Last updated: August 12, 2021

Softshell jackets are among the most popular jackets for women - especially for outdoor activities. They combine many practical features and, thanks to new technologies, are well suited to different activities and seasons, especially in terms of heat exchange, breathability and windproofness.

In this women's softshell jacket guide 2021 we give you all the important information on the topic of softshell jackets for women. You will find helpful facts and tips for your purchase decision, the use and styling of your women's softshell jacket.




The Best Womens Softshell Jacket: Our Picks

Buying criteria: What you should look out for when buying softshell jackets for women

Finding the right softshell jacket is not always easy for many women, given the large selection. In the following, we will give you important pointers and information to help you choose the right softshell jacket for you.

These are the following buying criteria:

  • Layers
  • Waterproof
  • Breathability
  • Mobility

Layers

One of the important buying criteria is certainly the fabric type of the softshell jacket. These enable different functions as well as properties.

  • 3-layer softshell jacket: Advantages include high heat retention, high water-repellent and windproof properties. Disadvantages include low freedom of movement/elasticity, as well as breathability and high price.
  • 2-layer softshell jacket: Here the advantages are the high water-repellent properties, the great freedom of movement/elasticity and high breathability. Disadvantages are the low waterproofness and low robustness.
  • Softshell jacket with double fabric: Advantages are high freedom of movement/elasticity and efficient
    and efficient moisture transport and air exchange. Disadvantages are low insulation/heat retention and windproofness.

The decision as to which type is best suited depends on the intended use of the softshell jacket.

Waterproof

Softshell jackets are usually not waterproof. However, they are usually water-repellent. Many manufacturers have developed their own water-repellent softshell membrane. Well-known technologies that give an indication of good water repellency in the product description include GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ WINDSTOPPER® product technology, Mammut DRYtech®, Marmot M1® or Polartec Powershield Pro®.

Breathability

Especially 2-layer softshell and double fabrics have a high breathability and are therefore very suitable for sports softshell jackets for women. The breathability of women's softshell jackets is often referred to as the RET value (Resistance to Evaporating Heat Transfer). This value indicates how breathable the material is. Good breathability is categorised with a value between 0 and a maximum of 20.

Mobility

Especially if the softshell jacket is to be used for outdoor activities, the freedom of movement in the jacket is an essential purchase criterion for women. Elastic fabric, a tight fit and low weight have a positive effect on freedom of movement and should be taken into account when buying a jacket with the desired freedom of movement.

Softshell jackets for women: The most important questions answered

In this guide we answer all the important questions about softshell jackets for women. From different types of softshell jackets to costs and care tips, you will get a good overview of softshell jackets for women.

What is a softshell jacket for women?

Translated into German, the name softshell means "soft shell" and is based on the well-known "hardshell textiles". These are usually characterised by their robust and waterproof outer textile layer. The softshell jacket is often described as an intermediate solution between a fleece jacket and a rain or outdoor jacket.

The softshell jacket is typically made of woven synthetic fibre, such as fleece, and has several laminated membrane layers. The layering technique and fabric make the softshell jacket breathable, elastic and water repellent - but not waterproof.

When do I wear a women's softshell jacket?

The softshell jacket is a classic outdoor jacket for women. It is suitable for sports such as climbing or cycling because of its breathability and stretch. Thanks to its water- and dirt-repellent properties, the softshell jacket does not need to be cleaned more often when used outdoors. Hikers in particular resort to the practical softshell jacket.

Since the softshell jackets are water-repellent but not waterproof and do not always retain heat, they are not suitable for rainy weather or heavy snowfall. Since the softshell jacket also has no heat-retaining function, it is not a classic winter jacket. However, because it has practical air and water vapour permeability, many sportswomen turn to the softshell jacket on cold days.

What styles of softshell jackets are available for women?

The softshell jacket is suitable for a wide variety of occasions due to its diversity.
The following styles of softshell jackets are known for women:

  • Sports softshell jackets have functions specifically for sports activities (e.g. breathability) and usually have a sporty cut as well as stylish patterns and colours.
  • Softshell parkas are suitable as transitional jackets, often have a fashionable style and are multifunctional.
  • Hoodless softshell jackets offer more mobility, a sporty look and are suitable for dry weather.
  • Multi-coloured softshell jackets have a fashionable style and unusual patterns and colour combinations. They are often eye-catching and combine well with other colours.

