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Soft shell fabric is a versatile, durable material commonly used in outdoor and athletic apparel. It is designed to provide a balance of comfort, flexibility, and weather resistance. Here are some key characteristics and benefits of soft shell fabric:

  1. Breathability: Soft shell fabrics are known for their excellent breathability, making them ideal for high-intensity activities where moisture management is crucial. They allow perspiration to escape, keeping the wearer dry and comfortable.
  2. Water Resistance: While not fully waterproof like hard shell fabrics, soft shell materials offer good water resistance. They are often treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish, which helps to shed light rain and snow.
  3. Wind Resistance: Soft shell fabrics provide a significant degree of wind protection, which is important for maintaining warmth during outdoor activities.
  4. Stretch and Flexibility: One of the standout features of soft shell fabric is its stretchiness. This enhances mobility and comfort, making it suitable for activities that require a full range of motion, such as climbing, skiing, and hiking.
  5. Comfort: Soft shell fabrics are typically softer and more comfortable against the skin compared to hard shell fabrics. They often have a brushed inner surface that adds warmth and comfort.
  6. Durability: These fabrics are generally quite durable and resistant to abrasion, making them suitable for rugged outdoor use.

Soft shell garments are commonly used as outer layers in a layering system, often paired with base layers and mid-layers to provide insulation and moisture management. They are particularly popular for activities that involve both aerobic and anaerobic components, where a balance of protection, breathability, and flexibility is required.