FAB­RIC

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Gear Test -

Though the word ‘fleece’ sug­gests a nat­u­ral prove­nance, fleece and soft shell are in fact both syn­thetic fab­rics.

Fleece was orig­i­nally ‘po­lar fleece’ and it was coined as a mar­ket-friendly al­ter­na­tive to poly­eth­yl­ene ter­aph­tha­late by the first brand to pioneer its use in out­door gear in 1979: a US brand we now call Po­lartec, whose clever fab­rics can now be found in many higher-spec fleeces. Soft shell can be a blend of all sorts of dif­fer­ent fab­rics, but the bedrock in­gre­di­ents are polyester (polyamide), elas­tane and Span­dex – which all con­spire to make the fab­ric much softer and stretch­ier than fleece, and of­ten more breath­able.

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