Like Putting Mud Tires On a Really Fast Italian Sportscar: Building ToughMesh™

Like Putting Mud Tires On a Really Fast Italian Sportscar: Building ToughMesh™

It took us five years to find the fabric to build the best performance shirt I’ve ever worn. We know how to build stuff right — in this case, what eluded us was world class fabric. Past versions were tough, but weighed too much. They were comfortable, but didn’t dry fast enough. We tested tons of great fabrics over the years that are proven for other uses like cycling or running, but all had a fatal flaw: weakness. It was discouraging to fail over and over and over.

In the testing, there was one fabric I loved more than all the others. Featherweight light and dried lightning fast - it was high performance but looked good in a bar, too. The problem was that over extended use, and sometimes not so extended, it pilled in high abrasion spots. But damn I loved it and wanted it to work. So we worked directly with the mill that created it — based outside Milano, Italy, home to a culture of artisans and a place where Leonardo da Vinci did some of his best work — and we tinkered with the ingredients in the fabric to make it tougher, with all the performance I loved.

Yes, it costs a lot more, and yes it takes a lot longer. But for me, the gear dork who also loves da Vinci, it’s a piece of art and I’ll put our work to create this fabric up there with any of the best products we’ve ever created.

We call it ToughMesh. Here are some fun facts on how our Italian friends make it:

  • Every single roll of fabric takes 6 hours to make. Most standard fabrics, even in a world class facility with world class machines, take 45 minutes. Quality takes time.
  • The machines used are made in Japan and have 96 thread lines running into them — each must be manually calibrated to precise settings by craftsmen who have spent a lifetime mastering their art.
  • Perforations - “mini-perfs” are created through the 6-hour build process. These are what keep the weight low and the breathability high. Because they’re so small, it does not look techy.
  • 100 GSM is the fabric weight in grams per square meter. This is lightweight AF. Compared to cotton/poly tri-blend at 145 and other performance shirts at 170-190 GSM — it’s a big difference. Our ToughMesh™ dries faster and feels lighter to the skin. That means it’s more comfortable and performs better. Both under a ruck and at the bar.

This is a world class fabric that exceeds my standards across the board. We will be using this as a core fabric in our arsenal of world class gear and apparel for years and decades to come. Other brands aren’t willing to pay what we pay, or invest the time to do it right. They’ll try to knock it off somewhere else, and it’ll be almost.

We don’t do almost at GORUCK.