Best Softshell Jackets for Women

Studies have shown that there is a link between weather and our psychological well-being. People tend to be happy on sunny days and grumpy on cold ones. A nice softshell jacket for women will help you stay warm and jolly on cold days. With so many women’s softshell jackets on the market, finding the best one can be a tedious task. I will walk you through the things you need to know when buying a softshell jacket for women. I will also show you some excellent options from which you can choose.

Best Softshell Jackets for Women

What are the Best Softshell Jackets for Women?

We have compiled for you the top 5 Best Softshell Jackets for Women in 2024. In this article we go through the products that we have used ourselves, checked what other users thought about them and we ranked them accordingly.

With years of experience with women’s softshell jacket and having used several softshell jackets you can trust our review.

Moreover, you can scroll to the end of this review to see our mini buying guide as well as the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about softshell jackets.

1. Columbia Women’s Kruser Ridge II Softshell

Columbia Women's Kruser Ridge II Softshell
Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Material: 100% Polyester

This product features 100% polyester construction with a soft inner lining. The jacket is my top choice, and has an everyday design with attractive colors that makes it ideal for wearing beyond the hiking trail. The softshell’s adjustable features such as the drawcord hem and front zippered closure help fit the jacket comfortably. The warm collar is also an important feature of this jacket because it can be worn up or down depending on how strong the wind is. The zippered pockets stores your small items such as your phone while running or hiking. On the flip side, this jacket has considerably long sleeves. Some users have noted that although the sizes run true, the arms are much longer, which can be a nuisance as you will have to fold or even alter the sleeves.

Pros

  • 100% polyester shell with soft inner lining,
  • Front zip closure and adjustable features,
  • Water and wind-resistant shell,
  • Two side zippered hand pockets, Attractive design for everyday wear

Cons

  • Sleeves are longer than average

2. Little Donkey Andy Women’s Softshell Jacket

Little Donkey Andy Women’s Softshell Jacket
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Shell Material: 95% Polyester
Lining Material: 5% Spandex

The 114F microfleece lining used on this jacket traps warmth in cold weather, while the polyester shell is water-resistant and highly breathable for moderate weather. However, the seams are not sealed and can leak moisture and wind. The flexibility that comes with the removable hood makes this jacket an excellent choice for any season. It features three zipped pockets, which give you generous space for your phone and keys while going out on excursions. Unfortunately, some users were disappointed with how the sleeves are designed compared to the rest of the jacket, and felt they were bulky.

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Pros

  • Removable hood, Roomy and zippered pockets,
  • Lightweight 3-layer construction,
  • Brushed fleece inner lining

Cons

  • Bulky arms

3. The North Face Women’s Apex Bionic 2

The North Face Women’s Apex Bionic 2
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Material: 100% Polyester

The NorthFace Apex Bionic 2 is the premium choice on this list. It features a 100% polyester windproof outer shell with a soft and warm fleece lining suitable for cold and windy weather. Just like the Little Donkey Softshell Jacket above, it also features two zipped pockets plus a hidden chest pocket for personal items. The design is highly versatile to wear for excursions or on a lunch date. Unlike other softshells reviewed here, the Bionic 2 features inner stretch cuffs that help lock in the warmth while the outer cuff covers slightly beyond the wrist. The hem-cinch cord allows you to adjust the bottom of the jacket to minimize the penetration of wind.

Despite all the pros mentioned above, this jacket is not ideal for high-intensity activities as it is not very breathable due to its warm and weather resistance features. However, one can open the front zipper to allow some ventilation.

Pros

  • Bionic 2 version exterior provides water and wind protection Invisible-zip chest pocket, Durable and versatile construction,
  • Inner stretch cuffs,
  • Hem cinch-cord

Cons

  • Does not have drawstrings to adjust the wrist openings, Not breathable

4. Port Authority Women’s Core Soft Shell Jacket

Port Authority Women's Core Soft Shell Jacket
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Material: 100% Polyester

Just like the Amazon Essentials Women’s Classic Fit Long-Sleeve Polar Soft Fleece Jacket, this jacket is also a midweight product, making it ideal for cold temperatures. The hem drawcord allows you to achieve a secure fit while offering protection from the wind to stay warm. Like all the products on this list, this jacket also has a front zippered closure which is excellent for breathability. This product also runs small, so just like The North Face Women’s Osito Hybrid Full Zip Fleece Jacket, you have to order a size bigger than your regular size.

Pros

  • Water-resistant outer shell,
  • Polyester microfleece lining,
  • Contoured silhouette for better fit,
  • 1000G/M2 breathability rating

Cons

  • Sizes run small

5. Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Hooded Jacket

Outdoor Research Women's Ferrosi Hooded Jacket
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Shell Material: 86% Nylon
Lining Material: 14% Spandex

Unlike all the other jackets on this list, the Ferrosi Hooded Jacket features 86% nylon and 14% spandex construction and makes it the only one with the potential to stretch. The material is also lightweight, quick-drying, and is both water and wind resistant, while the movement-mirroring stretch feature allows for a better range of movement. Its abrasion-resistant construction makes it ideal for activities such as hiking, climbing, and camping excursions, and it is also lightweight for fitness exercises such as jogging and walking. While it is light for cold weather, it is designed to layer with other clothes for added warmth.

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Pros

  • Nylon and spandex blended material,
  • Water and wind resistant,
  • Abrasion-resistant construction,
  • Quick drying

Cons

  • Not suitable for cold weather

What You Should Know Before Buying softshell jackets

Overview

Trying to find the ideal jacket can be challenging, especially when you are unsure of what you are looking to get. Here is some important information you need to understand before you buy a women’s softshell jacket.

