Softshell has been around for a number of years now and it’s proving to be ever more popular year on year for many different types of users. I’ve had a softshell jacket for the last couple of months and I love it. It’s comfortable, practical and looks great. I was harping on to a friend just the other day about how great it was, when he cut me short and asked “What is softshell?”. I knew all about them as we have been selling them for years, but it struck me that the average man in the street may not know all that much about softshell. So I thought I’d put this article together to give a basic run down on softshell Jackets.
What is a softshell jacket made up of?
It’s made from woven materials. Unlike traditional jackets it doesn’t have a lining but is made by bonding several layers together. They are often used as part of a layering system, the softshell being the midlayer. They are designed to replace the more traditional fleece. They can be used as a standalone jacket in fair to moderate conditions aswell. Softshell is lightweight and more appealing visually than traditional hard shell waterproof jackets.
Where Can I use softshell?
Softshell jackets are versatile pieces of kit. They can be used while cycling, hiking and climbing often replacing a more traditional fleece. They can also be used as workwear clothing as they are more lightweight than a fleece.
What’s the difference between softshell and hard-shell?
Hard-shell jackets are usually heavier duty, much more rigid and have better waterproof properties, they are more favourable in particularly wet and blustery conditions. The softshell jackets have increased breathability and still retain a good level of water resistance. They are the preferable choice when a close and comfortable fit is more important than absolute protection against the elements.
What are the typical features of soft shell jackets?
Breathable – Many softshell jackets are breathable. There is no standard for breathability so far, but manufacturers do often do a test for MVT Moisture Vapour Transmission and then give a score based on this test.
Water Repellent – Most soft shells are water repellent and some are also fully waterproof.
Stretch fabric – Many come with a stretch capability by adding spandex or elastane into the fabric.
Hoods – Often used for extra protection and insulation from the elements.
Reflective accents and trims – These are often favoured by cyclists and workmen so they can be seen in low levels of visibility
Windproof – Another feature that is often found is wind resistance, this is great for keeping the chill off your bones on a blustery day. Wind resistant jackets typically come with a layer of microfleece to keep that wind-chill to a minimum.
We do recommend reading specific details on a softshell you are intending to purchase.
Thanks for reading this short blog. If your in the market for one you can see our full softshell jacket range here.