As a surprise, Union just released a few colorways from their 2024 binding lineup a few months early. One of the early released bindings was the 2024 Union Ultra in the Deep Blue color. I bought them the minute I saw they were available so that I could review them for you here.
Here is my in-depth review of the 2024 Union Ultra Bindings.
Highlights of the 2024 Union Ultra
- Shock Absorption
- Lightweight / Durable
- Tweakability / Flex in highback and baseplate
- Minidisk compatible
- Soft and skate-like boardfeel
- Upgraded TS 5.0 toe strap – to keep you locked in
- Upgraded no-slip hardware
- They are on the more expensive side and well worth it for all of the features you get.
- They might be too soft / flexible for some riders.
- The paint on the heel cup can get scratched easily
Small (US Men’s 6 – 7.5), Medium (US Men’s 8 – 10), Large (US Men’s 10.5+)
Overview of the 2024 Union Ultra
The Union Ultra bindings were added to the lineup as an upgraded all-mountain / park binding for the 2023 season. They have quickly become the fastest-growing binding in the lineup because of their versatility, freestyle skate-like feel, and shock absorption features.
The Ultra took the place on Union’s binding roster of the Contact Pro with a few higher-end features worked into them. However, the primary focus of the Union Ultra was in designing them to be light and flexible enough to help you tweak your board for tricks in ways other bindings can’t. Additionally, these bindings will soften your landings and offer an unmatched level of comfort while keeping you locked in. Unsurprisingly, they are a fan favorite and sell out as quickly.
Here is a quick overview video that highlights all of the core features of the Union Ultra bindings.
This image from Union’s brochure shows all of the new features that Union worked into the 2024 Ultra bindings.
In addition to its lightweight, the primary selling features of the Ultra are its flex pattern and shock absorption. These bindings use Union’s Duraflex ST material, which is an engineered material that remains playfully flexible in all temperatures and conditions. You will notice the flex capabilities of the Ultra bindings the most in the S15 Ultra Duraflex ST Highback bindings. The highback has a four out of 10 flex rating. You can twist it left or right easily. However, there is virtually no flex when you try to push it back as if you were to make a heelside carve. The flex in the highback will help you land spins and perfect your balance on jibs without losing too much of the responsiveness in the binding. For the 2024 Ultra, the highback was upgraded to also include six degrees of forward lean. The additional forward lean will help you keep your knees bent to absorb landings and help your board react faster when carving edge to edge.
The Ultra’s S11 ASYM Duraflex ST Baseplates are perfect for butters and presses. The baseplate uses the mini-disk mounting and the same Duraflex material Union used in the highback.
If you look at the picture above, you will see that Union removed some material that would be under the ball of your foot and heel. That is one of the main reasons the Union Ultra is so perfect for all-mountain freestyle riding. By removing the material, Union made the overall weight of the Ultra bindings lighter and dramatically improved the torsional flex and maneuverability of this binding. The unique shape gives this binding a skate-like boardfeel.
The Union Ultra bindings have exceptional shock absorption capabilities. Union added a new Molecular Bushing to line the footbed of the Ultra bindings. These bushings are designed to help you soften landings and get a more natural flex pattern out of your snowboard. The Molecular Bushings are 15% lighter than the standard Union bushing. While you ride, these bushings will reduce chatter and prevent the fatigue you feel in your ankles and knees, allowing you to stay out longer than you normally would.
The ankle strap in the Ultra is called the Forma X Ankle Strap. It features comfortable padding, the perfect level of flex, and is lightweight. Union added a soft lycra padding to comfortably line your boot and a responsive Exoframe exterior to keep you locked in. The straps are stretchy and will mold around your boot so perfectly that it seems like they aren’t even there.
What Is New in the 2024 Union Ultra?
There is only one new upgrade worked into the 2024 version of the Union Ultra. Its toe strap.
This year the Toe Strap has been upgraded to the TS 5.0 Ultragrip toe strap. If you’ve read my Union Ultra vs Strata article, you’ll know that the toe strap was one of my only criticisms about the 2023 Union Ultra. Last year’s model shared the same toe strap as the entry-level freestyle bindings. There wasn’t much to it. Union must have been hearing that same feedback because, in the 2024 Union Ultra, they added the TS 5.0 Ultragrip toe strap.
