Binding Review: 08-09 Union Force SL

18 Nov, 2008

Location: Loveland, Colorado

Snow Conditions: Snowing with hardpacked groomers to icy groomers to fresh snow on the runs.

Setup: I rode the Union Force SL bindings with a variety of snowboards and my Vans Omni Focus boots.

Time to set up the binding: Average

Fit: At the time the fit felt fine, the toe strap seemed pretty big for my boot size but I had no problems with staying in the bindings and aligning the straps.

First Impression: I needed a solid pair of bindings to try out as I demo’d companies without bindings…and Force’s were the first choice to rock for the day, I knew they’d be issue-free.

Appearance: They look good…hands down. Black with red spiderweb stitching on the straps, clean design from highback to baseplate. Nothing too flashy, no extra bullshit crap that you don’t need on bindings, just good looks and simple but quality design.

Comfort: Starting from the highback to the straps, pure comfort. I had no problems with the highbacks being too tall for my boots or not comforming, they were fine and the straps while the ankle was narrower still offered the support I needed. Padding in the baseplate to absorb any rougher landings.

Functionality: Very easy to adjust, whether it’s the straps or the highback forward lean, can do it without a tool. I didn’t have any issues with the ratchets when I was riding them and I spent most of the day on them.

Flex: Having come from the contacts with the softer flexing highback to the medium flexing feel of the forces, it was a good transition and made riding everywhere a lot easier on me. I could rely on it for heelside turns to hold me in each turn. There’s still good lateral give to the bindings and you get support for toeside and heelside turning.

Response: This is where the Force won me over…and why I’d ride the bindings everywhere…I have the contacts but man I could ride these all day and never feel like I had to work overtime to get response out of the binding. That was the step above the contacts for me…quicker response from them. Easy to initiate, good absorption on the little 180’s and ollies I did…just a fun, do everything binding.

Toe Strap: I had to get it dialed and it was only one run where it slipped on me because of how I placed it. Other than that, once I had it placed right with my boot I was fine the rest of the day.

Overall Impression: I rocked these bindings on a couple boards to use for testing since I left my bindings at home on the demo day. I really liked the response they had with a stiffer highback than my contacts. I rocked them all over the mountain and felt comfortable with them most of the day. I spent a lot more time on them by choice compared to other brands I could have rode.

Shay’s Honesty Box: I like my contacts for being as soft and light as they are but I pretty much keep them to easy days freestyling or pipe…but man I wish I had the Forces to ride everywhere and the Force SL’s are light as well.

On-Snow Photos

Union Force SL Description


About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. Nose Dradamous
    November 20, 2008

    You nailed it. Contacts were built with the park kid in mind. A little less responsive than the Forces, as we found that we had to tune down the Forces for dudes like Kooley and Sexton. So the Contacts were developed.

    Those demo SL’s you rode weren’t even production. They were samples from last years demo’s that are still in circulation. There aren’t to many demo’s going down and it doesn’t make sense to open up all new production goods for one or two demo’s.

    Changes from what you ran are;
    -all hard wear, changed to grade 8 steel.
    -high backs got a little bit more meat to them. Those samples are a little soft laterly.
    -straps and adjustment got cleaned up tons.
    -everything fits together way tighter than those.

    Other than that, they’re real close ride wise. The SL’s have a lot of interest this year and are selling incredibly well for an almost $300 binding. And you can never go wrong with the Forces.

    BTW, if you want to trade the Contacts for Forces, no problem. Contacts are for the mini bike park kids, Forces and above are the do anything bindings. LMK.

    Thanks Shay.


  2. Shayboarder
    November 20, 2008

    Thanks Johan for clarifying, I should have asked if it was production or not.

    The Force’s definitely are a popular binding, now I see why.

    Thanks for the trade offer…I’ll contact you, I know I’d ride the forces more than my contacts.

  3. Anonymous
    December 05, 2008

    Hi Shay,
    If I go with Union Force or Union Force SL.

    I do have a Size question, if I wear 9US (Vans Cirro or Northwave Legend) both pretty smal for the size, Can a go with M/L or I do have to go by de book with L/XL
    Union says on that L/XL is for 8.5US to 13US but I am afraid that they will be big and like a tite fit on bindings? What do you suggest when you are in between size in Union? Thanks a lot
    Montreal, Qc

  4. Shayboarder
    December 08, 2008

    Hey Francis,

    It’s a tough call, I let my friend try out my contacts and he was able to adjust the straps to fit his size 11 boots.

    As a 9, I would think you would be fine in M/L which says it fits a 6-10 size boot.

  5. Anonymous
    December 11, 2008

    Thanks Shay

    That Response to my question and if I do I will go with M/L since I do have 9 US
    Thanks a lot and keep the good job! and Nice 686 Jacket again hihihi