Best Running Jackets
What’s the forecast for today? A drop in temperature? Rain? Wind? A change in the weather doesn’t need to affect your daily jog. Many running jackets are so lightweight and portable that you won’t even notice you’re wearing it. It is a common misconception that any jacket will do. For optimal comfort, a running jacket should fit well and be made from a breathable material that provides ventilation. With a plethora of options, seeding out the good from the bad can be a long process. To jump-start your research and help you continue your daily running routine, we have rounded up the best of the best running jackets that are available today.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Strategic zippers control ventilation
Top Ten Running Jackets
1. Marmot PreCip
Strategic zippers control ventilation
Cost is a little higher for quality and performance
This ladies jacket works for running, cycling or just straightforward casual wear for when the weather is rainy. Designed in NanoPro clothing tech ensures that during rainy conditions the wearer will be comfortably dry and cool, the jacket prevents leaks through the inclusion of seams which are taped to completely seal them.Read more
Strategic PitZip systems ensure control over the ventilation system designed into the jacket.
The microporous fabric used for making this ladies jacket will prevent minuscule water droplets from being able to pass through which means the wearer is protected in light and heavy rainy conditions. Water cannot enter via the seams which are often a problem for jackets, these seams are 100% sealed.
The benefits of protection come from an advanced clothing tech describes as NanoPro. This consists of 2.5 layers of laminated fabric which gives a combination of waterproofing and permeability for contact with the air. This translates into breathability, a strategic controllable ventilation system via the inclusion of PitZippers and total protection against light or heavy rain.
Overall, this jacket has proven to be very comfortable. It is very lightweight, weighing only 9.6-ounces. Many reviewers have been impressed with the overall fit of the jacket and length of the sleeves and jacket.
The hood is adjustable via an easy to use drawcord and when the hood is not needed it can be rolled up and tucked away neatly and securely into the collar.
For portability, the jacket can also be stuffed into its own pocket.
2. Arc'teryx Incendo
Great weather protection
Could have better breathability
Another great, all-around, average-priced jacket that’s great for running outside in colder weather is the Arc’teryx Incendo Jacket. This Incendo Jacket offers great functionality in just about all feature areas that help deliver excellent performance and protection while out on the trails.Read more
Plus, this jacket also brings good breathability features so that you’ll feel ventilated as you sprint uphill and perspire. You’ll still stay dry while you’re protected from the weather in this comfortable, durable jacket.
The Arc’teryx Incendo Jacket is designed to give you everything you need when you’re busy on backcountry trails. With excellent weather protection features, you’ll be safe from the wind and rain as you run.
The Arc’teryx Incendo Jacket also brings you great portability, meaning it’s easy to carry and bring with you if you wind up removing it when you’re out on the trail. With a bevy of colors and styles, you’ll both look good and feel good in this well-designed, comfy jacket.
Weather protection is just one of the many features this jacket offers that will help keep you warm and dry as you run. It’s so lightweight you can pack it down to fit a pocket, and yet it’s so durable it’s made to last a long time.
3. Patagonia Houdini Pullover
Good weather resistance
Simple to use
Could be more breathable
If you’re looking for a high-quality jacket on a budget, then the Patagonia Houdini Pullover Jacket, for its price, will bring you many of the necessities you’ll want while running on the trail. Made from durable nylon material, this machine-washable jacket features a zipper closure and a zippered chest pocket you can convert into a stuff sack when needed.Read more
There are four snap buttons from the neck to chest area that allow you to adjust the ventilation of the jacket. Pit mesh or zips would have been a helpful addition, but the snaps seem to work well.
The Patagonia Houdini Pullover Jacket is designed to be very lightweight yet still strong and is made with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish over the material. This jacket not only repels water well but also helps to keep the wind off your skin, keeping you warm while you run.
The Patagonia Houdini Pullover Jacket is very comfortable and includes a hood that can adjust with one simple pull so that your vision will never be obstructed. Plus, its half-elastic cuffs are durable, and the jacket also comes with drawcord hem.
