Last updated: August 8, 2021

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A men's softshell jacket is a great additional garment to own. The jacket is used when you need a lot of freedom of movement, such as during more athletic activities. There are summer versions and winter versions, which are then equipped with fleece on the inside.

The men's softshell jacket test 2021 will help you decide between the men's softshell jackets on the market. This article will give you an overview of the various models and features of the jackets as well as the most important buying criteria. You will learn more about the advantages of owning one of these jackets as you go along.




Summary

  • The material of the jacket, namely the softshell, has an excellent characteristic. It gives the jacket a lightness. Furthermore, the softshell jacket consists of two sides. The outside as wind and weather protection and the inside as insulation.
  • Softshell jackets can be used all year round. They are best worn at temperatures between 8 and 18 degrees. For colder days, there are softshell jackets that have fleece lining on the inside.
  • When washing a men's softshell jacket, it is important to pay attention to the label. If washed incorrectly, the material can be destroyed and the jacket can no longer be used properly.

The Best Softshell Jacket Men's: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for men's softshell jacket

A men's softshell jacket comes in many different varieties. Due to the large selection, the decision is not always easy. To make the decision easier for you, we have written down the most important buying criteria. In the following section, various criteria are listed to help you compare the different softshell jackets for men:

To help you understand the importance of each criterion, we go into more detail in the following section.

Seasonal use

Softshell jackets are worn for outdoor activities or simply for leisure. However, you should also consider which season it is. It makes a difference whether you are in the middle of winter or spring. Basically, many men's softshell jackets can be used all year round. However, there are also versions really for summer and also versions with lining for winter.

You should think about which one you want to buy before you buy it. Depending on the season and the type of softshell jacket you have, you may need something underneath. With a three-layer softshell jacket, you have more space underneath. You can usually put a layer of underwear and a mid-layer underneath this softshell jacket. This is not the case with a two-layer softshell jacket. You can wear something less bulky underneath.

Water repellent

The softshell jacket is often worn as an outdoor jacket for hiking, trekking or just for leisure. It can happen that the weather is not always ideal. In bad weather, it should therefore be able to offer some protection against rain.

Depending on the water column, softshell jackets are more or less water-repellent.

The specifications of water resistance or water repellency are defined with the help of the water column. The water column indicates how quickly a fabric or membrane lets water through. Softshell jackets have different water columns depending on the model. A men's softshell jacket can be used well in light snow and rain. However, if it starts to rain more heavily, the jacket is no longer suitable. Even for light drizzle, softshell jackets can only be used thanks to good impregnation.

Breathability

Depending on what you need your softshell jacket for, it will have different properties. A lightweight softshell jacket, for example, is more stretchy and has higher breathability. This means that water vapour can be transported from the inner space to the outside more easily. Softshell jackets with laminated material, on the other hand, are heavier and have poorer breathability. However, they are warmer and insulate much better than the lightweight softshell jackets.

It is therefore very important that you are sure what you want to use the softshell jacket for before you buy it. If you need it more for colder winter days, then you know that the breathability will be less. If you need a lightweight softshell jacket for summer, the opposite is true.

Breathability is measured by the Moisture Vapour Transmition Rate (MVTR). This indicates how many grams of water vapour evaporate from one square metre of textile in a 24-hour period.

Insulation

If you want to buy a softshell jacket for colder days, you should definitely ask about the insulation of the jacket. The insulation of a softshell jacket can be provided in two different ways. Either the inside can be equipped with a fleece layer or a wool layer. These fabrics have air permeability, which means that the insulation is maintained to a high degree. This provides a high level of insulation and warmth around the body.

An important point for insulation is also the zippers. If your softshell jacket has a high zip, meaning up to the child, then the heat can be stored better. The high zipper means that the heat does not escape so quickly to the outside and stays inside the jacket.

Hood

The hood of a jacket can be very advantageous. However, it does get in the way from time to time, so it would be ideal if the hood were removable. Most softshell jackets for men have a hood. A hood serves to provide protection in the rain or in stronger winds. It mainly protects the parts of the head. This includes the neck, the face and also the ears on the side.

Some jackets have a small compartment in the neck where the hood can be rolled up and stowed away.

The hood can be removed as desired. Thanks to the zipper on the jacket and hood, this is possible as desired. The hood is light and also folds easily. This makes it possible to stow it in the pocket and put it on when you need it again.

Decision: What types of men's softshell jackets are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy a softshell jacket, there are two different types to choose from. The main difference is the material. In this section of the article, we will briefly introduce you to the different types and tell you about the individual advantages and disadvantages.

Type Advantage Disadvantage
Softshell jacket summer light and stretchy fabric that allows you the highest mobility for your outdoor activities. The softshell jacket is more breathable than a jumper for example Can only be used for warmer periods. As soon as it gets cold, you would have to wear something more underneath
Softshell Jacket Winter The softshell jacket for winter is better for colder and wetter days thanks to the laminated type. The taped seams and strong membrane make it more water repellent the laminated softshell is slightly heavier and therefore less breathable.

If you want to read more details about the two versions, you can do so in the following section.

Softshelljacke Sommer

Softshell jacket summer

Basically, there is a difference in material between a softshell jacket for summer and one for winter. The softshell jacket for warmer days is made of light and very stretchy softshell. This material allows for maximum mobility and breathability.

Advantages
  • Breathable
  • light and stretchy material
Disadvantages
  • rather for warmer days
  • not high water repellency

The layer of the jacket is thinner, but still able to be used in light drizzle. Therefore, you can go cycling or hiking with this softshell jacket without much thought. In heavier rain, however, the water repellency may not be enough. The softshell jacket allows for high breathability. So you are clearly better equipped than if you put on a pullover, for example. This jacket can be used for sporting activities.

