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What is Softshell?

Softshell Technology: Definition

Softshell is a type of fabric designed to offer both weather protection and comfort. Unlike traditional fabrics that are often rigid and heavy, Softshell offers flexibility and lightness. It is usually made of several layers, including a water and wind-resistant outer layer, and a soft inner layer for comfort.


What is Softshell Fabric?

Softshell describes an innovative clothing technology, offering a high-performance combination of protection and comfort. It does not specifically refer to a fabric or material but to a multi-layer structure that gives clothing particular properties.

It typically consists of 3 layers: an outer layer resistant to water and wind, an insulating layer, and a soft, warm inner layer, usually fleece, for comfort. This multi-layer structure makes Softshell jackets highly flexible, soft, and more breathable than Hardshell jackets. It also provides a very good level of insulation and regulates air circulation while maintaining warmth.

Two-layer models are also available for those seeking lightness. They are less protective against severe weather conditions. They have a water-repellent coating that protects against light rain.

Therefore, Softshell is particularly suited to outdoor activities, where comfort, protection against cold, wind, and rain, as well as range of motion, are essential.

What Are the Advantages of Softshell?

It offers significant advantages when worn. Here's a brief list of its main strengths.

Waterproof and Breathable Technology

One of the main advantages of Softshell is its ability to withstand various weather conditions. Whether it's rain, snow, or wind, it can provide effective protection while remaining breathable. Indeed, it guarantees sweat is wicked away so you remain dry all the time.

Maximum Freedom of Movement

Thanks to its flexibility, Softshell allows for greater freedom of movement, which is particularly beneficial for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, or climbing.

Keeps You Warm

This technology is designed to regulate body temperature. Thus, even in cold weather, the wearer remains warm, and in warm weather, the fabric allows body heat to escape. Also windproof, you will be well protected in all conditions.

Durable Clothing Over Time

Softshell is designed to resist wear, making it a durable investment for those looking for quality apparel.

Trousers, Jackets, or Even Gloves: An Innovation Suited to Many Products

Softshell is widely used in the dsign of many types of apparel. From jackets to trousers, and even gloves, this technology has become a staple in the field of outdoor clothing.

Softshell jackets, often with a removable hood and practical pockets, are known for their weather resistance and comfort. They are ideal as jackets for hiking, trekking, or other outdoor activities.

Softshell trousers, on the other hand, are appreciated for their range of motion and breathability. They are often used for outdoor activities that require a great deal of freedom of movement, such as cycling or climbing.

Softshell gloves, thanks to their lightness and ability to wick away sweat, are perfect for winter sports such as skiing or snowshoeing.

Even in the professional field, Softshell is increasingly popular. For example, for outdoor workers, it provides adequate protection against wind and cold while allowing satisfying freedom of movement.

Ortovox Ski pants Mesola Pant M Arctic Grey Detail 3
Adidas Nordic jacket W Terrex Xperior Softshell Jkt Shared Detail 2
Reusch Gloves Worldcup Warrior R-Tex Xt Black Fluo Red Detail 5

When to Wear a Softshell Jacket or Trousers?

A Softshell jacket is a prime choice when a balance between comfort, protection, and freedom of movement is needed. Perfect for outdoor activities, it is ideal in the shoulder-season when weather conditions are variable. Their use extends from light hiking to mountaineering or ski touring.

They are particularly effective in cold and dry weather, with a strong presence of wind, thanks to their windproof and cooling properties. Their multi-layer design retains body heat while wicking away sweat, offering optimal comfort.

Finally, their light weight and technical design make Softshell jackets a favoured choice for outdoor sports enthusiasts, but also for some work outfits developed to withstand changing weather conditions.

Softshell vs Hardshell: The Performance Duel

In the debate between Softshell and Hardshell, each type of jacket or trousers has its own advantages.

  • Softshell jackets: They are known for their stretchability, lightness, and comfort, offering great freedom of movement. They are generally warm and more breathable than Hardshells, thanks to the fleece-lining they often feature.
  • On the other hand, Hardshell jackets: Often made of Gore-Tex, are extremely water-resistant and provide better protection against the elements. They are less stretch and not as warm, but their membrane-based design provides significant breathability.
  • Another point of difference is compactness. A Softshell jacket has a smaller footprint in a backpack. Quite convenient when hiking in unsettled weather.

These differences mean that the choice between Softshell and Hardshell logically depends on the conditions of use.

How to Wash a Softshell Garment?

For adequate washing of your Softshell garment, prefer a low-temperature cycle, ideally at 30 degrees, without exceeding 40 degrees. Use a delicate or wool cycle to preserve the properties of your garment.

It is recommended to use a liquid detergent without enzymes or a suitable technical cleaner. Avoid enzyme-based detergents and fabric softeners, which can impair the fabric's performance.

It is also advisable to avoid spin drying your garment to preserve its integrity.

As for drying, let it air dry or use a tumble dryer on a gentle program. To maintain water repellence, once the garment is dry, put it in the tumble dryer for 20 minutes.

Rossignol, Columbia, Scott... Many Brands Use It

Many brands have chosen to integrate this technology into the design of their products. Rossignol is notable for its many jackets and Softshell trousers among the brand’s garments dedicated to winter sports, especially cross-country skiing. Columbia offers a varied range of Softshell jackets, light for summer or warmer for winter. Scott also uses this technology for some of its clothing line. Other brands have also taken advantage of its benefits to offer their customers high-performance and comfortable clothing to meet the needs of a multitude of activities.

Softshell Clothing for Everyone: Men, Women, and Kids

These garments are available for every member of the family, offering optimal protection against the elements while ensuring comfort and style, whether for a mountain outing, a city walk, or any other activity requiring reliable weather protection. And for those who are looking for the very best in Softshell apparel, Glisshop is the go-to destination. With a wide selection of products for men, women, and children, everyone will find what they need on our site, and at the best price as well.