11 Best Fleece Jackets Reviewed & Compared
This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:
Great standalone jacket
Thicker fleece offers more warmth
4 zippered pockets- 2 chest and 2 side
Wind resistant chest panels
Made from recycled fleece
Top 11 Picks
1. Arc'Teryx Delta LT
Good for activity
Low profile for easy layering
The Delta LT Jacket from Arc'Teryx is a great option for a versatile lightweight fleece. The slim design, breathability, and moisture-wicking ability make it perfect for wearing alone during cool weather activity or fitting under a shell in colder temperatures. Added touches such as a nonlocking zipper and easily accessible pocket on the sleeve make this jacket practical for an activity such as hiking and climbing. The sleeve design and longer hem are also good for coverage and range of motion during activities.Read more
This lightweight jacket offers some warmth as a standalone jacket but serves best when layered under a shell. It is comfortable and very breathable like your typical fleece but its moisture wicking properties help it perform better during activity.
The Delta LT has a trim fit that skims the body but has enough stretch to move with you. It is great for activity and fitting under a shell. The sleeve and underarm construction prevent sleeves from riding up and allows for better range of motion in the shoulders. Longer hem length provides more coverage during activity so you don’t constantly have to pull it down.
The front zipper features a nonlocking slider that can easily be unzipped with one hand. The jacket also features 2 side zippered pockets and zippered sleeve pocket that is easier to use when wearing a pack or harness.
This jacket is available in a variety of neutral and bold color choices for both men and women. It has a microgrid finish that makes it appear a bit more athletic but is still suitable for casual wear.
Arc'Teryx is a more expensive brand and this layer is no exception running around $140. Many users find the extra money is worth it for the high performance and quality design.
2. The North Face Denali 2
Great standalone jacket
Thicker fleece offers more warmth
4 zippered pockets- 2 chest and 2 side
Wind resistant chest panels
Made from recycled fleece
Does not pack down easily
The North Face Denali is a popular option for a standalone fleece jacket. The recycled fleece is thicker and abrasion-resistant chest panels provide some blockage from the wind. This jacket is warm enough to be worn on its own through early winter. Additional features of 4 pockets and drawcord waist make it a convenient go-to jacket.Read more
The North Face Denali is one of the warmest standalone fleece jackets. It has a thicker fleece material and features abrasion-resistant panels over the chest and shoulders. This adds some wind protection and will keep you warm through early winter.
Read also about North Face running shoe.
This jacket runs a bit long in the sleeves and seems to run big overall. The women’s version tapers in at the waist for a flattering and feminine fit. The men’s version is a bit roomier in the chest and cinches slightly at the waist. Both styles feature a drawcord at the bottom.
With 2 zippered pockets on the side and 2 zippered chest pockets, this jacket is convenient to be worn on its own. It is made from recycled fleece and has elastic >wrist cuffs for added comfort.
In many areas of the United States, this jacket is a staple of fall and many people wear as far into winter as possible. It is available in many colors but the classic black is by far the most popular.
The price will range widely based on style and seller but this jacket typically runs well above 100 dollars. It is a bit expensive but you are getting a real jacket that can be worn on its own rather than a thin mid-layer.
3. Arc'Teryx Covert Cardigan
Wool sweater appearance
Flattering slim fit
2 zippered hand pocket
1 laminated sleeve pocket
Full front zipper
Clean cuffs and seams
Not a lot of stretch for a performance fleece<
The midweight Covert Cardigan has a classy wool sweater appearance with the soft coziness of a fleece. The brushed-back polyester finish, high-quality zippers, and clean stretch-knit cuffs make this jacket feel and look expensive. Despite the refined look, this jacket offers practical comfort and performance that can be worn on its own or easily layered. Users love the slim fit and breathability enough to justify the high price tag.Read more
This midweight jacket offers moderate warmth and good breathability. It dries quickly and multiple users find the weight and fit comfortable enough to fall asleep in.
Both men’s and women’s versions have a slim fit with the women’s version hugging in more at the waist.
This jacket features a full front zipper with two zippered pockets and a laminated sleeve pocket for added convenience. The Covert Cardigan does not have as much stretch as some other performance fleeces but it does have underarm gussets for improved range of motion through the shoulders.
The exterior brushed-back knit polyester gives this jacket a luxurious look more consistent with a wool sweater than a fleece jacket. Shoulder seams and stretch-knit cuffs create a clean and well-constructed appearance. There are not as many colors options as some of the other jackets listed but users seem to be happy with the range available.
The Covert Cardigan is typically priced about $180 making it one of the most expensive options on our list. Users find high-quality zippers, comfortable fit and luxurious look make the price justifiable.
