Updated May 2017
For your shoulder season needs, we worked to get this review up-to-date. Both Best Buy Award winners received recent updates, and we highlight the differences between the newer and older models in the individual reviews. We also reformatted the information from our analyses with charts and tables to help you find the right product faster.
Best Overall Women's Softshell Jacket
Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's
Stretchy, comfortable fit
The Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's
proved to be the epitome of our desires in a softshell. It feels comfortable and supple and moves well with our bodies. The fit is non-restrictive and it's highly breathable adequate weather protection. There are better jackets for specific sports like ice climbing, but this is the top performing model across the most activities. Take it hiking, climbing, or cross-country skiing and it will hold up well. It even looks nice if you want to throw it on to head out for a day of running errands around town. On the pricey end of the spectrum, the Arc'teryx Gamma MX is a high-end model of what we would call a luxury layer. If you want the most versatile, best-of-the-best, this is the one.
Read full review: Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's
Best Value for Your Dollar for a Basic Shell
Columbia Kruser Ridge - Women's
Asymmetrically cut sleeve cuffs
Very low price
At a price 5 times lower
than our Editors' Choice winner, the Columbia Kruser Ridge - Women's
is hard to beat when it comes to value. For a ridiculously low price, you get a soft, pliable, and comfortable shell that is still adequately protective. This shell is very basic and does not come with a hood, but is arguably our favorite stylish piece as well. It has a longer hem, asymmetrically cut sleeves, and a simple, classic look. It is versatile enough to wear hiking or around town on a daily basis, and is available in extended sizes so will comfortably fit more women. We think the quality-to-price ratio with the Kruser Ridge is outstanding. This product received a recent update from Columbia, which lengthened the torso and updated the hand pocket design.
Read full review: Columbia Kruser Ridge - Women's
Best Bang for the Buck for Weather Protection
Patagonia Adze Hybrid Hoody - Women's
Fairly water resistant
Adjustable Velcro cuffs
Not as breathable as others
Updated Version Available
Since our review of women's softshells, Patagonia released the Adze Hybrid Hoody, pictured above. The original Adze is no longer produced and rare to find available at any retailer. We highlight the differences between the models in our individual review of the Adze.
If you are on a budget but want the most protection possible, we recommend the Patagonia Adze Hybrid Hoody - Women's
. This shell incorporates a polyurethane barrier membrane that blocks wind and is also highly water resistant. Additionally, it has useful features such as adjustable sleeve cuffs and an interior chest pocket. Though it is less supple and less breathable than non-windproof shells like the Gamma MX, it is more flexible and comfortable than its biggest competitor, The North Face Apex Bionic. For the price, this shell offers outstanding weather protection and durability.
Read full review: Patagonia Adze Hybrid Hoody - Women's