The Patagonia Houdini Pullover Jacket is made to be simple with its features and yet it is still very functional in design, and it works well as an extra layer to keep out the rain and wind. It can be layered over other shirts to give you more warmth and protection, and easily removed and broken down to carry because of its excellent portability.
4. Nike Impossibly Light
Good weather protection
Packs down well
If you want a bright, lightweight jacket that’s designed to bring you a lot of protection while you run, then the Nike Impossibly Light Running Jacket just might be for you. Made from durable, sheer nylon fabric, this jacket is very light, coming in at only three ounces, meaning it’s also easy to pack and carry with you.Read more
To keep you from overheating on your run, the Impossibly Light jacket is lined with a Dri-Fit mesh.
With a DWR finish on the material, you get great wind and water resistance so that you can run no matter what the weather is.
The Nike Impossibly Light Running Jacket is the lightest running jacket manufactured by Nike, and its made to be strong and durable, offering a lot of protection.
Since this jacket is so light, it’s also designed to pack down well, right into its chest pocket so you can easily carry it with you while you are running if you don’t need it during your entire excursion. Plus, it also comes with a hand strap, which makes it easy to carry while you are moving.
The Nike Impossibly Light Jacket is also made to be bright and visible even while the light is low, so oncoming vehicles can easily see you. It works well in a wide variety of elements and is made to be both durable and long-lasting.
5. Adidas Essential Tricot
Good weather and moisture protection
Fabric is a bit shiny
If you like looking good while feeling comfortable, and you’re buying a running jacket on a budget, then you’ll want to check out the Adidas Men’s Essential Tricot Jacket. Made with a classic style for athletic runners, Adidas made this jacket out of 100% poly tricot fabric, meaning this jacket is made to move with you and won’t restrict you as you run.Read more
Other than the full zip, there is not any added mesh zips or snaps. However, the full-length zipper allows you to control your temperature easily by deciding how open you want the jacket to be.
The tricot fabric on this jacket also makes it very breathable, helping to keep perspiration off of your skin and giving you the ventilation you need while you run. You won’t have to worry about feeling sweaty inside, or getting wet from outside rain since this jacket is designed to repel moisture.
The Adidas Men’s Essential Tricot Jacket was designed with style and functionality in mind, designed to be a versatile zip-up that’s lightweight and made for layering. Plus, its tricot fabric adds a good deal of comfort along with the fashion and style you’ll see with this jacket.
You’ll be able to run well in this jacket, feel comfortable, and look good since this jacket comes in fourteen different colors. For the price, this is a good-performing jacket for any runner on a budget.
6. Montane Featherlite 7
Breathability could be better
The Montane Featherlite 7 Jacket is probably one of the most lightweight, portable, and packable jackets on the market today. If you want something that’s easy to take along with you as a “just in case” item to protect you from potential adverse weather, then this jacket will bring you several great features to help keep you warm even when the weather cools down.Read more
The Montane Featherlite 7 is also made to be one of the most breathable and comfortable jackets you can buy nowadays, and its ventilation works well alongside its weather protection. Plus, this jacket is designed with part elasticated shaped cuffs, meaning you can pull up the forearms easily to help cool you down while you are on-the-go.
Made from 22g 7D Ultra Nylon Rip-Stop Fabric, this jacket’s material is windproof, very light, and includes a DWR finish over the outer material to help keep rain repelled off of the material. Also, the Montane Featherlite 7 Jacket is made with strategic seam placement, helping to keep the jacket lighter in weight.
The Montane Featherlite 7 is one of the most lightweight and best all-around running jackets on the market, and its made with a comfortable pre-elasticated hem to keep the weather out and keep you warm inside. Comfortable and durable, this jacket comes in many styles and colors most runners will love.
This comfortable and stretchy jacket is a great addition to any runners wardrobe. The zippered chest pocket doubles as a media pocket and has a small hole to thread your headphones through. The thumb cuffs help the arms of the jacket stay in place and keep you warm on a brisk morning. Additionally, the top of the zipper is lined with fleece to avoid any chin irritation.
