Your Cart

Free worldwide shipping on all orders over $50.00

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

It seems that many newcomers to contact line skiing or outdoor sports have questions: what is the difference between a soft shell ski jacket and a hard shell ski jacket? How should we choose between the two? To learn more, please continue to read the full article.

In order to better choose the right skiwear for you, you need to know some essential knowledge. Aside from looking stylish, ski jackets should also keep you warm, dry and able to maintain your comfort all day on the snowy mountain.

Before making this choice, here are some things you must know so that you can choose the right ski clothing for you.

Article Catalog

1、The three-layer dressing method for skiing

You intend to choose a shell jacket, then the three-layer dressing method you must understand, because this is the key to layering. The outer layer: that is, your shell ski jacket (soft or hard shell), mainly plays a role in blocking the harsh conditions outside and protecting the inner layer of warmth from intrusion; the middle layer: captures the heat emitted by the body to provide warmth; the bottom layer: the bottom shirt, a close fitting garment that can quickly absorb sweat and wick away perspiration. This is the three-layer dressing method, which provides reliable weather protection for the body and ensures freedom of movement through the layering of clothes.

2、shell jacket classification

Depending on the functionality of outdoor clothing, fabrics and the environment in which they are used, shell jackets with outer layer protection can be broadly classified into two types: one is hard shell jackets and the other is soft shell jackets.

What is a hardshell ski jacket?

Hard shell jackets, they are designed to provide lightweight, durable, waterproof and breathable protection in the rain or snow. They were first used as the outermost layer of protective clothing during high-altitude climbing and summiting; during high-altitude climbing, the weather conditions are often weather-changing, one second it may be sunny, the next it’s windy, so in order to be able to withstand such harsh climate in the mountains, a hardshell jacket must be waterproof, windproof and breathable. In fact, it is often referred to as a rash jacket.

Hard-shell snowsuits are generally very lightweight, which improves their athletic performance. Since there is no thermal layer, you can consider wearing another fleece jacket inside the hardshell Ski clothes to keep you warm.

Hard shell ski jacket uses

The greatest protective barrier against extreme weather such as heavy precipitation and high winds. In heavy rain or snow, the hardshell is completely waterproof and can keep your body dry at all times. When there is a cold wind, the windproof performance of the hardshell can prevent the cold wind from taking away your body heat, allowing the insulation to work at all times. The reason it is called “hardshell” is because the fabric is basically not elastic and very durable, with strong abrasion resistance, greatly increasing its service life.

Some outdoor sports, such as ice climbing, snow mountain climbing, professional adventure, hiking, camping, hiking, rain and snow may encounter extreme weather conditions. The windproof, waterproof and breathable characteristics of the hardshell can help you deal with outdoor emergency weather.

Hard shell ski jacket features

  • Good water resistance
  • Good wind resistance
  • Good breathability
  • High abrasion resistance
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Suitable for extreme environments
  • Professional outdoor sports choice
  • Outer layer protection

What is a softshell ski jacket

Softshell jackets are made from fibers made of softer and more flexible materials. Soft softshells are waterproof, stretchy, breathable jackets that provide breathable protection from light snow and rain. They are designed to move with the wearer and maintain a comfortable body temperature during high-intensity activities. Unlike hard shells that emphasize waterproofing, breathability is a necessary performance for all soft shells. Most softshell jackets feature a soft lining or fleece lining to provide additional warmth; and a DWR water repellent coating treatment to give overall waterproof performance in normal weather.

They are perfect for wearing during the change of seasons and are mostly minimalist in design and casual for everyday use.

What are the uses of softshell jackets?

Softshell Snow Jacket can be used for skiing and other winter outdoor sports, even for daily leisure. It can give you comfortable flexibility, the best breathability and extra warmth during high-intensity sports; it can also serve as an intermediate insulation layer in snowy weather, and is an excellent choice for everyday cool weather. Compared with the hard shell, it is more comfortable. The plastic sheet-like sound made by wearing the hard shell will make me feel annoyed, but the soft shell jacket will not have such troubles, it is very soft and very little noise.

Softshell ski jacket features

  • Soft and flexible
  • Breathable
  • Versatile outer and middle layers
  • Has extra warmth
  • Non-inclement weather protection
  • Suitable for everyday and outdoor use

3、soft shell VS hard shell performance comparison——a quick guide

4、soft shell VS hard shell performance comparison——detailed comparison

Below, we will take you to understand the differences between the two outdoor apparel in detail from each performance, in order to facilitate your choice in different outdoor sports.