4. Columbia Benton Springs
Dark colors fade
What we like most about the Benton Springs model from Columbia is that it is simple, comfortable, and won’t break the bank.Read more
Smart features found on this design will help you stay nice and warm as the temperature plunge. It boasts a high and stiff collar that ends right at the base of your chin to keep your neck warm as well. This collar can also be folded down for an easier look, or to simply cool down a bit if you start to get too warm.
This full-zip design makes it easy to pull on and off without pulling it up over your head.
We also love that the side pockets on this option use zippered to seal shut, so there is no risk that your car keys or phone will fall out of your pocket when climbing a steep trail. It also has drawstring tabs at the hips to cinch the fabric against your waist to prevent heat from escaping.
It also comes in a ton of bright or neutral shades that are bound to match your personal style.
If you are in the market for something lightweight and simple that comes from a trusted brand, Benton Springs is one of Columbia’s most popular models in their line of winter wear. We love that it comes in at a super affordable price point and it is offered in a wide variety of size options.
5. The North Face Osito
Many color options
Difficult to wash
Our favorite feature of this design from The North Face is that it is insanely soft and cozy. This option has the exterior feel of a soft and cozy teddy bear. It is super lightweight and made to keep you very warm as temperatures plunge.Read more
Hand down, our favorite feature of this option is the use of raschel fleece. This style has a soft feel much like a teddy bear, and its thick texture will keep you incredibly warm in cold temperatures. Keep in mind that users have to be extra careful and gentle when washing these luxurious materials to keep it looking great.
This full-zip design is a cinch to take on and off, and also offers zippered deep pockets along the hips.
It is offered in a wide variety of colors to match your personal style, and it comes in at a price point that won’t break the bank.
It has a tall collar to keep your neck warm, or it can be worn folded down for a cooler and more casual look. It comes in a wide variety of both neutral and bright colors to match your personal style.
It is important to note that before you are lured by the siren call of this super soft material, caring for it is a little more difficult than other options out there on the market. Some users found that if you stray from the washing instructions even slightly, the fabric will never be the same!
6. Marmot Reactor
Not the most stylish
Better for layering
The Marmot Reactor is one of the more affordable fleece jackets on our list--but it's still one of the best out there. This one will keep you warm during those cold days and comes at a lower price than others on our list!Read more
This lightweight jacket uses 100 SeriesA low loft fleece--which makes it a great option for layering. It will help keep you warm and dry and won't weigh you down.
This jacket has a nice secure fit and comes in sever color options. Its raglan sleeves allow for optimal range of motion so you can move around as needed.
This jacket is lightweight, breathable, and designed to be hydrophobic--it also uses DWR finish to increase its water resistance and allow it to dry quickly when it does get wet. It allows for a full range of motion and is a great layering option since it comfortably pairs with other layers.
It has several zippered pockets, including handwarmer pockets so you can stuff your stuff in them.
Pretty affordable, especially when compared to the prices of other jackets on this list.
7. Columbia Fast Trek II
Colors fade over time
The Fast Trek II from Columbia has a few key features that make it stand out from the crowd. Extra pockets and zippers combined with it’s loose and easy fit make this design a little more sporty than some of the other designs in the Columbia line. If you are on the move and don’t want to be weighed down or constricted by tight or heavy fabric, you will want to give the Fast Trek II a look.Read more
If you love the quality and craftsmanship of Columbia products, but want something a little bit more on the sporty side, the Fast Trek II is a great choice.
The biggest difference between this design and others in the Columbia line is that it has a loose and easy fit in the arms as well as the torso and hips.
We also like the addition of zippered pockets in the sleeves in addition to the hips. Zippered pockets on the sleeve are functional, and also give this coat a more sporty and military appearance when compared to other designs out there on the market.
Some users feel that this design runs large, but it is due in part to the fact that the cut of the fabric should not fit super tight.
It comes in a wide variety of neutral colors and is packed with smart features designed to keep you nice and cozy on cold nights.
8. ReFire Military Tactical Sport
Zippered chest pocket
Very small pockets
Need something a little more practical when camping or going on long treks, this design from ReFire is a great choice. Not only is it packed with practical features, but it has a styling that is unlike anything that we have seen. If you love the style of your leather jacket but want something that actually keeps you warm and dry, keep reading!Read more
Our favorite feature of this option is the addition of a hood, which is something not found on many designs.
What makes this design unique is that two layers of fleece surround a layer of PU which helps to wick away moisture if you happen to get caught in a rainstorm.
