The Top 10 Best Running Jackets Reviewed and Tested
The top 10 running jackets available in 2017. Detailed analysis and ranking, great for elite and novice runners alike. See more here!
When the cold winter months hit you want to have a good outer layer to protect you from foul weather and other hazards. There is always a reason not to go for that run or to skip (just today), don’t let that reason be because of cold temperatures. We’ve rounded up the cream of the crop and below you’ll find detailed analysis and breakdown of just why we think these are the top 10 best running jackets currently available.
We have gathered products which are made from different materials, for different climates and environments encountered when running. We have even included a few picks which will stand up to the challenges off-road and trail running maight throw at you.
Our Top Picks Of Jackets For Runners
1. Adidas Men’s Essential Tricot Jacket
Breathability: The poly tricot material of this jacket is highly breathable and wicks moisture from your skin. When running in this jacket, there is no need to worry about being weighed down by trapped sweat or moisture.
Movement: This jacket is extremely flexible, allowing you free movement of your arms and torso. This helps you run more naturally, comfortably, and powerfully.
Value: This is an average priced running jacket.
- Breathable fabric
- Allows natural movement
- Classic Adidas design
- Some users find the fabric to be too shiny
2. Adidas Men’s Essential Woven Jacket
Breathability: The climawarm fabric allows your sweat and other moisture to evaporate, helping to keep your body dry and natural regulate your temperature. The hood is lined with mesh for added ventilation.
Movement: This jacket has a flexible, fleece feel to, and you are able to move your arms and torso freely.
Value: This is an average priced running jacket.
- Bright colors increase visibility
- Warm yet breathable
- Some users experienced sizing issues
3. Nike Dry Element Running Dry Fit
Breathability: Nike DRI-FIT synthetic fabrics wicks moisture from your skin, allowing you to stay cool as it evaporates. The quarter zip features allows your to let a little extra air flow in at your neck and chest.
Movement: The synthetic material of this jacket is very flexible, allowing for free movement of your arms.
Value: Depending on the color you choose, this could be a pricey garment.
- Many color options
- DRI-FIT fabric
- Can be expensive
4. Champion Men’s Vapor 6.2 Half Zip Jacket
Breathability: This garment has two technologies that contribute to its breathability: Champion Vapor Technology and Moisture Management technology. Together, they keep you dry by quickly wicking and evaporating sweat and other moisture.
Movement: This jacket is soft and flexible due to its honeycomb texture.
- Moisture management
- Soft texture
- Users report it is very light and does not really provide any warmth
5. Salomon Men’s Bonatti Jacket
Breathability: Advanced Skin Dry technology helps this jacket wick and evaporate moisture... plus it's waterproof!
Movement: Salomon Motion Fit technology has flexibility built into the shoulders, so whether you are running or performing another athletic activity, you can move freely and naturally.
Value: This is a high priced running jacket.
- Salomon Motion Fit technology
- Stow Pocket
- Zipper may bulge
6. Under Armour Men’s Storm Launch Run Jacket
Breathability: Users tout this jacket for its combination of water repelling technology and breathability. Much of the breathability can be credited to a mesh back vent that allows air to circulate while keeping water out.
Movement: Users note that many features on the jacket, like the sleeves and the waist, are too long. Although this allows for movement, it also means the jacket can bunch up and get in the way.
- Repels water, yet breathes
- Highly visible colors
- Too much fabric
7. Aeroskin Dry Full Zip Running Jacket
Breathability: Quick-dry moisture wicking technology keeps you cool and dry as your run.
Movement: The polyester and spandex combination of which this jacket is constructed gives it flexibility to match every movement you make.
Value: This is an extremely low priced running jacket.
- Low price
- Users say it fits true-to-size
- The fit is very structured, which may be a turn off to some runners
8. Nike Men’s Windrunner Hooded Track Jacket
Breathability: The lightweight fabric allows air to flow through easily. The back yoke is vented, increasing air flow and moisture evaporation.
Movement: Users note that this jacket is sized a bit small. So, in order to have more freedom of movement, order one size larger than you normally would.
Value: This is a higher priced running jacket.
- Light weight
- Many colors
- Hood with bill
- Runs small
9. Salomon Men’s Panorama Midlayer Jacket
Breathability: Fleece, even though it keeps you warm, has a little bit of breathability.
Movement: The stretch of the fleece material and the relaxed fit allow you freedom of movement, keeping you comfortable in any situation.
Value: This is a slightly below average priced running jacket.
- Comfy fit
- Not waterproof
10. Tesla Women’s Lightweight Active Performance Full Zip Hoodie Jacket
Breathability: This jacket is highly breathable because of the light fabric and other ventilated features.
Movement: The combination of polyester and polyurethane that makes up this garment is extremely flexible, meaning you can wear this to run or to yoga!