7. The Outdoor Research Boost
Excellent weather protection
The pouch could be more refined
The Outdoor Research Boost Running Jacket brings a high-quality design together with many of the features and benefits most runners want when hitting the trails outside. Basically, this jacket offers just about everything a runner could possibly want at an average price for its features.Read more
The Outdoor Research Boost Running Jacket brings runners great breathability, strong weather resistance, and a very comfortable fit.
Made from 100% nylon, this jacket is waterproof, windproof, and quick drying. Best of all, you can throw this jacket in the washing machine when it gets smelly.
The Outdoor Research Boost Running Jacket not only brings runners great durability, comfort, and weather protection, but it’s also very stylish and comes with several options in colors. For the price, you’ll get what you need out of this jacket, especially if you are on a budget.
Plus, this jacket is portable and also comes made for visibility, so that vehicles passing by at any time should be able to see you.
For the price, the Outdoor Research Boost Running Jacket offers superior weather protection as well as excellent ventilation, performing just as well with its features as higher-priced competitors’ jackets. With a nice package of comfort and performance-boosting features, like breathability and weather protection, you get a lot out of this jacket for its price.
8. Salomon Agile
Decent all-around jacket
Good weather protection
Could offer better breathability
If you’re shopping on a budget and looking for a decent all-around jacket, the Salmon Agile Jacket performs on an average scale and still offers good protection for the price. Made of PES 100% in both the body and lining, the Salmon Agile Jacket is designed with lightweight taffeta to block wind and also shed off moisture.Read more
The Salomon Agile Jacket includes traditional vent openings and is made to be decently breathable.
For those runners that are more casual and plan to be outdoors mostly when the weather is nicer, this jacket just might be for them. It’s pretty average in weather protection and breathability for the price, and although some pricier jackets work better for breathability and weather protection, this jacket will still work well for the casual runner on a budget.
Another nice benefit of this jacket is that it is quite stylish and looks great when it's on. Plus, it brings you just enough protection and breathability to perform well if you’re not planning to run for an incredibly long time.
The Salomon Agile jacket is made to fit comfortably and comes with hand warming pockets and 360 reflective details, so you’ll be visible to oncoming traffic even in lower-lighted conditions.
9. Marmot DriClime Windshirt
Good for cold weather protection
Good for casual running
Good water resistance
Not great for running in warm weather
If you’re looking for a good running jacket that can handle colder temperatures well, then the Marmot DriClime Windshirt provides you with just that level of protection. This jacket works well not only when the weather is cold but is still comfortable enough to help you out if you are just planning to take a light, casual jog.Read more
It’s very versatile and lightweight, and also made to be decently breathable with its DriClime Bi-Component Wicking Lining.
Made from 100% polyester and with a DWR finish for excellent wind and water protection, the Marmot DriClime Windshirt Running Jacket works well when you are running in colder weather.
With its moisture-wicking DriClime-lined collar and chin guard, this jacket also features a wind flap which is found behind the front zipper, offering ample cold weather protection. It’s also designed with Angel Wing Movement standards, meaning it won’t hinder your movement at all as you are in motion, and the jacket is made to not ride up.
The Marmot DriClime Windshirt Running Jacket comes with a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty, and it works well mostly in colder weather or for casual outings, but you can overheat with it on longer, warmer weather runs. So, depending on how you plan to use it and where you are running, this jacket might be the right one for you.
10. Brooks LSD
Good all-around weather protection
Could be more breathable
Another great lightweight running jacket that comes made to pack down well wherever you go is the Brooks LSD Jacket. If you want an excellent running jacket that won’t be bulky when you pack it and can protect you against all weather conditions, then the Brooks LSD Jacket provides several excellent options for you.Read more
This jacket comes with limited breathability. Aside from the full-frontal zipper, there are no additional breathable elements.
Made with the L.S.D. Lite windproof fabric, this jacket also comes coated with DWR features to help repel water and keep you warm if you encounter rain or wind while out on the trail.
The Brooks LSD Jacket is made with a semi-fitted cut, so it fits along the contours of your body well, adding extra levels of comfort and warmth protection against the weather.
The Brooks LSD Jacket is also made to keep you visible to vehicles that pass you by, with retroreflective elements that will allow you to be seen even when there isn’t much light outside. The jacket is also made with long raglan sleeves for extra warmth, and a drop-tail hemline and inner drawcord for easy fitting adjustability.
