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The evolution of the gear used in lacrosse has been amazing to watch. Lacrosse shafts, alone, changed from simple wood to advanced metals and carbon fiber.
Mesh, as forgettable as it may be to some players, has seen similar experimentation and advancement that the rest of the sport has, and for very good reason. As much as you may consider the shape and strength of your head, it’s the mesh that ultimately decides how your stick throws and how much hold you have.
This guide goes over the best mesh currently available on the market that you can use to make your stick throw perfectly.
Best Lacrosse Mesh
As with all guides on Lax Drip, we scoured the market to find the best of the best when it comes to lacrosse mesh, looking at the design and technology included, pricing, and—most importantly—player feedback.
Without further ado, here are our picks for the best lacrosse mesh currently available:
1) ECD Hero 3.0 Mesh
- Diamonds: 10-diamond
- Hardness: Semi-hard, semi-soft, faceoff (soft)
- Innegra Core Weave for shape consistency
- Repel+ Coating for wetness protection
- Textured LTH Fibers for feel
ECD has built itself into one of the strongest options for mesh on the market and a name you can trust. Who knows better about weather resistant, sturdy mesh than one of the OG wax mesh companies?
ECD’s Hero 3.0 mesh is an advancement upon previous products, adding an Integra Core Weave to lessen weight but improve rigidity. Basically, your pocket will keep its shape longer. Repel+ Coating helps with this as well, wicking away moisture to keep your mesh light and as shapely as it would be in dry conditions.
The use of textured LTH Fibers promote a better feel of the ball as well, making the pocket more responsive and providing comfort in your possession.
I would twist myself into a pretzel trying to find the downside of the Hero 3.0—it is highly reviewed across the board. It does run on the pricier end of the spectrum, though, but is consistent with most top-of-the-line mesh products.
The Hero 3.0 is a great option for a year-round player who needs mesh that keeps shape longer and remains steadfast in even the wettest weather.
2) StringKing Type 4
Another trusted name in the game, StringKing comes through with their Type 4 mesh—their next generation of mesh that they spent two years developing before bringing it to market.
The Type 4 prioritizes control over all else with a progressively constructed setup that uses mesh width to center the ball in your stick. A natural elasticity to their mesh is heightened with new Tri-Twist Technology that reduces weight and gives you ultimate control over the ball.
StringKing took their time improving their mesh before arriving on the Type 4, built on previous generations of mesh that saw action at the highest levels of the sport. This is a mesh you can trust.
The main drawback, like the Hero 3.0, is the price point. It’s competitive at the top of the mesh hierarchy but is more expensive than other options out there.
Additionally, there is a lack of weather resistant tech highlighted by StringKing in the Type 4. This isn’t to say the 4 is not weather-prepped at all, but the company doesn’t highlight specific technology that helps with it.
StringKing mesh is a favorite amongst players due to its responsiveness and overall feel, and that is best emphasized in the Type 4.
3) ECD Vortex Mesh
Leave it to ECD to push the mesh boundaries. The Vortex was an answer to certain NCAA standard changes for mesh and pockets a few years ago. It provides some of the added benefits and grip of a deeper strung pocket but without breaking the new rules of operation.
The highlight is of course the progressive diamond shape from more traditional to a wider square that denotes the SweetSpot. This provides a lot of the force and speed that attacking players lost with the rule change.
But do not let the odd construction fool you—the Vortex strings up like traditional 10-diamond mesh so there’s little learning curve to decking out your head.
Like the Hero 3.0, the Vortex also boasts weatherproof LTH Fibers that hold your pocket shape longer even in wet conditions.
What are the drawbacks then? Well, the Vortex is built mainly for attack-minded players and may not have the appeal to long poles and primarily defensive midfielders. It may lack some of the versatility you want in a pocket if you’re not constantly facing the opposing cage.
Additionally, the Vortex has been around the block. It first came out in 2016 but it has had a lot of staying power. This also makes it a more affordable option for attackmen and middies who want to utilize every bit of speed and force they can muster when firing on goal.
4) StringKing Grizzly 2 Goalie Mesh
- Diamonds: 12-diamond
- Hardness: Semi-soft, semi-hard
- Key Features:
- Tri-Twist technology for control and elasticity
- Lighter weight construction
- Black and White color options
Don’t think we forgot about you, goalies. StringKing enters the arena again with their Grizzly 2 Goalie Mesh.
This employs much of the same benefits as their Type 4 output for field players including the Tri-Twist technology that reduces weight. More importantly, the Tri-Twist also promotes elasticity in the pocket that prevents those dreaded rebound opportunities with a tighter, stiffer mesh.
The mesh also has a responsive feel making the transition from save to pass smooth to get your team out on the fastbreak.
There is a lack of customer feedback on this mesh so be on the lookout on your own for further reviews to come in regarding durability and performance. As with the Type 4, there is also a lack of noted weather tech with this mesh.
Still, StringKing is a top-of-the-line company putting out an equally high-end product for goalies at all levels of the sport.
What Else You Need to String a Lacrosse Stick
As much as we’d love for mesh to just stick inside of a head by itself with the perfect pocket, we do not live in Neverland. Building upon your new mesh, the following is what you will need to make it operational within your stick head:
- Top and bottom strings
- Sidewall strings
- Shooting strings
Even though we list these elements separately, you may be able to use the same type of string across the board. Nylon sidewall string has become a catchall for stringers—it can be used on the top and bottom as well as the sides, and also be used as a nylon shooting string.
Ninjalax puts out a sidewall stringing spool that is worth the investment if you’re planning on upgrading your mesh.
