So I was obsessed with researching bindings and was primarily focused on getting the Strata, but then I saw the 5 pack Force binding and it caught my eye.
I decided to buy both the red 2022 Union Strata and the 2021 limited edition “5 pack” Union Force binding.
Union Force snowboard binding review (vs. the Strata)
This is a review of the Union Force snowboard binding compared to the Strata. This is actually a limited edition “5 pack” model from 2021.
2022 Union Strata snowboard binding review
This is a review of the 2022 Union Strata snowboard binding. I rode this binding first.
The 2022 model did not appear to be any different from the 2021. The only visible difference I could see was that the word “Strata” was not on the highback.
The 2023 Strata also does not appear any different than the 2022 except for a different color way.
The 2020 Strata has a different ankle strap.
The Strata highback comes in 2 different styles: one with holes and one team highback.
The one I got in the video above is the team highback.
What did I think?
I tried the Strata first. And it was definitely different feeling at first and a bit painful underfoot at first. Perhaps it was the mini-disk or whatever. It did feel more loose.
The footbed is wider and there was some extra space between my boot and the interior sides of the front part of the binding.
The Force was tighter fitting.
The Strata feels a little lower to the board and little more flexy. The Force feels a little more stiff underfoot (standard baseplate?) and responsive.
It’s a little more powerful and aggressive feeling to me.
The Strata looser. More casual. More barefoot feeling.
What I didn’t like
One of the toe straps on the Force (despite being the same on the Strata) would slip off occasionally and had a funny sort of warp to it. A random imperfection.
They are painted bindings and that stuff chips and scratches off easily. But perhaps most bindings are like that.
The extra space in the Strata (the footbed is wide).
The Strata’s a little less adjustable. There is no adjustable toe ramp and the heel area is less adjustable. The Force is more adjustable.
If you like lots of forward lean then the Strata has less cause you can only adjust it so far (3 settings I believe), but it’s more of a “freestyle” focused binding as they say so many may not want much.
And the Strata forward lean adjustment isn’t as easy to adjust but most people don’t fiddle with that much so it doesn’t really matter.
The Force is more of an all mountain binding. But whatever binding you get you can ride it anywhere, don’t feel too limited by the labels.
I suspect the Strata would feel better for jibs, but I personally don’t jib much.
As far as shock absorption goes I think they are both good. The Force has a thicker softer area underfoot. The Strata’s isn’t as high and the material is more rubbery.
Both bindings are available with holy highbacks;-) if you like them – I don’t.
According to one of the Union reps I was emailing the highbacks with holes are a “tad bit softer”.
The Strata highback doesn’t really have any padding whereas the Force has a lot.
The Strata is a bit more minimalist. I like the asym shape though.
Other snowboard bindings I was thinking about
Other bindings I was considering/comparing were several Salomon shadow fit bindings and the Bent Metal Transfer. In the end I went with these two. Salomon’s kind of looked cool, I was tempted to try out their shadow fit, but being a ski company kind of turned me off a little;-).
The Bent Metals are cool. I like Mervin’s stuff (currently ride a Lib board), but I went with the Union’s. Maybe they felt a little heavier to me or liked the design of Union’s better.
Older bindings I had were old Burton Missions. I’ve had a few Burton bindings and wanted to try something new.