As a running jacket, the Brooks LSD brings you good all-around coverage at an average price. Since it packs down well, brings good weather protection, and is relatively easy-to-carry.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Probably the most important feature you’ll want to analyze when searching around for the best running jacket is breathability. Since running is a very aerobic form of training, you’re going to perspire a lot when you do it, and you need something that’s going to ventilate that extra heat and sweat out of it.
Even for runners that don’t perspire greatly as they move, breathability is going to be an important feature because the better the jacket’s ventilation, the more heat, and moisture it will release, and the more comfortable you will feel as you move. Even if you’ve got a great jacket that protects you against the weather elements effectively, if that jacket doesn’t vent well, you’re going to feel soaking wet in your own sweat as you run, something that won’t make you feel happy or comfortable as you move.
Since you want to stay as dry as possible both inside and out as you run, you want a jacket that can ventilate well while still providing excellent weather protection. One of the best-ventilated jackets on our list is the Outdoor Research Boost since it’s very breathable even for runners traveling long distances.
A jacket’s breathability depends on a few things. The fabric is certainly important, as is the jacket’s design, but the vents on the jacket will certainly also tell you how breathable a jacket is. Some fabrics are made to be highly breathable and evaporate moisture, but not all fabrics can do this. If you opt for a jacket that has a fabric that can’t handle moisture well, then you want to make sure that jacket comes with a decent ventilation design so that its vents can pull the moisture out of the fabric.
Jackets made with good ventilation systems usually include mesh panels to help vent out moisture, and also have vent flaps to go over the vent areas in case the temperature drops. Where those mesh vents are located will determine a lot about how breathable the jacket is. Most runners that do a lot of uphill running and know what it feels like to work out with a higher heart rate appreciate a jacket that ventilates well during that time.
So depending on the jacket’s fabric, and the way the vents are constructed, you’ll feel a big difference in breathability between various jackets as far as heating up and perspiration are concerned. How much breathability and venting you’ll want or need will depend a lot on how far and how often you run, but make sure your jacket ventilates well enough for you will be a top priority.
If you’re a more casual runner, then a jacket that provides average breathability and ventilation will probably be just right for you and save you a bit of money if you’re on a budget. However, for more hardcore, daily, long-distance runners, maximum ventilation in a jacket will be essential.
The second most important feature to consider when selecting the best running jacket for your needs is the jacket’s weather resistance features. If you wind up with a jacket that doesn’t protect you from the weather at all, you won’t stay dry or feel comfortable while you run.
The real reason most runners purchase running jackets is to give them optimal protection from the weather so they can still run outside on cold, rainy, or days when the weather is less than perfect. So, ditching a jacket with good weather resistance defeats the purpose of owning a decent running jacket.
With a good weather-resistant running jacket, you’ll still be able to run when the weather is cold or drizzling, as long as your jacket works well for good breathability. After ventilation, weather protection becomes the next most important feature, since it’ll mean you won’t be restricted to running only on certain days because of the weather.
All of the jackets we’ve provided on our list offer different levels of weather protection and water resistance, although most running jackets are not made to be totally waterproof. However, all of the jackets we’ve outlined here on our guide will give you some protection from the weather.
Probably the best and most weather-resistant jacket on our list above is the Arc’Teryx Incendo since this jacket is made to keep runners dry during long-distance runs while also repelling wind well. So, if you’re a runner that plans to run in any weather condition, the Incendo provides some of the best weather resistance around.
However, if the Incendo is out of your price range or doesn’t quite meet your needs, all of the jackets on this list offer a variety of weather protection, and many of them use a DWR finish on their jackets to help repel water. While a jacket with a DWR finish will help repel water well, you’ll also need to make sure you take good care of it and wash it correctly, or else the DWR finish will break down and wear off.
Some jackets have DWR coatings and other fabrics combined into that finish to help repel and dry out water faster, and other jackets are made to use the runner’s body heat to help dry the jacket faster. Depending on where and when you plan to run, however, you do have a few options for a good weather-resistant jacket.
