King of the ski softshells, Arc’Teryx’s new Shashka is lightweight, comfortable and still surprisingly tough – ideal for taking off the beaten track.
Soft and flexible
No ankle zips
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Arc’Teryx Shashka Stretch: first impressions
Don’t be fooled by the Arc’Teryx Shashka Stretch’s “softshell” description – the outer material feels tough and durable, and should withstand knocks and scrapes without an issue (see also: Hardshell vs softshell: the key differences when it comes to choosing your outer layer). The Shashka pant has clearly been designed to be breathable and flexible enough to keep up with all your backcountry adventures.
We like the integrated belt, for a snug fit at the waist, and good zipped pockets that hold essentials or a lift pass.
The pant legs are great too, with tough kick panels on the inner ankles and stretchy gaitors inside (although a zip would have been handy for adjusting the Shashkas over ski or snowboard boots).
But how did they fare under test conditions for our best women’s ski pants buying guide? Read on…
• RRP: $399 (US) / £300 (UK)
• Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
• Insulation: None
• Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL
• Colors: Phantasm / Muse
• Compatibility: The perfect shell pant for backcountry skiing
Arc’Teryx Shashka Stretch: on the slopes
Arc’Teryx describe the Shashka as “water-resistant” but on test we found its Gore-Tex membrane effectively repelled water, making this design pretty snowproof in our opinion. These pants are also highly windproof, so despite not boasting insulation, you won’t easily feel the cold on a mountain side.
The softshell outer material and a lined inner material feel lovely to touch and against the skin, and are very flexible to wear – these trousers are a far cry from stiff, plasticky waterproofing shell pants, and were the comfiest ski pants on test to move around in, thanks to a slight stretch.
That said, if you want to wear these in bitter winter, you’re best off layering both a long john and a fleece legging underneath, in which case you may need to go a size up to have enough room.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.