), but I am a beginner so can’t comment on much of what the OP put. I transitioned from skiing so was after more convenience than traditional strapping in, at which the Step Ons get 10/10 score. I would agree that twisting out is not as easy as with normal bindings, but may be more just me needing to continue to practice.

I did max out the forward lean, and move the foot bed plate 0.5 size forward so I don’t have any issues stepping on. For anyone that is intermediate/advanced they may not like some of the compromises compared to traditional, but for me they work great.

As a beginner the more limited selection is actually a benefit (at least for me) as less need to figure out what to buy.

I do think that over the next couple of years we will see more companies license either the boots and/or bindings, which should really be of benefit to the snowboarding world.

Overall I love them and don’t see myself switching to traditional bindings anytime soon.

Thanks

TheSalamander
 

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I have ridden mine for almost 3 months and in some of OP point in terms of Cons, i disagree with the responsiveness of the binding compared to traditional bindings,granted i do not own a NOW bindings but i have used Unions,K2 ,Flow NX2 and lastly the Fuse GT hybrid, it is quicker on the S/O.

The forward lean is not much compared to traditional but it does not make it weaker for carving.
Removing your boot just takes practice,remember the lever stays up when you lift your heel up then twist it then(lever)retuns to its ready to latch mode. This can be done as you slow down to a stop.
Lack of adjustability i believe only matters to freestylers i could be wrong but i'm a freerider and once i'm locked in, away i go, The boot is where the comfort lies because the binding has no straps to adjust.

Nevertheless,i agree on issue of limited use. I use flow bindings,but i cannot use my Step-on boots(Photon) on to my other board because the toe cleat gets it the way, you can remove the heel cleat but it would still not work. If you have the photon boots, you can use a regular binding with this boots but it requires you to cut the ankle part of the boa. If you have the Ruler boot,you are good. I have to bring my other boots if i decided to take my powder board along with my warpig.

To the OP,are you planning on selling your S/O as a set or individual?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Can you expand a bit on the difference in responsiveness you felt switching back to your Nows? Was it the stiffness, the forward lean, or something else that made the difference?
Tough to fully say since three variables changed: max forward lean (vs max lean on the Step Ons), different binding (similar stiffness ratings however Skate Tech in the Now bindings), and different boot (Ion Step On vs regular Photon).

If I had to guess though, I think the forward lean made the biggest difference since Step Ons are already a pretty stiff binding. Photons are considered less stiff than Step On Ion boots, so that could have worked against me in terms of responsiveness.

Overall it felt a lot easier to set my edge and hold it. Heel side was the most dramatic by far, likely due to the forward lean. I kept falling down initiating heel side carves because I was used to leaning back so far. It only took the slightest of angles to set a strong edge. Honestly it felt like a world of a difference heel side, as if I only had to lean back half as much as less. Toe side also felt more powerful, but honestly toe side was strong on my Step Ons too.

Something I didn't expect was that skidded turns were easier in the Nows. I was riding a Ryan Knapton styled board that's extra wide (28cm), 10/10 stiff, massive effective edge, and full full camber. At slow speeds, a skidded toe side turn on my Step Ons can be difficult to initiate. Surprisingly with the Nows it made my board feel like a rocker in terms of turn initiation. It just felt so easy. I don't think forward lean makes a big difference on a toe side skidded turn, so this leads me to believe the Nows are more responsive for other unknown reasons. Maybe the Skate Tech thing is legit.

Wish I had another regular binding to test out other than the Nows so I could give you a better answer. My Cartel highbacks actually developed a crack so I'm ruling those out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have ridden mine for almost 3 months and in some of OP point in terms of Cons, i disagree with the responsiveness of the binding compared to traditional bindings,granted i do not own a NOW bindings but i have used Unions,K2 ,Flow NX2 and lastly the Fuse GT hybrid, it is quicker on the S/O.

The forward lean is not much compared to traditional but it does not make it weaker for carving.
Removing your boot just takes practice,remember the lever stays up when you lift your heel up then twist it then(lever)retuns to its ready to latch mode. This can be done as you slow down to a stop.
Lack of adjustability i believe only matters to freestylers i could be wrong but i'm a freerider and once i'm locked in, away i go, The boot is where the comfort lies because the binding has no straps to adjust.

