MARSOC Crye Uniforms Not Holding Up

In an update to Jack’s post on the new Marine Corps Special Operations force Crye combat uniforms patterned in woodland camo, an operator in the zone sent us some pictures and an AAR on their performance.

While our reader is an admitted “die hard fan” of the Crye uniform, he tells us that the stitching that holds the stretch points together isn’t holding up.

We were issued one set of crye a few weeks prior to deployment. As far as they go, there is a mixed bag of feelings on who likes them and who doesn’t. In regards to the design, it is excellent, the strech points, knee pads, additional pockets, etc. But in terms of durability, they are a little lacking….Whatever material was used for the stitch around the “strech” points binding to the actual camo pattern fabric, was very week, and guys were getting major sized holes after only 2-3 missions in country. So many have gone back to the standard issued woodland fieldpant. …

Die-hard fans of the crye design, like myself, constantly take, or tailor the crye pants on our own time/own dime. So this ONE pair that we get issued gets taken to the tailor following every one or two missions (as seen in the seat of the pants picture attached). Or the man just trys his hand at needle and thread, and attempts the repair on his own.

According to our source, the material used in the Marine version of the uniform is lighter than the standard setup issued to SF and SEALs. He posits that it’s the material that’s just not holding up and said it was the Corps’ call on the material, not Crye’s.

He also forwarded some issues with the knee pads and insert design…

A lot of guys like the “regular” issued pants because of the breathability of the knees. The crye kneepads get terribly hot, and often are taken out once a team gets “firmed” up. Also, a lot of kneepads go missing following inserts and patrols through the farm fields. Either the plant stocks rip them out, or a knee is taken in soggy mud and the kneepad becomes suctioned off.

I’d be interested to hear whether Joes are having the same issue with their combat pants (I know the 101st was testing out a new model last year) with the knee pads being too hot or suctioning off.

  • orly?

    Quality control, use it.

    But yes, I guess this will cut the order to half. (I don’t see what’s wrong with the sleeve?)

    Tops are $150, surplus old style BDU pants can be $30.

  • VTGunner

    Like I said in the previous article….what a waste of money for the taxpayer. $300 a set with 4-6 sets per operator, in about 4-6 different camo schemes….and they’re falling apart at the seams….literally

    • orly?

      Abolish spec ops and just stick to line infantry, and blame free market.

      • VTGunner

        Blah blah throw out random crap blah blah. Has nothing to do with spec ops or the “free” market. Heaven forbid we keep their checkbooks out of the clouds and come back down to reality. Their choice in buying a $300 uniform that’s suppose to be superior is obviously lacking sound judgement. I bet woodland BDU’s would have held up just as long, and the $250 you saved on just ONE set could have gone to something like…oh I don’t know…paying them more for putting their lives on the line

        • orly?

          Then special ops should stop getting $1000 helmets and stick to the issue helmet.

          They should get IOTVs/MTVs instead of PCs to save on money.

          That is in line with your argument.

          • VTGunner

            Actually no that’s not my argument. Armor actually helps save their life, their clothing (for the most part) will not. A uniform set should not be close to the same cost as a single ESAPI plate contract price.

          • orly?

            So flameretardant, moisture wicking, NIR, does not help at all?

            Why don’t spec ops go with just cotton? THEY choose their stuff.

          • VTGunner

            You sir are just being an idiot at this point.

          • orly?

            And you don’t seem to get it.

            The reason the price is so high is because everything’s made in the USA, using US designs, using synthetic material thats flameretardant.

            You want prices down, you need to make woodland universal again, you need to use cheaper materials, you need make them in china.

            All servicemen going into the hotzone is getting the same “overpriced” BDUs, because IEDs left our guys HORRIBLY burned. We’re trying to be safe rather than sorry.

            Look for that one guy that has his face melted, TELL me thats nothing to worry about.

            Tell me my logic is flawed.

          • Jon

            Nope, you’re right “orly?”

            VTGunner, look up the Corp’s FROG uniform, $200 for the shirt and $350 for the pants in a civilian market (we can all assume the military gets a wholesale price on these and Crye uniforms). The Army’s fire resistant uniforms cost a pretty penny too, this isn’t specific to SOF. They’re not paying big money for a name or special knee pads, but as “orly” mentioned its the flame retardant, moisture wicking, custom fitting, NIR stuff that is important to their mission.