The TS 5.0 Ultragrip toe strap in the 2024 Union Ultra Bindings feels like a higher-end toe strap. It has a high-density rubber that wraps around your toebox. The extra rubber covering offers a more locked-in feel while preventing your boot from slipping around while it’s strapped in.
Vs. The 2023 Union Ultra Toe Strap
The TS 4.0 toe straps are lightweight and comfortable. There just wasn’t much to them. The parallel design allows the strap to mold around your toes to keep your boots locked in without adding extra pressure points. However, there wasn’t anything covering your boot’s toe box to prevent you from slipping slightly when taking impacts. The primary benefit of the 2023 toe straps was that they were minimalistic and didn’t add extra weight to the bindings.
Here is an image of my white 2023 Union Ultra bindings next to my new 2024 Deep Blue Ultras.
Why Did I Buy the 2024 Union Ultra Bindings?
I bought the 2024 Union Ultra bindings because I liked how the 2023 Ultra bindings felt. However, I just wasn’t crazy about the minimal toe strap. I wanted to see what the Union Ultra would ride like when they had a toe strap that cradled my boot’s toe box.
Additionally, the deep blue color is so very nice to look at against the dark top sheet of my Bataleon Evil Twin Plus.
What do I like/dislike about the Union Ultra Bindings?
Here are a few stand out features that I really love about the new 2024 Union Ultra Bindings.
The Overall Feel of the Union Ultra Bindings
I love how these bindings feel underfoot. They feel playful yet offer this insanely locked-in feeling without requiring as many ratchet clicks as most other bindings do.
The Shock Absorption / Dampness
I used to not worry much about shock absorption or a binding’s dampness levels. However, I’m nearly 40 years old and still enjoy park riding. The difference is now if I knuckle on a jump’s landing, I will be done for the day or longer as my knees scream at me. The Union Ultra bindings’ bushings help with this, though. There is a foam that lines the entire bottom of the binding. It is a foam that feels similar to the EVA foam you would find in a running shoe. It offers dampness and shock absorption while also giving you that rebound sort of spring-in-your-step type of feel that a running shoe would give you. That springiness helps give you an additional level of pop while allowing your landings to feel softer.
Here is what the foam underneath the 2024 Union Ultra Bindings looks like.
The Ultra’s construction was designed to be as light as possible. Union didn’t use any glue and actively tried to reduce the materials used where they could. The result is a binding that feels like one cohesive solid feeling unit.
That said, the new toe strap didn’t add any additional weight.
I weighed both my 2023 and 2024 Union Ultra bindings as weighing .8 kg or 1.76 lbs.
Here is how the weight compares year to year.
|2023 Ultra||2024 Ultra|
The Comfortable Straps / High-Performance Straps
The Union Ultra’s ankle strap is such a highlight of these bindings. It feels flexible yet still does an excellent job of keeping you locked in. It offers a strong balance between being playful for park riding yet still responsive for resort riding. An excellent bonus feature is that it has a perforated rubber section to help keep it out of the way while you are strapping in.
The ankle strap has a soft padded lycra section that rests against your boot, while a hard rubber acts as its exoskeleton to give it structure and keep you locked in. The ratchets are easy to slide in and out of and keep you locked in.
Here is a closeup image of the outside of the Ultra bindings ankle strap.
The Ultra’s strap is a hard rubber with a firm plastic band that runs across the center. The inside of the strap is a squishy lycra material that comfortably rests across the front of your boot. Here is a closeup of what the inside of the strap looks like.
And now that the toe straps have been upgraded, the Ultra’s feel like the most comfortable high-performance park binding that you can buy.
Here are a few details about the new 2024 Union Ultra Bindings that I didn’t like.
The Buckles Scratch Easily
The bright-colored buckles of the Deep Blue Union Ultras can show even the smallest scratches. For example, the pointy corners of the buckles must have been scratching something inside the package before they arrived to me. This is an image of how these bindings arrived without even being ridden.
