Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to our big ski pants test 2021. Here we present all the ski trousers we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best ski pants for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying ski pants.




The most important facts

  • The ideal ski pants keep you dry and warm in windy, cold and wet conditions. They should be weatherproof and air-permeable at the same time.
  • When buying snow pants, the breathability and water column are particularly important. The more movement you do, the higher the breathability should be.
  • When buying your ski pants, make sure they are neither too short nor too long. To avoid rips at the bottom hem, they should never touch the ground.

The Best Mens Ski Pants: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying ski pants

What material are ski pants made of?

Because of their use in the great outdoors, ski trousers are made of functional material. In order for snow pants to be waterproof and windproof, as well as breathable and elastic, high-quality materials must be used in their manufacture.

A basic distinction is made between softshell and hardshell products.

Both types use polyester, polyamide or polypropylene, among other materials. Some snow trousers also contain elastane or cotton. A hardshell product also uses a robust outer material such as Gore-Tex or Sympatex.

Did you know that the edges of your skis cut your pants?

Because the edges of your skis are usually very sharp, over time they will cut the end of the trousers on the opposite leg. In order to avoid this, Kevlar is sewn onto the end of the trousers of higher quality ski trousers, which makes it difficult for the edges to cut through.

Hardshell products are characterised by their robustness and excellent water and wind resistance. Softshell products, on the other hand, impress with their high breathability and better suitability for everyday use.

Many ski trousers also have an additional inner lining. Fleece or Primaloft, for example, is used for this insulation layer.

How much do ski pants cost?

The price of ski trousers varies depending on the materials used and the functionality. For example, there are already particularly inexpensive models starting at 15 euros. There are no upper limits to the price, so you can buy a better pair of ski pants for several hundred euros.

Inexpensive ski trousers have a low water column and are less windproof and breathable. They also have fewer details and functionality. So you have to decide for which outdoor activity you need your ski pants and which extras are important to you.

Type Price range
Softshell ski trousers approx. 30 - 300 €
Hardshell ski trousers approx. 50 - 500 €

How long should my ski pants be?

When buying your snow pants, make sure they are neither too short nor too long.

Ski pants that are too long will always brush against the ground, making them easier to damage at the bottom. However, snow pants that are too short will slip over your boots and lead to wet or cold feet. To find the perfect length, try the pants on with your boots.

It is best to try on the ski pants with ski boots. That way you can see if they are too long or too short. (Image source: pixabay.com / Danny Schreiner)

Decision: What types of ski trousers are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two types of ski trousers;

  • Softshell ski trousers
  • Hardshell ski trousers

Although most people only wear ski trousers for one or two weeks a year, you should not buy the first pair that comes along, but one that is adapted to your own use.

The demands on ski trousers are high, as they should not only withstand the cold, wet and wind, but also be weatherproof, air-permeable, breathable and elastic.

Choosing the right ski pants is not always easy, but it is very important for a relaxed day of skiing. Different areas of use, preferences and requirements mean that a particular pair of ski pants is best suited to you.

This results in different advantages and disadvantages for both types of ski pants. In the following section, we would like to help you find out which type of ski pants is best for you.

To do this, we will introduce you to all of the above-mentioned types and clearly present the advantages and disadvantages of each so that you can get a brief overview of the different materials.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of ski pants made of softshell materials?

Softshell consists of different materials that are laminated in two to three layers. Nevertheless, ski pants made of softshell are light, elastic and flexible, which is why they can be easily rolled up. This makes them easy to stow away on the way to your ski holiday.

Advantages
  • High breathability
  • Windproof
  • Comfortable and silent wearing
  • Great freedom of movement
  • Ideal for short outdoor stays
Disadvantages
  • Waterproofing disappears over time
  • Water repellent only

Softshell ski trousers have body-hugging, flowing and elegant lines. This makes them more stylish than hardshell trousers. They are also lightweight, comfortable and elastic, which gives them a lot of freedom of movement. This makes them perfect for the fashion-conscious outdoorsman who is looking for pants that both look good and offer enough protection from the weather.

Since they are not waterproof, but only repel water, they are more suitable for a short stay outdoors in moderate weather and light precipitation, such as sledding, a walk in the snow or "fair weather skiing".

Softshell is windproof, although the material releases air to the outside. This means that these trousers are breathable, so you won't sweat much. However, this air permeability also allows body heat to escape.

If the trousers do not have an additional lining, it is advisable to wear thick, long underwear.

Softshell trousers are only water-repellent, but not waterproof. Wearing them in light precipitation is not a problem, but should be avoided in heavy snowfall. In this case, hardshell trousers are more suitable for you.

For many people, the noise produced by ski clothing is very annoying. However, this is not the case with softshell trousers. Because the material is very soft, the trousers are not only very comfortable, but also almost noiseless.

