Story by Matt Scullin and Nicole Rigas, Photography by Laura Gutierrez, Art Direction by Maria Clara Genis

Sensuous and strong, skin is biology’s barrier. It is no accident that Reishi’s™ woven structure resembles the tight, triple-helix of collagen—it’s what inspired our patented Fine Mycelium™ process, which gives our material its strength. Our North Star has always been quality, and quality for us means durability. But durability must be proven. For the last two years, Vartest, one of the world’s most respected leather testing houses, has tested Reishi™ across hundreds of samples and protocols. The results reflect a revolutionary breakthrough within biomaterials: Reishi™ matches the strength and durability of cowhide—the gold standard for leather—and we’re still improving.

Animal leather has been used throughout history, but Reishi™ is only at the beginning of its journey, with virtually limitless potential. As we continue to engineer our material, we will update our data improvements. Until then, we are delighted to now shine a light on Reishi’s™ current performance.

The Data: Reishi’s™ Performance

Leather is measured in many ways, which can be summarized into three main categories: strength—how much force will break it; durability—how much use it can survive; and appearance—whether its color or texture will change with use.

Strength is measured primarily as “Tensile Strength” in units of Megapascals (MPa). Tensile strength measures the force needed to pull a material to its breaking point. It’s needed during fabrication and load-bearing uses of leather, such as in the heel of a boot or the strap of a bag. Reishi’s™ strength comes from its innovative structure, which makes it a match for cowhide leather.

Reishi™: 10 MPa
Cowhide average: 8+ MPa

Durability is measured primarily by “flexing cycles.” The more flexes, or bends, that the material can survive, the longer it will last. Most applications demand anywhere between 10,000 to 100,000 cycles. Reishi™ matches cowhide’s ability to survive usage.

Reishi™: 100,000+ cycles
Cowhide average: 100,000+ cycles

Appearance is measured primarily by “colorfastness,” or the ability of the material to withstand the elements without changing. Like leather, Reishi™ uses advanced (but entirely chrome-free) chemistries in its tanning process that ensure color and appearance remain true through sun, sweat and water.

Reishi™: 4-5 out of 5
Cowhide average: 4.5 out of 5

A more detailed table of Reishi’s™ Vartest results is shown below. (For brands: full PDF reports are available to download by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.)