Nevertheless,i agree on issue of limited use. I use flow bindings,but i cannot use my Step-on boots(Photon) on to my other board because the toe cleat gets it the way, you can remove the heel cleat but it would still not work. If you have the photon boots, you can use a regular binding with this boots but it requires you to cut the ankle part of the boa. If you have the Ruler boot,you are good. I have to bring my other boots if i decided to take my powder board along with my warpig.

To the OP,are you planning on selling your S/O as a set or individual?
Really interesting you bring this up - it's possible that Step Ons are just as good as most regular bindings (ex: Cartels, Unions, etc) but instead the increase in responsiveness was specific to the Now Drives I rode. If I ever try a different binding I'll report back my findings (my Cartel highbacks cracked).

I actually sold my Step On sets after the very first day on the Nows, the difference was so dramatic to me. The funny thing is since Step Ons this season are still sold out in a bunch of places, I didn't take that big of a loss on them. Still enough to piss off the wife though. Both pairs of bindings and boots are gone now.
 

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I am not familiar with NOW bindings but i did watch and read topics about them.The skate tech would definitely makes a difference depending on what bushing pads you use. The S/O bindings has some cushioning for dampness of ride but its minimal, i also wish they have more canting like my Flows have. I could imagine that if Burton somehow duplicates the skate tech and apply it to their S/O bindings?!,that would be crazy great!. I do believe that S/O is more of a preference with less parts(straps) to deal with and mine is the "less for more" attitude.
 

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Lack of forward lean. IMO the biggest downsides of Step Ons. Too much forward lean would make it impossible to lock in the heel (per Burton customer service), so even max forward lean feels like 0 degrees. This makes Step Ons a lot weaker for carving.
Do you have an idea what max forward lean on Step Ons could be on a regular Burton bindings scale - F1 or even less?
 

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I’m at around 25 days on Step Ons this season (Swath Step Ons), but I am a beginner so can’t comment on much of what the OP put. I transitioned from skiing so was after more convenience than traditional strapping in, at which the Step Ons get 10/10 score. I would agree that twisting out is not as easy as with normal bindings, but may be more just me needing to continue to practice.

I did max out the forward lean, and move the foot bed plate 0.5 size forward so I don’t have any issues stepping on. For anyone that is intermediate/advanced they may not like some of the compromises compared to traditional, but for me they work great.

As a beginner the more limited selection is actually a benefit (at least for me) as less need to figure out what to buy.

I do think that over the next couple of years we will see more companies license either the boots and/or bindings, which should really be of benefit to the snowboarding world.

Overall I love them and don’t see myself switching to traditional bindings anytime soon.

Thanks

TheSalamander
Hi, how do you adjust forward lean and how can you check at what level of lean is the system?

thanks
 

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Coming from Cartels, I bought Step Ons their very first season and I've put 20+ days in them since. Here's my unbiased review.

Pros:
  • Quickest binding entry possible. Yes even faster than you people who can strap in while moving.
  • Uniform boot tightness. Once you set up your boots perfectly, you don't have to worry about your bindings making them tighter.
  • Less straps to get in the way. Less overall frustration accidentally standing on a strap.
  • Lighter board. It's easier to carry around your board without straps flopping all over the place and their weight. Your boots are heavier though.
  • Uniform feel. With Step Ons you're either in or not. There's no variation in strap tightness, for example, that may impact performance.
  • Durability. There are so few moving parts on a Step On that I can't imagine it breaking. No ratchet springs, strap screws, or other small parts to break.
  • Works well in powder. Despite what some people say, I never had any issues locking in even on whiteout pow days with snow in the binding. Heck you can lock into a Step On even in zero gravity with nothing to push your board against.
Cons:
  • Lack of forward lean. IMO the biggest downsides of Step Ons. Too much forward lean would make it impossible to lock in the heel (per Burton customer service), so even max forward lean feels like 0 degrees. This makes Step Ons a lot weaker for carving.
  • Lack of adjustability. Again another inherent weakness of Step Ons. They require a precise fit on your boot attachments, so any adjustments on your bindings would break alignment with your boots. There's probably nothing they can do about this other than redesigning the system from the ground up.
  • Limited boot selection. There's only a handful of boots you can use, even though DC is getting in the game.
  • Can't try another binding. Want one stiff binding setup and another flexible one? Too bad!
  • Can't swap gear with friends. If your friends aren't using Step Ons too, you can't try each other's gear.
  • Tight toe box. Boots that normally fit you well will feel tight in the toe box due to the stiffness required there to lock in.
  • Limited availability. Boots and bindings have sold out every season since launch.
  • Harder to unstrap. Twisting your foot out is tough in many situations such as when you're seated or moving. It requires a surprising amount of force to twist out. Overall regular bindings are easier.
  • Not as responsive as stiffer bindings. You have to put in extra work to get the same result as stiffer bindings such as Now Drives.
  • Makes choosing gear boring. If you have a spending problem and enjoy nerding out about gear all the time, Step Ons makes life a little duller by making two choices obsolete (bindings, boots).
Overall after fully converting to Step Ons, owning two pairs of them and two pairs of their boots (Ions, Photon), I've fully switched back to regular bindings.

