List Price US $279
Union Strata 2019-2021 Snowboard Binding Review
Riding Level Intermediate - Expert
Quick Release No
Manufactured in China and Italy
Canted Footbed Yes
Burton Channel Compatible Yes
Mini disc Yes
Approx. Weight Feels Light

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Flex

Medium

Boot Support

Firm

Turn Initiation

Medium/Fast

Buttering

Easy

Binding Adjustability Great
Stance Adjustability Great
Comfort Great
Ratchet System Great
Shock Absorption Great

Union Strata 2021 - 2019 Review by The Good Ride

Turn Ons:Damp, very adjustable, responsive, good butterability/flex underfoot, blends well with a wide variety of bindings.

Turn Offs: Mini Discs don’t work with set back inserts.

The 2021 Union Strata is pretty similar to the 2020 except it has a new, slightly stiffer/more supportive ankle strap and the orange color has a slightly stiffer high back. It makes for a very adjustable binding that integrates well with a wide variety of boards.

Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews.  We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.

Union Strata Review- How it rides and who it’s for.

How This Review Happened:  We borrowed this for an extended demo and then returned it.

Days:
Riders:  James (Size 9, 5’10” 180-190lbs), Peter (Size 8, 5’11” 185lbs)
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gamechangers,
Boards: Hundreads of boards were tried over the years but these are just some:
Capita Spring Break 158 Powder Glider, Capita Spring Break 161 Tree Hunter, Jones Mind Expander,
Burton Skeleton Key, Gentemstick Mantaray 156, Korua Dart, Korua Pencil, United Shapes Orbit, Yes Optimistic, Rome Pow Division MT, Endeavor Scout,
Yes Pick Your LineBurton Flight Attendant, Jones Flagship, Never Summer West Bound, Rossignol XV, Lib Tech BRD, Lib Tech Lost Round Nose Fish
Korua Otto, Lib Tech Terrain Wrecker, Loaded Algernon, Capita Mercury, Endeavor Pioneer,
Lib Tech TRS HPNever Summer Proto Type Two, Nitro FuryYes GreatsLib Tech Hot Knife, Stone Message, Signal Disruptor,
Rossignol Jibsaw, Lib Tech Box Knife, Yes Jackpot, Never Summer Funslinger, Ride TwinPig, Signal Park,

Similar (but not the same) Bindings: Union Atlas, Union Falcor, Union Force,  Burton Genesis X, Burton Cartel, Burton GenesisBurton MalavitaSalomon Highlander, Salomon Hologram

Approximate Weight: 2.0 lbs per binding with screws and discs.

Highback Flex

It has a Medium/Stiff flex with a reasonable twist but it doesn’t have the snap the Falcor has.

Binding to Boot Adjustability

One of the reasons we love Union is because there is a lot of focus on getting a boot to fit correctly into their bindings. When that happens the board turns better and you can dial out your stance width perfectly as well. The Union Strata has an adjustable heel loop and that works really well. It’s not quite as good as the Force or Atlas but it’s better than most fixed heel loops that have an adjustable gas pedal/toe ramp.

You can rotate your high backs a bit so it lines up better with the heel side edge and turns more symmetrically. It has a weird ass forward lean but most people set that up once and forget about it. You might want to get the forward lean replacements at C3 for $10 if you are one of those people that play around a lot with forward lean.

The rest of the binding is tooless and easy to dial out around your boot. If you are on the border of the sizing spectrum it’s often best to size down with the Strata and Falcor as the base plate runs a little bigger than the Contact Pro, Force and Atlas. So if you are a 10 or reduced footprint 10.5 the Size medium will probably be a better fit.

Stance Width Adjustability

Since pretty much every suggested boot size get’s dialed out in the Union Strata you can turn the discs sideways and slide them tip to tail to get the stance width you want. Mini-discs work great for this and there is enough slide room with Union to make it happen. Just don’t get these if you are going to put them on a binding with set back inserts.

Boot Support

The new ankle strap is almost exactly the same shape/surface area as the 2020 model but it’s not as soft. So there is a touch more response than last year.

Ratchet System

Very smooth and easy. It’s still one of the better ratchet systems in the industry but we like the thicker ladders from 2020 and before.

Turn Initiation/Response

The Union Strata is not quite as responsive as the Falcor but is definitely on the responsive side of things. It just feels a little slower but a little more on the smooth side of sharp. What we really like about the Strata’s is they don’t overpower easy turning boards and don’t feel under powered when you are riding boards that are slower edge to edge. It is closer to a 3.5 out of 5 but we don’t have 1/2 ratings yet.