Value: This is an inexpensive running jacket.
- Budget friendly option
- Feminine cut
- Users note the sizing is a little smaller than expected
Protecting yourself from the elements starts with a solid jacket. Whether you are facing wind, rain or snow there is a large selection of quality jackets to choose from. We’ve got ones that are designed for downpours, some for arctic chills, and others meant to be flashy and reflective. Waterproof, windproof or even both, each different option has its own thing that makes it rate well among runners out there.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation of the Best Running Jackets
The weather shouldn’t stop you from getting a run in, and a jacket is one way you can protect yourself from the elements. However, the jacket you wear to go to work probably won’t cut it out on the road or trail. Running jackets provide a lot of features not just to protect you, but to keep you running at your best. With that in mind, there are a variety of factors that need to be considered before you choose a piece of outerwear to get you through rainy, windy, snowy, or cold runs.
There is a set of metrics we applied when choosing the running jackets that made our list. The metrics we used are based on product research and reviews about the running jackets that are available on the market, as well as questions that are commonly asked about this type of clothing. Each of the key factors in creating our list of the best running jackets is explained below.
How breathable is this jacket?
It’s an undeniable fact – we sweat when we run. Although sweat can feel gross and make us smelly, it really provides us with some amazing benefits. Sweating can ease pain and soreness, clear your pores, rid the body of toxins, improve your mood, fight germs and illnesses, and lower your risk of developing kidney stones.
The most well-known and most important benefit of sweating, however, is body temperature regulation. When we get sweaty, our body and hair get wet. When the sweat begins to evaporate, it cools us down and prevents overheating.
Since the evaporation of our sweat is so important, a running jacket should have some sort of ventilation feature so that it is breathable. This means that air can freely flow through the jacket and around your body so that sweat can evaporate. There are many ways a running jacket can provide ventilation, including mesh panels and permeable fabrics, just to name a couple.
Breathability is a feature that not only keeps you cool, but can also affect your health. Overheating during a workout can cause dizziness, skin rashes, or even unconsciousness, so breathability is a very important feature when choosing a running jacket.
What kind of weatherproofing does this jacket offer?
You shouldn’t just choose a running jacket that looks good (even though you want to be stylish while you run). You should choose a jacket that, while being stylish, also provides protection from the weather you could possibly encounter while out on a run. The most commonly encountered elements are precipitation in the form of rain and snow, and wind. Below are some weatherproofing features that you may consider when choosing outdoor running gear:
Waterproofing v. Water Resistance
If a jacket is waterproof, it will keep your under layers and skin (covered by the jacket, of course) from getting wet. There are different types of waterproofing. Coated fabrics have polyurethane inside of the fabric, may have limited breathability, and are best used during moderate activity. Some examples of coated fabrics used by major manufacturers are AquaDry, IsoTex, and Precip. Waterproof membranes are made of millions of incredibly tiny pores that let water evaporate from the inside out, but don’t let water in from the inside. This allows them to be waterproof and highly breathable. GOR-TEX is one of the most well known waterproof membranes. The third type of waterproofing is Páramo, which mimicks the ability of animal fur to move moisture. It keeps you warm even if your jacket is wet through the use of of a breathable and permeable pump action liner.
Many people use waterproofing and water resistance as synonyms. But, they really aren’t. While a waterproof jacket will always keep rain and other wetness out of your jacket, a water resistant jacket is only able to stand up to light moisture for a short amount of time. They are more breathable than waterproof jackets, but can’t stand up to heavy precipitation.
Wind Proofing v. Wind Resistance
A waterproof jacket will also be wind proof. The same kind of barriers that keep out water are also able to keep out the wind. However, some water resistant jackets, like those made with a laminate coating, are considered windproof.
Wind resistant jackets are similar to water resistant jackets in that they will keep you protected up until a certain point. A wind resistant jacket can shield you from light winds, but if a really serious storm picks up, it won’t have much to offer. One benefit of wind resistant running jackets is that they are usually very thin and lightweight, which makes them packable and convenient for travel.
When choosing a running jacket, be sure to consider the weather that you can encounter while you are outdoors, as well as the amount of breathability, waterproofing, and warmth you will need to perform your best.
Do they optimum allow mobility?
When you are running, you are moving. And, it isn’t just your legs that are moving – using your arms is an important component of proper running form. When choosing outdoor gear, you want to be sure that you are able to move your arms freely not only to maintain proper running form, but also in case of emergencies and for sheer comfort.
The other mobility factor to consider when choosing a running jacket is weight. When running, and with many other sports, being lighter usually leads to being faster. Therefore, a lighter jacket won’t weigh you down, which is something to consider if going out on a long run. The lighter the jacket, the less noticeable it will be, and the less it will affect your performance. If you are just running a short distance, a heavier jacket will probably not bother you, but for a long run, it may eventually slow your pace.