            So the first run of these uniforms have stitching issues, big deal, they’ll just have to ensure that their next run is modified, Crye is excellent at doing that. Just because a few pants get a tear or too doesn’t mean we should just ditch it and go back to the old stuff. Just learn from it, fix it, and move on.

          • VTGunner

            My undershirt is moisture wicking, not my actual uniform. I understand that the military USUALLY gets wholesale prices, I used to work in finance/contracting before switching to a combat MOS, but I also know they overcharge us because they know we will pay it because no one cares about cost at this point.

            I get the flamereatrdant stuff, it’s actually useful. I’ve had my own share of IED’s. But with all the crapload of armor the vehicles have now its not really an issue. When we were all still riding around in unarmored humvee’s or jerry-rigged armored humvees, yes it was an issue.

          • Fuck VT Gunner

            You are not in a combat MOS nor have you had your “share of IED’s” if you think the armor in our vehicles alone can stop everything. I have half a mind to fucking sock you for even saying that. Your opinion is out the window, your fucking high.

          • VTGunner

            Still doesn’t get to my main point. My main point is we pay craploads of money for all of this gucci gear when we could cut back some on some of the redundant gear and put it in these guys paychecks.

          • Joe

            That is a ridiculous arguement. In now way, shape or form would the Governement ever take from the PEO budget and put it in soldiers accounts. Besides that, SF guys get pro pay already. I would always rather have the best gear and not get an additional $50 in my check.
            Furthermore, if you want the best gear and the larger stipend to get it; take the walk.

          • orly?

            Redundant gear like helmets and body armor too?

          • VTGunner

            @Joe: This has nothing to do with me pretending or wanting this crap.

            @orly?: Yes we should all go back to doughboy helmets! Actually better yet, those Civial War caps would be much more appropriate!!…..idiot.

            You guys are so stubborn, childish, and incapable of rationale thought that it’s pretty sad.

          • Joe

            It is not irrational thought. Gear protects troops more than a few extra dollars in an account. SOF teams have the extra spending money because oour missions are little more risky than others. With that money we buy/are issued better gear…and yes, better always equated to more expensive. Issued gear is always goes to the lowest bidder. Whereas commercial issue comes from commercial venders…like Crye.
            It is what it is. Its not like we are running around with useless stuff playing cops and robbers. Every ounce of FR fabric, better boots, armor, optic, head gear/helmet and equipment assist me in coming home to my family.
            That “gucci” gear is worth the money.

          • orly?


            noun, plural

            the provision of additional or duplicate systems, equipment, etc., that function in case an operating part or system fails, as in a spacecraft

            Having several different combat helmets that do the same thing is redundant.

            Having so many different forms of body armor that do the same thing is redundant.

            Why aren’t you defending the uniformity of these?

          • VTGunner

            Because those are life saving pieces of equipment. A uniform does not stop a bullet. Where as needing different types of body armor for high altitude fghting or sitting in a turret is explainable.

    • Patrick

      The operator indicates that he was only issued one set “So this ONE pair that we get issued.” While it does get expensive, the concept of one (or two) all-purpose camo(s) isn’t feasible. I do wish that we would take a bit long er in the selection process to get it right rather than to four different selection processes…but then that would be efficient. Oxymoron: Bureaucratic Efficiency.

  • FormerSFMedic

    I got a chance to wear the Crye uniforms during my time at Crane, and they held up fine. With that being said, I admittedly didn’t get to run them as hard as these guys do. I would have liked to have tested them further, but donated what I had to a deploying soldier. I wish I would have kept them, so I could work them harder. I know for a fact, that the MARSOC version is substantially thinner than the standard versions. It would have been interesting to see if the standard version could take more abuse, and if/when they broke down, they did so in the same areas.

    • orly?

      So the Crye uniforms CAN stand up to the abuse.

      Thank you for your input.

      • 18B

        “Run them harder” ? They are pants, dude, not a truck.
        I doubt these pants shown were only on 3 trips out of the wire like the auther stated, unless one of those missions involved traversing 1000M down a cement pipe in the prone.
        To elaborate on the previous possts about the cost of the pants, too….
        $300 is the commercial price for the Crye pant, that is not what the Government pays for them.