I adored Step Ons when I first tried them. They seemed as good as my Burton Cartels in every way plus a ton of overall convenience. I generally considered them the future of bindings (I still do, to an extent). But after trying a regular binding (Now Drives) after adjusting to the Step Ons, the difference is immediately noticeable. I fell down on my first few turns because I was used to leaning so far over for my bindings to respond. Laid out carves that I was trying to learn suddenly became natural. Heck, even skidded turns were easier to do on the regular bindings, especially on my 10/10 stiffness full camber board. I felt in touch with my snowboard once again, and I never knew that was gone when I was on the Step Ons.

After switching to regular bindings I really started to appreciate how easy it is to get in and out of Step Ons. Fiddling with straps, especially on uneven terrain, is such a momentum killer. Small things like accidentally stepping on your straps / ladders while buckling in seem extra frustrating knowing that you don't have to deal with any of that in a Step On. Also, dealing with foot numbness due to over-tightening is another pain that you never deal with on Step Ons. I miss setting up my boots once and forgetting about it for the rest of the day.

Overall I really want to be 100% Step Ons and I've spent the money on them to prove it. But there is an unavoidable tradeoff you make in terms of performance and convenience. Even though I really value convenience (ex: using BOAs instead of traditional lacing), the Step On tradeoff is too high IMO for an advanced rider or better. I hope Burton proves me wrong and finds some way to improve Step Ons, because I'd gladly buy another two sets if they did.

Hope you enjoyed this review!

Separate review: Ions vs Photon Step Ons
  • Ions have a larger, more comfortable toe box. Better for people with wide feet
  • Photons seem easier to get a tight fit, probably due to BOAs. Speedlace Ions on max tightness felt looser overall
  • Even though the Photon has two BOAs, the first one tightens the whole boot. It's not a true dual zone system.
Thanks for sharing your in-depth experience with the Step On's.

I demo'd the Photons for two days at Copper a month ago. I'm never going back to regular boots and straps.

Full disclaimer: I'm lucky to get 4 days a year. I live in Texas. My setup is also a 2005 Nidecker (NDK) Smoke (very stiff board) with 2005 Nidecker bindings and 2005 Saloman F20 boots (junk compared to new boots). Decent board, but bad boots/binding setup. I bought them in high school off Craigslist.

Switching to the Step Ons was an insane night and day difference. All of a sudden I was able to effectively drive pressure into my toe and heel side edges on my stiff board. I maxed out the forward lean and was able to make clean turns back and forth. The responsiveness was awesome. I could even feel my board flex more with the re-flex plates. My old bindings were big and stiff on the board, but still spongy in the straps. The Step Ons were light and quick.

But one of the biggest differences was in how much energy I was saving not strapping up. Not having to stop, sit down, and strap up was HUGE. I'm 32, a fit/healthy guy, no disabilities, but only having to bend over once a run (at the end to get in line for the next lift) saves so much energy! I was able to do lap after lap.

Regardless, I refuse to strap up ever again. I asked the guys in the snowboard shop to throw away my old bindings. I'll be getting Ions next fall. I just got a Nidecker Rave on sale. Going medium-stiff board with stiff boots. I don't get many days on the mountain, so I don't want to waste any extra energy on doing anything but snowboarding. Ain't nobody got time for that.

For the OP, I guess your view of Step Ons depend on where you come from. From my old, dated setup, Step Ons are godly.
 

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Something I didn't expect was that skidded turns were easier in the Nows. I was riding a Ryan Knapton styled board that's extra wide (28cm), 10/10 stiff, massive effective edge, and full full camber. At slow speeds, a skidded toe side turn on my Step Ons can be difficult to initiate. Surprisingly with the Nows it made my board feel like a rocker in terms of turn initiation. It just felt so easy. I don't think forward lean makes a big difference on a toe side skidded turn, so this leads me to believe the Nows are more responsive for other unknown reasons. Maybe the Skate Tech thing is legit.
I have the Now Pilots on my Pow Board, and the SP Bindings sLAB.one Multi Entries on my Daily driver. Honestly, I didn't find the NOW any more responsive - nor change my driving the board in any way. Albeit - the sLAB.ones are fairly stiff/responsive bindings (19-20 model has a stiffer/shorter high back, with a reinforced / aluminum heel loop).