For the more casual runner, a jacket that offers average weather protection will probably be enough, just in case that person gets got in a downpour. However, for the hardcore runner, something like the Incendo jacket, with plenty of weather resistance, will provide optimal protection while outside.
How much weather resistance you need (you do need some, no matter what) will depend on the type of runner you are. So the more casual runner looking to buy something on a budget might be able to save a bit of money in this department, but that person will still need a jacket with some type of weather protection.
A jacket’s comfortability is another important feature, although it is something that can vary from person to person based on opinion. How well a jacket fits and how mobile it is as you move are really important features for you to focus in on when you’re figuring out how comfortable a jacket is for you.
Some jackets are made to be very flexible and adjustable, meaning they won’t restrict your movements at all as you run. Often times, this feature has to do with some kind of stretch material being woven into the fabric as well as how the panels and seams are made and placed in the jacket. Jackets that are made to be comfortable usually have panels and seams that won’t rub up against your skin or irritate you as you move.
Some manufacturers design their jackets with comfort in mind, while others seem to forego this feature. Really, comfort is going to be a matter of personal opinion, but you want to make sure you purchase something you’ll feel great in that’s flexible enough to help you out as you run, and that doesn’t irritate your skin or frustrate your running style.
While you might try on a running jacket in a store that feels great while you aren’t moving, remember you need to feel good in the jacket while you are moving. So, when you’re trying the jacket on, you need to look for a few features as well to ensure it’ll feel great as you run.
When looking at your potential jacket choices, rather than just basing your judgment on trying the jacket on alone when you’re not moving, look for a jacket that fits slightly loose and has stitching that is soft in the seams, as well as a material that stretches decently. Jackets that feel stretch typically provide you with more flexible movements when you are out running.
Still, comfort is one of those features that depends heavily on a person’s own opinion, so it is something you will have to judge yourself. It’s always a good idea to try on jackets and move around a bit with them just to see how they move with you so you can try to judge how comfortable you’ll feel wearing the jacket while running.
The features of a running jacket can make or break it. One of the most prominent features that we looked into was the pockets. When you are running, holding something in your hand doesn't quite feel natural. Some people bring their phone for music or emergencies, but where do they keep it? The zippered pocket of your running jacket is a great spot to hold a bit of cash for a water or coffee stop, a cellphone, or keys.
A specific type of pocket that is great for runners is a media pocket. A media pocket allows you to securely keep your phone or mp3 device and thread the headphones through the pocket and inside the jacket.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When looking to invest in a running jacket, consider that it will be a great investment as it will protect you from weather such as rain, wind, cold temperatures, snow, and anything else the weather decides to throw at you. These jackets are usually lightweight and comfortable, so you will not even notice you are wearing them but will get the protection they offer.
Other Factors to Consider
If you’re planning on doing running while the light is low outside, which means early in the morning before the sun is up or later at night when the sun goes down, then you’ll want a jacket that makes you visible to oncoming traffic. If you’ll be running anywhere where vehicles will be around, you’ll want a jacket that provides visibility for more safety and protection.
Even the most alert runners feel better when they know cars can easily see them, and this can protect you better from distracted or unsafe drivers. Purchasing a jacket that’s either bright or reflective will help you be seen no matter what the light and weather conditions are when outside.
Most of the jackets on our list above offer standard visibility features and will help keep you safe from motorists while you run. Many jackets nowadays are made with reflective material all the way around the jacket, making you very visible while you are running outside.
Also, when selecting a good jacket color, try to stay away from earth tones, like browns and greens, which can blend into nature and still make it difficult for you to be seen. Pick a brighter color that’s more likely to stand out while you are outside, and that should also help increase your visibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Does a running jacket’s portability really matter?
Portability of a running jacket will matter if it’s something you know you are likely to bring along with you. Most runners prefer having a jacket they can take on a run and use whenever they need it, and many runners love more portable jacket options they can repack easily as well.
If you wind up with a running jacket that doesn’t give you great portability, then it really isn’t worth bringing the jacket along with you—and it may not be worth buying the jacket at all. While portability is a feature that depends a lot on personal opinion, it’s still a preference for a lot of runners.
