You used to have to choose: waterproof hard shell or breathable soft shell. Gear makers now use hybrid fabrics that are soft, stretchy, waterproof, and breathable. These jackets are often heavier—and less crinkly—than standard hard shells.
BEST FOR: Resort skiing, mountaineering in wet climes.
WHY THIS ONE: The North Face Jammu is minimalist, athletically cut, and made with Polartec’s air-permeable NeoShell, a fleece-backed fabric that fended off nasty weather and breathed better than any hard shell we tested.