  • LeR

    There’s something called RAID BDUs.
    Less fashionable, more durable.

    • Jon

      But not flame retardant.

  • LeR

    And the price is half of this Gucci gear…

  • the fox

    “So flameretardant, moisture wicking, NIR, does not help at all?”

    Regular issue uniforms also meet this standard. Nice job.

    • Jon

      Nope, regular issue uniforms are not flame retardant. Look up the FR uniforms for the army, or a better example the FROG uniform for the Corp. In the civilian market the FROG costs more than the Crye generation 3 combat shirt and pant. Of course the gov. gets all these uniforms for less.

    • Joe

      NyCo uniforms do not meet any FR requirment.

  • orly?
  • JoJo

    The Cyre uniforms that are featured in this article are made of a “Flame Retardent” material that is not as durable as a cotton or a cotton blend such as Nyco which is commonly used in standard uniforms. The FROG uniforms issued by other services have the same durability issue and is the reason units draw from STAP prior to deployment and turn in upun completion of the deployment. The need for thi level of protection has been thouroughly documented

  • i don’t know how things works in the US but here were i live (italy) usually the government ends up paying stuff much more than the commercial price… you know, just to keep the gear well greased…

    • orly?

      How big is you military? How big is our military?

      The more orders, the less it gets per unit.

      Think wholesale warehouse prices vs retail price.

      • VTGunner

        Have you ever worked in the finance or contracting end of the governemnt?? I can answer it for you based on all of your answers so far, and the answer is no. Failed attempt at including your opinion/assumptions into how the government contracts things.

        • orly?

          So how much does the government pay for each M16?

          Full retail price?

          • Uxi

            Of course not. IIRC, USMC paid about $680’ish for their RCO when the retail price is north of $1100

  • Marine FO

    You guys are DELETED. $300 per uniform is not as bad as you think. You want to see over spending?, look at airplane or missile manufacturing. I would gladly offer $300 if it were protecting my fellow Marines and were making them comfortable, And those woodlands you were issued 25 years back… they did hold up a lot better. They were twice as thick which will sweat you out. At least they have camelbacks now so they could carry the extra water they would need to not get dehydrated with those old, thick, durable uniforms.

    • Marine FO

      Oh And I forgot to mention on the offering the $300, that is if we WERE making them safe and comfortable which we are not. Hard to run commando and focus on the mission when your balls are hanging out of your uniform

    • VTGunner

      Waste no matter how little, is still waste.


    I know the Marines are supposed to be Americas pitbull and all, but this just stinks. If the SF and SEAL version was’t broken why try to fix it?

  • Uxi

    Reminds me of nomex CVC’s with the torn croches.

  • Feral Jundi

    Interesting. This reminds me of a similar experience with the smokejumpers. We were issued these high tech fire resistant pants that were a nomex/kevlar blend, and everyone had to have a pair. The problem is that they would wear out in one season. They were also heavier and hotter than the older pants. So they were new and cool, but sucked in reality. lol

    The older pure nomex stuff would last a lot longer, and was lighter/cooler. But because that was old and ‘not cool’, guys would opt for the more expensive stuff–even though it would fall apart. The only advantage I could see with them was for walking through thick sage brush. The pants were heavier and had the kevlar feature, but I could walk through sage brush with the older pants no problem.

    And here is the deal. When these special ‘cool guy’ nomex/kevlar pants first came out, the government would only provide us one pair. We had unlimited access to the older nomex pants, but the new stuff was what everyone wanted. Guys would even purchase these pants on their own dime. It was always odd to me why that was. It was new and cool, and supposedly better materials. But in reality, the pants fell apart, they were hot, and they were heavier. The old stuff was way better, and that is what I ended up using.
    Here is a link to the kevlar nomex stuff.

  • Maurice

    I’m confused on this. There are a ca-gallion different types of uniforms floating around. So much was made about MARPAT…this pattern looks like the regular old woodland style…I thought Operators can wear what is needed for the arena they were going into?!?!

  • Lance

    never a fan of Crye, always said Popper is a better uniform maker.

