I have a few different soft shell type of jackets that are very functional;
1] Patagoina R4 that I really like for backcountry skiing, The R4 breathes, well cuts the wind ok [as long as it is sub 30mph], and insulates well at the top of the skin track. I throw my puff ball in the pack in case things get gnarly
2] For alpine climbing I have a Ready Mix that I like a ton, breathes very well, super DWR,
fits great under my harness,and is very light weight. Worn over a cap 2 or 3, it keeps me comfortable in a wide range of conditions, as long as I am active. Again I bring a nylon/wool vest and my puff ball as a layer over in case things get gnarly.
3] Patagonia Guide, another great jacket for back-country skiing. It is a heavier material than the Ready Mix, with out the insulation of the R4. I will wear this jacket over an expedition weight zip neck and nylon/wool mix vest for very cold days in the backcountry. The Puff-Ball is the layer over, [just in case].
4] For spring/early summer and late summer/fall climbing, I wear the TNF Zeitgeist, it is a great shirt. Breathes well, again a good DWR that will withstand a gentle, or brief moderate rain, I throw in my Ready Mix in case the thunder storm does not quit.
5] ArcTeryx soft shell I got on sale from Steep and Cheap, I have not given it much of a run yet, but it is between the R4 and the Guide, with a 100 weight fleece bonded to the Schoeller. We will see how well it works.
These layering systems are not appreciatively heavy, when compared to fleece and hard shells, and generally speaking are less bulky.
The lesson here is that you will need to fit the jacket to your objective if at all possible.
Don`t expect an insulated model will work well for summer objectives, or that the Ready Mix will keep you comfortable at -10 F., [unless the sun is shinning and you are skinning up a very steep track]. At the same time there is still a place for the hard shell, like this past winter when I had on a Cap 2, an expedition weight zip neck, a nylon/wool vest, a Puff Ball, and my MH Ethereal 3 layer Gore-Tex to ski in -50C [-58F] air temp conditions at Castle Mtn. Alberta!
Add on the wind speed of hard and fast skiing, and the frost bit cheeks and noses were apparent by noon! Super dry fluffy knee deep powder made it worth while!