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Union Milan 2020 - 2011 Review by The Good Ride
The overall riding experience of the Union Milan is hard to compare to other bindings in this price range. The ability to flex a 4 screw snowboard is very unique and it offers a pretty responsive ride for its flex. For years now the Union Milan has been a good entry level or freestyle binding for riders of almost any level.
New for the 2020 season, the Union Milan got an upgrade to the high-back. They now feature the CP3 high-back, which is the same as the men’s Contact Pro high-backs but just anatomically correct for women.
In 2019 the Union Milan‘s got an upgrade with the heel cup washers, and they fixed the problem of them always coming loose.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. No one is perfect and we do make money from the “Where To Buy” links below, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average rider’s perspective.
Riders : Steph (Boot size 7.5, Binding size M, Weight 105lbs)
Days: All Season
Conditions: All types of conditions
Boards: Too many to count
Boots: Vans Ferra
High-back Flex: 5/10 on the Union scale. The High-backs are very comfortable, a little shorter than more all mountain style bindings, very butter-able and flexy but still give you support when you need it.
Boot Adjust-ability: The Union Milan bindings, like all Union bindings have the adjustable heel cup so you can get your boot right in the middle of the board, they don’t have an adjustable toe ramp though like some other union models because the foot bed doesn’t come out of the binding, it is fixed to the rest of the binding. The straps are adjustable in length. I’d say medium adjust-ability here since some bindings have a slider that allows you to micro-adjust the length of the ankle and toe straps, and the Union Milans have a set amount of holes that you adjust with screws.
Comfort: I find these bindings extremely comfortable, they have a skate like feel on your feet, you can hardly tell they are there. There are no hot spots from the ratchets, straps, or heel lock system at all.
Boot Support: The Union Milan bindings offer a medium amount of boot support. They have a semi-cushy ankle strap that lets you move freely but gives you a medium amount of support back when making harder turns, the high-back also offers a medium amount of support while still being tweak-able. The toe straps keep your boot in place and I have never had it slip out of place or off my boot before.
Turn Initiation: Turning is medium fast, these bindings offer a surf like ride that allows for movement so you get response but they aren’t the top of the line when it comes to quick turn initiation.
Buttering: The mini disc under foot mixed with the medium soft high-back gives you butters to your heart’s desire. You don’t feel any bite from the high-back when you are flexing it either.
Ratchet System: Union has some of my favorite ratchets, they are super easy to take off and put on, they never get locked up or get caked with ice or snow. Always feel smooth.
The Union Milan bindings offer a pretty smooth ride for being a lighter binding. They are ideal for lighter riders, so if you are a heavier rider, these might not offer as much shock absorption as someone lighter than you. They aren’t the smoothest bindings out there, but they do pretty well, especially for their price point.
Union Milan Past Reviews
The 2013 and 2014 Union Milan has a nice upgrade that makes this a better binding. The ride is still very close to the 2012 and below but the 2013 and 2014 design adds a little extra in 2 places.
1. The high back is wider at the top and it makes for easier lateral movement as well as slightly better response. It also looks a little better.
2. The Ankle strap is now much larger and more asymmetrical. It’s similar to the Union Atlas and makes for a much more supportive ride.
These two changes make the 2013 and 2014 Union Milan the call over the 2012 and below models. The 2013 and 2014 are almost the same binding and the only real difference is the toe strap is newer and a little better than the 2013 but other than that it’s pretty close.
Approximate Weight: These didn’t go on a scale but they are pretty light.
Flex: This is a medium to soft flexing binding. It flexes soft when you twist it and medium to medium stiff when you pull it back.
Adjustability: Some of our riders really crank their straps down to the point of pain and they seem to have issues with all Union Bindings they try. The straps seem to get stuck if you do. If you don’t crank down your bindings then don’t worry about this. Another issue with the Union Milan bindings is they can adjust for your size shoe very well but you can’t adjust the position of the ankle strap very well. The reason is the heel loop adjusment piece also holds the ankle strap. Most have three holes for multiple ankle strap positions but this only has one unless you want to re-position your foot on the binding. It also has 1 screw to hold the heel loop in place instead of 2 with the Force lines. The removable toe ramp is different from the Force bindings as well. It provides the same effect but isn’t anywhere as easy as the Force’s to remove and adjust. Another difference is the toe straps have 2 positions where the Force only have one position.
Comfort:These bindings are pretty comfortable and other than some complaints about the ankle strap there are no issues with pressure points.
Heel to Toe Response: We like the base plates responsive nature and the stiffer high backs. The Milan’s base plate is lower to the board and a more mellow. The high back is also softer than all the force High Backs. They say this is ideal for reverse camber boards and soft park boards that tend to turn a little easier. We were surprised to see that these can handle a mid flexing hybrid board without any issues as well. This bindings ride incredibly well and still have that same ability as the Force to bend the board torsionally and make it incredibly easy to turn. It turns a 4 hole board just like a Burton EST binding on a Burton Board. We were really impressed with how it turned cambered and rockered boards. These bindings make turning easier and therefore make it easier to accomplish more in the park or mountain.
Tip to Tail Response: The base plate only truly touches in a few place so that part of the binding is good for lateral movement. The old ankle strap from 2012 and below doesn’t make the best board to bend your board longitudinally when it comes to butters ect. It seemed to handicap the bases ability to let the board naturally flex. The 2013 ankle strap and high back makes for a much better butter.
