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Fleece Or Softshell???

Fleece or Softshell???

Following on from our last post, we thought we would look into another interesting shift that has occurred in the UK multi norm PPE market over the past few years. The particular shift in question is the change in user purchase patterns moving away from buying fleece jackets to the purchase of softshell style jackets. This post will consider some of the reasons for this trend and if there are any potential negatives to the change. As a UK manufacturer we believe we are well positioned to outline some of the different reasons for this trend. We have explained some of the reasons below in two tables showing some of the  positives and negatives for each product. The comparisons have been made based on a standard unlined FR AS ARC Fleece jacket and a standard FR AS ARC Softshell jacket with an internal membrane.







Fleece jackets keep wearers very warm throughout the cold winter months due to the brushed nature of the fabric.

Fleece jackets can be easily worn beneath a wet weather jacket for added warmth.

Standard fleece fabric construction allows for some stretch, this improves wearers manoeuvrability.

Low quality fleeces can cause migration of residue onto other garments due to the pilling process. This can be especially prominent with hi-vis garments.

Heat applied tape cannot be used on fleece fabric due to its brushed nature. This removes the option of using segmented tapes.

The average life span of a fleece jacket garment is shorter than that of a softshell because the fleece fabric  begins to deteriorate in the wash, after a while, which causes it to start looking ragged.

Some people perceive fleece jackets to be old fashioned and believe they do not look as smart as softshell jackets.  






The membrane within the softshell fabric provides a wind barrier and the internal brushed layer provides warmth. 

Heat applied tape can be applied on softshell fabric allowing the use of segmented tapes.

Standard softshell is more durable than standard fleece fabric.

Multiple softshell fabric colours are available and the outer does not pill.

Softshell jackets are perceived to be a more stylish and a trendier garment style that offers a smarter look for customer-facing employees.

Standard softshell achieves very high Cal ratings for a single layer garment.

Fabric is certified to wet weather standard.

Perceived to be newer and different in the market.

Standard softshell fabric is heavy and more ridged than standard fleece fabric.

If worn under a wet weather garment for warmth it can cause breathability issues due to the double membrane effect.

Internal seams cannot be seam sealed on a standard softshell meaning it cannot be certified as a wet weather garment.

Softshell fabric is much more expensive than fleece making the garments price higher.

There is a lack of stretch in standard softshell fabric.


If you would like further information on anything that we have discussed in this post then please get in touch through our contact page  smiley

Luke Deaking - Sales & Marketing Executive

About the Author: Luke Deaking - Sales & Marketing Executive

Hello My name is Luke Deakin I am a sales & marketing executive here at LS International.