The Burton Society pant was a dark horse in this competition, but we were pleasantly surprised at its performance. While appearing fairly benign laying there on the floor, once put on and worn in its native environment of snow, this competitor began to shine. It's an all around, lightly insulated pant with good ventilation, simple lines, and an above average comfort level. It's got function and form and will perform for both snowboarders and skiers, in and out of bounds. The Society kept us warm while skiing, vented while working, and kept us comfortable all day.
Burton Society Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, ventilation, light insulation
Cons: No thigh pocket, large waist to thigh ratio
Our Analysis and Test Results
Comfort & Fit
Surprisingly, we found this contender to be one of the most comfortable pants we tested. It offers excellent freedom of movement and seems to glide out of our way when we need the space to bust a move. It has slightly longer legs than many ski pants, which is a nice bonus for taller gals. However, even with shorties, the inseam length didn't seem to affect its function. The Society is touted as low-rise but it also didn't allow any snow into our pants during falls in powder.
The waist sizing does appear to be somewhat large, with multiple testers feeling grateful for the velcro waist tabs. We found testers fell in-between sizes with this pair of ski pants, needing a smaller waist size but a larger thigh/bum size. We went with the size that fit our thighs and used the waist tabs and belts to make up the waist difference. We didn't mind since we are always looking for ways to wear our favorite belt buckles.
During our time testing this contender, we were perfectly satisfied with the waterproofness of the garment. It keeps you protected from the elements with a 2-layer Dryride shell. It kept wind gusts out (as long as remembered to close the thigh vents) and repelled melting snow. The Dryride will work to keep you dry as long as you vent appropriately and wear the right base layers.
The Society is advertised as lightly insulated, and we found it to be adequate with a light base layer underneath on cold December days. This pant won't offer enough insulation on its own without an underlayer unless you run very warm. It would, however, work well in warmer spring skiing days without an underlayer, and it's nice to have that option.
When riding during variable weather including wind, snow or sunshine, we find it imperative to have zippered vent options. Whether you need to pull all your heat in or dump all your heat to the outside, one of the best ways to do this is with thigh vents. The Society has two zippered, interior, mesh-covered thigh vents that do this job well. While skinning uphill, we opened the vents every single time and closed them for the way down, protecting us from any flying snow. Since the Society does have light insulation, the thigh vents are the ticket to riding the backcountry when you are working to earn your turns.
The Society offers a few of the most necessary features including a zippered leg opening expander and interior thigh zips. It has deep, zippered hand pockets that would hold small essentials like chapstick or an energy bar, but not big enough for cameras or large phones. It does not offer a thigh pocket, which would be a big improvement. The Society advertises a "cuff elevator," which is a snap on the back of the leg opening. Snapping the back of the leg up, in theory, would keep it cleaner and out of the mud while walking, but we didn't find this feature to be useful. It also has an inner pocket key keeper or ski pass tag.
Burton boasts five-star looks with the Society pant. It has a boot cut leg opening with an adjustable zippered expander if you want more flare or need more space to cover your boots. It has a slim silhouette with enough space to allow free movement and no additional bulk.
The best application for the Burton Society is resort riding with occasional uses in the backcountry on colder days. The ease of movement and incredible comfort of this pant make it great for athletic lunging down the mountain in telemark gear, hitting the park, or wallowing in the powder pit you created with the last face-plant.
Burton priced the Society to be approachable and manageable with an MSRP of $150. For this price, you are getting exceptional comfort and function that won't break the bank. Other pants tested with similar features and function cost considerably more, so we recommend this contender over other more expensive garments.
Despite being advertised as a snowboarder pant, we found the Society to fit right in no matter what kind of planks are strapped to your feet. This is a fitted, vented, lightly insulated, and comfortable pant that feels at home anywhere there's snow and good intentions.
— Polly Dacus