If you are looking for a softshell cycling jacket for winter rides you really need to check out the Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket. This jacket is warm, windproof, waterproof and the most comfortable cycling jacket I own.
The Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket is incredibly soft inside—it has a brushed thermal fleece fabric that does a great job of keeping you warm and transferring moisture to the outside. The jacket zips on the front and has a full-length internal draft flap and zipper garage. The sleeves are contoured for a great fit and extra long (something I like in winter jackets) and there is ample reflective material on all sides of the jacket to increase visibility at night.
The Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket only has two pockets. On the chest there is a pocket that will easily hold an iPhone, and it even has a small opening so you can run a pair of headphones through it. On the lower back is one large zippered pocket, and inside of it there are three smaller pockets. These small inside pockets are a bit difficult to get into as you are riding, but I like them anyway. However, I have found that moisture from perspiration tends to build up inside of both pockets. These zippered pockets have very nice pull-tabs for easy opening even if you have a pair of gloves on. The body of this jacket is made of 100% polyester, and the panels are 95% polyester and 5% elastane.
How does this jacket compare other cycling jackets? While I love the wind-stopping power of my Gore Bike Wear Phantom Bike Jacket, I think Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket is at least as good in that department, plus this Pearl Izumi jacket is warmer and more comfortable. However, I like the rear pockets on the Gore jacket better (plus it has detachable sleeves). On the other hand, the Pearl Izumi jacket is the warmest cycling jacket I own.
Since I have several lighter cycling jackets I don’t wear this jacket until the temperature drops down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature I wear an Under Armour compression shirt and a Performance Polar Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey under my jacket. When the temperature is in the low 20’s I switch from the Performance Polar jersey to a thin thermafleece layer.
The Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket has a “semi-form fit” which means it will fit most cyclists, except for those who carry a large spare tire around the waist. This jacket is available is five sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) and appears to be true to size. You can buy this jacket in five different color combinations. The photo above is of a Black/Black jacket (even though it has a bit of red trim). The other color combinations are: Green Flash/Black, True Red/Black, White/Black, and True Blue/White. The list price for this jacket is $150.