A soft body armor material with enhanced puncture resistance is fabricated from knitted light weight, durable fibers, such as aramid fibers. The knitted portions are joined by interwoven portions providing an integrally formed hinge-like effect for flexibility. A deflection shield formed from a thin mesh of stainless steel or titanium wire or a sheet of light weight metal, such as titanium, with corrugations or dimples on the externally facing surface provides additional penetration resistance for sharp pointed objects. An inner resilient trauma shield and a removable moisture absorbing inner layer are also optionally included. Hollow fibers are employed in some of the layers to provide a ventilation or cooling capability, and fibers having an electrically resistive component can be employed in conjunction with a battery to provide resistance heating for warmth and moisture dissipation.