The over all 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 it’s flex. For years now the Union Milan has been a good entry level or freestyle binding for riders of almost any level.
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.