Softshelljacke Winter

Softshell jacket winter

The softshell jacket for tougher weather days is equipped a little differently. The material consists of so-called laminated softshell. Laminates give the jacket a high level of water repellency and wind protection.

Advantages
  • high level of water repellency
  • ideal for colder and wetter days
Disadvantages
  • less breathable
  • heavier material

The sturdy fabric means you can wear this jacket well in winter. The properties of the laminates inside can be compared to a waterproof shell jacket. The inside also has a fleece lining to keep you warm. Taped seams provide even more stability. One disadvantage of this men’s softshell jacket is that the laminates make the jacket heavy. This means that the breathability is lower. In winter, breathability is a little less relevant than on warmer days.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about men's softshell jackets answered in detail

In this guide, we want to answer the most important questions about men's softshell jackets. The questions were defined by us and then answered in a short section. The guide is intended to answer all unanswered questions on the subject so that you are familiar with the product.

What is softshell?

Translated from English, softshell means nothing more than "soft shell". It is a combination of hardshell and fleece. Softshell is mostly known in the sports world. Many garments for outdoor activities are made with softshell. Softshell consists of either two-layer or three-layer membranes. The outer layer of the softshell serves as protection against weather as well as wind. The inside serves to insulate your own body heat.

The material is very soft and light, which allows for excellent comfort when worn, which also illustrates the importance of the soft shell. In addition, the softshell allows for high breathability. This means that water vapour can easily escape from the inside to the outside. Depending on the type of softshell jacket, the breathability is higher or lower.

When do you wear a softshell jacket?

The softshell jacket is actually a year-round jacket. Depending on the model, it can be worn all year round. There are light summer versions, but also laminated softshell jackets for colder days, which are then also lined on the inside. It is important to note, however, that the men's softshell jacket is not a rain jacket. Softshell is mainly suitable for dry weather. It can also tolerate a light drizzle, but anything above that is too much.

Softshelljacke Herren

A softshell jacket is basically an all-season jacket. Its application is mainly for dry or slightly humid days. Despite the higher level of water repellency, the jacket does not offer complete protection from water, depending on the type (Image source: Halanna Hallig / Unsplash)

For activities like hiking, cycling or even climbing, a softshell jacket is a good choice. The outer layer protects against wind and water and the inner layer insulates with your own body temperature. Thanks to the breathability of the jacket, the water vapour on the inside can be transferred to the outside. This is an advantage during sweaty activities.

What does a men's softshell jacket cost?

The price of a good softshell jacket is around the hundred mark. However, the jacket is really versatile and can basically be worn all year round. To give you an idea of the price, we have provided a rough price range in the following table:
Type price range
Softshell jacket summer approx. 50 - 150 €
Softshell jacket winter approx. 70 - 150 €

There are also cheaper versions that are really just a thin softshell jacket. You can buy this type for as little as €40. It's best to get advice on what you want before you buy.

Softshelljacke Herren

The softshell jacket is ideal for outdoor activities. The softshell jacket is often worn for dry hikes or walks in the forest. Thanks to the insulation, it keeps you warm even at temperatures below 10 degrees. (Image source: Joseph Morris / unsplash)

Should you waterproof a softshell jacket?

A softshell jacket is already impregnated in some way. You know this because the softshell jacket offers a certain protection against water. Therefore, you do not need to impregnate the softshell jacket directly after purchase.
Impregnation should always be done outdoors.

However, if you use your softshell jacket frequently, it may be advisable to impregnate it at certain intervals. If you notice leaks, you can impregnate the jacket in these areas. It is best to use a spray to avoid unnecessary stains. The impregnation should be done outdoors, so that the strong taste of the spray does not remain indoors. After impregnation, it makes sense to go over the softshell jacket with an iron. The heat will strengthen the impregnation.

How to wash a men's softshell jacket?

Many people ask how to wash softshell properly. The fabric is a bit special and also sensitive. Therefore, you should pay attention to a few things when washing. We explain the washing process with the list below:

  • Step 1: It is always important to check the labels of the softshell jackets first. It may be that your jacket in particular has something special and should therefore be cared for differently.
  • Step 2: Before washing, close all zips and also all Velcro fasteners on the jacket.
  • Step 3: It is best to use liquid detergent, as powder can cause stains.
  • Step 4: Never use fabric softener. This can destroy the membrane of the softshell jacket.
  • Step 5: Let the softshell jacket dry well. To do this, hang the jacket on a hanger and let it dry.

If you follow these steps exactly, you should have no trouble washing your softshell jacket. Plus, with the right care, you'll be able to keep it looking good for longer and wear it for longer.

What are the alternatives to the men's softshell jacket?

Softshell jackets are very well respected in outdoor clothing. They are versatile and very flexible thanks to their stretchy fabric. There are two alternatives to the softshell jacket, both of which are also part of the softshell jacket. We show you which alternative there is to the softshell jacket for men in this table here:
Alternative Description
Hardshell jacket Hardshell jackets are very strong in protecting against snow, wind and also rain. They are mainly used in winter. Compared to the softshell jacket, the hardshell is rather heavy. The breathability is also a bit lower.
Fleece jacket The inside of a softshell jacket also consists of fleece lining. The fleece jacket is therefore very warm. It is very similar in structure to the softshell jacket and offers wind protection. This makes it good for wearing outdoors.

As you can see, the softshell jacket is really a combination of a fleece jacket and a hardshell jacket. So if you are looking for a little more or a little less, you can choose one of these alternatives.

Image source: Skripnikov / 123rf.com

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