I finally purchased the Burton Step Ons and the Burton Ruler (SO)! Now I can’t wait to share with you guys my experience thus far!
I literally just bought it first thing in the morning. I was on it the whole day just riding and enjoying it.
The plan for this article is I will write all my feedback and experience here. It is meant to be exhaustive and detailed so I will provide a table of contents. I also plan to write more, new articles about it as I use it more so stay tuned!
The one thing that's a big factor here is the fact that I found out this year that I've been wearing oversized boots. So I made it a point to buy proper-fitting boots this time. With the Ruler, I did so. The problem is I notice SUUUUCH big improvements/difference today that it's hard to know if the difference is attributed to the step on or using proper-fitting gear. I'd like to think I'm unbiased so I'll try to be wary and mention this as we go.
“Am I locked in?!”
That’s definitely the first feedback I can give you. It’s simply because I’m in a new system right, so you don’t know (yet) if you’re doing things right.
All the sources I’ve watched in YouTube always say you click the heel twice first then click one side, then the other. I found out that it doesn’t really matter what the sequence of clicking in you do. The first 2-3 tries I did, it was: 1 click heel, 1 click side, 1 click on the other, then another on the heel. I didn’t consciously choose to do it this but rather that’s naturally how main brain/foot initially processed it. I wanted to do the: start with 2 heel clicks first but it wasn’t that natural of a motion to me, at least when I tried it.
I’ve done a 2 side clicks first then heel. I’ve also done the 2 heel clicks then sides and all these variations felt safe and secure to me. It wasn’t a concern.
I find that if you’re at the top of the hill and you “dug a platform” (using your heel edge) for yourself to “strap in”, the second click is less obvious. It’s not broken or anything but since you have your ankle max flexing out your heel already, it’s kind of hard to flex it even more to drive your heel deeper.
At first I found that I got to do the second click only after I got out of the “platform” and I’ve jumped out a bit out of my initial position and I’m on flat ground. This way you can easily trigger the second click.
During the last half of the day though, I’ve mastered this and I don’t need to ‘jump out’ just to do the second click. What you do is that when you’re still on that “platform”. Just lean back a bit as if you’re pressing your calves to your highback. That’ll easily trigger the second click.
Worse comes to worse that you’re in groomers and you did only one click, you will definitely trigger and lock the second click the moment you do a heel edge and press/click on that.
Stepping in feedback
The heel’s second click actually feels less obvious than the rest. The side clips are the ones that will give you the most feedback. The clicks are loud enough that you’ll hear it; not to mention you can actually look at them as they snap in. The first click on the heel you can hear and feel yes. Although my first two tries I wasn’t clipping it back enough. It’ll be obvious to you when you do it wrong and you didn’t clip the heel clicks at all.
The second click on the heel I find is less audible and you feel it less compared to the other three. I was never concerned about safety or it coming off
Edge to edge response and sensitivity
It’s definitely responsive but again, this might be because I’m wearing a more proper-fitting boot this time. I was honestly prepared to trip a lot since I was expecting something like a newly sharpened ice skates but to be honest, I didn’t experience that at all. It’s responsive when you ride it but not “too much” as I’ve heard in YouTube reviews.
I tripped the first time when I got off the lift (again, maybe the sizing). What happened was I was putting weight on my toe edge to slowly turn left as I got off the lift. But since I had a large, spacious (thus making it unresponsive of a boot) boot, I normally put a lot of weight on it just to bank it normally to one side. Apparently with the step ons it was too much 😂 so I kinda did a self-inflicted-catch-an-edge scenario lol.
Feedback by category
I’ll combine my thoughts and keep it prompt for you:
This mostly speaks about the boots: the Burton Ruler. It’s definitely comfortable. I’d give this 8/10 for now. I’d give it 9 or 10 but I know for sure I’m experiencing “adjustment feel” and I’m still at the breaking in stage of the boot. I’ve been comfortable the whole time, don’t get me wrong, but nothing feels as comfortable as a roomy (oversized) snowboard boot 😂 so I’m having to recalibrate my baseline lol.
Also, I’ve only had a Burton Moto followed by a Burton Concord, then this. It’s not like I know what the “most comfortable boot ever” out there feels like.
None. at. all.
It’s categorized as soft but it definitely doesn’t mean that it’s making the ride feel unresponsive. To be fair, maybe that’s why I didn’t feel the “Step Ons are too responsive” since I have a softer boot. You could say “maybe if I got the Photons” I would’ve found it too much, but I never actually intended to buy the Photons. It was either Ruler or Swath for me the entire time for the type of riding I plan to do; at best DC Judge Step Ons.
It’s definitely flexible/soft enough that I can engage more angulation (with lifting toes) and not rely much on inclination (heyo, shout out to CASI instructors!).
Can’t just be all leaning anymore
I also find that the boots are soft enough that you can’t just use inclination (leaning every which way to turn/distribute weight, instead of using your ankles and knees) the whole time.