The waterproof coating used in both hard shell ski jackets and soft shell ski jackets is basically DWR, and the basic seam sealing pressure glue process, there is no difference between these two waterproof treatments; however, the hard shell’s hard shell structure determines that it can provide better waterproofing and a tighter structure that can effectively stop the entry of water; while the soft shell is usually thinner and has a softer texture, making it less waterproof than the hard shell.

In actual use, hard shells can perform well in extreme weather, while soft shells can only perform in light rain.


In the process of skiing, which is a high-intensity sport, a lot of sweat will be produced, so breathability is especially important, and good breathability can keep the body dry at all times. Even in the current technology, the hardshell fabric can’t drain the sweat quickly when skiing, compared to the breathability of the soft shell jacket, the hardshell jacket is much inferior. In fact, this is all relative. Soft shells sacrifice some of the waterproofing to allow breathability to be mostly improved, while hardshells need to have excellent waterproofing and windproofing while also taking into account breathability; if we talk about breathability alone, soft shells are definitely able to beat hardshells.

Wind resistance

The cold wind on the slope can easily take away your body temperature and cause rapid loss of body heat, so windproof performance is especially important.

The dense structure of the hard shell is definitely better than the soft shell, and the hard shell can bring excellent results in extreme weather; the soft shell has poor wind protection in strong winds, which is not conducive to your sports.


Compared to hard shell jackets, soft shells are more comfortable in terms of softness and warmth. The elastic fabric is one of the biggest highlights on the slope, making your activities more flexible and not constricting.

5、how to choose a ski jacket

Jacket type selection

1、According to your climate, if it is more humid and may rain heavily, it is better to choose hard shell jacket.

2、According to the method of outdoor activities, such as hiking, wilderness skiing, etc., it is better to choose a hard shell jacket.

3、According to the portability,the hard shell will be lighter than soft shell and easier to carry in the backpack.

4、Often in cool weather, you should definitely choose a soft shell jacket.

5、The breathability and softness of the soft shell is what all outdoor enthusiasts are looking for.

Jacket performance selection

1、Waterproof performance

Waterproof grade above 10K basically can meet the waterproof needs of all ski resorts. 20K and above are suitable for bad weather, such as wild snow.

2、Breathable performance

Because skiing is a high-intensity sport, the body will produce a large amount of sweat that needs to be discharged in a timely manner, otherwise it will cause discomfort, breathable grade of at least 5000 (g) or more to meet the basic needs of heat dissipation.

3、Warm performance

Soft shell selection is best to choose synthetic fiber made of warm material, easier to maintain. Hard shell type without warm material, needs additional warm clothing to provide warmth.

Final Thoughts

Having said that, in fact, both soft shells and hard shells have their characteristics, there is no saying who is better. The main thing is to choose a more suitable outer shell for ourselves according to the different ways of doing our outdoor sports. If you have a better way, you can also leave a message to discuss it together.


Is hardshell or softshell better?

Depending on the environment you use, if you often go skiing in extreme conditions, then definitely a hardshell is better; but for normal everyday and normal weather skiing in ski resorts, a softshell is more comfortable.

What is the difference between hard shell and softshell jacket?

Hard shell jackets are extremely waterproof, while soft shells are soft, breathable and have a warming effect.

What is the purpose of hardshell jacket?

It can help protect you from the elements and provide better protection against water, wind and abrasion.

Do hard shell jackets keep you warm?

The hard shell is not insulated, so it does not provide warmth; the main warmth is provided by the middle layer.

What are the advantages of softshell?

Softshells are softer, more breathable, and have extra warmth to make the wearer more flexible and comfortable.

What is the drawback of having a hard exterior shell?

Hard shells are stiff fabrics, expensive and do not provide warmth

Extended Reading

Is Soft Shell Jacket Good For Skiing

Is an Expensive Shell Ski Jacket Worth The Investment? This Article Gives You The Answer

Ski Shell Jacket Mens

The 10 Best Men’s Hardshell Ski Jackets for Bad Weather

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Worldwide shipping

On all orders above $50

Easy 30 days returns

30 days money back guarantee

International Warranty

Offered in the country of usage

100% Secure Checkout

PayPal / MasterCard / Visa