User Review: Columbia Grade Max Softshell
Source: bought it new
- Attractive, accurate sizing
- Not as warm as hoped, ugly silver dots
First off, I want to note that I bought mine at a Columbia Outlet and it's identical to this one except mine shows "Columbia Titanium" on the logo and this one lacks the "Titanium" designation. They are otherwise identical in construction, materials, features, etc per the description and picture, so I assume it's the same jacket and Columbia at some point decided to make it a part of their Titanium line.
That said, I have mixed feelings about this piece.
First off the positives: the biggest draw is that it looks really nice. The wooly outer finish makes it look a bit classier than a standard softshell or fleece. The stretchy sleeve accents and cuffs, however, give it a sportier technical looking edge. It really rides the fence between sweater and jacket, with the look of a pseudo-cardigan but the sturdier fabric & weight of a jacket. In any case, it's sharp and handsome.
Second, the fit is accurate with the XL fitting me just like I would expect. It's not an athletic fit, but not overly baggy either. A clean design with sleeves that are amply long for this long-armed guy.
Now the negatives: first, the Omni Heat feature doesn't seem that noticeable. I wore this outside playing with the kids on a damp overcast day in the low 40s with a long sleeve tee underneath, and was still a bit chilly. In particular the jacket isn't especially wind-resistant, with occasional light breezes cutting through it a little. I hoped that with the "Omni Heat" technology it would be toasty in what I consider moderately cool temps, but I was still a bit chilly.
Second, you HAVE to wear this zipped up unless you want to take a major beat down from your friends for the disco shiny silver lining. Seriously, I think Columbia will go farther with this Omni Heat thing if they can tone down the glitz.
Lastly, this jacket lacks much in the way of technical features. No extra pockets beyond the two hand pockets, surprising since Columbia is usually great about giving an extra pocket on the chest or sleeve. There's also no drawstring to tighten the waist, so cold air can find its way in around the midsection.
All in all, I think this jacket works really well for casual use like a sweater. Is is less effective, however, as a cold weather jacket.
Within that context, it's a good casual wear value at a lower price point (I snagged it for $32!) that you'd expect for a nice sweater. But if I were spending closer to a hundred bucks or more on a jacket to keep me warm, this one wouldn't make the cut.