Softshell ski trousers are especially suitable for days with little or no precipitation. In extreme weather conditions, however, you should rather opt for hardshell ski pants.

What are the characteristics of ski pants made of hardshell materials and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Hardshell ski trousers consist, among other things, of a membrane that is either laminated onto the outer fabric or between the outer and inner fabric. Unlike the softshell membrane, the hardshell membrane is very robust. The outer fabric is usually made of a resistant material, such as Gore-Tex.

Advantages
  • Waterproof
  • Very wind resistant
  • Very robust
  • High insulation and vapour barrier
  • Ideal for long outdoor stays
Disadvantages
  • Hard material
  • Rustling when moving
  • Not very breathable
  • Low vapour permeability

They are completely impervious to wind and water, so constant rain and snowfall are no problem. However, the breathability of the trousers suffers. However, this also offers advantages, as it means that the warmth under the trousers does not escape.

Only through zips and seams can water penetrate and heat escape. To avoid this, the trousers should be bonded or laminated. Hardshells make the typical noise of ski clothing. Whether this bothers you or not is something you should test yourself.

In general, these trousers are less light and flexible and are therefore less comfortable to wear than softshell trousers. Despite this, they can be rolled up and transported easily. Due to the very good water and wind protection, hardshell ski trousers are especially suitable for very bad weather.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and rate ski trousers

To help you decide which ski pants are best for you, we have summarised the most important buying criteria. You can use these factors to evaluate and compare snow trousers.

This will hopefully make it easier for you to decide which ski pants are suitable for you and which are not.

In summary, these criteria are of central importance:

  • Target
  • Size
  • Adjustable waistband
  • Braces
  • Material
  • Lining
  • Water column
  • Windproof
  • Breathability
  • Snow skirt

In the following, we will go into more detail about the individual buying criteria. This will give you a basic understanding of the individual points and enable you to assess their importance in the best possible way.

Target person

First of all, it is of course important who will be using these ski pants. Models for women, men and children differ significantly in some points.

Especially in their fit, the different models vary depending on the target person. The figure of men and women differs especially in the shape of the buttocks and the ratio of the waist to the back

n to hip circumference. In addition, ski trousers for women are often fitted. Ski trousers for children, on the other hand, have to meet completely different requirements in terms of cut, reinforcements and fit.

The cut of ski trousers is different for women, men and children because the figure differs. (Image source: unsplash.com / asoggetti)

Size

In addition to the target person, size is also an important buying criterion for ski trousers. Basically, you can base your size on your normal trouser size.

When buying ski pants, you should make sure that they fit comfortably and that you have enough room to move. If you have to choose between a pair of snow pants that are a little too big and a pair that are a little too small, we recommend that you go for the bigger size. When buying ski pants, make sure that they are the right length.

Adjustable waistband

Most snow trousers now have at least an elastic waistband, which makes them more comfortable to wear. However, to be able to vary the waistband width a little more, many manufacturers offer an adjustable waistband.

Some ski trousers can be easily adjusted to the optimal width with the help of Velcro fasteners and the corresponding tabs. This increases the fit many times over and the trousers also grow with you.

In summary, an adjustable waistband is an extremely helpful additional feature.

Braces

Braces prevent your ski pants from slipping down. They also make it harder for jumpers and other garments to slip out of your pants.

Braces are often integrated, especially in children's ski trousers. Adults in particular also like to wear ski pants without braces. Therefore, some models are equipped with removable braces.

Whether you want snow trousers with braces or not depends on the fit and your personal feeling.

Material

The material used is crucial for the waterproofness, windproofness and breathability of your ski pants. Which material is best suited for your ski pants therefore also depends on the area of use.

As already mentioned in the guide, a basic distinction is made between hardshell and softshell products. Hardshell products impress with their robustness and very good water and wind resistance. Softshell products score points with their high breathability and better suitability for everyday use.

Material Description Why for my ski pants?
Polyester Polyester is a synthetic material that is very thin, elastic, durable and light compared to cotton. It keeps its shape and does not wrinkle. The synthetic material also does not let water through and dries faster. Due to its water-repellent function, polyester is ideally suited for your ski pants to protect you from snow, rain and wetness in general.
Polyamide Due to its structure of many thin threads, polyamide is particularly tear and abrasion resistant, just like polyester. Just like polyester, the water-repellent function of polyamide's composition makes it perfect for winter sportswear.
Polypropylene Polypropylene is lighter than water and therefore very water-repellent. This plastic is light, odourless and kind to the skin due to its low density, polypropylene is water-repellent and also very light. Ideal for ski trousers that need to be waterproof and light.
Spandex Spandex is a chemical fibre that is malleable and, as its name suggests, elastic. Clothing made of this material does not build up static electricity, does not lint and often does not need to be ironed due to the properties of spandex, such as tear resistance and stretchability, spandex has become indispensable in sportswear.
Cotton Unlike synthetic fibres, cotton is very absorbent and not water-repellent. It is kind to the skin, durable and long-lasting cotton keeps you warm and is kind to the skin. The inside of your ski pants could therefore be made of cotton for good reason.
Gore-Tex Gore-Tex is a specific membrane that is windproof and waterproof, but at the same time permeable to water vapour and therefore breathable Gore-Tex is not a must for your ski pants, but would only be an advantage. The material is perfect due to its properties, especially breathability.
Sympatex Sympatex is just like Gore-Tex waterproof but also permeable to water vapour Sympatex is also not a must, but can have very pleasant effects during sports.

