Burton Ritual Snowboard Boots ReviewMarch 16, 2016
- Comfortable out of the box
- Superb shock dampening
- Warmest boot we tested
- Excellent liner design
- Laces can get caught in bindings
- Difficult to really crank laces down
- Some heel lift
- Less responsive for all-mountain riding
This soft, flexible boot is a perfect choice for park hounds who want the freedom to also play around all over the mountain, too. The large Velcro pads on the liner cuff allow for a great deal of customization on overall boot fit, so you can keep it flexy or cinch things up when the need arises. The innovative Speed Zone lacing system has some notable shortcomings.
No break-in time necessary; these boots are cozy straight out of the box, with significantly more internal padding (including a heat-moldable liner) than other boots in this review. An especially noteworthy feature is the Velcro on the liner cuff, which allows riders to significantly snug up the liner before even messing with any of the quicklaces or ropes. The Ritual retains warmth slightly better than other boots in this review, so it’s a perfect choice for women with persistently cold feet. It fits slightly small, with a narrow toebox and snugger heel cup than most.
The difference between this and other boots we tested this season was immediately noticeable. The Ritual feels pillowy soft and padded, stealing the show with its springy gel inserts (you can literally feel these compressing and expanding beneath your heel when you weight and unweight your foot), EVA footbeds and a built-in support shank. In conjunction, all these fancy features do a stellar job absorbing impact on landings in the park so your feet and knees don’t have to.
No matter how hard we cranked on the laces, we couldn’t get a truly secure, dialed fit. The upper-zone laces are surprisingly difficult to really cinch around the calf, and there’s virtually no way to lock down the heel. Add those limitations to what’s already a soft, forgiving boot, and responsiveness was the area the Ritual suffered the most. Of course it’s designed more with park play in mind than lots of steep carving or powder chasing—and for jumping and jibbing, its forgiving fit is just what you want.
Walkability is acceptable in these, with the usual solid traction on most all surfaces, including icy patches. The forward lean built into these is a bit more pronounced than in other boots, making it slightly less comfortable for, say, hiking up to non lift-accessed terrain. Ditto on the somewhat rigid, articulated heel cup and the difficulty locking down the heel—not necessarily problems for playful riding, but either may become an irritation when walking for longer stretches.
Kudos to Burton for branching out with an innovative lace design. New for 2016, their Speed Zone lacing system uses exclusive New England Ropes laces, made with the same material climbers, miners and search-and-rescue personnel use. Two separate rope zones—one for the instep, one for the upper cuff—toggle separately with a drawcord rope. One upward yank cinches the zone down; then the rope and plastic pull piece tuck into pockets on the sides of the cuffs.
It’s a simple enough system, but a bit of a hassle to make on-the-fly adjustments in fit; the ropes are difficult to adjust with cold fingers or big gloves on. It’s also possible for the ropes to pop out of their pockets, and it’s not hard at that point to get them tangled (somewhat dangerously) in your binding. Lastly, it requires some serious muscle to really crank these laces down.
It takes almost as much muscle to crank the laces loose again by pulling forward and down with great vigor until you hear the ropes “pop” out of their securing teeth. All in all, a nice idea but a bit of a hassle to operate without perceivable improvements upon more traditional lacing systems such as BOA coils, other quicklace systems, or even traditional tie laces.