January 27, 2021

Toray's Innovative Karuishi Represents the Evolution Of Fleece

Improved Durability and Pilling Resistance With Dramatically Reduced Levels of Microplastic Pollution

Karuishi is a knit textile from Toray that represents the most significant improvement to date in the fleece fabric category.

To create Karuishi, Toray developed a unique knitting construction that creates a high-volume, two-layer structure, resulting in a higher loft without increasing weight (see diagrams on bottom).

  • This knitting method allows Toray to use variations of yarns on the face and back, creating fabrics with different performance characteristics without using glues or laminates.
  • Karuishi also has a much more durable face, resisting pilling and abrasion without surface treatment or resins.

Recent testing from Toray has uncovered another positive and important attribute of Karuishi - it produces a remarkably lower level of microplastic shedding in comparison to other leading fleece products.

Toray's testing labs repeatedly washed samples of Kariushi, as well as competitive fleece, including the outdoor industry's leading stretch fleece. The lint shed by each fabric was collected and compared.

The results were dramatic (see charts and photos at bottom). Kariushi fleece showed far less microplastic shedding, especially after repeated washings. The charts reflect the results of the washing/shedding tests and the lint collection samples show how little Karuishi sheds in comparison.

In addition to its performance advantages, testing proves Kariushi to be a better choice for environmental concerns.

Fleece fabrics were an immediate success upon hitting the market in the late 70's, offering lighter weight, faster drying and easier washability.

1-time Washing Micro-shed Comparison

However, problems with pilling, abrasion resistance and, most recently, significant levels of microplastic pollution have challenged textile companies to develop improvements ever since.
Since its introduction in 2017, Karuishi has proven popular as a more technically advanced fleece for premium products in the outdoor and recreational markets.

As brands become more responsive to consumer demand for more environmentally responsible products, expect to see more products using Karuishi arriving at retail.