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Is Soft Shell Jacket Good for Skiing

Many people don’t understand why shell Ski jackets are subdivided into hard and soft shells, and there has always been competition between soft shells and traditional hard shells. Is softshell suitable for skiing? Although a softshell is not completely waterproof, it will handle much more weather than we think, and most slopes will be able to adapt well; and it greatly improves comfort and breathability. If you’d like to learn more, read on.

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softshell ski jacket

Ski clothing made of softshell fabric, it is a multi-functional composite type of jacket. Some of the functions of hard shell jackets and fleece are concentrated together, and while it is windproof, warm and breathable, it also takes into account water resistance, and the fabric of many soft shells is quite elastic. Softshell fabric is a technical material with elasticity, breathability and waterproofness.

Softshells bring together insulation, breathability, windproofness, waterproofness, elasticity, and light weight, and also allow manufacturers to have more manufacturing processes, such as multi-layer material pressing, pressed rubber, internal flocking, fully sealed seams, and special weaving methods. So there is no apparel category like softshell. It is basically a big collection of functionality.

It fills the gap of a hard shell, allowing for more flexibility in sports, excellent breathability to keep you comfortable during strenuous skiing, and warmth to provide an extra layer of protection, while leaving enough space underneath to layer other liners; it’s a great choice for non-inclement weather.

How they work

The material composition of the soft shell Ski coat is mainly divided into three parts: DWR treatment, stretch outer layer, warm middle layer, and inner lining membrane.

In terms of the outer layer, the waterproofing of a softshell jacket comes mainly from the synthetic and stretch material outer layer and the DWR water resistant coating treatment. However, the DWR coating treatment has limitations and is not as waterproof as a real hardshell jacket, and the DWR coating will wear and tear as you use it and may break down when you wash it, requiring frequent maintenance to restore the waterproof effect. So the softshell is not waterproof, but somewhat waterproof. It is not completely waterproof like the hardshell, it can be waterproof if it is in light rain or drizzle, but it can also be soaked with water when exposed to moisture for a long time. It is undeniably more breathable than a hard shell, and they are more flexible, allowing you to stretch all parts of your body flexibly during high intensity exercise.

In terms of the middle layer, its main function is to keep warm, moisture absorption and breathability; they are usually made of some kind of wool, the wool fibers in the wool can well capture the heat emitted by the wearer’s body, thus preventing the heat from dissipating, which is a good insulating material; at the same time, it can quickly absorb the sweat emitted by the body and transfer it to the outer layer for discharge, which can effectively help keep our body dry and comfortable.

In terms of inner layer, most softshells are made of nylon fabric laminated with a film inside (which is also the core black technology of outdoor fabric) to provide wind and water resistance continuously outside of DWR treatment. This fabric can only reduce breathability at the cost of wind and rain resistance.

Softshells: The Wear-All-Day Jacket

Soft, stretchy and stylish, softshells are versatile jackets made of durable nylon or polyester fabrics that place a high value on flexibility and breathability, making them suitable for a wider range of environments than hard, rigid shells. Softshells can be used for any outdoor activities in non-inclement weather, such as your ski trips, hiking; while in everyday work, casual walks can also be used; unlike other outdoor jackets that can only be used in specific environments. If you go camping without a pillow, the soft soft shell can also serve as your pillow; and most of the multi-pocket zipper design can also help you store items.

The Most Versatile Jacket Out There

Why is a softshell in a versatile jacket? Because you can adapt to the temperature in the weather by layering, and a softshell is a great coordinator, acting as both an outer layer for non-bad weather and as a middle layer for warmth; therefore, a softshell jacket is a great choice for skiing in the cold winter and sunny spring days. In addition, the lightweight fabric of the softshell can make skiers feel more uninhibited and free on the slopes, and the soft, stretchy fabric structure makes it easier and more flexible when you are going down the slopes from.

When is a softshell jacket no longer ideal?

In fact, in different environments, the performance of the equipment needed is different, each special environment may require exclusive specific performance, and the softshell is actually just most of the performance into one, but it is not able to maximize the performance, so that there is no perfect Ski clothes suitable for all fields. Softshells are one of the most comprehensive series that can adapt to almost any weather and last a long time, except for extremely bad and very challenging weather.

When it comes to extreme bad weather or heavy rain, soft shell jackets do not perform as well as hard shell jackets. The complete waterproofing of hard shell jackets can keep you dry all the time in bad conditions, the relative lack of which is that hard shell jackets are not insulated.

Summary of the softshell

This jacket is warm and very comfortable. Softshell jackets work well in most ski conditions, such as clear, cold winter days and sunny spring days, when a softshell would be ideal. They can work well on mild, breezy days in the Alps, and most people who own these jackets use them heavily for everyday use and outdoor activities, making the expense more than worth it! However, they do not provide adequate protection in more hostile environments.

This jacket is light weight and can be easily and lightly used for multi-day hikes and adventures. Because it is light, it stays comfortable for hiking, skiing, alpine climbing and cold weather mountain biking, running, and in the fall in the city. Personally, I still recommend carrying an extremely waterproof hardshell jacket for long hikes or expeditions in case it pours!


Lightweight and comfortable: compared to other jackets, softshells are lighter and more portable.

Has warmth: the biggest difference from a hardshell is the addition of extra insulation.

Is soft: uses a soft fabric fabric that is more flexible.

Being waterproof: able to provide water resistance in non-heavy rain.

Being flexible: the fabric is softer, which greatly improves flexibility when skiing.

High breathability: its internal structure helps sweat to escape faster.

Highly adaptable: suitable for use in most environments.


Poor durability: it is thinner and more prone to wear and tear compared to the shell.

High price: the jacket is relatively high for softshells compared to other jackets.

Limited performance: it does not function properly in heavy rain or strong winds.

Requires frequent maintenance:DWR coating is subject to wear and tear and requires frequent maintenance to consistently provide water resistance.

Softshell Jacket FAQ

Is hardshell or softshell better?

It really depends on how you use it and what environmental conditions you ski in; so to speak, a soft shell is more practical and a hard shell is more suitable for extreme weather professionals.

What is the point of a soft shell jacket?

They have the best balance of breathability and protection, and are better suited for oxygen sports like ski mountaineering. As long as it doesn’t rain, these jackets are a great choice for outdoor sports in most climates. Many are very useful in blocking wind and light rain as long as the weather is not extreme.

Do soft shell jackets keep you warm?

The interior of a soft shell jacket is insulated by fleece, it is thin and only provides some warmth; if you use it in cooler weather, the warmth is still very good; on colder slopes, some extra layers need to be layered to provide warmth.

How do you care for a soft shell jacket?

Soak the soft shell in warm water for about 20 minutes with a detergent, then wash the stained areas with a soft fabric to avoid damaging the DWR coating by rubbing too hard.

How often do you wash a soft shell jacket?

To determine if a soft shell needs to be washed, look at the least resistant parts, such as the collar and cuffs, and if there are already stains on them, it means you need to take it to the cleaners.

How long does soft shell last?

A soft shell jacket with regular maintenance usually lasts more than 3 years, after which the fabric slowly ages and its performance gradually decreases.

Can you put a softshell jacket in the washing machine?

If you must use the washing machine, make sure all zippers and Velcro are fastened to prevent the jacket from tearing in the wash, and wash it separately with a neutral detergent.

Extended Reading

What is a Shell Ski Jacket

Softshell Ski Jackets vs. Hardshell Ski Jackets: How Should You Choose

Shell vs Insulated Ski Jacket:Who is The Best

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