Take the Burton Hail , add more support and you have the Burton Grail. It makes for a solid long lasting do anything snowboard boot. In 2010 is all Burton boots became much softer.
Regarding Reduced Footprint: Burton’s foot print is almost a full size smaller on the outside but the same size on the inside. So a size 10 boot is still a size 10 on the inside but more like a size 9 on the outside. This really reduces toe drag and Burton is the best in the industry when it comes to this. The warmth and feel of the ride is unaffected and all you have is a boot less likely to catch the snow on a hard turn or in steep terrain. This is great for those that have big feet or are in between board and binding sizing.
Bindings Tried– Burton Prophecy, Burton Diode, Burton Malavita, Rome Mob, Union Atlas
Boards Tried– Never Summer Proto, Rome Postermania, Rossignol Onemagtek, Rossignol Taipan, Jones All Mountain Twin
For 2011 the Grail stiffened up a bit to be more and is now similar to the feel of the 2009 models. In 2012 the Grail has some additional comfort but the big change is the Cant added in the foot of the boot to allow your lower body to line up better with the board and bindings. It’s easier on the hips, knees and ankles. It also gives you a little more edge control due to extra pressure on the outer part of the boots. If you combine the 2012 Grail with a canted binding you might have some over cant going on but with regular bindings this is a good call. It has a rather low profile so you can get closer to your board. The articulating cuff is very similar to how the Hail and SLX are designed. Many people have articulating cuffs but the Grail goes almost the whole way to the back of the boot. This allows it to retain it’s original flex longer and therefore last a long time. The Grail is one of the best traditional lace boots out there and Burton might have some of the most comfortable boots out there. This is a great mid flexing traditional lace boot for any freestyle to all mountain rider.
So the Grail is one of those boots that we want to call the poor mans lace version of the SLX. It can fit a wide variety of riders and will last a long time thanks to the articulating cuff. One of our favorite parts of the Grail is the Auto Cant that they built into the boot. The inner part of the boot rolls in to alleviate a little stress on your jonts.
Fit: True to size for me. The size 9 fits my size 9 feet perfectly.
Flex: The Grail is one of those mid flexing boots that looks and feels soft but when you get on the hill the response feels medium to even the stiff size of medium. The flex also lasts a pretty long time before breaking down thanks to the articulating cuff and the rebound rods in the liner.
Comfort: Burton makes some of the most comfortable boots in the industry but every boot takes a little while to break in. After a few days these should
Heel Hold: The heel hold is excellent and most feet should feel the grip. If you have narrow feet there is velcro for adding J-Bars to make the heel hold even better.
Upper/Lower Adjustability: Probably one of our only complaints about these boots is the adjustability. We’d like to see the laces have the ability to lock in a little better. The upper lace rungs have the old wide and smooth rungs instead of narrow locking rungs. You have to do some special tying to make these work.
Response: Very good to almost border line excellent repsonse. You can tighen these up pretty tight and with good bindings they will make for a very responsive ride. The Grail is going to do well with almost any type of board but it’s best fit is med/soft to med/stiff boards.
Traction: There is good well rounded traction for just about any conditions you have to walk on.
Shock Absorbtion: The cushioning is pretty good and helps absorb a good amount of shock. It’s also very damp and not bad at any speed.
Board/Binding Integration– The Grail works well with just about any board or binding you want to use.
Despite our issue with adjustability the Grail is a great boot and with the cant technology this is unique to the industry. This is a great choice for anyone who wants a good all rounder boot.