Flex Under Foot/Buttering

The Contact Pro’s softer EVA foam is a little better when it comes to buttering but not by much. It still is a super buttery binding and most boards have an easier twist/flex underfoot with the Union Strata.

Shock Absorption/Dampness

This stiff rubbery like material throughout the base of the Union Strata makes for a very damp ride. It’s not quite there with the Atlas mainly because the Atlas is full sized vs. a mini disc with the Strata but it is still really good compared to the Contact Pro or other bindings. Now the Contact Pro has better slow speed shock absorption because it has that softer foam but it can’t absorb uneven snow at higher speeds like the Strata can.

Conclusion

So overall, the 2021 Union Strata isn’t a mind blower at any one thing but it’s really well done at just about everything that’s important to us and most average riders. Almost anyone can buy this, adjust it to their boot, and have a great time on the hill with most boards out there. That is exceptionally rare so that is what makes the Union Strata such a recommendable binding.

 
Union Strata Past Reviews

The Union Strata 2020 is the same except it received a new ankle strap. It used to be on the 2019 Union Falcor but now resides on the Strata. This is one of those really well-rounded bindings that work with a wide variety of board types and it’s one we often recommend to our readers.

Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews.  We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.

How This Review Happened:  We borrowed this for an extended demo and then returned it.  We borrowed this for a day and then returned it. We had a couple of laps at a frantic manic demo day. We liked it so much we asked to keep it (we only do this with our favorites).  After a demo, we liked it so much we bought it.  We spent our precious Good Ride dollars to buy this and review it.

Days:  40+
Riders:  James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs), Peter (Size 8, 5’11” 185lbs),Grant (Size 11 6’ 160lbs), Zobel (Size 11.5, 6’ 180lbs), Nick (Size 10, 160lbs, 5’8”) Stephen (Size 12.5, 215lbs 6’3”), Jimbo (Size 11, 5’11” 160lbs),
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV, Burton SLX, Burton Rover, Burton AMB, Burton Almighty, Burton Imperial, Burton Ion, DC Judge, Burton AmbushBurton HailBurton RulerBurton Driver X, Adidas Acerra, Vans Implant, Vans Aura, Vans Sequel
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gamechangers, Footprint Insole Technology Gamechangers Lite, Footprint Insole Technology Gameghangers Low Profile
Boards: Gentemstick Mantaray 156Korua PencilKorua DartKorua OttoLib Tech Lost RocketYes OptimisticRome Powder Division 153, Jones Hovercraft, Jones FlagshipLib Tech BRD, Burton Flight AttendantGnu MulairLoaded AlgernonCapita MercuryLib Tech Terrain WreckerLib Tech TRSCapita Outerspace LivingCapita UltrafearNever Summer Proto Type TwoYes GreatsYes Jackpot, Never Summer FunslingerLib Tech Box Knife and many more.

Highback Flex: There is a good twist to this high back that is definitely a step down from the Union Falcor and it also isn’t as tall but still has a pretty stiff flex when you pull it straight back. The washers that have been in the Strata since it was made are much better than previous washers as well and don’t come loose like the older washers did a few years ago.

Binding to Boot Adjustability: So we like that you can rotate the high back and adjust heel loop to center most boots in your binding so you can turn your discs sideways to also get your perfect stance width. We miss the adjustable toe ramp/gas pedal of the Atlas but I could still dial this out to my boot.

Stance Width Adjustability: The Mini-Discs on the Union Strata does a great job at getting the right stance width if the discs are turned sideways so they can slide tip to tail.

Comfort: The new ankle strap makes the Union Strata 2020 just a little bit more comfortable than the 2019 but both are pretty close.

Boot Support: The bigger ankle strap on the Union Strata 2020 also adds to the support and it bumps it up a little bit from last year. It locks in the boot a little more than before and the toe straps, just like last year, really pull the boot into the heel cup. Union is you can upgrade the straps at C3 here so if you don’t like the straps you can get a different one. Union lets you change up the straps at C3 here which is pretty cool. Most companies don’t let you do that.

Turn Initiation: Just a touch quicker thanks to the bigger ankle strap but still a pretty similar response to the 2019. It is right on the border between being medium and medium/fast and with the upgrade to the straps and base plate of the Atlas that feels a bit more responsive these days when I tested both bindings on the same board on the same day. It’s not that the Strata got slower but instead, the Atlas got a little faster edge to edge than it was before.

