Every skier knows the importance of a good pair of pants, as they’re essential in keeping you dry and comfortable while skiing. However, in a market saturated with men’s models, female skiers sometimes have difficulties finding pants that fit properly.
Compared to regular models, women’s ski pants have wider hips, lower waist, and a shorter inseam. On top of this, they often feature unique prints and color schemes that make you stand out. To help you choose, we’ve conducted thorough research and created a list of best women’s ski pants that are ready to tackle any challenge on the snow.
How To Choose The Best Women’s Snow Pants – Buying Guide
Types of Ski Pants
Getting the right type of ski pants will make a huge difference on the snow. From hardshells to softshells and from bibs to pants, each skier has their own preference. Take a quick look at what each of them has to offer:
Bibs vs Pants: The difference between bibs and pants is in the style. While ski pants are designed just like regular pants (reach the waistline), bibs use an overall design with a high waist and suspenders. Bibs offer extra protection (snow can’t reach your back), while snow pants are easier to get on and off.
Hardshell vs Softshell: A hardshell is a highly waterproof model that is primarily designed for protection and usually doesn’t have insulation. On the other hand, a softshell is more comfortable and breathable, but isn’t as effective at keeping you dry.
Insulated vs Uninsulated: As you’ve had the chance to see, some models have an insulating layer while others don’t. Insulated ski pants are capable of retaining your body warmth but can sometimes feel too warm and heavy. Uninsulated pants are lighter but offer only water protection, so you need to wear a base layer.
3-in-1: If you want a single pair of pants that you can use in every circumstance, perhaps you should look for a 3-in-1 model. The thing that makes them different is that the insulating layer comes with a zipper. Thanks to this, you can use all the pieces together when it’s cold, just the shell in warmer weather, or just the liner at home or in your hotel room.
Waterproofing and Breathability
Since they’ll be in contact with the snow most of the time, it’s best if your new ski pants are waterproof (or at least highly water-resistant). Otherwise, melted snow might leak through and get your legs wet (and subsequently cold). This is particularly important if you’re a beginner, as you will likely spend a lot of time on the ground.
Waterproofing depends on the type of base material, as well as additional protection on the surface. The rating is measured in millimeters per square inch, and a higher number means that the fabric of your waterproof pants will tolerate a larger amount of water before it starts to leak.
As for breathability, it represents the ability of your pants to release moisture in the form of vapor. Your legs will inevitably get sweaty, and if the moisture has nowhere to escape you’ll end up with wet and cold legs. Softshell pants are generally more breathable than hardshells, but that comes at the expense of water-protection.
Fitting the Pants
The fit of your pants can greatly impact how you feel on the snow. A model that is too constricting might limit your movement, while pants that are too baggy might feel too cold and get in your way. When choosing a pair of women’s ski pants, you have three width options: regular, skinny (slim), and relaxed (baggy).
Slim pants fit fairly snug along the hips and leg. Besides looking nice, they also retain body heat efficiently (keep you warm) but often don’t allow layering underneath. If you want to go with a ski pants slim fit model, we advise that you get one with spandex so you can move properly.
On the other hand, relaxed pants give you all the comfort you need and don’t limit your movement. This is great for freeriding and snowboarding, but also results in a higher heat loss. Luckily, wearing base layers underneath won’t be an issue.
Most female skiers agree that regular-fit pants are the best women’s snow pants to get. They give you the best of both worlds – they look good, keep you fairly warm, allow layering, and don’t restrict your movement.
In addition to width, you should also think about the length of the pants. While most models are designed for women with average height, some manufacturers (like Arctix) also offer short and tall models so that all skiers can find the perfect pants.
Materials and Performance
Like men’s and unisex models, most ski pants are made of synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. Softshells are generally made of polyester because it’s softer, more breathable, and more comfortable. However, it’s not very water-resistant without treatment, so it usually comes with a DWR coating.
On the other hand, nylon is much tougher and naturally water-resistant, which is why you can find it in hardshells. Unfortunately, nylon isn’t particularly breathable and your legs might get sweaty.
If you want a model that is both waterproof and breathable, you should get one made of Gore-Tex (or a similar material). These pants are completely watertight but have little pores that allow water vapor to escape. However, they also come at a much higher price point.
Besides material quality and insulation, the extra features on your pants greatly impact their functionality. None of these are necessary to have, but getting a pair with a good combination of features will change your experience on the snow.
Pockets: While they are not essential, having pockets on your pants can be very useful for stashing smaller items like money and credit cards. Of course, the pocket should be water-tight so the valuables inside don’t get damaged. In addition to the number, pay attention to the position of the pockets.
Powder gaiters: Ski pants usually have wider legs than regular pants so they can go over ski boots. However, this leaves a little bit of room where snow can slide in and reach your legs. A powder gaiter creates a tight seal around the boot and prevents snow from getting inside.
Zippered vents: Skiing can be a very intense activity that will cause sweating even if the outside temperature is low. Unfortunately, most hardshells aren’t very breathable so you can get wet from your own sweat. This is where zippered leg vents come in – you can open them to quickly release heat and cool down instantly.
Reinforcements: To improve resistance to abrasions and tears, some pant models come with strategically-placed reinforcements. These are usually made of high-denier nylon and located around the cuffs, on the knees, and on the back (high-wear areas).
Jacket compatibility: Some higher-end brands offer pants that are compatible with other garments, primarily jackets. This allows you to secure the pants to the jacket, eliminating any space between them where snow and cold air might come in.
RECCO reflector: This feature can be useful to those of you who prefer to go off-piste instead of resort skiing, as it increases your safety on the snow. A RECCO reflector is a passive unit built into the pants that reflects the signal emitted by a RECCO detector, so the rescue teams can locate you faster and easier.
Q: What’s The Difference between Loose Fit and Slim Fit Ski Pants?
Q: What Should I Be Wearing Underneath My Ski Pants?
Q: Do I Need Pockets On My Ski Pants?
Globo surf Overview
Your skiing equipment plays a huge role when you’re out on the snow, so you shouldn’t settle for garments that can’t handle water and wind. Pants are one of the most important items, as there’s a good chance that you’ll spend some time sitting on the ground. We hope that our reviews and guide helped you choose a pair that will keep you comfortable and dry regardless of conditions.
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