Six Spring Softshells
Spring skiing is almost here, which means it's time to ditch the puffy and switch to a light softshell. Here are some of our favorites.
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Pro randonnée racer Jeannie Wall had a hand in designing the Exodus, so it’s not surprising that it’s light, minimalist, and vented by generous pit zips. Rab is based in England, where it rains a lot, so it knows how to make a weather-resistant shell, but that durable construction also makes the Exodus rather stiff and scratchy.
Not to sound creepy, but we can’t stop touching this jacket with its four-way-stretch Hiber softshell fabric and supersoft high-loft fleece lining. Welded seams make it light and leakproof, while mesh pit zips let fresh air in when you need it. Because you don’t want to be sweaty when people start touching you. [$299; http://www.stoicgear.com]
Combining the best features of hardshells and softshells, the Verglas is thicker and more waterproof in the hood and shoulders to keep sleet and slush from soaking through, and more breathable in the torso to ventilate your sweatier parts. Unfortunately, skiers who run hot will miss pit zips, which the Verglas lacks.
The water-resistant Arc is stylish but still practical. It has a slim silhouette with a faux-fur hood that’s soft and not obnoxious. It’s a little low on functionality: There are no pit zips and no hem, wrist, or hood adjustments, but it’ll look really, really good at the bar. [$129; http://www.spyder.com]
The Anorak, from Hood River, Oregon–based Trew Gear, is as pared-down as it gets. Trew didn’t even bother to throw in a whole zipper. Made from Polartec Powershield, it’s windproof, waterproof, and surprisingly warm for its weight. We just wish Trew’d sprung for two pockets. You can’t trust the open, kangaroo-style pouch to hold anything valuable.
Cut like the sweatshirt your little brother wears to gym class, the 2.0 has a style that belies its function. The outside is Deluge DWR-coated, so it’ll shed snow and rain, and the stretchy microfleece liner, made from recycled polyester, is wicking and warm, so you can wear it for real athletic pursuits.-Heather Hansman