The Cross is Howies' first softshell jacket, using the latest fabric from Swiss cloth innovators, Scholler. Despite the softshell tag, the 3XDRY fabric is actually pretty rough and synthetic feeling on the outside, but a cosy bonded fleece inner face does its best to keep you warm and dry.
A dirt and water repellent outer coating keeps most water rolling straight off, while the fleece makes it instantly cosy, and keeps it that way even when wet and it's the stretchiest fabric on test, too. The slim cut relies on that rather too much though, with our normal medium jacket size feeling much too tight across the shoulders and forearms, so pick a size up when you order. Despite tight sizing, the rounded opening and low set zip on the front of the collar also leaves a small but noticeable gap for wind to whistle straight through.
The double ended zip is a useful touch for controlling your climate when you heat up, however, the stitching quality on our sample was really poor and the external seams started pulling threads and looking shabby straight away. Not good when you consider this is a relatively expensive jacket.