Last month, a reader sent in a question asking for help in discovering a replacement for his discontinued Kevlar strings. (Readers are encouraged to submit questions here). Kevlar users are a little like NHL hockey fans—it’s not a huge following, but they’re passionate. Because there’s limited demand for the string, there aren’t a great deal of choices. Plus, polyesters have stolen some of the Kevlar appeal by offering solid durability with a more forgiving response. However, there’s no denying the supreme toughness of Kevlar strings. I’ve never put them to the test, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they are indeed bulletproof. For heavy-hitting, chronic string-breakers, and those accustomed to the firm response and tension maintenance of Kevlar, it’s difficult to find a similar substitute.
Ashaway is one company that still puts out several Kevlar models. Their Kevlar + Plus strings have braided-in PFTE filaments to help produce a softer feel and enhance playability. It’s still incredibly durable—the PFTE also decreases string abrasion—but not as stiff as pure Kevlar. Now Ashaway has made Kevlar + Plus 17g available in bulk reels of 360 feet (110 meters) and 720 feet (220 meters) to better serve players and stringers, especially in regards to hybrids.
Most players that use Kevlar do so in the mains of a hybrid because it provides a sturdy backbone to the string bed, along with good access to spin and control. Combining it with a soft multifilament in the crosses balances out the inherent stiffness of Kevlar for a far more forgiving response. Using reels of Kevlar (or any string) instead of sets cuts down on wasted extra string not used in the hybrid, and maximizes cost per string job. And if there's anything fans of Kevlar—the longest lasting string around—appreciate, it's good value.