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Un-Denier-Able: All About Cordura®

If you’re not already familiar with the CORDURA® fabric name, chances are good that you’ve handled these chainmail-esque fibers before. The fabric is most likely housing some goods and gear you’ve got lying around the house right now.

While it might be found primarily on bags and gear requiring high levels of performance, CORDURA®’s elevated itself above mere generic everyday carry, and is now found in designer fashion in almost every niche you can think of. This primer takes a dive into CORDURA®, the rugged fabric that litters our everyday lives, and a symbol of quality for many.

What is CORDURA®?


Photo via Sailrite

CORDURA® is a synthetic fabric made specifically from highly durable INVISTA® nylon and polyester yarns which are woven together to create a fabric that is scratch and abrasion-resistant. CORDURA® is available in varying weights and thicknesses. These weights are measured by yarn thickness, also known as Denier. The higher the number of Denier or D, the heavier and thicker the yarn utilized in the fabric is – with 500D and 1000D being most commonly used in bags.

The underside of CORDURA® is treated with polyurethane and the fabric’s grain a water-repellant finish, making the fabric ideal for performing outdoors. The highly durable nylon and polyester yarns

Despite CORDURA® being intended as a ‘bag fabric’, you can find this hard-wearing, versatile fabric applied in many different ways. Luggage, wallets, outerwear, outdoor cushioning, and equipment from the military are some of the various ways that CORDURA® is used.

Brief History of CORDURA®


Photo via Core77

Delaware-based company DuPont, who invented nylon in the late 1930s, created the synthetic INVISTA® yarns that compose CORDURA® fabric in their labs during WWII to reinforce rubber tires for the military.

It wasn’t until 1967 that CORDURA® went to market, and it’s been protecting outdoor gear and goods from scuffs, abrasions, rips, and tears ever since.


Vintage Austrian Military Shoulder Bag via Forces Uniform & Kit

Through the decades since then, CORDURA®’s been protecting skiers, hikers, soldiers, and anyone in need of solid protective gear for the outdoors. New forms of CORDURA®️have come onto the market, as well, for all kinds of applications. Soft, malleable, and fully dyeable CORDURA®️, lower weight and equally durable 500D CORDURA®️ Plus fabric, CORDURA®️1000D Textured Nylon crafted for boots, CORDURA®️ Ballistic fabrics, and more iterations to improve durability, weight-carrying capabilities, textures, and ease of wear.

Common CORDURA® Applications


Anniversary Cone Denim imbued with CORDURA® fibers, via Sourcing Journal

CORDURA®’s chief application is, and most likely always will be – bags. The durable, scratch and abrasion-resistant nature of the fabric makes it perfect for daily carry. We all sling our bag on the floor, into storage compartments on trains, or in the back of our cars, and CORDURA®’s military-grade technology makes all that possible without having to worry about tarnishing or damaging your bag.


Porter Yoshida Cordura Satchel via Isami Lifestore (left) and our editor, James’ 11-year-old Supreme Cordura weekend bag used for worldwide travel, left with barely a scratch (right)

Nowadays, you can find CORDURA® fabrics implemented into everything from luggage and bags to shoes, jeans, and outerwear. Brands like Carhartt, Goldwin, Iron Heart, Vans, Supreme, and more are offering CORDURA® fabrics in their line-up. CORDURA®’s many versatile fabric offerings intersect the needs of sleek and indestructible techwear, rugged workwear, and undeniably cool streetwear in one place.

Some Examples of CORDURA®

Weiss Cordura Canvas Strap


Photo via Weiss

The Weiss CORDURA® Canvas Strap is your wearable entry point to CORDURA® fabric. Style any vintage/military/field watch with one of these hard-wearing wrist straps and see first-hand just how well CORDURA® holds up over time. It’s fully lined for easy wearing, and comes in OD Green or Black, with Nickel hardware and CORDURA® strap keepers.

Available for $80 at Weiss.

The North Face Purple Label CORDURA® Nylon Lumber Pack


Photo via Sun House

Made from a combination of 500D CORDURA®️ AND 75d Ripstop CORDURA®️, the North Face Purple Label’s take on a vintage TNF pack is made to take a beating even while it’s transporting anything (but actual lumber) on your daily commute. There are compartments galore — guaranteed to be plenty of dedicated pockets for each part of your EDC — all the while easily transportable, thanks to the padded hip strap.

Available for $162 at Sun House.

Iron Heart IHJ-107-BLK CORDURA® Rider’s Jacket Black


Images via Iron Heart

Iron Heart’s known for their durable, time and element-resistant goods, so it makes sense that they’d grab a roll of hard-as-nails CORDURA®️and craft some motorcycle-wear out of it. Their Rider’s Jacket, a staple of their outerwear line-up, is made to perform on and off the bike. Long sleeves, close to the body fit, leather-tabs on the adjustable zips — they’re an easy to wear, straight-forward jacket that just work.


Images via Iron Heart

Available for $430 at Brooklyn Clothing Co.


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