I got my first snowboard package in 1996 from my wife. She didn’t have a clue about snowboarding but knew that it was a passion of mine. So for our second Christmas together as a married couple, she bought me a board, bindings and boots. Being thoughtful as she is, she wanted to get me something to surprise and impress me. Naturally, she leaned toward the latest technology of its day – a board which included Step In bindings.
Trying them on in my family room on Christmas day was an amazing experience. They were easy to get in and out of and looked très chic. I was going to be the envy of my friends because I had the “it” bindings and boots of their day. Fast forward to my experience on the mountain. Easy? Convenient? Cool? Not exactly. Trust me, more than a couple of expletives were expended when snow got trapped in the binding and I couldn’t get my boot in. Let’s just say that I haven’t had Step In bindings since.
More than 20 years later, can I be persuaded to forego the baggage that came from my personal experience with my “ultra-convenient” bindings and contemplate buying another set of Steps Ins? Oh, Step In bindings don’t exist you say. Then what’s the buzz about these boots and bindings that you’re supposed to be able to get in and out of in a snap that no longer include straps? They’re what? Step On bindings. STEP ON bindings? Yes, get is straight. Well that oughta remove the stigma of the failed attempt at creating a snowboard binding system that doesn’t require you to sit on your arse and secure two straps to each foot before you can catch up to your skiing buddies.
Will a new marketing strategy help this unsuccessful concept that had performance issues like involuntary release and poor responsiveness … among other shortcomings? Probably not but don’t count them out because they have a storied past. The creator’s determination, and the R&D that has gone into getting them right this time, should help. After all, they’re made by Burton. And, Jake essentially created the snowboarding business. OK, if you want to argue that he didn’t create it, then let’s just say that he popularized it. He has been snowboarding’s biggest ambassador and he personally went through some grueling times to help take our sport to where it is today. We all owe a debt of gratitude to #JakeBurton Carpenter for the overtures that he made on our behalf. That aside, there is a need for a more convenient binding and Burton is going to exploit that need. And, you gotta believe that if #JakeCarpenter is tired of having to bend over or sit down to strap into his boots and wants us to be using Step On bindings, there’s a pretty good chance we will one day.
I won’t get into a review here about Step On bindings because many have already been done. Just know that #Burton sequestered some of their team members, put them on the case for four years, and with the aid of 3D printing technology, the #StepOnBindings were born. Or, is that reborn?
The net of it is that they are as good as, or better than, strap on bindings: responsive, easy to use, comfortable, lighter, fewer parts, convenient and more. But they will not be for everyone … yet. The real caveat is that if you don’t like the Boa lacing system, you’re screwed. Today, they’re the only kind of boots that have been designed for the Step On bindings.
The Burton Step On binding and corresponding boots will be available this fall and will cost between $250 and $400. Let me know if you plan to give them a test ride. If you do, please share your experience. It’d be nice to hear the real deal on Step In bindings. Excuse me … STEP ON bindings.
Safe and happy riding. #Snowboarding. #BoardBootie. #SomeThingsJustShouldntBeNaked. #BoardBootieBuck.