Happy Holidays folks!
One of our gifts to you this holiday season is a Buyer’s Guide for some of the hottest high performance, wax, dyed, and/or rubberized lacrosse mesh available. Every single piece of mesh on the market may not be included in the guide, but it covers the vast majority of the major players. At the same time, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other quality mesh pieces being put out by other companies out there too!
This Buyer’s Guide is based on mesh sent to LaxAllStars.com for the review process, or stuff that we bought or traded for over the last year. The mesh is listed in no particular order, and all of the pieces of mesh were reviewed by one of four team members here at LAS.
Preformed Rubberized Mesh by Gonzo
$25-35 – Solid Colors, Color Stripe, and Color Stripe Fade
Gonzo Mesh is moderately sticky but not like some other varieties of performance mesh. Since Gonzo Mesh is preformed and comes stretched, there is no waxy coating that flakes off during stringing. Gonzo Mesh is on the softer side of the hardness scale and hasn’t shown much wear and tear yet. Gonzo Mesh excels when it comes to consistency.
Gonzo Mesh is a special coated mesh covered in a secret recipe of ingredients that makes it superior to traditional soft or hard mesh pieces in every aspect. Traditional mesh pieces bag out and become inconsistent and unusable in the elements. Wax mesh pieces tend to lost their wax coating in a rapid fashion. Gonzo Mesh is water PROOF! It does NOT bag out and comes preformed to fit any stick on the market. Easy to string, very consistent, adds ball control and a little extra grip on the ball.
I found that the mesh stiffens up a little bit in the cold but I really didn’t mind it as it still performed well. It certainly didn’t turn into a rock hard pocket like some materials have been known to do. The consistency of Gonzo Mesh is on point!
A basic solid color piece of Gonzo Mesh will set you back $25 which is pretty steep for a piece of mesh. Gonzo Mesh is unique in that it uses a rubberized coating formula in place of popular wax variants and it comes stretched and preformed from the get go. Gonzo also makes glow-in-the-dark mesh which when tested, wasn’t overly bright or exciting.
Color Wax Mesh from Blatant! Lacrosse
$13.99-19.99 – White, Color Fade, Multi Color, Custom Designs
Blatant Lacrosse’s wax mesh surprisingly might be one of the best pieces of wax mesh I have used. The mesh was noticeably sticky from the time I opened to package, to finishing the pocket. There was zero flaking, and unlike many types of wax mesh, the Blatant product didn’t leave my lap and chair covered in waxy flakes. Although we have yet to leave the mesh out in the summer sun for very long, after stringing it up and putting it to the test, the color (orange) never faded from the original.
It may be a bit soft, but after forming my ideal pocket and beating on it quite a bit, the pocket has yet to lose shape or bag out. I wouldn’t say that the pocket snaps back every time it’s punched in, but rather, when the ball is at rest in the pocket, it maintains the form and hold that you would expect out of wax mesh.
The wax feels sticky to the touch, but doesn’t exactly grip the ball in to place with out the help of a well formed channel, or shooting strings to keep it there. Essentially, it’s not like you added adhesive to your pocket, you added stability and consistency. I haven’t been able to break down the pocket yet, and it appears to be water-proof and picks up little to no weight from moisture. I wouldn’t say that it repels water, but rather just keeps the pocket from absorbing it. I wish I could say the same for my shooting strings.
The pocket got a bit firmer with colder weather, but I do not see this devaluing the mesh at all. I had to struggle to get the mesh to lose shape by bagging out or hardening, and by struggle I mean beat the heck out of it outside of game conditions to get it to wear down.
Blatant runs their mesh from about $15-20 which I find more than fair for the amount of consistency and performance that it adds to a head, especially in wet conditions.
Custom Wax Mesh from POWLAX
$15-35 – White, Solid Color, Argyll, Stripe and other Predesigned Pieces, Custom Designs
The very first thing you notice with POWLAX mesh is their variety in patterns and dyes including argyle patterns and customizable team mesh. The pieces that were sent our way are undoubtedly the coolest looking pieces of mesh I have ever seen. Not only because we got the Lax All Stars logo, a US Flag, and one with the Idaho “I” and school colors, but because of the symmetry in the patterns even after stringing.
