Expert Review: Union Strata Snowboard Bindings · 2022

Published on 05/06/2023 · 7 min read This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2023.
Gaelen Mast, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast

A photo from the very first time I demoed the Stratas, in bright orange! All photos courtesy of Gaelen Mast

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2023.

My take

The Union Strata is a hard-to-beat option for anyone looking for a comfortable, all-mountain binding. They’re great for any skill level and will last longer than most competitors.

Testing the Union Stratas on another board (The Capita Outsiders)!

About the bindings I own

  • Model: 2022 Union Strata
  • Size: Medium
  • Burton channel compatible: Yes
  • Mini disc (reduces footprint of the binding on the board to enable more board feel): Yes

About me

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 150 lbs
  • Experience: 11 years of snowboarding

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: February 2023
  • Days tested: 15
  • Board: Capita Slush Slasher
  • Boot: Vans Aura Pro
  • Where I’ve used it: Winter Park Resort, CO
  • Terrain: Deep powder (12+ inches), groomers, trees, terrain park

How they perform

Comfort
5/5
Buttering
4/5
Durability
4/5
Responsiveness
4/5
Weight
4/5
Adjustability
3/5
Boot Adjustability
3/5
Shock Absorption
3/5

What I was looking for

I was hoping to find bindings that would be capable in an all-mountain setting and were also above average in a powder setting. I’ve ridden other “powder-focused” bindings in the past, and they always made my calves ache after a couple of hours due to their stiff flex. Therefore, I would rarely use them for anything other than powder. This time, I wanted something that could crush powder, but also work well for general riding—something with great board feel and response, but also comfort.

Why I chose this gear

I’ve always been a fan of Union bindings, and have demoed several pairs trying to find one that had a good balance between comfort and response. I demoed the Union STRs and Union Ultras along with the Union Stratas. Out of the three, I enjoyed the Union Stratas the most, as they felt like they had the most precise control to them without sacrificing comfort.

Although you can’t see them, I was rocking my Stratas for this cliff drop, they absorbed the impact like a champ!

What I love about them

  • Responsiveness: The mini-disk that comes with these bindings gives me more board control than other similar bindings I’ve ridden that don’t contain a mini-disk. It really lets me flex my board in different ways (whether laterally for butters or torsionally when carving). This makes me feel as if I am really getting the most from my board, and I am able to ride it exactly how I would like.
  • Straps: Both the toe and ankle straps are made of a flexible material that can really mold to the shape of my boot. They are both also made from an anti-slip material, so the straps flex with my boot as I am riding, but do not move. Whether this gives me more control or not, I can’t tell. However, it’s nice to put my straps on a certain part of my boot and have them be in the exact same spot at the end of the run.
  • Weight: These bindings are light. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise for anyone familiar with Union products, as they’re known to make light bindings. However, I was pleasantly surprised at just how light these are for a binding with a 6/10 flex. While a 6/10 flex is just above a “middle-of-the-road”, medium flex, I would have expected it to be a little heavier, as typically speaking, stiffer-flexing bindings are heavier. However, these Stratas feel exceptionally light (just as light as a pair of Union Flites I own, which are much softer flexing), and I feel like it really opens up my ability to ride these bindings in the park as well as the rest of the mountain.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Binding adjustability in boots: I don’t have many critiques of this binding after riding it over a dozen times, so I’m going to be nitpicky. To adjust the length of the ankle and toe straps, one must unscrew a piece of hardware, adjust the binding length, and then screw the hardware back in. I will give Union credit where credit is due, it doesn't require tools to remove this hardware—it’s just a twist top. However, the piece is very small and could be quite easy to lose. Other bindings I’ve ridden like Ride’s “A Series” simply have a tab that flips up and then one can slide the toe or ankle strap to where one wants it to be and get a very precise fit without removing anything and risking losing it. Why can’t Union feature a similar system that removes the risk of losing crucial hardware and provides more options for strap length? Most people (myself included) aren’t messing with their strap length much, so take this with a grain of salt. I simply included it to give a full picture of the binding.
  • Stance adjustability: Again, being nitpicky here, but the mechanism to adjust forward lean on the Union Strata requires a piece of hardware to be removed, and this time it does require a Phillips-head screwdriver to do this task. Most people will never even touch their forward lean adjuster, so again this isn’t a big deal. It’s just odd to me as almost every other binding model (including other Union bindings I’ve ridden), simply has a latch that flips to adjust the forward lean. With the Strata's adjustment method for this, it would be much harder to adjust one’s forward lean mid-run.
  • Durability: There’s no integral issue to complain about with these bindings. In my opinion, Union makes some of the most durable bindings on the planet, and the Strata is no exception. However, like most bindings, these ones will also show wear and tear on the paint—particularly in high-contact areas. Spots like the heel cup and sides of the baseplate are starting to scuff a bit, and my highback has a scratch on top of it from where a skier’s boot scraped against it when getting off a lift. None of these are super noticeable, but my advice is to enjoy how the new bindings look while one can, as they will likely get cosmetic damage within a few days of use.

Some photos of the damage mentioned in the section above

Favorite moment with this gear

I absolutely love the “all-around” capability of these bindings. I mounted them on an all-mountain/powder board (the Slush Slasher), which certainly plays a role in their versatility. But these just feel comfortable in 95% of scenarios. I love taking them in the park, as they have a decent amount of flex to them and I feel I can really enjoy butters and rails—since they let me flex my board out fully with their included mini-disk. At the same time, I’ve ridden down black and double black trails on Colorado powder days and they’ve felt plenty responsive while not feeling too heavy and wearing my legs out quickly.

Value for the money vs. other options

I would say the Union Stratas are most similar to the Ride C-6 model which has the same amount of flex to it and is also marketed as an “all-mountain” binding. While I’ve never personally ridden the Ride C-6s, people in the snowboard shop I work at love them and compare them to the Stratas often. I’ll still make the claim that the Strata is a better value as the newest model year retails for a marginally lower price tag than the newest model year for the C-6s.

Final verdict

These bindings are a great choice for someone who’s just looking to ride a bit of everything. While they didn’t blow me away for any style of riding, they did do their job perfectly for every style of riding I enjoy (powder, carving, park), and they never once held me back. Backed by Union’s reputation for durability, these bindings are a great choice for a rider who wants to keep it simple and ride the same bindings for a long time.

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