We also love the sporty styling of this option in addition to its functional practicality. The mid-arm is accented with small zippered pockets, and it also has a pair of thumb loops to prevent your sleeves from riding or bunching up on you.
Of all of the designs found on our list, this option from ReFire is the only one that is completely waterproof. It boasts a full-zip design as well, which makes it easy to take off and on as needed.
If you are in the market for something a little more sporty as well as practical to wear while camping or on long treks in less than ideal weather, this option from ReFire is a great choice.
The great news about this option is that the additional practical features come in at an affordable price point that won’t break the bank.
9. Outdoor Research Deviator
Several color options
Pockets don't zip up or close securely
This jacket is a great option for outdoor enthusiasts and trail runners looking for a warm, but lightweight, fleece jacket that won't weight them down while they are out on a run or a hike.Read more
Thanks to the jacket's Hybrid-Mapped construction, it is both warm and breathable. It is designed to dry quickly and retain warmth--so you don't get cold when it's snowy or wet out.
This jacket provides a secure, athletic fit that isn't too tight or too loose. It comes in several color options to choose from as well, so you have style options.
It has two shells--one made of Nylon and the other made of polyester; the liner is also made of polyester. It has side and back panels for optimal breathability--and the jacket is also moisture-wicking and fast drying. It comes with thumb holes and open side pockets.
They come in several color options to choose from, and there is also a hoody option if you prefer a hoody!
The prices for this jacket varies depending on the retailer and color you want. Overall, it can be much more affordable than other jackets on our list, but the price does rise if you are depending on what you want.
10. Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Grid II
Cozy and soft
2 zippered hand pockets
1 zippered chest pocket
Lightweight and breathable
Side stretch panels for increased range of motion
Fuzzy look is not for everyone
Does not add a lot of warmth>
The Monkey Man Grid II stands out for the ultra soft coziness that can be seen in its furry exterior. The proprietary Polartec Monkey Phur and grid pattern offers a good warmth to weight ratio for this lightweight jacket. Side panels enhance breathability and range of motion making this a good option for cool weather climbing.Read more
The Monkey Man Grid II is more lightweight and breathable than other versions of the Monkey Man jacket. Patented Polartec High Loft Grid Monkey Phur provides a good warmth to weight ratio. The grid pattern reduces bulk and enhances breathability. Hardface fabric panels down the side add stretch and breathability where you need it most.
This jacket fits closely to the body without being as snug as some of the other performance jackets. It does have a longer single adjustment hem that is easy to cinch on the move. Some users do not find the single adjustment as customizable as jackets that feature drawcords on both sides.
The sleeves on this jacket are a bit longer and feature thumb holes for comfortable hand coverage. Two zippered handwarmer pockets and a zippered chest pocket are compatible with a climbing harness.
The signature Monkey Phur fabric has a very fuzzy appearance that draws a bit more attention than your standard fleece. It is great for outdoors and casual wear but may be too casual for an office commute.
This Mountain Hardwear fleece ranges between $100 and $160. It is not a budget option but users love the ultra-soft plush fabric.
11. Columbia Steens Mountain
Full front zipper
Many color options
Not the most durable
This basic fleece from Columbia is a great budget option for a full-zip fleece. It is very lightweight and breathable but offers good warmth when layered with a long sleeve. Users love the flattering fit, drawcord waist and 2 zippered pockets. It is available in a wide range of colors and is a good go-to jacket for around-town wear.Read more
The Columbia Steen is fairly lightweight. It is one layer of fleece with no lining or windbreaker so you can expect it to be very breathable. The thin nature does mean that it does not offer much protection for wind or rain so it is best used in moderate temperatures or layered beneath a rain shell.
This jacket runs a bit large but when sized appropriately has a trim fit that allows for layering. It has a slightly longer length that extends a few inches below the waistline and has a drawcord at the bottom for a more secure fit.
This fleece has two zippered pockets at the sides and features a full-length front zipper.
Available in 18 colors, this jacket gives you some good options when it comes to style. The fitted silhouette is flattering and most users find this to be a great fleece for any occasion.
This jacket is one of the less expensive options ranging in price between $30 and $60. The design is simple and it does not provide a lot of warmth but it is an easy and affordable fleece jacket.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Fleece jackets vary in weight of the fleece and how much warmth it provides.
Polartec is one of the main manufacturers of synthetic fleece and they measure the weight of their materials at 100 for lightweight, 200 for midweight, and 300 for the heaviest. Fleece can serve as a great insulating layer but it also has the added benefit of being breathable which comes in handy when wearing multiple layers. Most fleece jackets are not designed to block the wind so layer accordingly when you expect a breeze.
