The word Softshell is used on a broad range of products. The common factor with these products is that two fabrics with different properties are combined to create a material with special qualities. The most common thing is that one wishes to create a soft interior that binds and draws off moisture, and an outside that resists wind, rain, and wear-and-tear.
There are two ways of combining these materials: bonding and weaving.
In bonding, glue and warm rollers are used to create a bond between the materials. A common combination is a smooth, stretchy outer weave in Polyamide and Lycra, which is bonded with a thin brushed, knitted polyester cloth (fleece). Sometimes, a membrane is also used between the two layers to create a completely waterproof product.
Another method of binding material is through weaving, usually called the Double Weave. A double weave is woven in a process in which two cloths of different material are woven parallel to each other, with the lower cloth’s weft crossing, at regular intervals, the upper cloth’s warp. In this way, a strong mechanical bond is created between the fabrics, a bond which is not affected by wear-and-tear, heat, or time. Typical combinations are a stretchy outer weave of Polyamide and Lycra, together with a stretchy under weave of Polyester and Lycra. The Polyamide in the outer fabric provides durability and weather protection, and the Polyester on the inside provides a softness and moisture transfer quality.
Tierra uses these two constructions to create different types of clothes. We use the bonded softshell, preferably together with a membrane from Gore. Combined with taped seams, we create clothes that are watertight, stretchy and very comfortable to wear. Jackets and trousers with this material are very good for lift cage skiing and back country skiing, where the intensity of the weather can vary greatly in the course of a single day. These clothes take up more space, however, than the classic shell jacket or shell trousers.
With the double weave softshell, we can create a material with very high wear resistance, but with a soft inside and stretch. This is something that is difficult to achieve with traditional weaves. These clothes are windproof and allow moisture whilst also 'breathing' extremely well. The clothes are also weatherproofed with fluorocarbon-free weatherproofing to protect against moisture. We use double weave softshell in trousers and jackets for high intensity activities in which high demands are placed on wear resistance, such as hiking, climbing and other mountain adventures.
We use three different sizes for our Double Weave Softshell.
The thinnest is used in the Pace trousers, which are considered thin, soft and stretchy material. Only after one has put the trousers to the test does one notice how durable they are.
Our medium thick size is appreciated for its extraordinary stretch. Lite Track trousers have been the obvious choice for many of our customers looking for durable trousers for activities involving a lot of movement. The low number of complaints about Lite Track trousers is proof that it holds up against the wildest tests.
Our thickest product has been a favorite with ice climbers and touring skiers, ever since we made Splitfire trousers ten years ago. Today we use the material in our iconic Ace trousers.