Step-in bindings have been around since the 1990s but have never delivered both convenience and performance. Burton's Step On, developed over four years—including five months with a team working in a secret room—is a game changer. "We developed it for performance first," says Chris Cunningham, global VP of product, "instead of just focusing on the attachment."
Here's how it works.
1. THE BINDING
The first step-in systems were rigid and painful. The Step On [$249] has thick foam in the baseplate that not only absorbs shock on landings but also allows the binding to flex along with the board, so you get better board feel directly underfoot.
2. HEEL CLIP
A heel-mounted cleat clicks into a buckle in the high back. That solid connections helps you initiate a toe-side turn faster. "And the boot can still rock side-to-side and rotate like in a traditional binding," Cunningham said.
3. TOE CLEATS
With the heel anchor doing the lion's share of the work, the two metal clips on the front sides just have to hold your toes to the board. Due to their position on the edges of the boot, there are no hard plastic components underfoot, so the entire system feels like your usual setup.
4. THE BOOT
"If I blindfold you and put you in a Step On and a traditional boot, you'd say they feel the same," says Cunningham. That's good news, because to use the system you need either the Photon SO [$399] or Ruler SO [$299], the only boots available now with the compatible cleats.