We make a variety of soft shells, utilizing different fabrics and construction methods depending on the technical end use. Soft shells designed for alpine climbing utilize tightly woven 4-way-stretch face fabric for superb water and wind-resistance, plus dense, lofted fleece bonded to the shell for warmth. Soft shells designed for Nordic skiing and trail running are wind-proofed with bonded, stretch-woven fabric for a lighter overall weight along with wicking fleece to help manage extra perspiration.
Highly breathable water-resistant soft shells keep you comfortable and protected from the environment without a barrier. Many of our soft shell fabrics have mechanical stretch and offer great breathability and durability. They offer exceptional weather protection in all but sustained downpours.
No lab method simulates Mother Nature perfectly, but lab testing can help develop and accurately compare fabrics for specific performance characteristics. At Patagonia, we use the most highly controlled and technology-neutral methods available that most closely simulate actual-use conditions.
Breathability is defined by a fabric’s ability to properly manage perspiration, or the moisture that evaporates from next-to-skin layers and is passed through the fabric as vapor. We test a fabric’s breathability by measuring its Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR). We run the test under lab conditions that accurately simulate multiple exertion levels and various environmental conditions – both inside and outside of a garment under actual use.