The Women’s Salomon Lightening Softshell Jacket is a lightweight, flattering and comfortable softshell.
I’ve owned this jacket for nine months and hiked with it a few times this year, including a recent one that involved some heavy rock scrambling in Shenandoah National Park. I also wore the jacket during an indoor climb. In each of these instances the jacket stretched and easily accommodated a range of movements. This is in part because of Salomon’s Motion Fit and Smartskin technology which includes the articulated sleeves and pre-shaped elbows. Designed for skiing and trail running, the jacket is a snug fit generally but roomier around the shoulders and arms.
I’ve really put this jacket to the test during my winter runs (with the caveat that only between 3 and 6 miles), including during the recent “arctic” spells in the Washington, D.C. area. The jacket has a built in vent in the back and while the breathability can be improved, it does the job decently. On windy days, I found the high collar and droptail back hems particularly helpful because they helped trap the air around my body quicker and provided greater protection. The zippers are waterproof and windproof as well, which is a nice touch. The jacket is fairly water resistant and has kept me dry for the most part. The only exception was during a heavy downpour which soaked every piece of clothing I was wearing. The small front pocket is extremely handy and I often store my phone in there. I will caution the pocket is small. While my older phone (iPhone 5) fits perfectly, I doubt it will be a good storing place for larger smartphones. However, the back of the jacket also has a roomy zippered pocket. So whatever doesn’t fit in the front can easily go in the back. The lack of an earphone hasn’t been an hindrance for me but it maybe if you’re storing the phone in the back pocket. Another feature of the jacket is reflective design on the shoulder and the brightly colored zippers. I run early in the morning before the sun is out and I’ve found these aren’t enough to be fully visible to vehicles. The reflective design has also started to peel.
This jacket also has the sleek and clean design Salomon is known for, so it can also double as a lifestyle jacket. Because it is a lightweight jacket, it works very well as a mid-layer in the winter and the features that helps trap warmth make it a greater outer-layer in the fall.
Salomon’s Lightening has most of the features softshell jackets are known for but it is not a top of the line jacket. If you’re in the market for a jacket for very intense physical activity, this is probably not the best jacket. However, it is a perfect softshell jacket for moderate physical activity and double as a jacket for everyday use.
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