Union Force

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A freestyle workhorse, the Union Force knows what its job entails and performs it masterfully. The robust straps and ratchets were test standouts; the fused ankle strap has a natural flex with enough cushion for great comfort without adding unnecessary weight, and the new Ultra Grip Toe Strap is minimalistic yet offers great boot coverage with no slip. The magnesium ratchets are sturdy, snappy, and smooth, which testers said simplified getting in and out of the bindings.

The highback rides high and has mid/stiff flex but was said to be "loose enough to seriously press butters, then keep them pressed." Forward lean is adjusted with a locking lever and ladder flange. Strategically placed baseplate bushings offer dampening without affecting board feel or slowing power transfer to the edges. The flex of Union's Stage 4 baseplate makes the Force really playful, and though it's stiffer than previous versions, it left room to unleash a wide variety of tricks. During the test, the Force consistently performed as good or better than bindings that cost more, a testament to Union’s refinement of this model over the past 12 years.

The Force was called "a good bet for the average rail rider" and "supportive enough for jumps in the 20-to-60-foot range." All the kinks have been worked out, and if the price tag raises any quality concerns, rest assured this could be the best freestyle binding on the market for the price. Plus, a lifetime warranty on the baseplate shows that Union is happy to stand by their craftsmanship. Riders looking for a great binding that is all killer and no filler should consider the Force.

Price: $230.00
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Freestyle Bindings



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RAD: If this were a board, we’d give it a Bang For Your Buck award. BAD: Is it time for a mini-disc mounting system?

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Good Wood


Bang For Your Buck




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RAD: If this were a board, we’d give it a Bang For Your Buck award. BAD: Is it time for a mini-disc mounting system?

Tested And Approved 2017 Presented by evo.com

Best snowboard gear of 2016-2017? We've got you covered. Going into winter, we want to know what gear can be trusted when put through the wringer. But testing over 500 boots, bindings, goggles, gloves, helmets, splitboards and powder boards, and other backcountry gear and accessories in every snowy corner of the country was a massive undertaking that the TransWorld staff couldn't handle alone. So we sent the latest developments in snowboarding goods to our team of testers spread across the country. With so many unique features in the lineup and different opinions from each tester—both compliments and complaints—there was plenty worth discussing. Some gear broke. Other pieces spoke volumes to functionality and durability. So here you have it: the most inclusive, all-encompassing gear test in snowboarding. If it's in here, it's been beat up and bent every which way – and tested, and approved.

Meet Our Testers:

Adam Broderick

As Gear Editor at TransWorld SNOWboarding, Broderick spent last season directing tests around the country when he wasn't testing gear himself. He administered the Good Wood board test, powder board test, and backcountry test, while leading the glove test and coordinating the others, plus editing all Gear Guide text. He is the point of contact for all things gear-related at TWSNOW.

Mike Horn

Mike Horn's first backcountry pack had bungee cords for snowboard straps. That's a far cry from the innovative gear he tested in his Crested Butte backyard this winter. Mike's been writing about snowboarding for a decade-plus, and he tends to get crusty when reviewing gear that's not quite up to snuff.

Devin Silverthorne-Lillie

A New Hampshire transplant, Devin's Ice Coast roots provide superior edge awareness, and with Breckenridge's Park Lane in her backyard, she practically falls from bed to her board. She put freestyle bindings on trial in and out of bounds—from frozen mornings to spring slush, backyard rail jams to sidecountry booter sessions.

Billy Brown

Billy Brown covered new tech for this year's guide. The California native grew up riding the terrain parks in South Lake Tahoe, but for the past few years his career as a freelance editor has allowed him to snowboard around the world—from heliboarding in Whistler to riding post-storm powder in Valle Nevado, Chile.

Alex Showerman

A freelance writer based in Vermont, Alex took his powder hunt on the road last winter. He schlepped freeride boots, backcountry boots—and enough shells, puffies, and base layers to open a small gear store—around the globe in search of snow in locales like Vermont, Wyoming, Colorado, and Iceland.

Morgan Tilton

Reared in the San Juans of Southwest Colorado, as soon as Morgan could walk her dad strapped her in, and Telluride Ski Resort became her babysitter. Over the past 13 years, snowboarding has taken her through Wolf Creek's whimsical powder days, USASA Slopestyle Nationals, and the cliff-riddled backcountry of Colorado and Wyoming.

Heather Hendricks

From the jagged peaks of Jackson Hole and the Canadian Rockies to the overt opulence of Aspen, the steeps of Alaska, and the striking faces of the La Sals, our contributing editor spent the season traveling to summits near and far. Heather toted along a bin full of boots and tested them all along the way.

Chris Brunstetter

From loitering shop kid to 22-year industry insider, Chris has spent most of his life in the snow and skate industries in Utah, even experiencing firsthand the rise and fall (and second rise and fall) of Forum. He tested freestyle boots and bindings in the man-made and natural parks at Brighton, Snowbird, and Jackson Hole.