Of course, you want your fleece jacket to keep you warm, that is the reason you get one in the first place. But it is important to not assume that all jackets will keep you warm and comfortable. Some are better designed than others to meet your unique needs. So, consider what degree of weather protection you want and need as you search through the fleece jackets we have here on our list! It will help ensure you get the perfect jacket for your unique needs and habits.
Windbreakers or polymer materials are actually better when you’re expecting to be running through wet environments. Fleece can work to repel some water, but it won’t have the same impact as other fabrics when it comes to protecting against rain and snow. It can also absorb some of the moisture, making the fabric heavier and uncomfortable. When expecting extreme weather conditions, make sure that you plan and dress accordingly.
The way your jacket fits is an important part of the consideration process.
One thing you will need to think about is how you are going to wear your jacket. Do you need something to just keep the chill off while you are running or do you plan not wearing several layers under the jacket? If you wear a lot of layers you will want to get a jacket that is a little larger than what you normally wear so you can easily accommodate those extra layers. Fit is important to get a good jacket!
The fit of fleece jackets ranges from the loose fit of a bulky sweater to the snug athletic fit of a performance jacket. Consider what layers you already have when choosing your fleece to be sure it will fit over or under the items you plan to wear it with.
When running you don’t want clothes that you have to worry about. This means that you don’t want things that are flapping around every time you take a step, and you don’t want something so restrictive that it feels like you can’t breathe. Each person will have a certain comfort level when choosing their clothing. Make sure that you buy your fleece slightly larger so that you can put it over your other garments, but not so large that it acts like a bulky coat.
It’s also important to consider friction when purchasing clothes for running. You’ll be making a lot of repetitive motions and if the fabric is rubbing at certain areas it can lead to blisters or chafing. Always consider the way that the fleece jacket will be used and what areas of the body it will come into contact with.
There are a number of features to look for in your fleece jackets.
Things like pockets and hoods can be a big benefit to you on your run. Other features like fitted sleeve cuffs can help keep you warm while you are out and about on your runs. Make a list of the features you would like in your new jacket and then take a look at the jackets featured here on our list and find the one that will give you everything you want and need for your runs and workouts!
Features will vary between casual and performance fleeces. Technical fleeces intended for climbing and backpacking may have additional pockets on the chest or sleeve for easy accessibility when wearing a harness. More casual features will just have pockets that are perfect for warming hands when out running errands.
The perfect fleece jacket for running may have sleeves that are long enough to pull up your hands, thumb holes, or even a secure pocket for your phone or music device. Many also have slots for headphones, in order to protect them from the elements. A good fleece jacket will have features that can simplify your run and make it easier for you to get around. Look for ones that are specifically designed for your outdoor activity.
There are many different styles you can choose from when you are looking for a good fleece jacket for those chilling morning runs.
Think about what you want and need and what style would look best with your existing running gear. A jacket can be a good way to add a splash of color to your running gear and can help you get the look you want and need. Show off your unique flair and taste and get a fleece jacket you will love wearing day in and day out.
Style is important for a garment but may be especially important if you are considering wearing your fleece as an outer layer. Many fleece jackets such as the Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket or the Arc’teryx Covert Cardigan make efforts to hide the athletic nature of their jackets with clean lines and good-looking materials making them better suited for city wear.
If you are just looking for something cozy when hanging out at camp or layering under a ski jacket, style may not be as important of a factor.
Another important feature to consider as you look for your new fleece jacket is what materials are used.
Fleece can be made from natural materials as well as synthetic materials so think about which you prefer and what you want. Look for materials that are soft and comfortable, easy to wash, and that will hold up well to the wear and tear of frequent use. This is something many people take for granted but is something that needs to be carefully considered as you shop.
Fleece is one of the most popular materials for several reasons. Not the least of these is the cozy and soft appeal of the fabric itself. It’s great for insulating your body from the cold, and as a light layer when you don’t need something to protect you against extreme conditions. Fleece is both lightweight and versatile, and it looks great!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Although rare, it's possible for some individuals to have an allergic reaction to fleece. If you develop a skin rash or feel itchiness or intense heat long after fleece has made contact with your skin, you may be suffering from this condition. Fortunately, you may still be able to wear fleece if you are allergic so long as you layer it appropriately.
Although fleece is effective as layering apparel, you want to be careful about limiting exposure to water or other forms of moisture. The most ideal place to wear fleece is in the middle layer; that way, it doesn't risk exposure to moisture from the elements or moisture from your body's sweat.
If you are able to financially, it is a good idea to buy several jackets once you find the brand and style that is best for your needs. This allows you to have jackets readily available when you need them and also keeps a single jacket from wearing out too quickly because the wear and tear is being spread out as you use the different jackets. It may be more of an investment upfront but it will more than pay for itself down the road!
