The toe strap buckle will not be as buttery as a burton ever, but will loosen up around day 7 or so.
I prefer the non-compromise of Union's strap/buckle because I know it's not coming off of my boot until I want it to. I can't say the same for a couple of other binding companies I use(d).
It just takes a small pop a the end of the run, use some muscles. However, if taking off a toe strap with more effort is that much of a deal breaker....move on, I guess.
JoeJoe, how many teeth are showing on the ladder when you're cranked down?
Nah, this isn't ever going to get better. I'm about 20+ days on mine and it's still the same. It appears the teeth have quite a slant on them so the stopper in the ratchet doesn't release cleanly. It really gets locked in there. Burton and Flux use a 3 stage ratchet design and Union is a 2. They release in different ways. What you do get though is absolutely no stripping of the ladder with this design. 3 stage ratchets lift as you ratchet and skip teeth. It's a trade off either way. I prefer the ratcheting power of the Union ratchets over the easy release of the Burton and Flux.