5 Best Softshell Ski Jackets

Ski jackets come in many different shapes and sizes, and softshell models are some of the most versatile out there. The style sits somewhere between an inner and outer layer, providing you extra warmth in light rain, wind, or snow. 

I’ve been skiing for nearly my entire life, and I’ve used a wide variety of gear and equipment over the years. I own several softshell ski jackets and know what to look for in the best options out there.

The Outdoor Research Winter Ferrosi Hoody is my pick for the best softshell ski jacket of the year. This is a highly comfortable option that will give you plenty of warmth when you want to ski long and hard on bluebird days. 

I’ll provide you with all of the best softshell options in this post. My goal is to take the guesswork out of getting prepared for variable conditions. Every model listed here is highly recommended and works on its own or as a solid base layer. 

Let’s start the show. 

Who Should Get This

Softshell ski jackets are best suited for skiers who exert themselves on the slopes. It gets cold during the winter, but being bundled up in too many layers causes you to sweat. Softshell jackets offer advanced ventilation, which allows you to work as hard as you want.

The following options are beneficial for both backcountry and cross-country skiers. Both of those disciplines take quite a bit of energy, and it always helps when you can push without becoming overheated or sweaty. 

Anyone who braves the mountain trails on dry or semi-wet days will love to have a good softshell outer layer. They are also good to have around so you can use them as a mid-layer to pair with a heavier jacket on frigid days. 

Best Softshell Ski Jacket: Top Picks

Here are my picks for the best softshell ski jackets of the year. Every option you see below has a lightweight construction and other traits that make them ideal for skiers. 

1. Outdoor Research Winter Ferrosi Hoody

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key features: Comfortable, durable construction, stretch fit, well-insulated, lightweight 
  • Waterproofing: Water-resistant 
  • Insulation: Thermore Poly
  • Cost: $$$

The Outdoor Research Winter Ferrosi Hoody is my top pick for the best softshell ski jacket of the season. This is a comfortable and lightweight option that will provide skiers with an easy-wearing experience. 

The jacket is made of a 90D ripstop fabric that is very strong and durable while also offering good flexibility. It will move with you and not against you, no matter how you like to ski. 

Thermore polyester insulation provides a good amount of warmth to keep you comfortable on colder days while still allowing decent breathability. The jacket is also available in multiple color options. 

It’s a little expensive for a softshell, but worth it if you can afford it. 

==> You can also get it on Outdoor Research or Backcountry or Moosejaw.

2. The North Face Apex Bionic

  • Best for: Layering
  • Key features: Excellent mid-layer, lightweight, comfortable, chest pocket, strong construction
  • Waterproofing: Water-resistant 
  • Insulation: Fleece
  • Cost: $$$

The North Face Apex Bionic is a solid softshell jacket to use as a mid-layer. It can also function just fine on its own on warmer days when it’s not snowing too hard. 

The jacket is fully windproof to help block out howling breezes, which can help keep your core temperature up when it’s freezing outside. 

Stretch cuffs and a hem cinch-cord allow you to dial in a customized fit that leads to lasting comfort. 

This jacket isn’t very waterproof, so I wouldn’t recommend wearing it on heavy snow days as an outer layer. 

==> You can also get it on The North Face or Cabela’s or Anaconda.

3. Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody

  • Best for: Performance 
  • Key features: Lightweight, four-way stretch fabric, highly breathable, abrasion-resistant
  • Waterproofing: Water-resistant 
  • Insulation: Shell
  • Cost: $$$

If you are after a high-performance softshell option that will have you covered in a range of different on-snow situations, the Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody fits the bill.

This one is also extremely comfortable, thanks to a four-way stretch woven fabric that allows you to twist and turn without any restrictions whatsoever. 

It’s also very breathable, so it makes for a good companion on long treks at the resort or backcountry. 

The Gamma LT is pretty expensive, but it’s built to last and makes for an excellent ski-related investment.  

==> You can get it on Arc’teryx or Cotswold Outdoor.