Other Factors to Consider
Fleece jackets tend to fall into one of two categories: casual or performance. Casual fleeces are a bit bulkier and place their focus on coziness and comfort. They still work well for layering during skiing or hiking but are not as streamlined as their performance counterparts. They are typically less bulky and can pack down easily. Performance fleeces also have additional features to allow for a better range of motion through the arms and wick away sweat a bit better.
Performance fleece is also designed to prevent them from catching on things as you run by. This can be a serious problem if you’re trying to hike or need to navigate rocky terrain. A runner who gets hooked on a tree branch or a piece of foliage can end up getting jerked right off their feet. It’s a matter of safety to make sure that clothing fits well and that it doesn’t flap around the body throughout the run. This can also affect visibility if the jacket has a hood or a turtleneck the needs to be folded up.
The functionality of a full zipper vs a pullover is an important consideration when choosing a fleece. Full zips have a bit more weight and bulk from the full-length zipper down the front and may let more breeze through along the zipper. However, they are much easier to take on and off than a pullover. If you are looking for a layer that you plan to leave on when it gets cold, a pullover is a great option. However, if you will constantly be changing layers, a full zip is your best bet.
It is important to think about airflow and breathability when choosing a good jacket for your runs. While it is true you want to stay warm, you do not want to get overheated. Good airflow will keep your body heat trapped close but still allow enough breathability to keep you comfortable and to help you stay dry as well. This will allow you to run and workout for longer and will help you stay safe and comfortable from start to finish!
The final thing you will want to think about is the value of the jacket you are considering. While the price tag is important to consider as you need to be able to afford the jacket, you should focus on the overall value more so than the price. The value of a good fleece jacket comes from the benefit you stand to gain and what it has to offer you that will make your runs and workouts more enjoyable. Investing in quality at the start is always the best option so if you afford to spend a little more it is a good idea to invest in a good reliable jacket right off the bat!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What makes a good fleece jacket?
A good coat needs to check a few boxes to be considered of high quality. First of all, there are certain brands that are known for their quality. Brands such as The North Face and Columbia have been in the business of crafting quality outdoor sportswear for decades. They may cost a bit more than other brands, but they are well worth it.
Overall, a good fleece jacket should keep you warm without weighing you down. The best designs out there offer deep zippered pockets, and a high neckline to keep heat from escaping from the top of your coat. Small features such as drawstring closures at the hips and thumb loops are also great at retaining heat and keeping you warm and cozy.
q: How to wash a fleece jacket?
It is always best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. However, common recommendations include washing your fleece inside out without linty or abrasive items to prevent piling and static. Additionally, fleece that has been treated with some water- resistant coating should avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
q: Can I wear my fleece in the rain or snow?
Most fleece jackets are not water resistant so they will not keep you dry and will lose some of their insulating properties as they get wet. There is no harm in getting your fleece wet but it is best to layer with a waterproof rain layer or ski jacket when there is high likelihood of precipitation.
q: How can I keep my fleece jacket soft and fluffy?
Some materials may only retain their softness if you don’t put them through certain cycles or expose them to certain temperatures. Always make sure that you’re reading your tags and doing a little bit of research before tossing your favorite fleece in with other clothes that may damage it.
q: How to remove lint from fleece jackets?
Lint and fleece go together like peas and carrots, unfortunately. No matter how careful you are at not leaning up against anything that looks dusty, the lint will find your fleece and won’t let go! So, what are some easy ways to successfully keep these star-crossed lovers apart?
The easiest solution is to keep a lint roller handy. Lint rollers are super affordable, and come in sizes small enough to stash right in the pocket of your coat! They have a slightly sticky surface that collects the lint as it rolls without affecting the material on your coat.
If you don’t have a lint roller handy, there are a few household items that you can use in a pinch. Tossing your coat into your dryer with a dryer sheet for about 20 minutes is a great way to kick off lint before heading out for the day.
q: How to shrink a fleece jacket?
If you are unsure of what size you need, it is always best to go a size larger than smaller. No one likes to wear a fleece that is so tight that exposes just how many campfire marshmallows they have consumed over the years. However, if you find that your coat is just a little too big, we have some useful tips to shrink it down.
Fleece is typically made from polyester fibers, and polyester fibers hate the heat! If you want to shrink your coat, place it in the washing machine with warm water, and then shift it over to the drier. However, don’t place it in the drier for 60 minutes and then go out for a nice dinner! Be sure to check on your coat every 10-20 minutes to ensure that it doesn’t shrink to the point that it is too small.