So it can be seen that the type of softshell jacket can be chosen by ladies for a wide variety of weather conditions but also according to fashion taste.

How much does a ladies' softshell jacket cost?

Ladies' softshell jackets have quite a wide price range. When buying, the quality of the jacket should always be considered in relation to the price, as there can be considerable differences here. This can be seen, for example, in the seams, zips and the material used.

Softshell jackets for women are available for as little as 20 euros. On average, however, ladies' softshell jackets of good quality cost between 50 and 100 euros. Brand-name products or softshell jackets with special features, however, can reach a price of over 200 euros.

How do I care for my softshell jacket?

After frequent use, especially if sweat has settled in the jacket, it is recommended to wash the softshell jacket and keep it hygienic. The following steps provide guidance on how to properly care for your softshell jacket and maintain its quality.

  1. Washing: To be gentle, all zips should be closed for the washing process and the softshell jacket turned inside out. A gentle, liquid detergent should be used. The softshell jacket should not be washed at over 30 degrees and should not be spun.
  2. Drying: Softshell jackets can be hung over a sturdy hanger and left to dry in the shower or another draining container. The hanger helps the jacket retain its natural shape. It should be noted that gentle drying of the softshell jacket can take a few days. When drying outdoors, the softshell jacket should not be exposed to direct sunlight for a long time.
  3. Impregnation: Impregnation can refresh the water-repellent function. The softshell jacket should be spread out outdoors or in a well-ventilated area and impregnated from a distance of 15-20 cm. The jacket should be left to soak for some time after impregnation.

Styling tips for women's softshell jackets: How to achieve the perfect softshell jacket look

Softshell jackets can be worn and combined in many different ways. To help you achieve the right look, we give you practical styling tips here.

Does the softshell jacket fit properly?

When buying a softshell jacket, it is important to make sure that it is the right size. Especially with sports softshell jackets, but also with normal softshell jackets, mobility is an essential aspect that should be fulfilled.

Before buying, you can do the following tests to check the size and mobility.

  1. Sleeves: Stretch your arms over your head and make sure that the sleeves slip down to below their wrists at the most.
  2. Shoulder movement: Bend forward and rotate your shoulders to the right and left. The back and shoulder area should not constrict you and should be stretchy.
  3. Collar: Tilt your head forward and back and move your head to the right and left. The collar should not scratch or rub against your chin.
  4. Jacket length: For regular softshell jackets, the end should reach over your hips. With softshell parkas, the length should come to about halfway between your hips and knees.

Which colour suits me?

You should choose the colour depending on the colours of your existing clothes. It should match your other garments.

Ladies with a cool skin tone, i.e. fair, pale skin with a pink undertone, look particularly good in pastel colours such as light blue, mint green or rosé or jewel colours such as sapphire blue, emerald green, amber yellow and ruby red. Ladies with a warm complexion, i.e. darker skin with a more yellow undertone, can do well with bold colours. Bright yellow, cobalt blue and reds are among the colours that look great on ladies with this skin tone.

How do I show off the softshell jacket?

Softshell jackets with bright colours can be made an eye-catcher of the outfit with trousers and T-shirts in monochrome and inconspicuous colours. Alternatively, these eye-catching softshell jackets can be combined with equally eye-catching garments to create a coherent overall look. Sports-look softshell jackets look good combined with sneakers. Outdoor softshell jackets can be combined with multi-functional scarves in matching colours. Softshell parkas look great with fashionable rubber boots or ankle boots and colour-coordinated sporty hats or headbands in autumn or winter.

Conclusion

Softshell jackets for women are known for their functionality. Their often high elasticity, fabric technology for high breathability, efficient heat exchange and simultaneous water repellency makes it one of the most popular jackets for outdoor activities. Nevertheless, with a variety of softshell jacket designs nowadays, ladies don't have to make any deductions in terms of fashion.

We hope that this women's softshell jacket guide 2021 has helped you to choose and purchase the right softshell jacket for you, as well as providing you with interesting facts about softshell jackets and advice on care and styling. We hope you enjoy your softshell jacket, your purchase and your new knowledge about softshell jackets for women!

Image source: Unsplash.com/Nick Bolton)

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