Price US $299

Burton Imperial 2016 - 2011 Review by The Good Ride

The Burton Imperial is a pretty decent balance between price, tech and performance. While it’s not perfect it does a lot of things right and it’s a very recommendable boot for a wide variety of riders.

2016 Burton Imperial Snowboard Boot Review

Size 9 Weight: 2.0 Lbs per boot and 4lbs for the pair. Same weight as the 14 and 15 models.

There are some changes for the 2016 Model.

  1. There is a new shell that doesn’t really have any articulation.  The old one had neoprene in the area where the boot folded the most.  It seems like this shell could articulate if it wasn’t sowed in and we’d love to see this get the same articulating ankle cuff as the SLX or Fiend as it looks like it’s close in design already.
  2. The Rad pads lost a little radness. They are no longer Rubber but instead some sort of thick laminate and it doesn’t stop the liner’s toungue from folding as well.  Kind of a bummer.
  3. The sole seems a little bit more shock absorbent.  It’s not that there is more but that the EVA foam and gel underneath the Vibram soles seem a bit softer. It’s nothing crazy better but just seems a touch softer.
  4. The new lacing system wraps a little better around the foot than the old which is nice.

Still all in all this is still a great boot.  You get less protection in the toungue and ankle articulation but better shock absorption and the same great ride.  So it’s still a favorite and a boot I’m going to use a lot but it’s a tossup between the 14-15 models and the 16.

more review to come….

Read the whole review

The 2014 and 2015 Burton Imperial Snowboard Boot Review.

The Burton Imperial has changed a bit in 2014 and it’s even a better boot than before. For us this offers a lot of solid performance and higher end tech at a reasonable price point. It’s one of the better boots you can get at this price point.

The 15 and 14 Burton Imperials are almost exactly the same.

I use to ride Burton Ions but after last the more I rode the Imperials the more I fell in love with them. Yes the Ion’s are still a better boot but for the price the Imperials offer up a very comparable ride and offer up a little more shock absorption which is important to me.

Days: 50+ We’ll be getting many more days on this because a few of us are using this as their primary boot.
Riders: James (owns it), Stephen (owns it), Tim (owns it) and a few others
Bindings: Burton Cartel, Burton Cartel Limited, Burton Diode, Union Force, Flux DMCC, Flux SF45,Burton Genesis, Union SL, Union Contact Pro, Burton Cartel EST, Burton Malavita EST , Burton Diode EST
Boards: Jones Mountain Twin, Gnu Impossible Series, Rossignol One Magtek, Never Summer Proto, Never Summer Cobra, Lib Tech TRS, Lib Tech Hot Knife, Gnu Space Case, Slash ATV,Yes Jackpot

Approximate Weight: Size 9 Imperials are 4 lbs for the pair of boots so 2lbs each.

Fit: A size 9 boot fits my size 9 feet perfectly. The toes barely touch standing up and then barely don’t touch on a forward lean. They also don’t pack out much over time so you don’t have to start out with a smaller size and stretch it out to fit. Also the toe box is a touch wide. Not ideal for wide feet but it gives you a little room width wise to let your front foot stretch out width wise on a forward lean. I’ve also never felt my toes go numb in these thanks to this little smidge of space.

Flex: The flex of the Burton Imperial 2014 feels a little stiffer and more supportive than the previous years models. Also the toe box seems to be stiffer too so hopefully it won’t break down as fast.

Comfort: For most riders Burton has some of the most comfortable boots in the market. Hey every foot is different but many find Burton boots very comfortable. Also Burton Imperials have a nice angle in the upper part of the boot that is more in line with the stance you have when snowboarding. It’s similar to an auto cant in the Ion and Hail and reduces fatigue when riding. It’s also not weird or over canted when riding on a canted binding. The 2013 Imperial use to have a little extra padding in the cuff of the liner that caused some pressure until they broke in. The 2014 has a smooth much more comfortable liner this year.

Heel Hold: Most of us here have found that Burton’s heel hold has improved a lot over the years and it’s not that necessary to use J-Bars. Still that option is there but for most this will be fine. If you are one of those riders that have difficulty getting their heels to lock J-Bars might help get this to excellent. Burton’s boots aren’t there Toe to Toe with many double BOA boots but they are pretty close and most will be more than fine with Speed Lace and this boots hold. All of us are.

Adjustability: Double BOA boots might have a little more heel hold but they often overlap and don’t really create separate and lower adjustability. With Speed Lacing from Burton the Upper is completely separate from the lower and they don’t share the ankle. This way you can have the upper be tight and the lower be loose. If you tried that with most Double BOA boots the Ankle would be tight even if the lower was loose. Some don’t care about separate adjustability but for those that do Speed Lace is the call. Also one great thing about the Speed Lace these days is it doesn’t fall apart like it did in years past. Now Speed Lace is getting better to lasting the whole life of the boot. In the early days it might only last 50-100 days before starting to frey and break apart.