Softshell Jackets Material

Polyester and nylon are some of the widely used materials in softshell jacket manufacturing. The major difference between these two fabrics is that polyester can have some natural fibers blended into its construction. Polyester has a moisture regain level of 0.4%, while nylon has 4%. It makes polyester more water-resistant than nylon because nylon absorbs about 3% to 5% more water. However, both materials are often treated with chemicals that increase their waterproofing ability. Polyester is more breathable because, unlike nylon, it has a loose construction to allow airflow. It also tends to dry faster than nylon due to its lightweight structure. On the other hand, nylon clings to the body more trapping heat, so nylon jackets tend to be more warm than polyester. However, most softshell jackets are lined with fleece for insulation. Although both materials are abrasion-resistant, nylon is more stretchy and durable than polyester due to its structure. But, polyester is more resistant to wear and tear. Overall, I recommend polyester due to its breathability, water-resistant, and lightweight features.

Thickness and Warmth

Down fill power and fabric determine the weight of a jacket. Lightweight jackets have light material and higher fill power, while heavy jackets have more down fill. Softshell jackets are often lightweight, making them ideal for outdoor activities in cool weather, and they can be used as insulating mid-layers in cold temperatures. Thick jackets are warmer, heavier, and more suitable for the winter seasons. Take a look at our previous article on the best down jackets to help you find the best jacket for those cold days.

Wind and Water Resistance

Protection from the wind and rain is key to enjoying outdoor activities. This is a great feature to consider if you often engage in outdoor activities. Wind -resistant jackets ensure that light to moderate wind does not penetrate the material, while water resistance keeps you dry in light rain.

While softshell jackets are manufactured to suit different climates, there are features commonly used to increase water resistance. These include taped seams, laminated membrane and durable water repellent (DWR).

2 layer jackets have the inner coating bonded to the face fabric. To increase water resistance, these jackets are treated with DWR coating to repel water. On 3-layer jackets, a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane is laminated between the face fabric and the inner fabric to provide water resistance. Water resistant jackets have waterproof ratings which are in millimeters (mm). This rating ranges from 0 to 20000mm and the higher the value, the more water-resistant the jacket is. Softshell jackets for women often have features such as adjustable cuffs, seam sealing/taping and zip flaps to aid in wind-resistance. While the knit of the synthetic fabric determines how resistant the jacket will be, the more resistant a jacket is, the less breathable it will be. Some premium softshell jackets use a durable membrane such as Gore Windstopper to provide high wind resistance while keeping the jacket effectively breathable.

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Breathability

A breathable jacket allows the moisture and warmth to escape from your body to regulate your body temperature and stay dry. Jacket manufacturers make use of features such as pit-zips and mesh sections to increase breathability. Jacket manufacturers often rate the breathability of their products in grams per square meter per day or g/m2/day. The higher the g/m2/day, the more breathable the jacket is. However, if the rating is done using a RET SCALE (Resistance to Evaporate Heat Transfer), a lower value is more suitable as it means more breathability.

Performance

This is a feature to look for if you are going to be using your jacket for fitness and outdoor activities such as jogging, hiking, running, and cycling. Performance jackets are often stretchy, breathable, lightweight, water and wind-resistant because they are designed for physical activity.

Comfort, Size, and Fit

There are a few factors to consider when choosing comfortable jackets. One of the main considerations is the texture of the material, and softshell jackets are generally more comfortable and flexible than hard-shells. The inner lining is also something to consider as some people find that mesh linings are rough on the skin. On the other hand, fleece linings are heavier, although they are warmer and softer on the skin.

The next feature you should consider is how well the softshell jacket will fit. Features such as stretchability give you more flexibility in motion, while the sizes help you determine if it allows you to layer with other clothes for extra warmth. Based on personal preference, you can opt to go for a loose or tight fit. The best way to figure out your accurate size is to look at the size of the jackets you already own.

Features

The detachable hood found on some jackets is an excellent feature as you can remove it when you do not need it. A hood is suited for outdoor activities such as running and hiking, especially on windy days. The hood will protect your ears from the wind. If you are looking for a jacket to wear for running or hiking, pockets are a great feature as that means you will not have to run with stuff in your hands. However, if you intend on using your softshell jacket for casual wear, pockets may not be necessary. Most pockets have zips, and this will ensure that your stuff is safe and will often also increase your jacket’s aesthetics. Straps and drawstrings allow you to adjust your jacket and prevent the cold from creeping in through the arms and neck openings.

Questions and Answers About softshell jackets

What are softshell jackets good for?

Softshell jackets are ideal for outdoor activities as they offer flexibility and comfort that allows you to move around easily. They are often lightweight and breathable and are excellent for cold weather as they are often lined with a soft fleece material. However, they are not effective for winter seasons or heavy rain due to their lightweight construction.

How do I wash a softshell jacket?

There is no one size fits all answer to this question. Each jacket is made differently and has to be washed differently.
The most important piece of advice here is to check the care tag or label on your jacket. These often provide the most suitable way to wash that specific jacket. Following those instructions will reduce the likelihood of ruining your softshell jacket.

How do I clean and maintain my softshell jacket in a good condition?

The one thing that most people forget is to remove their stuff from the pockets, which may stain and ruin your jacket. Always empty the pockets first and wipe down the surface dirt and debris before washing. Ensure that the jacket is rinsed well before drying it to avoid soap stains and dry it completely before packing it away.

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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