There is no doubt in my mind that POWLAX is ahead of the competition with their mesh dyes. When it comes to stringing up a head while using this mesh, it is a breeze. The amount of wax used is perfect to keep the mesh stretched while holding shape. While you are stringing you can just tell you can place the pocket exactly where you want and it’s going to stay there and not shift.
If you like a more defined, stable pocket, look no further. Some wax mesh tends to perform as soft mesh with the super broken in feel. With POWLAX, you will notice the mesh acting more as semi-hard mesh than anything, while still protecting you from the weather with the wax coating.
Unfortunately for the last few practices of fall ball we had great weather, so I had to wait until the rain storm to go play catch with the mesh to test its performance. During that storm, and afterwards the whip and hold were extremely consistent and the dyes did not bleed or run at all. You would think with the variety of patterns available, performance may not be up to par. That could not be further from the truth for POWLAX. Their mesh is eye catching and consistent — what more could you ask for?
POWLAX’s website has their products selling anywhere in the range of $15-100. I’m not sure about paying $100 for mesh, I’d be too scared to ever use it! The products on the lower end of the spectrum are still well worth the dollar.
Wax Mesh from East Coast Dyes
$15-35 – White, Color Fade, Striped
I would say without a doubt that East Coast Dyes is one of the more popular wax mesh producers out there, and for a good reason. Stringing up a piece of ECD mesh is one of the smoothest things you will do. You will experience a bit of flaking while stringing. As the mesh flakes you can really start to feel how sticky the mesh is. I started using East Coast Dyes to try and get more hold on my stick because I would lose some during the rain or snow in Moscow. And I have experienced nothing but consistency through rain, sleet, hail, and snow. So the stickiness of the mesh is perfect to get you through intense weather.
I think one of East Coast Dyes’ strong suits is the simplicity of their dyes. The latest dye pattern that I really like by East Coast Dyes is the striker pattern. It is basically two stripes coming down vertically that are a different color from the rest of the mesh. They are also well known for the multiple colored fades in their inventory. There is nothing cooler than a piece of mesh that is flashy yet subtle all in one.
Ranging from $15 for a straight white piece of mesh, to $35 for limited edition breast cancer patterns, you get what you pay for with mesh from East Coast Dyes. To say it again, there is nothing bad to say about East Coast Dyes, their product is affordable, durable, and effective.
Wax infused mesh from Jimalax
$9.80-15 – White, Color, METAmorphoMESH, Money Mesh, JimaLAB
What I think really separates Jimawax from the rest of the competition is the way they wax their mesh. Unlike other pieces of wax mesh, JimaWAX is not coated in wax.
The wax formula for JimaWAX is infused straight into the fibers of their mesh rather than coated. This means while you string you will not experience any flaking of any sort. It also means the mesh does not act sticky, it just acts as if you have had a broken in piece of mesh for weeks already, which is one of the main attributes I look for in wax mesh.
We all know Jimalax as the gold standard for normal hard mesh and stringing supplies, so I was really looking forward to seeing how JimaWAX would act in comparison. To test the durability of the mesh in the elements I just ran water over the stick for a good thirty seconds and headed outside to play wall ball. I was very pleased to notice almost zero change in my pocket and release point on my stick when the mesh was soaked. That was also an extreme case. You won’t find your stick submerged in water often so the fact that it held up in an extreme scenario is very impressive.
Sitting at $13.99 for almost any color your heart could desire, I haven’t been able to find a better deal when it comes to wax mesh. Combined with the unique waxing technique, JimaWAX will serve any player that uses it well. There are so many great products from Jimalax on the market at such a low price point, I expect them to continue to dominate the stringing game for a long time.
Rubber infused mesh from Archon Lacrosse
$15.99 – Black and White
Archon Lacrosse’s mesh is something different, and since this guide is comprehensive, we wanted to try out a ton of product. While most products are waxed or buttered or treated, Archon’s is vulcanized, and that means rubber. Right away you can feel how rubbery it is. Straight out of the bag I didn’t think I would like it, and after stringing it, not much had improved. It happened to be pouring out, so I took this rubbery mesh outside in the extreme wetness to see what it was made of.