To give context, before when I’m too tired and/or too lazy, I start to just initiate edges/turns by 80% leaning. That’s me not using proper snowboard techniques with hips, knees, and ankles to turn properly. It’s wrong and it’s a reckless way to ride and if you do this too and you continue to do this on Step Ons, you’ll definitely catch an edge.
Another experience I had today was I had to stop using my toe edge (so I’m looking up the hill). I was on a blue trail. So if you’re wearing a stiff(er) boot, you leaning more on the hill is more than enough to lock your toe edge and dig, and lock the toe edge grip.
With the Ruler, the boots is soft. It’s enough that the board will start to go parallel with the slope and you might catch an edge backwards.
In my books this is fine, since I wanted park-ready boots but if you want stiff(er) you might want to try the Photons.
Exiting the bindings
This is the one that by the end of the day I can definitely say I haven’t mastered. It’s not a big problem for me for sure. It’s not like I’d want to return my pair. It is just new and…awkward (maybe I’m doing it wrong lol).
To exit your binding, you pull the lever and then you pull up your heel first. At first I was struggling to exit. I thought that after you lift the lever you can easily pull out of both side clips. What you have to do is: pull lever, raise heel, but keep raising/bending knee forward. This is so that the front clips loosen and then up until this point I can never tell if I should do the outer clips first or the inner. (Edit: Day 3 me here, turns out I was doing it wrong. There’s a Burton guideline/best practice for it). Don’t want to do the wrong sequence and wear it out if any.
I also find that sometimes you have to exaggerate the leaning forward of that leg/knee that you’re trying to unclip off the binding. Once you do this, I feel like you have to keep that forward lean and then slowly lean sideways now to unclip one of the side ones (and again, I don’t know which one first).
It’s totally fine when you’re at the bottom unclipping, but unlike clipping in where you can see lots of vids of people clipping in while moving/after skating from the chair lift, I feel like it would be difficult to clip out while moving.
(Or maybe because it’s just my day 1 still)
Pant clip behind your boots
I noticed that in the new generation of Step Ons and boots, there are now these “teeth” in their pant clip. I remember before it was just metal, and then after they put rubber traction, but now I’m noticed it has teeth point downwards. It’s definitely effective, I’ll tell you that. It keeps your pants in place.
I just want to warn your that it’s hard plastic. It’s not like that soft rubber brush you have in your kitchen to brush oil on your cooking/baking. This one’s hard so I find myself actually pulling back the clip first then pulling up/out my pants to avoid tear or damage. It definitely feels/sounds like you’re about to tear your pants if you force it without lifting the clip.
Bonus context: What type of rider I am
(just if you want to contextualize my writing and see where I’m coming from.)
The past 3-5 years I’ve been venturing in the terrain park, trees/glades if it’s easy/wide enough, side hits, and of course powder when available. I started out wanting carves, and I still do. But I wanted to master skills. Kinda looks stupid if you can eurocarve but can’t ride switch, hit a side hit, be airbourne, and have proper/best practice snowboarding skills.
I plan to be CASI level 2 at least later on in life.
Why I wanted
needed a Step On combo
As mentioned, I realized this year that I have an oversized boot. I should be a certain size but my current boot size is +1.5 sizes up!!! Can you imagine that?! No wonder there are basic things I’m having problems with. I got my boot while on a trip in Austria and my speedlace boots broke and had to replace it in the local Blue Tomato lol I got this “comfortable” boot, but turns out it’s soo comfortable because it’s not my size :/
So anyways, I figured to replace it and I was totally ok buying strapped bindings but I figured since I’m buying anyways and I know I’ll want StepOns anyways in the next 3 years, why not buy it now
Fatigue and strapping in
I have this problem with fatigue and strapping in. I strap myself standing up. But when I do at the top of the lift, the straps are so stiff/brittle, that the strap is not getting in the ratchet in one try. I end up spending so much time strapping since sometimes I’ll have to use both hands: one to hold the ratchet steady and the other to guide and insert. Getting better fitness and workout improved this but it didn’t get rid of it.
I find I’m burning my quads while I do this so I’m using energy and tiring out my quads even before I go. So if I am with friends and they wanna go asap, I have to go right after strapping in and my quads are tired already while I go. So during that time, it’s either I soldier it out and not have fun or what’s worse is I force it and I injure myself.
The ultimate whammy is when you get on a lift and it’s full. In addition you’re beside another boarder and you guys are banging boards. Sometimes they rest on your board, or sometimes you have to shimy or sit sideways, awkwardly to get comfy. The worst is when you have to engage your leg/knee/quads just to lift it up oh so slightly so as to be courteous to the skier/boarder beside you THE WHOLE WAY UP. So honestly when that happens my leg is so tired already by the time I skate out at the top…and then you have skier friends with you who wants to go, go, go!! FML.
The speed of strapping in is definitely a big bonus and a big part of why I bought it, but’s a 50-50 of that and honestly just trying to preserve as much energy as I can so I can use most of my energy actually snowboarding, learning new skills, and improving; not just being tired and racking up injuries.