Flex Retention: There is a little bit extra articulation in the ankle of the boot this year that will help preserve the flex longer than previous years. That combined with some of the other tech in their liner and shell makes for a longer lasting flex. No boot keeps their original flex but this holds up longer than most. If you ride a lot of days the Burton Imperial 2014 is a great choice.

Response: The Burton Imperial 2014 offers up a little more support and the response feels like it’s a bump closer to excellent. It’s very easy edge to edge and can power most boards. It’s best with moderate to semi-challenging turning boards but we had no problem with all other types as well.

Traction: Hiking in thick soft snow to walking in icy parking lots we haven’t had any issues. Vibram outsoles are outstanding and it’s nice to see this on a $300 boot.

Shock Absorption: This is my one complaint. I felt that the previous Models had better shock absorption. This still has great shock absorption but Burton has been moving more towards the skate shoe feel with all their boots and have been reducing the profile. If you come from a skate background you will love this but if you are like me (a guy who likes to preserve his body) you might not be stoked on it. Still it has more shock absorption than the Ion.

Footprint: Very reduced footprint and Burton has been the leader with this. My size 9 is more like a size 8 on the outside. This doesn’t matter as much for riders with my size boot but it’s a game changer if you are a size 10-11 US boot.

On & Off Ease: This is really easy. The only boot that is faster are the boots that have a BOA or speed lace on the inside. This is a great balance of speed and exceptional adjust ability.


2013 and Below Burton Imperial Review.

The 2013 Burton Imperial has a lot more articulation in the ankle this year and it’s definitely the call over the older models. There is also a leather version this year so for $59 extra that is a little stiffer you can get that but it’s really close to the regular Imperial There is no real difference in performance. To us comfort can sometimes beat performance but you don’t have to worry about either with the Imperial. It’s a very safe choice.

One quick thing. Either the laces are more durable or the speed lacing was re-designed the last 2 years. Either way, the laces last a lot longer than the older laces.

Flex: It’s on the Aggressive side of medium and for most all mountain riders near perfect. There is is more response than you would think for the flex and that is always nice and it plays well with Stiff to Medium flexing boards well.  We’ve even had fun with soft loose boards.

Comfort: Very comfortable except the 2013 model seems to have one little issue. The liner has a little extra padding in top of the ankle that can feel a little uncomfortable at first but after a week or so it packs out a bit. At first I thought it was a problem with the rubber rad pads but after more tinkering I discovered that it was the extra padding in the ankle that was causing the discomfort so disregard the review.

Heel Hold: Great heel hold and you can always put in J-Bars if you need more.

Flex Retention: There is a little articulation at the ankle to keep its flex but not as much as other boots we’ve seen like the SLX with full articulation from spine to ankle.

Response: The response is pretty good for a mid-level Burton boot and borderlines on excellent. It can easily initiate a turn on just about any stiff-flexing board with not too much trouble.

Traction: The imperial has the same Vibram sole and similar sole design as the Driver X so it’s great for hiking in softer snow or climbing steep stuff thanks to the spikes in the toe, but it’s better walking on ice on the way to the lift than the Driver X.

Shock Absorption: Really great cushioning without hindering too much board feel or response. If you want some padding then this is the call over the Ion.

The Imperial is one of those nice compromises in price for a serious all mountain to freeride rider that wants good response and support. If you want a boot that will perform well throughout a solid 100 day season this is one of our favorite choices.

User Reviews of the Burton Imperial

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Burton Imperial 2016-2011 Snowboard Boot Review SKU UPC Model

Nice and comfy boots with great flex

Apr 30, 2015 by Tim Scheffer

These boots are just amazing. They are super comfortable and are really true to size. I don't know what type or kind of foot I have but I didn't have any heel lift. I do not use an aftermarket insole since I think I don't need any (never had any trouble with shoes)

The lacing of the shoes is just easy, simple and really quick. I love the dual zone lacing that way I can just loosen the bottom part of my shoe if I get any cramping issues. I used to have traditional laces and that was just a pain in the ass to do every time. Now it's just quick and easy.

The boot itself has great flex for aggressive riding and gives you fast turn initiation. The inner boot is easy to get out for drying purposes which I really need because I get hot feet very easily. You can also get some fans or boot dryers. All and all a very nice and comfortable boot with great flex and suitable for aggressive riding but also can be used to play around on a board

2014 Burton Imperial

Mar 27, 2015 by TR
Ability Level: Advanced (directional) rider • 
Riding Style: Surf • 
Days You Ride A Year: 20-25 

Fit: Imperial fits "true to size." I have a narrow ankle and broad fore-foot. No issues with heel lift, "squished/over-lapping toes", or extra volume to compensate for. Note that I do use an aftermarket insole. Highly recommendable given the flimsy insole included with boot.

Lacing: Easy system to work with. Inner-boot locks ankle down. Dual zone lacing system nice for cranking upper-cuff while giving lower-cuff zone some room to "wiggle" if necessary. No issues.

