This is my review of the Burton Imperial snowboard boots.
I’ve been snowboarding for most of my life and have worked as a certified snowboarding instructor for the last decade. I’ve worn many different models of boots over the years and have used the Imperial a handful of times.
The Burton Imperial is a solid all-mountain/freeride boot for riders who want the ability to charge hard and be aggressive on the mountain. They are built to give you excellent performance without holding you back.
In this post, I’ll provide you with an in-depth review of these boots. I’ll show you how they perform, feel, and make some recommendations on their overall value.
Let’s dive in.
Burton Imperial Overview
The Burton Imperial boots are marketed as an intermediate to expert level all-mountain boot that provides you with a focus on aggressive riding. They are capable of high-level performance and offer plenty of comfort along the way.
In my experience, these boots are very capable both as an all-mountain and freeride option. They have a relatively stiff flex that gives you the support you need when conditions are demanding, and the terrain is challenging.
They are lightweight while still being very supportive. That’s a winning combination for any rider who wants advanced performance and the ability to stay out on the mountain all day long. It also makes the boots a worthy backcountry companion.
The Imperial is aggressive by design. These aren’t an entry-level, beginner-friendly model. They can be too much boot for the average rider and are best left on the feet of those who like to get after it all over the mountain.
Backed with additional features that you would expect from a higher-end Burton boot, these give you a wide range of innovation and tech that I’ll explain further in the detailed review below. S4 shell panels and Total Comfort Construction are just two of the many features they come with.
After performance, comfort is critical for any boot worth its weight. The Imperial is designed with rider comfort in mind, and they have a heat-moldable liner and speed zone lacing system that help keep your feet supported and prevent fatigue.
They are also a warm and durable option that will keep your feet cozy on those days when the temperature drops, but the snow is too good to consider going inside early. They’ll last for season after season of steady use as well.
The Imperial doesn’t have much to offer in terms of style. They are simple, sleek, and don’t stand out. That’s not a big concern if performance is more critical, which it should be. But if you want a flashy-looking boot, I’d go with another option.
The Burton Imperial is an aggressive all-mountain boot that is fully capable in freeride situations. It represents years of innovation and development from one of the best-known brands in the industry. Its focus is far more on performance than on style.
The Imperial excels when it comes to performance. They are built to handle pretty much anything you can throw at them, and the versatility they offer is excellent for intermediate to expert riders who want a boot they can rely on.
A stiffer flex gives them a more aggressive nature. This provides you with serious response and effective power transfer from boot to binding. They will keep you fully in control when the going gets rough.
The stiff flex also makes them excel in big mountain and freeride situations where you want extra control. They will respond to your movements effectively and give you powerful turning and carving capabilities.
They aren’t the stiffest boots in the Burton lineup. This makes them more versatile but also might limit their effectiveness for very aggressive riders. If you are a strict freeride specialist, I would go with another option.
Freestyle pursuits don’t come naturally for the Imperial either. You can certainly take these into the terrain park, but I wouldn’t make a habit of it. They are too stiff and unforgiving for park rats.
Sometimes an aggressive boot will sacrifice when it comes to comfort. That’s not the case with the Imperial, and it delivers a comfortable experience that is easy to appreciate. I think most Burton boots are comfortable, and there is no exception here.
It all starts with Total Comfort Construction, an innovative design feature that somehow eliminates the break-in period that you’ll experience with most other snowboard boots. You can put these on right out of the box and be ready for action.
S4 shell panels are another feature that increases comfort for your feet. These work to spread the pressure of your binding straps evenly across your foot. It gives you extra power and helps reduce foot fatigue.
An Imprint 3 liner provides heat-moldable customization that allows you to get the perfect fit. This liner resists packing out very well and is lined with a DryRIDE Heat Cycle material that helps keep your feet warm and cozy.
A Speed Zone lacing system lets you tighten up the boots quickly and effectively. This system stays tight even when you are riding hard and provides you with another measure to increase power and response.
The Imperial doesn’t have much to offer in the style department. They look good but basic. A simple design combined with the speed zone lacing makes the boots blend in rather than stand out.
If you are looking for a flashy boot that will get noticed when you ride, these aren’t going to cut it. Nobody is going to say, “Hey, what sort of basic black boots are you wearing?” That’s not a negative thing, as you should be focused more on the mountain than what others think of you.
That’s not to say the boots look bad. I like the Camel colorway because it gives you somewhat of a leather look that is maybe slightly flashy. The all-black version is far more common and typically what I see on the mountain.
There are plenty of additional features to mention here. Burton always packs on the extras with most of their offerings, and the Imperial is no exception.
I really like the DryRIDE Heat Cycle Lining. This layer performs two critical functions that come in handy. It helps trap in body heat while also wicking moisture away from your feet and out of the boot. This enables you to stay comfortable and warm, which allows you to ride longer.
An Aegis Antimicrobial coating on the lining helps reduce bacteria and cuts down on the stink factor. It’s a subtle feature, but you’ll quickly notice that odor won’t be a problem if you have sweaty feet.
A Level 2 molded EVA footbed gives you a lightweight layer of shock absorption. This material is effective and comfortable. It’s a nice touch that increases their focus on more aggressive riders.
The boots sole is made out of Vibram EcoStep material that gives you serious grip in ice and snow. It also includes B3 gel in the front and back of the boot for added comfort and shock-absorbing properties.
One last feature worth mentioning is the New England rope laces that the Imperial comes equipped with. These are super strong and rugged natural fiber laces that are often used by firefighters and other demanding professions.
These boots don’t offer the most incredible value. They are effective in a range of different situations and work well for intermediate to expert-level riders who want an all-mountain boot with freeride capabilities.
They still sit on the expensive side in terms of price. I like these boots quite a bit, but I don’t necessarily think they are worth their cost. Burton priced these just above the mid-range, and I think that lowers their overall value.
The Imperial is still a good value if you need an aggressive all-mountain option with a stiffer flex. If you’re just after a solid all-mountain option, I’d look elsewhere.
There are plenty of snowboard boots out there to choose from. Below you’ll find some recommended alternatives that compare to the Burton Imperial.
These are some of my favorite all-mountain snowboard boots. They lean to the aggressive side similarly to the Imperial and will give you a stiffer flex that helps provide plenty of power and response all over the mountain.
They come with a heat-moldable liner for a customized fit, as well as a 3D molded tongue that helps give you an even flex throughout the entire boot. This is another good option for intermediate to advanced riders.
If you are looking for an even more aggressive option than the Imperial, look no further than the DC Travis Rice BOA. These are some of the best freeride boots on the market and will give you outstanding performance in challenging conditions.
These are a favorite boot for backcountry riders as well, and they have a Stormproof Storm Flap that will keep wind and snow at bay and make sure your feet stay warm at all times. They are also pretty comfortable for such a stiff boot.
The Burton Felix BOA is a solid women’s specific all-mountain boot. These have a similar fit and feel to the Imperial but aren’t quite as stiff and have a few design features that work well for lady riders.
Dual-zone BOA lacing controls allow you to get a customized fit in seconds. Total Comfort Construction means that the boots will be ready to ride right out of the box. They have the same New England rope laces as the Imperial, as well.
The Burton Imperial is a solid set of boots that offer aggressive performance in all-mountain and freeride situations. They are a good option for intermediate to expert level riders who want a versatile and highly effective, no-frills companion on the mountain.About Lorraine