Hard shell, soft core: Soft shell trousers
Soft shell jackets have quickly conquered the world of outdoor sports. They are comfortable and durable, yet still lightweight and breathable. They also have a good thermal performance because they provide reliable protection against wind and water. The same applies for softshells: ‘Jackets are like trousers!' The material of softshell trousers of course has all the same advantages as the jackets: They are extremely durable and provide a high level of comfort. Soft shell trousers feel soft and comfortable on the skin, like fleece trousers. Soft shell trousers are also very elastic, so you can move very well in them. The outer material, however, is very robust and durable. The combination of these almost opposite qualities makes soft shell trousers a versatile companion that are great for mountain sports.
Who needs soft shell pants?
They're worthwhile for anyone who relies on robust material and wants to have fun even when the temperature outside is less pleasant - and without limits! In many cases, softshell pants makes ski or snow pants superfluous because they provide enough protection against the cold and snow. Softshell pants have less volume and are much more flexible. These properties come to the for in climbing for example, particularly in demanding environments.
Soft shell trousers have even more impressive features, e.g. softshell is a very durable material. While hiking, pants often rip when they come into contact with rocks - for example when inspecting via ferrata routes - but soft shell trousers still look like new after such an incident.
Whether for climbing, hiking, snowshoeing or ski touring - there are a wide range of models that are tailored to each of the various sports. But that does not mean that you actually need special soft shell trousers for each sport . You can even use softshell trousers originally purchased as ski touring trousers for hiking and climbing. It is however at least worth investing in winter and summer variants, as the thermal output does vary.
The fabric, that softshell trousers are made of
Soft shell pants are made from powerful high-tech fabric, which has been designed specifically for the needs of outdoor athletes. For example, soft shell is very breathable and at the same offers reliable protection against wind. Moreover, it is soft, elastic and allows absolute freedom of movement. If you think of the onion principle that has prevailed in mountain sports for such a long time, softshell trousers, depending on the weather, can replace the two outer layers.
Depending on the materials and workmanship, soft shell trousers are warm and breathable as well as wind-resistant and durable. They keep out light precipitation - whether snow or rain. But they are definitely no substitute for a rain cover. The outer layer is an abrasion-resistant textile fabric, the inner layer consists of wicking velour, like fleece. So soft shell trousers are really comfortable and can replace a baselayer.