  • Jon

    SOF chooses their gear from the unit level up, versus the top down approach the big military makes. If the operators didn’t want the hundreds of dollar per set of uniforms, they’d keep their old BDUs and request more NODs, Body armor, socks, etc.

    Can we get some input on this from an SOF guy? Are Crye uniforms worth the extra dollar? Or would you rather have a bigger paycheck like VTGunner suggests?

  • VTGunner,

    I appreciate your participation in the comments and discussion but I ask you not to personally insult other commenters please. Take another look at our commenting policy and please abide by it…



  • FormerSFMedic

    The MARSOC uniforms are made from a much lighter material. Sounds like MARSOC took a chance and lost. That was their decision to make, but maybe they shouldn’t mess with something that already works in its current form. As for wasting tax dollars, your tax money is in the pot no matter what they buy. It’s already gone. If I’m going to pay for something, I want it to go to the operators wants and needs for the field. Too often the DOD buys worthless things that have nothing to do with what the operator needs for his mission.

  • ski74

    The pattern is the old woodland one which is what the ANA troops are wearing. The point being that MARSOC is also conducting FID and in an attempt to blend in with their Afghan counterparts wanted the comfort and functionality of the Crye uniform in the pattern the ANA uses.

  • Johnny_Darko

    So… because it doesn’t stop a bullet means it’s not important?

    • VTGunner

      No it just means an exhorbitant amount of money should not be dedicated to them. It’s just a uniform.

  • Ethan

    Shut up! You guys don’t even kow what you are arguing about anymore. Join a freaking debate team if you want to argue for fun.

  • thumper

    And the back hatches held together with velcro that blew out in the sand! You reminded me of having my nomex sewn together with bailing wire so my a** wasn’t hanging out when the CG showed up to our position (priorities)!

  • FormerSFMedic

    What would you have me do with them DUDE!?

  • the fox

    When I say regular issue, I mean OCONUS uniforms. I don’t think anybody is walking around CONUS, daily, in Crye Combat shirt/pants, where the need is there for an FR uniform.

    Also, I’m pretty sure the Crye combat uniform is only FR on the torso, with the arms still being a NYCO blend.

  • Full and open competition would allow the best gear to reach the warfighters.

  • Mike

    Propper subs for the majority of the “Crye” uniforms whenever Crye wins a large governement award; such as the ACP or the MARSOC pant.

    • Lance

      Yeah but they seem to do a better job making them than there parent contractor Crye.

  • LeR

    Does it takes 300 bucks each to make a flame retardant version?


  • TTe

    From a closer look, the material of fabric looks the same as Defender M used in present ACU, The one I have looks quite fade when just passed few washes.

  • Pkekyo

    I’ve always been a big fan of Crye, and it’s a shame these uniforms are made with a sub-standard fabric. I see them popping up on ebay these days though, might have to snag me one just because they’re pretty.
    I must say I am somewhat disappointed in MARSOC going with their own specified fabric (which turns out to be rubbish) rather than waiting a short while for Crye to transfer the M81 Woodland pattern onto their own fabric – here’s to hoping they’ve learned their lesson and will get improved uniforms out to their operators again sharpish.

    As for why soldiers always go for the gucci?
    Way back when the Norwegian army was researching camouflage patterns in order to get rid of their all out OD uniforms, when making the comparison between soldiers being issued the new M75 camouflage jackets, and the ones still wearing ODs scientists discovered that the gucci-factor had quite the effect on the soldiers’ performance.
    The ones in ODs would bitch and moan. They were cold, tired and life was miserable. The guy standing next to them in his otherwise identical new and shiny M75 camouflage jacket however was having the time in his life, be it in pissing rain, sub-arctic or arctic conditions.

    Just saying… don’t underestimate the cool-factor – morale matters.