Depending on which factors are more important to you and for which activities you mainly use your ski pants, a different material is better suited for you.

For skiing or snowboarding, it is best to use a very robust pair of trousers. For sledging or walking in the snow, a pair of softshell trousers will do.

Lining

Many snow trousers already contain an insulating layer in the form of a lining. Especially in low temperatures, this will protect you from the cold.

Fleece or Primaloft function optimally as an insulating layer and are mainly used in high-quality models. Lower-priced models often use polyester or another synthetic material.

Water column

The water column indicates how waterproof your ski pants are and is given in the unit mm water column. In Germany, ski pants are considered waterproof if they have a water column of at least 1,500 mm.

To measure the water column, the fabric to be tested is subjected to constant pressure. To do this, the fabric is stretched under a measuring tube, which is slowly filled with water.

As soon as three drops of water appear under the fabric, the upper limit is reached. Based on the amount of water in the measuring tube, the water column is now given in mm.

Depending on what you do in the rain and the pressure your ski pants are exposed to, the waterproofness of your pants will also change. In a squat position, your snow pants will be exposed to a water column of about 4,800 mm.

We recommend that you do not go below a water column of 5,000 mm. When skiing or snowboarding, you should definitely have a water column of 10,000 mm.

Windproof

Windproof ski pants protect you from getting chilled quickly by the wind.

Depending on how high the wind speed is, your perception of the outside temperature will change. When there is no wind, 0 °C feels like 0 °C. If the wind speed is 37 km/h, for example, the 0 °C feels like -15 °C.

The result is: The higher the wind speed, the colder the outside temperature feels.

Breathability

Breathability refers to how quickly your sweat is wicked away. Breathable ski pants are particularly important so that you don't sweat through your ski pants and thus cool down from the inside.

“Bergfreunde““Bergsport-
Gore-Tex is a brand that has become indispensable in the outdoor sector, but also in everyday life. The company produces membranes for clothing, shoes and equipment that make them breathable and waterproof at the same time. A drop of water is about 20000 times bigger than a pore in the Gore-Tex membrane. This means that water or wind can hardly penetrate the membrane. Sweat, however, can evaporate and escape as water vapour. (Source: bergfreunde.de)

The breathability of a pair of ski pants describes how much water vapour is allowed to pass through. If your ski pants have a breathability of 5,000 g/m²/24h, then 5,000 g of water vapour can escape through one square metre of fabric within 24 hours.

For longer periods of physical activity, we recommend a breathability of at least 3,000 g/m²/24h. A breathability of 10,000 g/m²/24h or more is considered a very good product. Ventilation openings on the sides can also improve climate comfort.

Snow skirt

Basically, a snow skirt consists of a thin and flexible material. A snow skirt helps to protect your feet and legs from the cold, snow and wet.

A snow skirt is particularly important in the event of a fall, as it prevents snow from getting under your trousers. When you use your ski pants for skiing or snowboarding, you should make sure that you can easily pull the snow skirt over your boots.

Trivia: Interesting facts about ski pants

What is the best thing to wear under ski pants?

The right underwear depends on the type of ski pants you wear. The bottom layer should definitely be made of a quick-drying material.

The best choice for the bottom base layer is functional or thermal underwear, which transports sweat away from the body. The layer above is called the transport layer and is especially important if your ski pants are unlined.

With unlined ski pants, depending on the temperature, you will need an additional warmth layer made of fleece or wool, for example.

How do I wash ski pants?

First of all, take a look at the label on your ski pants and make sure you follow the instructions.

Basically, you should only wash your ski pants as often as absolutely necessary. Standard detergents are not suitable for washing functional clothing. You should therefore buy a special detergent for functional clothing and avoid using fabric softener.

Can I waterproof my ski pants myself?

Yes, you can impregnate your snow pants either with an impregnation spray or a special detergent.

It is best to use the impregnation spray after washing the ski pants while they are still slightly damp. Simply apply a thin layer of the spray and let it dry well.

There are waterproofing agents that you can use in addition to the detergent or in a separate wash cycle. Make sure you use a gentle washing programme.

Image source: 123rf.com / 70617047

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