Union Strata Review

This is my review of the Union Strata snowboard bindings. 

I’m a CASI-certified snowboarding instructor and have been teaching at resorts for the last ten years. I am a fan of Union bindings and have used several versions of the Strata to get first-hand experience with how they perform on the mountain. 

The Union Strata is a solid all-mountain snowboard binding well-suited for intermediate and advanced riders who want versatility without compromising performance. They are a little expensive but make for an excellent investment to help you ride anywhere and everywhere. 

This post will dive into all the details of these bindings and why they are a recommended option. I’ll tell you everything I like about them and list some potential downsides as well. 

On with the show. 

Union Strata Overview

The Union Strata is a high-quality snowboard binding that is intended to meet the needs of riders who know what they are doing on the mountain. This model is more than capable in a wide range of conditions, making them an excellent all-mountain option. 

I’ve used these bindings on all-mountain and freeride setups over the last few years and was pleased with each. I have grown to really like Union bindings and think that the brand offers some of the best quality options in the industry. 

The Strata is a good choice for any intermediate to advanced level (and beyond) rider who wants a trusted piece of equipment to strap into. This is the type of binding that will always work with you, no matter your style or preferences. 

All-mountain versatility shines bright when you want to explore every inch of the mountain. The Strata offers great transitional ability. Meaning you can chase first tracks in the powder in the morning and then spin park laps in the afternoon. 

A medium-stiff flex provides you with plenty of power and response, which is crucial when demanding conditions come your way. You can expect excellent edge-to-edge control, and the Strata gives you a stable feel throughout. 

These can also function well in freeride situations. They are lightweight but powerful, which is a useful combination when you want to venture deep into the backcountry. Grade 8.8 hardware ensures that everything will stay intact under heavy use.

The Strata is also a very comfortable option. When you combine plenty of shock absorption alongside adequate and effective adjustability, your feet are in for a cozy experience. Sometimes comfort is sacrificed with performance, but that’s not the case here.  

The most significant downside of these bindings is probably their cost. They are relatively expensive and might be out of reach if you are on a budget. I still think they are a good value because of the overall quality they offer.

I recommend the Strata for any intermediate or up level rider who wants versatility and high performance in various conditions. They aren’t the best bindings for beginners but can work well for everyone else. 

Detailed Review

The Union Strata is a versatile do-it-all kind of binding. It’s more than capable of bouncing across the mountain and will adapt to the style or conditions you like to ride in. It’s well built, and even though it’s a bit pricey, I still think they are more than worth trying out. 

Performance

These bindings perform at a high level in nearly every situation. All-mountain bindings should give you versatility, but sometimes that results in a generalist feel that doesn’t overdeliver. The Strata delivers and far exceeds average expectations. 

One of my favorite characteristics of these bindings is their ability to adapt. They will work with your board to handle variable conditions, and that makes them a solid option to pair with your favorite all-mountain snowboard. 

The stiffer flex of the baseplate and highback gives you excellent response and power transfer. The Strata will effectively transfer all movements from your lower legs into the board to provide you with high-end edge-to-edge control. 

They make for a good freeride binding because they are built to be both lightweight and strong. If you are on a backcountry trip or want to hike up to the top of a bowl, every ounce counts, and these help keep your overall weight down. 

Even with a medium-stiff flex, I still like how these perform in freestyle situations and the terrain park. They aren’t the most forgiving option, but they have plenty of shock absorption to support any high-flying antics you want to get into. 

The Strata won’t work well for newbies because they are too aggressive. A softer flexing binding is recommended if you are just getting started with the sport.  

Comfort

The Strata delivers quite a bit of comfort for hard-charging winter sports athletes. Some high-performance bindings focus on capabilities instead of creature comforts, but this model blends the best of both worlds well. 

The bindings come with OTE fused Vaporlite bushings, which work to provide extra vibration reduction and cushioning. This helps to prevent foot fatigue while also increasing the response of the bindings. 

The highback is also a unique design that is very lightweight but still supportive. They don’t give you any bruising or pressure on the back of your leg, even if you are digging into big carves or going huge all day long. 

Another great thing about the highback construction is the Stage 6 Duraflex material it is made of. This material keeps a consistent flex no matter the temperature outside to give you reliable comfort all season long. 

Extruded 3D aluminum heelcups do an excellent job of keeping your heels planted and in place when riding. This heel hold also helps prevent fatigue while increasing the high-end performance capabilities. 

Adjustability

While the Strata doesn’t feature highly unique design features to aid with adjustability, they provide you with all the standard elements you need to keep your feet firmly in place to assist comfort and performance. 

The Hexigrip Toe strap gives you multiple positions to choose from, so you can get your toe pressure just right. A new pin system increases the strength of this strap as well, and a secure lock mechanism keeps everything in place once you are strapped in. 

The ankle strap is also highly effective and was designed with the input of professional snowboarder Travis Rice. The result is a Forma Elite Direct Connect ankle strap that is minimal in material but highly effective in its hold. 

The bindings are easy to get into and out of, and you don’t need to worry about tightening things down in cold weather. Magnesium buckles provide a solid hold, and they are incredibly durable, even when the temperature drops well below zero. 

All of the strap adjustments are easy to make on the fly when you are on the mountain. Both the toe and ankle straps feature tool-free adjustment so you can get things dialed in quickly to take advantage of your time in the snow.

Value 

The Strata is a relatively expensive snowboard binding. Even though it’s a top-performer, this pricetag might keep it out of feasible options for a boarder on a budget. I still recommend this model if you can afford it because of how it performs on the mountain.

Intermediate, advanced, and expert-level riders are sure to benefit from using this binding. It makes a great value if you are looking for a versatile and effective option to pair with an all-mountain or freeride board. I’ll call it a great value with these riders in mind. 

It’s not an excellent freestyle binding. Even though you can easily use this in the park, I probably wouldn’t mount these on a freestyle board. The Strata can work as an option for a freestyle-focused all-mountain board, and it’s a good value in that situation as well.

If you want to save money for other equipment, other options can still give you versatility with a cheaper price tag (see the sections below). Even with a higher price, these bindings still get good value marks. 

The Alternatives

Check out these alternatives if the Union Strata doesn’t seem like a good match. The options below are all high-quality and are recommended for various reasons. 

1. Union Contact Pro

The Contact Pro is another top-rated binding model from Union that comes highly recommended. This one has similar levels of all-mountain versatility that will give you stand-out performance all over the mountain. 

These have more freestyle capabilities, which come in handy if you like to spend your days in the park but don’t want to be limited to one style. The bindings have a medium flex but are still better suited for experienced riders. 

2. Burton Cartel

The Cartel is a favorite Burton binding and is a little more affordable than the Strata. It’s a comfortable option with excellent shock absorption to provide you with stability and control in all sorts of situations. 

You can take advantage of a dual-component base plate that helps increase comfort and gives you added balance with solid edge-to-edge control. It also has a DialFLAD system to make forward lean adjustments to the highback.

3. Burton Mission

This option makes the list because it is a great value thanks to a very affordable price alongside quality performance. It’s not as well suited to advanced and expert-level riders but still delivers a solid experience across the mountain.

The Mission features Burton’s Re:Flex binding system that uses a smaller profile baseplate to reduce weight and give you increased comfort. A FullBED cushioning system is another nice touch that will keep your feet in good shape. 

My Verdict

The Union Strata is a top-performing set of snowboard bindings that I highly recommended. They are somewhat expensive but are a good option for any intermediate to advanced rider who wants a more than capable all-mountain binding to strap into.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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