I've also used the following bindings over the years (Flow NX2, Union Force, Union STRs).
 

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I do think that over the next couple of years we will see more companies license either the boots and/or bindings, which should really be of benefit to the snowboarding world.
Well, just FYI:

That's what companies have been saying for over a quarter century, since step-ins in some form or another have actually been around for that long.
 

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Thanks for sharing your in-depth experience with the Step On's.

I demo'd the Photons for two days at Copper a month ago. I'm never going back to regular boots and straps.

Full disclaimer: I'm lucky to get 4 days a year. I live in Texas. My setup is also a 2005 Nidecker (NDK) Smoke (very stiff board) with 2005 Nidecker bindings and 2005 Saloman F20 boots (junk compared to new boots). Decent board, but bad boots/binding setup. I bought them in high school off Craigslist.

Switching to the Step Ons was an insane night and day difference. All of a sudden I was able to effectively drive pressure into my toe and heel side edges on my stiff board. I maxed out the forward lean and was able to make clean turns back and forth. The responsiveness was awesome. I could even feel my board flex more with the re-flex plates. My old bindings were big and stiff on the board, but still spongy in the straps. The Step Ons were light and quick.

But one of the biggest differences was in how much energy I was saving not strapping up. Not having to stop, sit down, and strap up was HUGE. I'm 32, a fit/healthy guy, no disabilities, but only having to bend over once a run (at the end to get in line for the next lift) saves so much energy! I was able to do lap after lap.

Regardless, I refuse to strap up ever again. I asked the guys in the snowboard shop to throw away my old bindings. I'll be getting Ions next fall. I just got a Nidecker Rave on sale. Going medium-stiff board with stiff boots. I don't get many days on the mountain, so I don't want to waste any extra energy on doing anything but snowboarding. Ain't nobody got time for that.

For the OP, I guess your view of Step Ons depend on where you come from. From my old, dated setup, Step Ons are godly.
In your case, any new combination of boots and bindings would have made an equally dramatic difference in your riding.

Also, if bending over to buckle a binding, or, for that matter, having to sit down on the ground in order to accomplish this is expending enough energy that you are tired from it, then You are not the reasonably fit guy you claim to be. A reasonably“fit” person with no disabilities should be able to squat in place and buckle their binding with no perceivable amount of energy expended.
 

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In your case, any new combination of boots and bindings would have made an equally dramatic difference in your riding.

Also, if bending over to buckle a binding, or, for that matter, having to sit down on the ground in order to accomplish this is expending enough energy that you are tired from it, then You are not the reasonably fit guy you claim to be. A reasonably“fit” person with no disabilities should be able to squat in place and buckle their binding with no perceivable amount of energy expended.
That's just not true. I'm an advanced rider and very fit and it still takes more energy vs clicking in.
 

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“I’m very fit and I get tired from bending over to tie my shoes”
LOL nailed it, some people are delusional
Not sure where you got "I get tired from bending over to tie my shoes" from "it still takes more energy vs clicking in."

I've used regular bindings forever and they are fine, but not having to bend over to ratchet your straps down saves time and energy when you're riding all day. That's just the bottom line.

Maybe you two just don't ride hard so you end your day with extra energy. My tank is empty when I end my day because I'm carving hard enough every run for my legs to be burning at the end.
 

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Not sure where you got "I get tired from bending over to tie my shoes" from "it still takes more energy vs clicking in."

I've used regular bindings forever and they are fine, but not having to bend over to ratchet your straps down saves time and energy when you're riding all day. That's just the bottom line.

Maybe you two just don't ride hard so you end your day with extra energy. My tank is empty when I end my day because I'm carving hard enough every run for my legs to be burning at the end.
And again, if bending over “tie your shoes” requires any amount of perceivable effort that negatively effects your performance on a snowboard, the. You are not “extremely fit.”
Face it, the most well paid, top performing athletes still tie their own shoes. I think a “fit” snowboarder can manage strapping in without any effect on their performance just fine. Your arguments otherwise are ridiculous.
 
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