  • guy

    one of the most surprising aspects of this pant was not the rip around the back elastic but the pattern fading so quickly. i wore these pants for about two weeks straight with no washing or rips and then the first time i wash them, the color was practically gone! it looked like i had owned these pants for a couple of years. previously i wore a cheaper pair of used bdus for over a month straight in combat everyday and they held up and after a wash they looked just like new. as for the shirt— i dont like collars and i especially dont like zippers under my rig, but the zipper is really small and low profile and i did not feel it digging into my chest like some others. i do think that the shirt material could be thinner and loose the collar, i never have it flipped for casing protection and if you do then you are a pu$$y.

    some quick fixes– more velcrow in the kneepads—deeper dye— loose the collar—- eliminate the zipper and make the shirt material thinner—- double stitch the ass and crotch expandable material.

    overall it is a great combat uniform, i will choose this uniform 10/10 if given a choice. the benifits just outweigh the standard plain bdus.

  • guy

    i have to jump on here because we were issued these crye set ups in 2010. here is my honest opinion: the pockets are great, they are the best design that i have seen. it was very convenient to have small pockets on the front thigh of the pant for my map and the pockets were angled correctly and i could fit a grenade in them. the best part about these pants are the knee pad! they are adjustable in height which suits everybodys needs and they are comfortable and low profile. however, when you would take a knee in mud as in when they flood the fields, the kneepads would get sucked out and you wouldnt even notice they were gone until you took a knee a little later. additionally, there is elastic cord and layers of fabric around the knee that supports the knee pad and mine, for whatever reason, would dig in to my knee and make it raw, some kind of “sharp” fold or stitching. i never heard anyone else complain about it though.

  • SweatyPetty

    Well son, when I was in tje civil war we wore wool jackets in summer. O te humanity

  • PunishU

    Our boys do not need this fancy crap. If you look at the pictures of ‘stan, and compare good old Woodland camo to Crye Multijam, you will see that the Woodland does just as good if not better in many of the areas we are fighting in. And NOT at $300 a set either. Instead of another $Billion dollars of wasted taxpayer money (ala ACU) into stupid uniforms why don’t we get the soldiers better weapons and ammo (not “green ammo” crap) that they are currently working on.

  • Too opinionated…

    MARSOC did what the Marine Corps always does, cuts costs at the expense of their guys and then ends up paying more anyway. the problem is every Marine in the Corps thinks that they know what they are talking about and makes decisions they have no business making. unfortunately, just because every Marine is a rifleman doesnt mean every Marine has ever done or will do the stuff that others have. i agree though, the switch to woodland BDUs was made as soon as some became available. with regular ripstop all it takes a little patch and a sewing kit to fix. not a fan of crye pants at all. as far as the expensive gear goes, we get what we work our asses off for and pay out of pocket for the the stuff that they won’t issue us. not complaining either way, but if you want better gear it is just a little commitment and a few months away. there is no sense getting upset about it… and formersfmedic hit the nail on the head…

  • Too opinionated…

    couldnt agree less. crye knows who they are dealing with and how deep the deficit already is. haha, they know they will get paid so they charge more. the us military pays drastically more than they should. crye’s customer service is terrible as it is when they deal with any individual, i cant imagine how bad it is with the government. the only thing i like about crye is their plate carriers… even to order that it was like pulling teeth and dealing with timelines that they gave you just to keep you quiet.

  • Too opinionated…

    haha, you aint lying! its hard to be respected by a culture that shuns nudity and will kill over it when your bubble gum is flopping all over the place.

  • Too opinionated…

    not a few Jon, every set. they ALL ripped. it was a quality control issue. crye is also very good at reducing the quality of their product to meet demands.

  • Seriously?

    You obviously do not have clue about what these uniforms are designed to do…
    If durability and ballistic coverage was the issue, then by all means, issue the SOF what the army uses, and throw some of those heavy and warm BDUs on there aswell.

    The thing about the Crye pants is that they are light weight, and highly functional. This goes in line with the whole “high speed, low drag” thing their doing in SOF.
    This is why they get issued lighter, smaller helmets, smaller vests in lighter material (500 and 330D abrasion instead of regular 1000D) and FASTER uniforms.
    It enables them to do their job. I rather think that the problem here is that they aren’t getting enough kits to substitute the worn out ones.

  • Steve

    This looks like typical low budget USMC tactics, make use of reams of left over “rip-stop” material from the 90’s. That stuff was garbage when I was in, had about 3 feild ops in them before they started tearing, and about 3 ironings in garrison before the buttons ripped through. Hated that material.

  • hercules

    I’m the current owner of the pants featured in this article. If anyone wants to buy them, they can reply here.