Have you heard that softshell jackets are now becoming increasingly popular with horse riders? Read on to find out why...
What is ‘softshell?’
‘Soft shell’ is a term that is used to describe a new kind of outdoor wear. As its name suggests it’s primarily a ‘shell’ that combines many of the benefits of waterproof Hard Shells with more comfortable garments like fleece. Yet Soft Shells are neither.
So what’s the problem with ‘Hard Shells’?
‘Hard Shells’ are those stiff, often noisy riding jackets of old that most of us have worn at some stage. Here’s a reminder of what they were like: you’d be outside in wet and/or cold, wintry conditions, working up a sweat and the moisture remained trapped inside your Hard Shell jacket. This left you with an unpleasant clamminess that chilled you to the bone when you stoped to rest. Besides this moisture problem, riders have just got sick of the noise from hard shell fabrics, the constant zipping/unzipping, and simply wanted more comfortable jackets that you didn’t have to constantly take on and off all day. Sound familiar?
Enter Soft Shells
Made from fabrics with a tight layered weaves and durable water repellent, they shield you from the wind, rain and snow. In other words, a Soft Shell keeps weather out like a Hard Shell, but breathes like fleece. Besides great breathability, they have amazing flexibility in comparison to hard shells fitting your body without constricting it and stretching naturally when you move.
Take home message
They’re perfect for riders as they’re specifically designed to be used physical exertion in conditions that do not require full wet weather protection or significant insulation. This highly versatile garment can be worn on its own or with other layers. A ‘must have’ for any rider’s wardrobe. If this hasn’t convinced you to buy one, the following will!
Soft Shell vs fleece
A soft shell jacket does not:
pill like a fleece
look like a terry cloth rag after it’s been washed
absorb water like a sponge in rain and snow
allow the wind to cut through in the way that fleeces do