It turned out the mesh wasn’t waterproof at all, but that ended up being the best possible thing that could have happened. The mesh softened up a bit, stretched just a little, and formed a pocket that I really liked and it hasn’t changed since. I’ve used this mesh in Summer club games, winter box games, indoors and outside, and it is really consistent, and very impressive.
The mesh really does not stretch all that much, but it always stretches a little, and this means it’s always the same. I use Archon mesh in my gamer now, and play with an ex-MLLer who also swears by it. It’s not a waxed mesh, and performs differently, with less give. But it’s very snappy, and is a great choice for shooters in my opinion.
The problem here is ordering the stuff! A website is in the works, but for now you have to call Michigan Lax and place an order. Old School! The mesh sells for $15.99 in black and white, classic and fair.
Wax Mesh from Throne of String
$15-36 – Solid Colors, Color Fade, Color Stripes, Designs
Joe Williams and the guys at Throne of String offer a really solid piece of Throne Mesh if you’re looking for something that doesn’t flake off and isn’t sticky to the touch at all. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the two least sticky pieces of treated mesh I’ve ever used. And I like that! It doesn’t pick up a ton of dirt or turf, and doesn’t get as brown and dirty as some of the other products out there. It’s soft, stretches easily, and throws consistently.
In wet weather, the mesh does take on a little water (true water proofing is really not possible), but it doesn’t bag out or harden much when it comes to moisture, which is nice. I have found that in cold weather the mesh can harden up a bit, but I was impressed with how malleable the product remained last winter, even in sub freezing temps. Throne Mesh retains its structure well, and pockets don’t lose much shape after they are broken in. You can more or less string it like you want it.
The dyes that Throne of String does are a big added bonus. It’s some impressive work, especially on custom pieces, and the clean lines stay strong for a relatively long time. The colors are bright and stay bright in fades for at least a couple of months. Fully dyed pieces tend to keep their color nicely, and very few of the pieces are all that expensive.
Throne mesh starts at $15 for white 15MM mesh, and the white stuff doesn’t go too far up from there, with 20D goalie mesh selling for $24. Custom colored mesh starts at $20, and super custom pieces can costs as much as $36. It’s a really good product, and I’ve found that guys who “hate” most waxed mesh tend to like Throne Mesh. It’s different, consistent, and very fairly priced for the quality.
Dyed Wax Mesh from Chillax Customs
$25-40 – Bright Colors, Solid Colors, Patterns & Designs, Custom Designs
Nick Coyne’s Chillax Customs mesh is something different to be sure. His custom designs are really loud, and he is known for saturated dyes and clean lines in his work. The mesh itself does tend to flake a little when it is first strung up, but it is malleable and pretty soft from the get go. Once strung up, the initial flaking is reduced dramatically.
The Chillax Mesh does well in the rain, and doesn’t bag much at all. It also doesn’t harden up, and makes for a good rain stick. I have found that in the extreme cold it can harden up a little bit, but in warmer temps it stays very soft and consistent. I’d recommend it highly in warmer climes.
The dyes are really where Chillax sets themselves apart. Most pieces of dyed or treated mesh will fade eventually. Chillax mesh on the other hand really tends to keep its bright color. I gave a piece to a HS player of mine and it is still as bright as it was on Day 1, almost a full year later. I’ve been incredibly impressed by that staying power, and how the mesh does not pick up dirt.
Chillax’s pricing is a little higher since they focus on custom designs and work. Their fade mesh starts at $25 on sale, and their three color pieces go up to around $40. It’s a higher end price, but if you want SUPER bright and clean consistent color, this is a really solid route.
Custom Wax Mesh from Blue Collar Lacrosse
$23.95-100 – Custom Dyes, Solid Colors, Patterns & Designs
Marc Mesh is the old classic, the original gangster, and a big part of the reason we have so much more treated mesh nowadays. The product definitely has just a little stickiness to it, especially initially, but it breaks in pretty quickly to be a nice soft, yet structured, piece of buttered mesh.
