Lacrosse Goalie Mesh: The Ultimate Guide to 12D Mesh
By Coach Damon on March 6, 2017
One of the most requested posts I get these days is for an in-depth review of different lacrosse goalie mesh.
Problem is, in all honesty, I’m no expert on goalie mesh. I could probably write the “The Incomplete and Often Erroneous Guide to Lacrosse Goalie Mesh” but I couldn’t write the “The Ultimate Guide to the Lacrosse Goalie Mesh”. I always stuck with what works for me and have never really explored everything available to us goalies in terms of mesh options.
But luckily for those interested in a full breakdown of the different lacrosse goalie meshes, we have an amazing guest post from a former D3 and MCLA lax goalie and a current lax coach, ref, and goalie trainer.
Enter Mesh Expert: Connor
Hey guys, its Connor for LaxGoalieRat, and today I’ll be reviewing four of the most popular 12 diamond goalie meshes on the market today.
For this review, we’ll compare the 12 diamond sized meshes since it is seemingly the most popular size used today, and we can compare apples to apples this way.
Two of the lacrosse goalie meshes are wax-treated by East Coast Dyes, one is Throne of String’s wax mesh, and the fourth is the cult-classic Jimalax hard mesh. I’ll start with the latter, since it has been the most popular for the longest time.
Whether you’re new to lacrosse stringing or have been the team’s stick doctor for years, it’s important to know that all hard mesh is NOT created equal.
Go pick up a factory strung goalie stick off the wall at your local sporting goods store, restring it with the same mesh, and you’ll notice that it may still throw inconsistently and maintain a poor pocket like an originally factory strung head does.
The most experienced stringers could even tell you what brand a piece of hard mesh is by the way it stretches, breaks in, and maintains its shape (no lie, it’s a great party trick). The meshes myself and other experienced stringers stay away from are ones you find in a major-brand string kit you can pick up at every sports store.
With that being said, the earliest company to really set the bar with how hard mesh SHOULD be made, is Jimalax.
They’ve been doing it since 2000, and were one of the first websites where one could buy a spool of hand-dyed hockey lace and the best mesh (at the time) in the business.
Their original hard mesh hasn’t changed much since then because, well, it hasn’t needed to.
Jimalax’s hard mesh breaks in easier, is more durable, more consistent, and lower maintenance than most of its hard mesh competitors, and for a fraction of the price.
It’s beloved by lacrosse players old and new, and remained of the top-selling meshes despite all of different types that are now on the market, such as wax mesh.
The Rise of Wax Mesh
In the last five or so years, wax mesh rose from something nobody talked about, to one of the most popular meshes to cradle a lacrosse ball in college or the MLL.
Using hard or soft mesh as a base, lacrosse gurus started to treat a new piece of mesh with a waxy, water resistant coating in order to get mesh that could perform better in the rain.
Right around this time came the beginning of East Coast Dyes, whose wax mesh is some of the best in the business, along with Throne of String.
So, enough of a history lesson. You came here to learn which mesh is the best one, right?
The answer to that is really easy: it depends on your individual preferences as each mesh type has its own advantages and downfalls. Let’s explore.
Jimalax Hard Mesh
Why do people choose Jimalax hard mesh over arguably more popular and newer meshes? For many lacrosse players, it’s because they’ve always used hard mesh, they’ve learned to pass and catch with it, and it’s what they’re used to. Why change meshes and fix something that isn’t broken?
Hard mesh is durable, easy to string, and maintains the shape of its pocket and channel better than soft or wax mesh, the latter being incredibly important for goalies.
When strung properly, you’ll never end up with a “bowl” at the bottom of your mesh, which is when the ball rolls around all over place when you try and cradle. And that wonderful channel you can get with hard mesh helps with every pass, toe drag, or fake.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? But for some goalies, this isn’t enough, and they venture out and string up their stick with that wax mesh all the attackmen on their team are always talking about.
These goalies quickly realize that their new wax-treated mesh definitely has some advantage over the OG Jimalax hard, the most important perhaps being the water-resistance the wax treatment provides.
Pour some water on a piece of hard or soft mesh, and you’ll notice the mesh expand slightly, and probably throw with a whole lot more whip than it did the day before. With wax mesh, however, you can see the water bead up, and roll right off the mesh (especially while new).
Most importantly, it throws nearly the same as it did when it was dry.
This is an absolute game changer, especially for goalies who play in the rain or snow. No more throwing right into the mud once the skies open up in the middle of a game.
Differences Between the Wax Meshes
To make choosing a mesh even more challenging, both East Coast Dyes (ECD) and Throne hold their own specific advantage over one another.
First off, ECD offers a semi-hard and a semi-soft version of their 12D diamond mesh, while Throne’s wax mesh falls somewhere in-between a semi-hard and semi-soft.
After testing out all three wax meshes, I was very impressed with each one.
ECD and Throne both provided great water-resistance for the first couple months, and then gradually started losing its coating after it saw a lot of abuse (Note: I mean HEAVY abuse, yours could last at least twice as long).
How they Compare to Hard Mesh
I loved not having to adjust my throwing patterns whatsoever on clears in the rain and snow. Goalies have enough to worry about when it comes to making saves in the mud, and wax mesh made clearing in adverse weather an absolute breeze (get it?).
Also good to note, is the wax coating is pretty resistant to dirt, which is awesome news for the goalies who want fresh white mesh that blends right in with the net behind ‘em.