Boot Support: The asymmetrical ankle strap is about industry standard. It allows enough range of movement but still gives some support where you need it. Most people will be fine with how the binding holds your boot. Also we like the changed toe strap that holds the boot into place a little better and doesn’t come loose as easy.
Ratchet System: Some of the women’s binidings have a new ratchet system that has a better toe ratchet. We’d like to see this on the Milan. This toe ratchet can be a bit sticky and especially so for those that like to crank em down tight. For some this is a big problem and for others it’s not that big of a deal. Until Union addresses this issue here are some pointers on how to make the toe strap less sticky so you can enjoy the bindings better qualities.
Shock Absorption: Like the Legacy and many of the high end Union bindings the heel has been milled out to provide a lot of room for EVA foam to give you lots of shock absorption. It also has EVA across the top of the base plate like all Force bindings. This is just as or more shock absorbent as almost any top binding out there in it’s price range.
2012 and below Union Milan Review
The Milan has very little contact with the board so it eliminates the dead spots that most bindings create. Our first time we tried a union binding it made us feel like we had more responsive board. The only other binding we have experienced that has the same ability to flex the board is the Burton EST binding. The problem with the EST is it only works on Burton EST friendly boards and the Union Milan works on any 4 hole board. It makes us lean towards Union because we ride everything and don’t want our bindings to be limited to one type of board. Some of our riders really crank their straps down to the point of pain and they seem to have issues with all Union Bindings they try. The straps seem to get stuck or loosen up a few notches. If you don’t crank down your bindings then don’t worry about this. Another issue with the Milan is the is the adjustability in the ankle. There is only one angle for your shoe size where many bindings have 2 or 3 options. For 2012 the Union Milan upgraded their high back and toe strap to make the ride a bit better than 2011. The ankle strap is more comfortable and supportive as well but we would of liked to see a bigger asymmetrical strap like is on the higher end men’s bindings. It definitely makes the 2012 the call over the 2011.
Union Milan Images
Union Company Information
Union Milan User Reviews
going back to Union
I have these on my park board (capita Space Metal Fantasy) and had them on my powder board, the 2013 red design in the vid (Solomon Rumblefish). I got caught up in the hoopla of the Burton Step on bindings and was ridding them in the park on the rumble fish and landed a straight jump and after the landing suddenly realized I was on my face. After some scratches and bruises I put the step on's on ebay and grabbed my trusty Union Milans that are my back ups for my Solomon and I can't wait to rumblefish down the mountain on them. I've progressed so much on these that I didn't have the nerve to sell them when I was trying out the Burton gimmicks (Step ons). I've never fallen on my face even when I was learning. Trust Union.
I got these bindings for my GNU Gloss.
Im obsessed with the duo.
Going from an all mountain stiff board and binding set up these are so flowy and surfy feeling. I feel like a total badass just cruising down the mountain flowing around. I love the feel of them and they look absolutely killer on my board.
The quality is really awesome too. The only con is that you can very easily over tighten your straps.
I don't think after having these that I can ride anything other than Unions.
2017 Union Milan Small
I've got these on a Jones Twin Sister and ride in Burton Emeralds. Overall the set up performs really well for me.
I think these bindings are designed with a lean toward some park work, which I never do. Despite the soft-medium flex they work for me riding all over the mountain because I'm very light (44kg or about 95lb for any US readers).
I like the mini-disc and soft base because I can actually feel the board flex a little. I don't get this in other bindings because my weight and small foot. The base also has decent padding to absorb shocks.
The adjustable heel cup was a bonus for getting my small feet centred over the board and was a big reason I decided to get these.
I've played around with the highbacks, you can rotate them and easily adjust forward lean, I've personally found I prefer to leave everything in the middle but it's nice to have the option. The highbacks are soft in twist but are stiffer when bending them straight back and I find them more than responsive enough.
The straps and ratchets work well. The ankle strap is not the most secure but it is comfortable and the toe strap shapes to the boot really well. Older Unions seem to have had ratchet issues but I've not had a single problem.
On the whole I think the Milans are good quality for the price. They seem light and durable. This is a subjective thing which is hard to put into words but when I had the Milans in my hands and compared them to Burtons, Rides and K2s, the Unions somehow seemed to be better made. They may not be and I know there a lots of other great bindings out there but that's the impression I got.
The only small issue I've found is that sometimes when I've had a day of harder riding, over choppy or steeper terrain, the screws for the ankle straps have started getting loose. It's not a drama because my husband quickly checks our gear at the end of each day and it only takes 10 seconds to tighten things up. My whole family is on Unions (husband uses Contacts and Falcors, my sons use ST and Cadets) and the screws can come loose on all of them, except the Falcors. I've taken one star off for this reason but it would never deter me from buying Union.
I also think they look great (IMHO) and I'm very happy with them.
These were my first bindings when I began boarding last year. I did(and still do) like them with one exception. The ratchets almost always jammed. There were times that I had to wrench my boots out of the bindings without being able to open them. They did get a little better over time, but not much. They can also be a little uncomfortable when you crank down the ratchets to get a good heel hold. They are well-made and if you do not need a firm heel hold, they are great for the price. Supposedly, the new models do not have the same ratchet jamming issue.