Burton Photon Boa
- Double boa makes lacing quick and simple
- Vibram sole has good traction and is built with partially recycled material
- Clean design
- Careful with that boa—it’s easy to crank it down too much
- Narrow toebox—not a good option for wide feet
The Burton Photon Boa is a great all mountain boot. Adjustable in minute increments, they’re great for those who want to dial in fit. And the Vibram soles have good grip and a strong record of durability.
2016 marks a change for Burton’s freeride boots. The biggest company in snowboarding has replaced their Speed Zone lacing system system—a system of laces that you yank into place and cinch—with Boa after complaints that the Speed Zone loosened. Another claimed upgrade? Burton’s Boa has proprietary laces that they claim are more durable. So far, so good, but our three month test period wasn't long enough to confirm or deny that claim. We liked how the Boa allowed for incremental tightening and loosening on the fly.The Vibram sole was comfy and provided plenty of traction in icy parking lots.
We also liked the pulls on the back of the boot and the tongue of the boot because it made getting our feet into the boots a cinch. Good for hiking or cruising the hill, we liked that we could loosen the mid-flex boot by just pulling out the Boa knob and tighten it just by giving it a few spins. This was great way to relax on the bus or gondola. And if you want to fine-tune your fit, you’ll have a tough time finding a better boot.
Size-wise, like a lot of snowboard boots, the Photon Boa may run a full size smaller than your street shoe. Burton's new lacing system is also a marked improvement over its predecessor.
On foot, they felt solid—not exceptionally light or heavy. But they were quick to respond.
A burly boot that shows no sign of wear after a bunch of days.
Stiff enough for charging the steeps, it wasn't so stiff that it beat up testers' shin. It's also soft enough for smaller riders.
The Vibram sole provided plenty of grip and has a proven track record of durability.
How We Tested It
The boots in this test were used at Mammoth and June Mountain on a variety of snowboards and bindings, which we were also testing.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
About the Author
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