By the original definition, a soft shell is built from stretch-woven material that sheds light precipitation without sealing off breathability or sacrificing mobility. It’s ideal for backcountry touring, ice climbing, or Nordic skiing. Packing along a loft layer to function as an instant warm-up extends the thermal range of a soft shell system. Since it’s return to popular outdoor use more than a decade ago, the classification has expanded to include even more options from insulated soft shells such as our award winning Propellant Jacket to hybrid constructions such as our coveted Frontpoint 2.0 shell. It has also been clouded by blurred lines about what makes a soft shell fabric. In this education installment, Eddie Bauer DVP of technical product Andrew Turner explains soft shell in straightforward terminology boiled down to breathability. Soak it all in, then decide for yourself what soft shell is best suited to your intended use.This week our New School of Layering education campaign continues on our First Ascent line page, in our Eddie Bauer stores and on the Live Your Adventure blog. For those who have only seen the headline, it is our breakdown on the technical evolution of layering options that has provided a wide range of system and individualized options. In our line, we’ve categorized them into Hard Shell, Soft Shell and Integrated Systems with individual technical components including down and synthetic loft layers, waterproof/breathable shell layers, soft shell options and technical fleece midlayers. —LYA Editor
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