Since you are going to be on the go whenever you perform your running activities, you’ll probably want something that’s easy to carry, unpack, and repack so that it’s there for you when the weather takes a turn. Some jackets are made to be more portable than others, and some running jackets offer other great features without focusing much on portability.
Typically, jackets that are made to be more lightweight in the design are going to be easier to pack down and carry with you. So, if you are looking for something that’s light and easy to carry, checking out weight is going to be an important feature for you. Obviously, if you are carrying something along with you, you won’t want it to weigh you down, unpacked or packed.
How lightweight and portable you need your jacket to depend on what you plan to do when you run. If you know you’re going to go for longer runs, don’t really know what weather you might run into, and you know you’ll want to bring something with you, then portability is going to be an important feature. However, if you take shorter, more casual runs and just need a jacket to cover you for the duration of your run when the weather is colder, then portability won’t be something you’ll necessarily need to consider.
q: What matters most when buying a running jacket?
The two primary features you’ll want to consider when purchasing a running jacket are the jacket’s breathability features, and its ability to protect you from various weather conditions. If the jacket doesn’t ventilate well, you’ll never feel very comfortable as you sweat, and this can make running a less-than-enjoyable event for you.
Finding a decently breathable jacket that protects well from wind and rain is really the primary reason all runners will want running jackets. Some of the other features, like portability and visibility, are more optional and depend on the runner’s intentions.
So, while you do want to get a jacket that has weather protection and decent ventilation no matter what type of runner you are, you have a bit of leeway on some of the other features that come designed into many running jackets. Depending on how you plan to run, plan your decisions around that to help you select the best jacket for you.
q: Why are some jackets better at comfort and protection than others?
As with all products, you get the qualities, clothing tech features, and benefits in relation to how much you pay. For runners the market is full of jackets which will serve the purpose of for protecting you from the rain the first points to consider are how long does the jacket protect you and are you still comfortable? Cheaper jackets tend to be made from synthetic materials which do not give breathability so yes you are protected but your body heat is kept inside the jacket, the temperature builds up and you sweat, so though you do not get wet from the rain you will get uncomfortably wet from sweat. It would actually be preferable to get wet from rain instead of a combination of excreted chemicals in our sweat which can lead to body odor and other unhygienic problems.
Better jackets will employ the use of at times only synthetic materials but still take into account breathability needs and clothing tech which ensures airflow ventilation and temperature regulation. Many jackets will include a combination of natural fabrics and synthetics to hit a good balance for the comfort and protection levels expected. When you choose a brand jacket it can have a hefty price take but a lot of meaningful research has been put into creating the product and this means that the wearer gets much more than just protection from weather, they get a product which has factored in durability, comfort, protection, additional useful features and many years of reliable use.
q: If I purchase a more expensive jacket, that will ensure I get the best one, right?
When looking at investing in a running jacket, do not think the more expensive the running jacket the more durable or better quality it will be as that just is not the case. The best thing to do when looking for a durable running jacket to last you years to come is to look at the material and also the reviews to see how the jacket has held up for other consumers that have put them to the test. Do not solely be swayed by price as you may end up with an expensive jacket that will not hold up, make an educated purchase and do the research before buying.
q: Can I use another type of jacket instead of a specific running jacket?
Well, yes, but you'll most likely be sacrificing a lot of comforts. When searching for the best running jacket to suit your needs, remember what running jackets are designed to do, and try to determine when and where you plan to use your jacket. Running jackets are typically made to protect runners against certain types of weather while they are out on the trails. So, most running jackets are manufactured to provide good weather resistance while also handling the heat and moisture your body will produce as you run.
Rain jackets are similar to running jackets since they are also made to protect people from the weather. However, running jackets offer optimal features that generally also provide good breathability and ventilation for an active workout, which is something rain jackets aren’t designed for. That’s why, when you’re out on the trail running, you’re going to want a running jacket and not a rain jacket to protect you from the weather, and also ventilate your body heat.
- The 10 Best Running Jackets That Won’t Turn You In To A Sweaty Mess, Women's Health Online Magazine ,
- THE BEST LIGHTWEIGHT RUNNING JACKETS IN 2019, Running Blog ,