Flex: Good response for aggressive riding. Medium stiff overall with a little forward flex play at ankle - which I like for micro set-up turns and getting the "toes in the wax".

Alert: Inner boot always a bit "wet" after riding. Could be my feet running hot. Requires a bit of diligence drying to avoid stank.

Solid boot for aggressive rider. Enough flex in ankle to accommodate play time. Get an insole. Dry your boots. Very recommendable.

2013 Burton Imperial Leather

Mar 05, 2015 by DCG
Ability Level: Advanced • 
Riding Style: All Mtn • 
Days You Ride A Year: 5-10 

Great boots. I purchased a 9.5 thinking they would loosen up. Turns out I definitely purchased them a half size too small. Right boot was made a little smaller than the left. As a result my toes were going numb. I'm going to move up from a 9.5 to a 10. Heed the review in regards to sizing. Love the leather. Since they don't have the leather model this year I may get the Ion leather. If these were a 10 there is no doubt I would keep them. On warmer days (27-29F) my heal and ankle were getting wet. Not sure what was going on. This would be my only complaint. I don't remember having this issue in colder weather.

Burton Imperial 2012

Feb 16, 2015 by Wren
Ability Level: Intermediated/Advanced • 
Riding Style: All Mountain • 
Days You Ride A Year: 10 

This boot was great to learn and progress on. Gives enough flex to work through issues but enough support to be confident pushing limits.

I was getting heel lift issues passing one season but after contacting Burton they sent me free J-bar inserts. These give the boots a massive jump in support and responsiveness. It feels like little baby bear paws are holding your feet secure as you ride. I personally think Burton should ship them default with the boots.

In minus 16 and below I found my feet were getting cold but it could be I am running my bindings/boots too tight.

My only gripe is that even though the lacing system is fast to get the right tension, the putting away of the laces involves having to slowly wrap them and to tuck them away cleanly which is just a hassle if you want to adjust them or loosen them quickly. I probably will be going with dual boa boots next.

2012 Version Review

Jul 31, 2014 by Jorge
Ability Level: Advanced • 
Riding Style: Freeride - All Mountain Freestyle • 
Days You Ride A Year: 30-ish 

Found a pair on special last year, jumped on here to check the reviews and snapped them up immediately. These things were immediately comfortable in the shop and have remained that way a year and a half later. I had zero break in time needed with these things - they were perfect for my feet.
Easy to maintain, easy to put on and adjust quickly, this will be my go-to boot from now on unless Burton change it up radically. Concerned about the reduced shock absorption in the 2014 model.

Love them

Feb 11, 2014 by Greg
Ability Level: Int-Adv • 
Riding Style: All-Mtn/Freeride • 
Days You Ride A Year: 12-16 

Upgraded from the Burton Ruler to these, and it was totally worth it. More supportive, more responsive and actually feel slightly lighter. No problems with fit for my narrow foot. Very quick break in and I love the small footprint. Recommended.

Dec 14, 2013 by rhmt
Ability Level: Advanced • 
Riding Style: Free ride • 
Days You Ride A Year: 10-20 

super comfortable, love the lacing system

Great Boots

Dec 14, 2013 by Brent
Ability Level: Beginner/Intermediate • 
Riding Style: Jibbing,freeride-All Mountain • 
Days You Ride A Year: 12 

ve always been a big Die hard Nike boots fan... Danny kass, than Nike Kaiju... size 9.... I even bought Burton slx to see how they felt.... and chose nike over that boot...

But today i was at the snowboard shop and tried the Burton Imperial.... I hate to admit it.. my most favorite support i ever felt in the Ankles... they can roll over laterally inside and to outside better than any boot i ever felt.. They also fit my foot better from heel to Toe.. Nikes have always been a little bigger looser and slopy in Heel.... My Verdict.. Im selling my Nike Kaijuu and finishing out the season with Burton Imperial... they have a stiffer feel than the Kaijuus but i really just love how they feel in ankles and takes the pressure off my knees... Nike Kaijuus for shore way more comfy in the heels.. there like Cozy Marsh Mellows... but im going to sacrifice that for just the over all fit to the sides of foot, to the top of the fit, to the toes and Heels and to the luxury feeling on the hips and Knees.. I figure the cushiony burton bindings will give me the added cushion... In conclusion other than the perfect cushion in the heel... the burton Imperial is the most natural fitting boot i have ever felt.. Just feels how imagine a boot should fit..

4.6 5.0 8 8 These boots are just amazing. They are super comfortable and are really true to size. I don't know what type or kind of foot I have but I didn't have any heel lift. I do not use an Burton Imperial 2016-2011 Snowboard Boot Review

Board Type

Semi-Challenging - Easy Turning

Riding Level

Intermediate - Expert

Lacing Type

Speed Lace

Manufactured in




Turn Initiation




Heel Hold




Reduced Footprint


Flex Retention


Shock Absorption




On & Off Ease