Additionally, all three of the wax meshes broke in almost instantly. ECD semi hard and Throne took roughly a practice or two until they were done breaking in, while the ECD semi-soft was broken in before I was finished stringing it up my nemesis.
Another huge advantage of changing to wax mesh is the increased rebound control from the softer mesh.
I concluded that it is the softness of the mesh that causes the rebound control since I felt ECD semi-soft controlled rebounds the most, then Throne, then ECD semi-hard.
However all three were definitely an improvement over hard mesh’s almost “trampoline” like properties.
This is such an important quality, because nothing is more frustrating than making a point-blank off hip save on the crease, only to give up a rebound that is scooped and scored. We’ve all been there, and can take any goalie out of their mental game.
Rebound control is where the three wax meshes most differ from each other.
As is life, wax mesh is not perfect, and hard mesh can outshine it in a few areas, especially in ease of stringing. String up hard mesh the way you like it, and you will barely have to adjust it at all over its entire life.
Hard mesh is incredibly consistent, resilient, and low-maintenance. While it usually take about a week or so of practice and hours of wall-ball to break it in, Jimalax mesh is not going to change much over time.
As a keeper, consistency is absolutely key; whether talking about saves or outlet passes.
With this mesh, a 40 yard pass will feel just the same as the 40 yard pass you made 3 months ago. In other words, the pocket keeps its shape really well, and allows consistent “feel” about where the ball will release when thrown, or where in the pocket it will be while cradling.
With the wax meshes, I basically had to adjust the backwall, sidewalls, or shooters every week to keep it throwing with the amount of whip I like. I did it weekly because I’m a bit obsessive, it probably was only necessary every 2 or 3 weeks.
This is an annoyance for sure, but it’s not necessarily a deal breaker for most.
However, if you don’t know how to string your own stick and you pay someone to do it, this could most definitely be a deal breaker.
I could not recommend these wax meshes if you don’t know how to fix your stick once the mesh starts changing. I found that the softer the mesh, the quicker the stick would require maintenance.
So the ECD soft was definitely the most high-maintenance of the three, despite how superior the rebound control was.
A question I always hear is “which mesh has the best hold?” After my extended experience with all of them, I found the ECDs to slightly edge the Throne mesh, which was a little grippier than the Jimalax hard.
However, keep in mind the hold advantage is minimal compared to the advantage of a correctly strung stick. Making sure your stick is strung by someone who is experienced is definitely paramount to what mesh you’re using.
A few smaller things; currently Jimalax sells their mesh for just around $16, while Throne and ECD charge about two times that price for their wax mesh.
Also, I found ECD mesh to leave a waxy residue on your finger after stringing, while Throne did not. I thought this would mean the ECD mesh coating came off while stringing, but they all stayed water and dirt resistant about the same length of time. Maybe throne cleans off the extra wax during their treatment process.
Additionally note that Throne mesh comes with a full season, 4 month warranty for their meshes. With that said, I’ve had nothing but exceptional customer service from all 3 companies over the years. So I believe if you received defective mesh, all three companies would back their product up and replace it for you.
For what it’s worth, I’ve tried almost every goalie mesh out there on market, and I continue to go back to Jimalax hard mesh every time as the all-around best. I personally use it and string indifferent goalies’ heads with it.
To combat the “trampoline effect” and giving up lots of rebounds, I will usually treat it with 1, 2, or 3 coats of conditioner to soften it up to the goalie’s preference.
I also recommend to the same goalie that they string their backup with hard mesh and less whip and use it as a “wet stick” for when it rains. I’ll string it while the mesh is wet, and wet it before each time I practice with it. Then make sure that, while soaked, the wet stick throws just like the dry primary stick. This way, when it rains, you have a backup stick you know you can rely on to throw just like your regular stick.
Here is a graphic with a summary from this goalie mesh review –
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Where To Buy
Here are online retailers where you can purchase these meshes:
Final Verdict on Lacrosse Goalie Mesh
Noting all of the differences between these meshes, what do I recommend? For the most part, you can’t go wrong with any of these.
I think if you’re just starting out or don’t know how to adjust a stick properly, stay away from the softer wax meshes. You may be able to get away with the ECD semi-hard without much adjustment, but I think Jimalax is a better fit for this type of goalie. For more experienced keepers, I say give one of the wax meshes a shot.
You may love it, you may hate it, but at least give them a chance.
Connor has been a Lax Goalie Rat since 2007. Hailing from Alpharetta, Georgia, Connor started his college career in the NCAA at Salisbury University, eventually transferring to the University of Georgia to play in the MCLA. He’s coached, refereed, and trained youth goalies, and does all he can to spread his love of lacrosse around the southeast.
Conclusion – Back to Coach Damon
Thanks Connor for that epic goalie mesh review. That was incredible. I definitely learned a lot of things myself reading that and think this a great guide for anyone looking to learn more about different 12 diamond lacrosse goalie mesh options.
Like many things related to being a goalie, there’s pros and cons with the different meshes too.
But far more important in reducing rebounds is a correctly strung stick versus what type of mesh you choose.
Until next time! Coach Damon
##Links to the meshes on Amazon are affiliate links meaning I get a small percentage of the sale from Amazon. If you purchase through those links I really appreciate the support!
Any additional questions for Connor on lacrosse goalie mesh? Leave it in the comments down below.