The Splitboard Boot Revolution: Burton’s Tourist

Meet the Burton Tourist, a new, touring-specific splitboard boot that debuted earlier this week. Built off the design of the iconic Ion, Burton’s team-favorite freeride boot, the Tourist offers a rearward flex for more efficient skinning and a crampon-compatible Vibram sole featuring a heel welt, positioning it as the ultimate all-around splitboard boot for going up and down the mountain.

Burton Tourist | $480 |

Burton Tourist | $480 | Weight/Pair: 4lbs. 5oz. |

When developing the Tourist, Burton tapped Will Ritter of Spark R&D for feedback on how the boots would function in tandem with splitboard bindings and what features a touring-specific boot should encompass. “The boots that have come to market to date are super excellent for splitboard mountaineering and are highly specialized,” Ritter told Backcountry in a recent interview. “As far as a boot that I want to rock all winter long, a lot of them are overkill for most of my season which is (hopefully) on soft snow. A good, all-around splitboarding boot should feature rearward flex for an easy stride while touring, a wide and flat snowboard sole for control as opposed to a narrow mountaineering sole with a raised heel and medium flex for playfulness in the trees and popping off rock features.”

The Burton development team took Ritter’s feedback and ran with it to create an early prototype of the boot that was tested by Burton’s in-house splitboard guru, Dave Downing, and Burton team riders. In the early phases of the boot, they tested a number of features including a more robust walk mode, like what’s available in the Thirty-Two MTB and Deeluxe Spark XVe. Ultimately, they decided against it.

“In the end, we decided to go with the enhanced negative flex on this boot instead of a true on/off walk/ride mode to limit the amount of mechanical parts on the boot. We found one trait that backcountry enthusiasts look for is a product they can be confident will not fail on them while in the backcountry,” says Eric Carlson, the Burton Senior Product Manager behind the Tourist. “Looking at the built-in negative flex vs. ride/walk, the current design offers the function we were looking for [mobility in tour mode], yet when in ride mode you’re not sacrificing any performance since the binding highback is already limiting your negative lean.”

Now, how does all of this come together on snow? The answer is remarkably well. This is the boot for the splitboarder who likes to seek out powder and rides a wide range of conditions.

Last spring, I spent 15 days touring in these boots on everything from pow laps through the woods to sun-up-to-sun-down missions above tree line and found they excelled in just about every situation I threw at them. My one hesitation would be taking the Tourists into technical splitboard-mountaineering terrain that demands an ultra-stiff boot.

The enhanced negative flex is a feature you don’t realize you need until it’s there—then you can’t leave the trailhead without it. The flex removes the pressure point behind the calf created by traditional boots, making for a more comfortable and fluid ascent. Ultimately, the beauty of this design is apparent once your binding highbacks are engaged in ride mode, negating the negative flex and allowing the boots to charge just like any other Burton would.

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  1. what is the sizing like across the toes? burtons are notoriously narrow …

    • I’m wondering about the to. How do they compare against Salomon and Nitro in fit around the toe box and cushioning around the ancle?


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