Buttering: Still just about the same. You had a little more freedom of movement with the smaller ankle straps but it’s still pretty close.

Ratchet System: Same as 2019 and it has a very easy on and off to it. They used to have issues years ago but now are some of the best in the industry.

Shock Absorption: Very damp and pretty shock absorption too. This rubbery material along the bottom really does a good job at absorbing chatter as well as shock from a somewhat off landing.

So all in all the Union Strata is even more of a recommendable binding in 2020 if you like more support around your boot and are looking for a binding that can match up with most boards out there. I personally own three pairs and use these to review other boards and boots. I could choose any binding out there and this is one of them that I chose for that task.

The 2019 Union Strata has almost the response of the Union Atlas but adds the better ability of the Contact pro while having dampness of its own.  It’s a great addition to the Union line and something that will be great for a wide variety of board personalities and riding types.

One thing to mention with the Union Strata is that the washers that connect to the highback/heel cup/ankle strap screw have changed in 2019 so it keeps the screw from 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 riders’ perspective.

Days: 5 and many more to come.
RidersJames
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADVVans Aura
Insoles:
Sandsole Custom Insoles,  Footprint Insole Technology Gameghangers Low Profile 
Boards: OZ Custom WoodyJones Ultra Mountain Twin, Capita Mercury, Capita OutsidersRome Powder Division 157

Highback Flex: It’s pretty medium when you twist it but more med/stiff when you try to bend it back.

Boot Adjustability: So just like the Contact Pro, the Union Strata has an adjustable heel loop that works well to center boot in the binding so you have a symmetrical response edge to edge. The only minor issue is the ankle strap only has one position unless you are willing to uncenter your boot for a higher or lower position but for us, it’s super far from being a deal breaker.  Fitting every size boot well for it’s recommended size range is far more important and it’s a great choice for those that are at the higher or lower end of the sizing recommendations.

Stance Width Adjustability: Mini-Discs like this don’t have a big channel but because they work with the inserts right next to each other you can really dial out your stance width if you turn the channels from tip to tail.  If you take the time to center your boot on the binding you can turn them tip to tail and still center them on the board.

Comfort: The Union Stratas are pretty comfortable. Most comfort in the binding revolves around the ankle strap. The plastic on the top and bottom can bite a little if you over-crank but you shouldn’t over-crank anyways. I do prefer the Falcor ankle strap better because it’s a little more comfortable to me but it’s still pretty comfortable. If you don’t like the ankle strap it comes with you can order the old Union Atlas ankle strap kit at C3’s site and that’s a very comfortable strap.  The rest of the binding doesn’t have any intrusive or uncomfortable parts.

Boot Support: There is much more support than the Contact Pro ankle strap but there is still some freedom of movement so you aren’t super locked in.

Turn Initiation: The Union Strata is a very fast edge to edge for this design.  It’s a bump up from the Contact Pro for sure and it’s pretty close response wise compared to the Atlas.  In comparing the Atlas to the Strata on the same board with the same boots on the same day it’s very close. The Atlas feels like it’s a more responsive binding in the way it’s built but the Strata seems to make the board softer underfoot so it turns easier. The Strata also has a smoother turn initiation where the Atlas feels a little sharper.  The result is that the board turns just about as fast as the Atlas even though it’s not quite as powerful a binding.

Buttering: Very easy to butter with the Strata and I like the feeling underfoot.  It’s not any easier than the Contact Pro to flex the board but it feels more springy and dynamic like it’s adding a little pop to the board.

Ratchet System: Very smooth and reliable.

Shock Absorption: The new Fused Vaporlite material is pretty different than the normal EVA foam you normally see in the base plate. It feels a little bit more unfriendly when it comes to slow speed shock absorption but seems like it would protect more the bigger you go. The Union Strata feels like it’s got the dampest material underfoot in the line and it feels like it adds another layer of dampness compared to any other binding in Unions line.  There are bindings like the Union Force and Atlas that feel like they stiffen up the board underfoot and that makes those pretty damp too but the Strata feels like it dampens the ride without stiffening up the flex underfoot which is a bonus for most.

So, all in all, I want the Union Strata in my quiver and feel it does things the Union Atlas, Union Falcor, and Contact Pro doesn’t.

 
Union Strata Images

We try to get as many images of the Union Strata, but forgive us if they're not all there.

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