4. Spyder Women’s Solitude Hoody

  • Best for: Women
  • Key features: Lightweight, comfortable, warm, waterproof, cool puffer style
  • Waterproofing: Waterproof Spylon DWR 
  • Insulation: 500 fill Duck Down
  • Cost: $$

The Spyder Women’s Solitude Hoody is the best softshell jacket for female skiers. This is a sleek and stylish option that also provides plenty of comfort. 

The jacket comes packed with 500 fill duck down, so you can expect excellent warmth that will keep you insulated even if you get wet. 

It also is waterproof, thanks to Spylon DWR fabric. That’s a pretty rare feature in a softshell option, so worth keeping in mind. 

The solitude hoody has a slim fit, which is great as a mid-layer but might be a bit too small if you want to wear other layers underneath it. 

5. Little Donkey Andy Softshell

  • Best for: Budget Option
  • Key features: Affordable, lightweight, windproof, water-resistant, breathable
  • Waterproofing: Water-resistant 
  • Insulation: Shell
  • Cost: $

If you want to save a little money and still get a decent softshell jacket, check out the Little Donkey Andy Softshell. 

This is a lightweight but sturdy option with a Micro Polar Fleece lining to help keep you warm and comfortable as you ski. 

It also features a fully windproof mid-layer made of TPU material, alongside built-in storm flaps, so you can batten down the hatches if the weather turns south. 

This isn’t a very durable option, but the price is right. 

How to Choose a Softshell Jacket for Skiing

Here are some good considerations to keep in mind when choosing a softshell jacket for skiing. These are simple items, but there’s a big difference between a mediocre model and the best options out there. 


Softshell jackets are naturally flexible. Even so, some are much more flexible than others. Always check to see what materials your jacket is made of, as well as the amount of give it provides. 

Look for jackets with a 4-way stretch. Some 2-way stretch models (meaning they only stretch up and down) can work, but they don’t have the same range of motion. If it’s not stretchy enough, it can restrict your movements when you are skiing. 

Weather Resistance

Softshell jackets are not as sturdy as their hardshell counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they can’t handle a little snow. Though you will never find a truly waterproof softshell jacket, some models do use a waterproof membrane to prevent moisture from getting in. 

Certain brands also equip their jackets with special linings or water-resistant coatings. Just know that such improvements can hinder ventilation or add on extra weight. If you plan on wearing the softshell as an outer layer, it’s good to have some level of water resistance. 


Softshell jackets may not provide the same weather protection as hardshell models, but they tend to deliver more warmth. In terms of insulation, try to find models that bond fleece on the inside of the jacket and those that use special linings to increase warmth. 

While you’re never going to get as much insulation as you would in a full fleece jacket, softshell ski jackets with soft lining or extra thickness get the job done in lighter conditions. That makes them well suited for warmer weather or as a mid-layer. 


While a beginner skier might think that any type of hoody can work as a softshell jacket, you always want to avoid anything made out of cotton. This fabric is terrible when it gets wet at providing insulation, and you risk hypothermia if you wear it. 

Instead, look for softshell jackets made out of synthetic materials that offer a level of wind and water resistance that will come in useful when skiing. These materials will also dry out much quicker. 

Useful Tips & Resources

It is worth noting that, while they can be worn on their own, most softshell jackets should be part of a larger ensemble. This guide explains layering and explores how to use different clothing items on the slopes.

I mentioned earlier that you always want to avoid cotton in your ski clothing, but there are some other things to avoid as well. The video below explains some misleading marketing tactics involved with ski clothing and is worth viewing. 

Final Verdict

The Outdoor Research Winter Ferrosi Hoody is my pick for the best softshell ski jacket of the year. This is a very comfortable option that will give you warmth and reliability when you are skiing. It’s also very durable and will easily last for years. 

Every softshell jacket found in this post is high-quality and ready for action. You can’t go wrong with any of them, so be sure to read my reviews and choose one that best meets your needs or preferences as a skier.

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