I would also suggest purchasing a spool even if you initially string from a kit. The reasoning behind this is sidewall strings tend to be the first point of breakage for a pocket so having extra nylon on hand is a great fail-safe. Not to mention, you can also use the extra string to close up holes in goal nets.
When it comes to shooting strings, Ninjalax also has value packs of laces as well. Like the sidewall string, having extra laces on hand is a very smart investment as aside from breakage they can deteriorate with use. It’s best to keep those laces fresh especially if you play in inclement weather often.
Both products from Ninjalax also come with numerous color options to choose from so you can add some personality to your pocket.
Types of Lacrosse Mesh
Mesh was long-held as a pretty standard, unchangeable element of the game. Companies like ECD and StringKing, however, have begun to challenge that notion to advance mesh in areas like durability, weight, and, more recently, feel beyond just the contributions of hardness.
Ultimately, mesh and your pocket can be the Golden Gun you wield on the field or the Achilles’ heel to your performance. It all comes down to personal preference and this is generated through trial and error—do not fear experimenting with your pocket.
Even so, there are positions on the field that value certain types of mesh specifically. Notably, FOGOs should be looking at soft mesh options for their sticks as they are better suited for the rigors of face-offs.
Let’s get into breaking down your options when it comes to mesh.
This is the first element that is usually listed and the top thing to consider. Mesh is mainly split into either hard or soft categories as the default. But companies like ECD and StringKing helped usher in wider use of semi-soft and semi-hard mesh that share the values at each end of the spectrum without leaning too hard into their deficiencies.
We’re gonna give you a brief break down of each level of hardness:
- Hard. The main positive is the consistency of shape and hold—the ball should always be relatively centered in your pocket and your pocket shape should remain consistent regardless of external elements. But, the rub is hard mesh tends to be more difficult to string and provides less feel for the ball not to mention the break-in time needed is much greater than other options.
- Soft. Out of the gate, soft mesh should be game ready after an easy string job in relation to a harder option as it does not have the same rigid coating as hard mesh. Although soft mesh provides a better feel for the ball, it does have a tendency to lose its shape faster and requires constant maintenance to keep your pocket up to snuff.
- Semi-hard. This shares much of the elements of the harder end of the spectrum but is a bit easier to break-in and provides a slightly better feel for the ball. This is a great mesh to consider for long poles, especially those at LSM, and more defensive-minded middies.
- Semi-soft.Also more closely resembles a soft option but is bit more resistant to changes in shape and boasts advanced durability in inclement weather. Semi-soft is a great option for more attack-minded midfielders.
To put it simply, this is the number of diamonds stretched horizontally across your pocket. The rule of thumb here is the fewer diamonds, the better hold, BUT the more diamonds, the cleaner the shot/pass.
- 10-diamond is the standard for mesh currently. Most pre-strung heads default to this and it’s the most widely available mesh on the market. The big reason behind this seems to be the accuracy of passing and shooting provided. Success on the field tends to be predicated upon quick ball movement and the 10-diamond is built for that.
- 8-diamond mesh most closely resembles the Vortex (although the Vortex is a base 10-diamond with a 9-diamond “SweetSpot”). It is a hybrid of traditional 10-diamond and larger 6-diamond construction. This should give you a pocket with better hold but a relatively clean escape when it comes to shooting/passing.
- 7-diamond or “mid-monster” mesh is the first primarily hold-oriented mesh that was relatively familiar to Brine products previously. It is a decent mesh for those transition middies that find themselves dodging from box to box.
- 6-diamond comes next of course and is the most popular of the big diamond meshes. It is harder to break-in but provides a really nice hold once you manage to do so. You get a lot more whip with the 6-diamond and these pockets tend to be much less customizable, especially for shooters.
- 5-diamond…yup, 5-diamond emphasizes hold over release making this an interesting possibility for an experimental LSM – one that finds themselves having to carry the ball from end to end more often than not.
- 4-diamond mesh cause why not…this is much less widely used and mostly appears as a core pocket element for those crazies out there that want to channel the original laxers with the use of leather strings.
Mesh has always had some sort of coating or finishing, often wax in nature, to help reduce friction in the pocket, promote shape, and prevent moisture damage to the weave.
Designer brands like ECD and StringKing employ advanced coating substances to their mesh that promotes feel and grip while still prioritizing those elements listed above.
Now we’re really into the most basic level of mesh tech but we cannot understate the importance of the weave. Both ECD and StringKing promote their specific form of mesh weave as it was an area that was seen as advancing the weight (lightening) and feel/responsiveness of the pocket.
Hand-in-hand with the weave, the thickness of the mesh is also something to keep an eye on. Thinner mesh weaves can promote elasticity and control of the ball placement within their pocket.
Stringing Kits vs. Single Pieces of Mesh
The last question on your mind may be, “Should I go with a stringing kit or buy a single mesh piece and strings separately?”
This really comes down to how much you want to invest, how many sticks you have to string and how much ongoing maintenance you want/plan to perform on your pocket.
A stringing kit is always a solid option for a newer laxer or one who has never tried to string their own stick before. It’s kind of like paint by numbers—it’s a decent way to familiarize yourself with stringing without breaking the bank or being left with a spool of nylon when you can’t stand doing it again. It comes with everything you need like a pre-made salad kit so it’s not a bad option if you only have one stick to string.
Now, if you’re familiar with stringing and see yourself doing so again and again in the future, whether it be in a maintenance capacity or for multiple heads, I suggest going with the individual mesh and bulk buying nylon and shooting laces if you like that sort of thing. Long term, it’s a much better investment and can turn you into the team stick doctor…eh, that might be a blessing and a curse.
Photo credit: Flickr