I found that playing a game in the mud actually helped break in my piece of Marc Mesh quite nicely. The temps were low, it was windy and dry, and mud puddles were unavoidable. By the end of the day, my stick was literally brown. I took it home, hosed it off, and let it sit overnight with a ball in it. When I came back the next morning I found I had a wonderfully soft pocket, and all that Brown was gone for the most part. I’ve used Marc Mesh in extreme heat as well, and it stands up fine there too, but can get noticeably softer if it’s 95 degrees out.
Marc Mesh has some great dyes too, and they have been a trend setter in this department for a while now. Very clean lines, diagonal fades, argyle, flags and more… MM does it all.
Of course being the original – and doing some of the best dye work – often means higher prices, and Marc Mesh is no exception. The mesh starts at $23.95, and can go up to $53 for special goalie mesh. Custom dyed pieces can go for well over $100. It’s pricey, but sometimes you have to pay that for the original. This is one of those times.
Custom Dyed Wax Mesh from Upstate Dyes
$10-30 – Solid Colors, Designs & Patterns, Custom Dyes
Upstate Dyes is based out of the Allegany Indian Reservation (Salamanca, NY). They spent 6 months perfecting their wax mesh coating to create a product that enhances your game in rain or shine and offers water resistance. The finished product provides you with maximum hold, a fast break in and a consistent shot for those clutch goals.
Upstate Dyes coating is nice and sticky and provides a great deal of hold in your pocket. I noticed the coating flaked off a little bit when stretching the mesh and during stringing but not nearly as bad as some other wax mesh varieties. I didn’t use the narrowest head (Proton U), but was still able to get pretty decent hold and control with Upstate.
Durability is a little bit of a concern with Upstate Dyes. When I was just about finished stringing up my first piece of it, I tossed a ball in it to work the pocket a little and without much effort I had 5 diamonds blow out in the middle of the pocket. I strung up a second piece of Upstate and haven’t experienced the same issue.
The consistency of Upstate Dyes is pretty solid. I put a piece of it through the same test as Gonzo Mesh and it did well. Upstate’s coating allowed the water to bead right off the mesh and it only gained .1 oz after being fully submerged in water. I’ve been hitting the wall and tossing around with this stick a bit and it’s been throwing on point. It didn’t stiffen or soften much with weather change.
The custom designed mesh pieces aren’t the cleanest or brightest nor is their plain white a true white but rather an off-white. Upstate Dyes does however scent their wax coating and does give the mesh a pretty nice smell. I’d have to compare it to walking into a car wash and smelling all of the air fresheners simultaneously. It certainly doesn’t smell bad by any means and has managed to retain a decent amount of scent.
A simple white piece of mesh from Upstate Dyes will run you $10 whereas a custom piece will set you back $30. I know there’s more expensive mesh out there but you’re usually getting what you pay for. I think Upstate is onto something with their mesh. They’re headed in the right direction but could make a few tweaks to take their product to the next level.
Performance Mesh from StringKing Lacrosse
$20 – White Type 1s or Type 1x
StringKing mesh first grabbed my attention the second I opened the box. If you haven’t seen the professional presentation when opening a package from StringKing, you are missing out. Not only is the presentation of the mesh professional, but the performance is as well. StringKing seems to keep their performance mesh formula a little more secret than most, but when I compared StringKing’s mesh side by side with ECD, JimaWAX, POWLAX, and other wax meshes, you can tell that there is no wax coating on the mesh.
StringKing performance mesh is constructed with advanced polymer fibers that make the mesh act broken in, only minutes into the first wall ball session. I found that StringKing Type 1x mesh produced the most consistent pocket I have used. The pocket held it’s shape every time, even in nasty weather. The polymer fibers used in the different hardnesses of mesh for StringKing make the mesh untouchable to all weather.
Like most pieces of mesh that are constructed to counteract intense weather, the Type 1s mesh feels different to the touch. Not so much in a waxy or sticky way, more like a, “This mesh is already broken in and I can’t wait to string it” way.
One thing I tend to struggle on when stringing is getting a nice defined channel. But with StringKing I find myself stringing them with ease. At $30 for an entire kit, and $20 for one piece of mesh, it is a little pricey but the kit will last you longer in intense weather. With a giant list of pros like Rob Panell, Matt Gibson, and Matt Stone backing your product, it has to be affective.
If your company produces lacrosse mesh that was not featured in this guide, feel free to drop us a line to set up future review!