Great build quality, robust feel and excellent weather protection from Haglöfs' top of the range soft shell jacket in Gore's Windstopper Softshell fabric.
Haglöfs shark tested
Haglöfs Shark Pro Softshell
Weight: 680 grammes (men's
Windstopper 430 and 431 two-way stretch Softshell fabric,
full-length water-resistant front zip with chin guard,
Velcro-adjustable elasticated cuff,no shoulder seams,
one-handed adjustable elasticated hem cord, two zippered
front pockets with water-resistant zips, pitzips, reinforced
shouldersouiter sleever and side of torso made with abrasion
-resistant WS 431 fabric, adjustable collar, offset inner
sleeve seam to avoid chafing. Men's cut only, women's option
available in standard Shark version.
Great build quality, very weather resistant.
Not as breathable as some rivals in UK conditions, no
Like other softshells, Haglöfs's Shark Pro - a
more technical development based on the original Shark - is designed
to provide weather protection in all conditions down to an outright
deluge for mountain and climbing use. The extra features over the
standard Shark are intended to make the Pro even more effective in
It uses Gore's Windstopper-based softshell fabrics for complete
windproofing and a high level of water resistance along with a
helping of thermal efficiency thanks to the light fleece inner
lining. Plus a two-way stretch to the fabric should mean a neat,
The standard Shark is pretty well featured already,
but Haglofs have taken the basic jacket and added in some extras. You
get neat touches like seam-free shoulders - worth having as the seams
are quite bullky - pit-zips and, most importantly for those wary of
the durability of softshell fabrics in heavy use, substantial
reinforcement panels made from the tough and durable Gore Windstopper
431 fabric in high wear areas, like the shoulders, inner sleeves and
cuff and the outside of the torso.
The rest of the jacket is well up to Haglöfs' high standards too,
with water-resistant zips throughout and a microfleece lined collar with
adjuster twisted inner sleeve seams to minimise chafing when walking.
The Swedish company always seems to come up with
fantastic build quality right across their range and the Shark Pro is
no exception - what do you expect from the nation that brought you
Saab, Volvo and Abba? It has a really solid, durable feel thanks
partly to the substantial WS431 fabric reinforcing panels.
important because it make the jacket feel reassuringly protective
compared to some of its, erm, 'softer' rivals, particularly if you're
used to a more substantial feeling conventional shell jacket. And the
gut feeling isn't wrong. The Windstopper Softshell fabric is totally
windproof and, aside from the seams which aren't taped, very water
resistant in anything up to heavy rain. The water-repellant factory
treatment works well too, with lots of beading of water. A lightweight
fleece backing adds a little thermal efficiency as well making it
more than just a glorified windproof.
So far so good, but if you run on the hot side, it's quite easy to
overwhelm Windstopper's breathability and boil over, even with the
pit-zips open. That's not so much of a problem in high, dry, cold
mountain environments like the Alps which aid breathability, but in
the UK's cold but damp winter condtions, the fabric's not as
effective and we think there are other, better options.
The cut is 'medium close', not as tapered as the softshells from
Arc'teryx or Macpac, but on a par with the likes of Berghaus, making
it an option for anyone who isn't quite in the tapered mega-athlete
mould. The two-way stretch in the fabric isn't massive by the way,
but overall design is nice with the pockets sitting above a harness
or pack belt and adjusters at cuffs, hem and neck all working well.
It's unrestrictive too, or at least on the OM test bod it is.
One thing we missed was an integral hood. Some people prefer a
simple, unhooded jacket design, but for our money a simple rollaway
windproof hood, as used on Macpac's Stealth jacket, ups the
versatility of the jacket when the going gets iffy. No mountain
hardshell would be sold without a hood, so why softshells?
Unless you run on the cool side, we reckon the Shark Pro is best
suited to cold, dry, high mountain terrain where the conditions help
it to breathe, if you run hot, you may well find the fabric too
sweaty in UK conditions except on rare very cold, dry winter days.
We'd also add a hood, though that's personal preference.
Beyond those observations, this is another very well made, well
designed technical mountain jacket from Haglöfs. We found the
substantial robust feel of the jacket psychologically reassuring, the
reinforcing fabric seems to work well and weather protection from
wind and rain is good, though in heavy downpours you'll still need a
lightweight waterproof to stop water leaking through the seams.
The cut is fine for technical use with well-thought out features,
though we'd prefer to see some sort of hood option - that's very
miuch personal preference though. Good alpine or waterfall ice
climbing jacket and well made but at a price.
Know more or want to?
Pushed for time:
Very protective softshell jacket with great build quality .
substantial feel and good features and design. Breathability
works best in high mountain conditions and can be too sweaty
for some in the relatively damp UK. Some users will miss an
integrated hood. Not cheap.
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