Words: Matt Taylor
Strap yourselves in or maybe not? Over the past few years, the topic of Step Ons has been the talk of the town. Hopefully this helps shed some insight to what you might expect; time to take a look at the setup.
Burton Ion Step On boots with the Reflex bindings, teaming it up with the Blossom for all-around good times.
If you’ve had your foot in an Ion before, you can expect the same amazing performance, its trademark stiff flex is still as responsive as ever. The BOAfit system allows you to control tension to suit various riding styles, whether hard charging or laid back cruisers, they did feel a little on the snug side of things from my standard boot size so would recommend popping into your local shop to be fitted properly. Make sure to try on different sizes to see what works for you.
Prior to this demo I’ve had the chance to use Step Ons here and there and at demo days but never for an extended period, since its release there has been quite a few updates. So what can you expect? The new and improved cuff clips are to ensure your pants keep up and out of the way of the heel mechanism, these felt so dependable, checking them only once throughout the day they had not moved. This would usually cause more stress having freed a few people from these snug jaws in the past but rest assured my mind was put to ease. The improved toe hook 2.0 design, sleekness and no squeakiness, makes locking in a breeze and can easily be done while pushing off the lift, straight into the business.
On snow these felt super secure; from the first toe side turn there was an instant feeling of security, no room to move or heel lift from the boot, right through to the heel clip on the bindings, my foot was planted. Underfoot these felt great transferring between edges, it was smooth and engaged with little lean but maximum control. If you think you’ll be able to pull your foot out of this system you are sadly mistaken, Step On bindings can take an immense amount of force and are designed to take an absolute beating. If your discipline is mainly carving, you can still put bulk forward lean on these and expect the same effortless reaction time, I always felt like I was able to make quick turns and stop on a dime. Even for your side hit society there was no clunky feeling on take-off or noisy squeaks on heavy landings.
Exiting was just as simple as getting into these things, lift up the hook on the outside of your binding this will free your heel, twist and step on out. This did take a tiny bit to get used to, but you get the hang of it very quickly. It was definitely nice to consistently be ready first, perfect for people riding with speed demons or skiers, so put your worries to rest! No more sly cheek remarks about taking too long strapping in.
Verdicts…does step on add value to your set up? Absolutely! If you are a vertical hound and are looking to get bulk laps done, unlock yourself from the constraints of buckles and straps and spend more time on the hill. The concept is amazing for people who struggle with flexibility, even for me stretching is a must before riding due to previous back and hip injuries but not constantly having to bend over to strap in was a pleasant change. These are much more versatile than expected and have earnt a spot at the table when making suggestions for friends or customers. Hats off to Burton for changing the game on this one, it is always nice to see brands innovating and bringing new ideas to fruition.