Some feedback for Union would be to tape the tips of the buckles to prevent the pointy corners from rubbing against other parts of the bindings in transit.
The buckle’s scratch could be more a characteristic of the Deep Blue color that I got rather than the experience of all of the 2024 Ultra binding color options. Either way, a small dab of a red permanent marker, and I was back in action without a scratch.
Not Many Color Options Are Available Yet
This was an early 2024 release when I bought it. I jumped at buying the Deep Blue color because it was the only one that was available at the time. I think it looks awesome. However, I would have preferred the white or black versions. The good news is there will be more colors available soon. The 2024 Union Binding Brochure shows these colorways.
Who Is the Union Ultra a Good Fit For?
The 2024 Union Ultra bindings are a great fit for the type of rider who spends most of their time in the park yet wants a binding that is still responsive enough to be their all-mountain binding too. The Ultra bindings have many tech features that make them responsive, lightweight, and maneuverable. They offer shock absorption while giving you the proper boardfeel to adjust while pressing on rails.
I think of the Ultra as a park-first and all-mountain resort binding second type of binding.
Here is the ride spectrum range that Union rates the Ultra Bindings.
2023-2024 Union Ultra Binding Technical Specs
|Baseplate||Stage 11 Duraflex ST|
|Bushing||Moleculer Bushing w/ TPE Outsole|
|Heelcup||Extruded 3D Aluminum w/ Astro Washer|
|Highback||S15 Ultra Duraflex ST|
|Ankle Strap||Forma X|
|Toe Strap||(New Upgrade) TS 5.0 Ultragrip|
|Ratchet||Magnesium S1 w/ Steel Base|
|Hardware||Grade 8.8 Steel|
|Gas Pedal||Non Stick + Extragrip|
|Board Match||Medium Flex Boards|
Union Ultra Snowboard Bindings Size Chart
|US Men’s Shoe Size||US Women’s Shoe Size|
|Small||6 to 7.5||4 to 6.5|
|Medium||8 to 10||7 to 8.5|
|Large||10.5+||9 to 11|
What Other Benefits to the Union Ultra Bindings are There?
- Adjustable Straps – Both the ankle and toe straps offer tool-less adjustments to make them longer or shorter.
- Adjustable Heel Cup – The heel cup is adjustable to help center your boot.
- 6 Degrees of Forward Lean – The highbacks come with a pre-set six degrees of forward lean.
- Mounting Compatibility – They are compatible with the most popular mounting patterns (2 x 4 or channel mounting)
- 2 Year Warranty – Union Bindings have a lifetime warranty for the baseplate and heelcup, and all other parts are warrantied for two years.
Overall Rating for the 2023 / 2024 Union Ultra Bindings
|Considerations||Rating Out 5|
|Presses / Buttering||5.0|
|Ease of Entry / Exit||5.0|
|Overall Quality / Build||5.0|
So Do I Recommend the Union Ultra Snowboard Binding?
Of course, I do! There is a reason I bought these bindings two years in a row and have them prominently placed at the top of our best park snowboard bindings award list. These bindings have everything you could want for your park setup. They’re playful yet responsive, absorb shock insanely well, and feel like a high-performance binding from the moment you strap in.
Where Can You Buy the Union Ultra 23/24?
The 2024 Ultra was released early, so it is available right now. You can get it at all major retailers. My recommendation would be to get it here from Evo because they have all sizes in stock and their lowest price guarantee.
About the Reviewer
Rider Name: Steve Weber
Home Mountains: Big Boulder, Jack Frost, Montage – North Eastern Pennsylvania (Lots of east coast ice.)
Pre-Season Mountains: Big Snow
Size / Model: The bindings I reviewed were the men’s size medium Deep Blue 2024 Union Ultra
Rider Weight: 142lbs
Rider Height: 5′ 6″
Boots Used: DC Phase Snowboard Boots
Steve Weber is an avid snowboarder and skateboarder. He has been snowboarding for 26 years, skateboarding for 20, and is always looking for a new board sport to try out. When he is not riding or skating, he runs a marketing agency. Board of the World is Steve’s blog for skateboard and snowboard gear reviews. The blog’s goal is to help people find the right board for them and encourage people to have fun outside.