This is my review of the Union Force snowboard bindings.
I’ve been snowboarding most of my life and have worked as a certified instructor by CASI for the last ten years. I’ve used many different bindings during that time and know how to assess essential characteristics accurately.
The Union Force is a quality binding that is capable of providing reliable performance in all-mountain situations. It’s not a super high-end option, so it might not live up to the standards of expert riders, but that also means it has a more affordable price tag.
In this post, I’ll give an in-depth review of these bindings so you can make an informed buying decision to get your setup figured out for many solid days of riding.
Let’s dive into it.
Union Force Overview
I’m a fan of Union bindings. While I don’t have a ton of first-hand experience with this particular model, I’m more than impressed with the durable construction and high-level performance that the brand is known for.
The Force is a long-standing model in Union’s lineup. It’s a favorite option for many riders I know because it sits in the sweet spot of performance and price. These are more affordable than other Union bindings without sacrificing their capabilities along the way.
Versatility is the name of the game here, and these bindings will give you effective all-mountain characteristics that will have you covered wherever you want to roam. They are good for transitioning through conditions or styles.
A medium-stiff flex gives the bindings plenty of high-end performance that intermediate and experienced riders can take advantage of. They provide excellent power transfer and response to keep your board under control while obeying your every command.
This stiffer flex has limits in freestyle situations and is not ideal for beginners. I would hesitate to use the Force on a strict freestyle setup. It can be solid in the halfpipe, but I like a little more give when hitting rails and other features.
Durable construction keeps the performance of these bindings active, no matter how much abuse you put them through. With Duraflex ST material that keeps and consistent flex and grade 8.8 hardware, these are built to last a long time.
The Force is also a pretty comfortable binding that gives you all of the shock and impact absorbing properties that you want to keep your feet in good shape. The highbacks also provide firm support without digging into your legs.
I like a few of the other models that Union makes a little better than the Force. But I still think it’s a good option for riders who want high levels of performance but don’t want to pay top dollar for a high-end binding.
Bindings are a critical piece of snowboarding equipment that sometimes gets overlooked. The Force reaches a nice middle ground of affordability and performance that every snowboarder can appreciate and take advantage of.
The Union Force is a practical and effective binding that will meet the needs of the average all-mountain rider. It doesn’t have a strong focus on any particular style but comes with capabilities and a price that are always attractive.
These bindings are built for experienced riders who want versatility so that they are not limited in what they can do on the mountain. The Force offers solid performance in the typical conditions and situations you are likely to encounter when riding.
I like the fact that these bindings can help you transition through different snow and terrain conditions. If you want to go chase powder while it’s still fresh and then focus on the terrain park later in the day, these are effective for both.
The stable performance and good edge-to-edge capabilities allow for this wide-arching performance. You don’t need to worry about the binding limiting what you can do, and they will work with you as you explore.
The Force can work for light freeriding, but I wouldn’t mount these on a full-fledged backcountry setup. They have the stiffness to give you effective power transfer and control, but I don’t think they quite have top-level performance in this situation.
I think the Force is probably best suited for intermediate riders who are pushing towards advanced-level situations. They will help you develop the skills needed to master challenging runs while also allowing for a bit of forgiveness along the way.
That said, these can still work for beginners who are close to being intermediates or advanced riders on a budget. The versatility of the Force applies to different ability levels as well as terrains and conditions.
I’m impressed with the comfort level of every Union binding I have tried, especially since they are built to be a performance option. Some models sacrifice comfort for capability, but the Force gives you a good amount of each.
These also give quite a bit of comfort for a stiffer binding. The Stage 4 Duraflex ST material used in the baseplate construction is a big reason why. This material gives consistent flex even when temperatures plummet, which increases comfort when you need it.
The bindings also have thermoformed EVA bushings that work to keep things consistent when the obvious variables appear. These are more durable than your average bushing for added cushioning and support.
The Force also has reliable heel hold that will keep your feet in place no matter how hard you ride. Extruded 3D aluminum heelcups help limit drag and keep those feet down on the board. Foot fatigue is very effectively limited by this design feature.
Duraflex ST material is also used in the highback design, which gives you consistent performance during temperature changes while also providing comfort. Even though they are relatively stiff, the bindings have enough give to not eat up your calves.
The adjustability features of the Force are solid as well. They don’t have a ton of highly innovative tech, but you get all of the necessary hold, grip, and tightening you need for effective riding all over the mountain.
An ExoFrame 4.0 ankle strap is solid all-around. It’s a simple design, but it works and there is no need to get too fancy here. With a wide and grippy material, this will hold your foot down in the bindings well.
The 2.0 Rhombus toe strap gives you a little extra adjustability over the average binding. These allow for multiple position options so you can keep your toes secure no matter what type of boots you are riding with. This strap has a pin system for added strength as well.
You also get the benefit of magnesium buckles that work with the ratcheting design for effective hold. These are easy to use in the cold and super durable. You can easily use the buckles with gloved hands, and strapping in or out is quick.
All of the adjustments can be made tool-free, which is a standard design these days but worth mentioning because it is incredibly convenient.
The Force is a quality binding that can work well for a lot of different riders. While they aren’t the best model in Union’s lineup, they still deliver above-average performance in a wide range of situations.
These are more affordable than other Union models, making them an excellent value for any rider who wants to try them out. If you are looking for a high-quality all-mountain snowboard binding with reliable comfort and performance, these are a solid value.
I don’t think these are a great value for advanced and expert-level riders in terms of performance. They are affordable, and that makes them worth considering if you are on a budget. But they don’t deliver top-notch performance in more technical situations.
Overall the Force is a pretty rugged and effective binding. While it’s not a contender for the top performer in the all-mountain category, it has a practical appeal that is hard to deny. These bindings get the job done, simple as that.
Here are some recommended alternatives to the Union Force. Every option below will give you slightly different performance and comfort levels and are worth checking out.
1. Union Strata
The Strata is like a big brother to the Force. It gives you a little extra something that comes into play during more technical situations. This is still a very versatile binding that can work well for all-mountain and freeride setups.
With an extremely solid construction that blends comfort and performance, these bindings are built to last. OTE fused Vaporlite bushings add durability and cushioning, while Duraflex material keeps a consistent flex at any temperature.
==> Read our detailed Union Strata review for more.
The Cartel is one of the most popular Burton bindings and delivers solid performance you can rely on. They come with a SesoryBed cushioning system to give you added comfort and a stable mounting surface.
A canted highback gives you a quality response and stiff edge-to-edge control, making for a stable and balanced feel, no matter how you like to ride. These also have a unique highback adjustment feature that provides a customized setup.
==> Read our detailed review of Burton Cartel EST to learn more.
These are basically the women’s version of the Force, and they are a solid set of bindings for female riders. They come with Stage 4 Duraflex construction that provides an even and consistent flex for reliable performance in all situations.
They also have a similar build that enhances comfort with a focus on effective performance. Extruded 3D aluminum heelcups keep your feet in place, and magnesium ratchets provide a reliable hold in any weather condition.
The Union Force is another solid model from a reliable binding maker. These are a more affordable option than other options in the Union lineup and make a good option for intermediate riders who want quality all-mountain performance.About Lorraine