Do they have reflective features?
Safety first should be your motto, especially as an outdoor runner. Whether you run on the road or trail, you want to make sure you are visible to oncoming traffic or other people on the trail (think mountain bikers). Thousands of runners are struck by vehicles each year. Having reflective features on your outerwear, like seam tape or reflective collars and hems, is one small step you can take to keep yourself safe and running for a long time.
Other Important Factors to Consider When Choosing The Right One For You
There are other details that you should consider when selecting a jacket to protect you from the elements while you run. You should choose a jacket that keeps you dry, safe, and allows you to move naturally and perform at your best, whether training or racing.
To help make this decision a little easier, below are some extra features you should consider when shopping for a running jacket:
I don’t know about you, but when I run, I have a decent amount of things I carry with me: my phone; headphones; a water bottle; my ID and some cash; a multi-tool/pocket knife; and usually an energy gel or other supplement, just in case. Since I only have two hands, I need somewhere to put all of those things while I run, and that is why it is important for my running gear to have pockets.
When selecting a running jacket, consider all of the accessories you take with you on a run. A couple of well placed pockets can make sure you have all of the things you need to be well fueled and safe during your workout.
Modern running jackets are made for different types of weather. You can get a light jacket for a breezy, but potentially drizzly, spring morning, or a heavier fleece-lined jacket for running on cold winter mornings. Make sure the jacket you choose provides the level of warmth and breathability you will need to have a good, healthy workout while outside.
Q: What is breathability?
A: Breathability is the measure of how much or how little moisture a materials allows to pass through it.
Moistures diffuses naturally from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration, but when there is something blocking the moisture (i.e. the fabric of your running clothes), this process doesn’t happen as effectively, if at all.
We need fabric to be breathable in order to allow our bodies to regulate their temperature naturally through the evaporation of sweat. Moisture evaporation also helps us stay comfortable- no one likes running around in soggy clothes.
Q: If a jacket is waterproof and windproof, how can it be breathable?
A: This depends on the type of coating or material used to make the garment waterproof and windproof.
A jacket with a microporous coating or membrane, like polyurethane, act like a filter made of billions of tiny holes. The pathways that link the pores maintain very low surface energy, which prevents water penetration. However, air can still flow through the pores.
Garments that are treated with hydrophilic coatings or membranes do not have pores, so they rely on molecular wicking to move water vapor. In this process, a water molecule is adsorbed to the surface of the material, and it then attaches to the next water molecules it contacts, and the process continues until the water can evaporate into the air. So, the fabric is still breathable, but in a limited capacity.
Q: What is the difference between waterproof and water resistant?
A: A waterproof jacket will keep you from getting wet. A fabric can be made waterproof through the application of a coating (like polyurethane), a membrane (like GOR-TEX), or use a system like Páramo.
Water resistant fabric will keep you dry in a drizzle or light rain, but once the precipitation really starts to come down, it won’t be able to stand up to such intense moisture. Water resistance garments are usually more breathable than waterproof garments.
Q: Is it better to have a tighter fitting jacket or a looser fitting jacket when I run?
A: This a matter of personal preference, breathability, and mobility.
A jacket should fit in a way so that you feel comfortable and like the style it gives you. You should feel confident while running in your workout gear.
However, confidence in your style isn’t everything. A looser jacket will allow air to flow a little bit more easily than a tighter fitting jacket. This means you will have a little better breathability in a jacket that isn’t skin tight. However, a tight jacket that is made out of a breathable fabric will also promote natural moisture evaporation.
Similarly, a loose jacket will allow for easy mobility of your arms, but you don’t want the fabric to be so loose that you get tangles or it adds a ton of extra weight. A tighter jacket can allow for mobility as long as it is made of fabric that stretches and moves with your body.
Here is a list of sources we used when conducting our research on the best running jackets:
We utilize many different resources while trying to provide the best information to our readers. Some are scholarly or clinical sources, some are information provided by medical and dietary professionals, and some sources are even other sites which may specialize in information that is relevant to our topic.
- Sweat: 7 Reasons It Does a Body Good, Fitness Magazine, ,
- How to Buy a Winter Running Jacket, Informational Running Website, Jan 10, 2014 ,
- Waterproof Jackets Buying Guide, Informational Outdoor Website, ,
- Rainwear: How to Choose, Informational Outdoor Website, Apr 07, 2016 ,
- How to Choose the Best Running Jacket, Informational Outdoor Website, Jul 01, 2014 ,
- In Our View: Wear Reflective Clothing While Running, Informational News Website, Jul 14, 2014 ,
- Breathability Definitions, Textile Industry Website, ,