Best Winter Running Jackets
Regardless of whether you are a trail, marathon, or casual runner, you will need the necessary winter gear to continue to run in the cold weather, and the most important piece of gear aside from your running shoes is a great winter running jacket. Our inclusive list includes a few lightweight options for those chilly spring or autumn mornings, as well as more insulated jackets for frigid temperatures.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
You want to focus on comfort when selecting your winter running jacket because chances are, if you don’t think the jacket is comfortable, you won’t wear it—and you might not run in the winter weather, so you’ve defeated the whole purpose of buying one and wasted your money. To avoid this, make sure you get a winter running jacket that fits well—and that means streamlined with some flexibility to move as you move, so you don’t feel the jacket slows you down at any point of the run.
Warmth is another factor that adds to the comfort and as far as warmth is concerned, there are three different insulation types you’ll usually find in winter funning jackets. Many jackets come with layered thermal insulation, while others use fleece and still others use down.
With insulation, remember that when down gets wet, it tends to bulk up and won’t dry out as easily. So unless the jacket has decent exterior weather-proof and water-resistant protection, down might be an insulation type to avoid.
Fleece and thermal insulation materials typically dry out quicker if they get wet, and also don’t bulk up if moisture builds up. So, with either one of those insulation types, you’ll have an advantage and probably feel more comfortable as you run.
However, a key thing to remember when you’re testing out the warmth and comfort of your winter running jacket choices, all of this is really subjective. What one of your friends or family members thinks is warm and comfortable may not feel warm and comfortable for you.
So, a jacket that’s preferred by a friend may simply not feel great to you, since warmth and comfort, in many ways, depends on personal preference. The best thing you can do is create a list of the winter running jackets you are interested in, go to a local sports store, and try the jackets on. Move around in the jackets and feel them out, and you should be able to tell if the fit, warmth, and comfort is just what you need.
When the weather gets cold, rainy, icy, windy, or snowy, you don’t want those types of days to deter you from hitting the trails. What’s nice nowadays about most winter running jackets is that most brands have figured out ways to create jackets that protect you from bad weather conditions, like wind and moisture protection features.
Different brands have different methods for providing weather protection in their winter running jackets, but the concept is basically the same—they all want to create some level of weather protection in their jackets. For instance, Nike uses what’s called its Shield technology, Saucony uses DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finishes on their jackets, and many other brands use Gore-Tex, a well-known way to weatherproof a jacket. Regardless of what the manufacturer calls their weather-proofing technique, the goal is basically the same—to keep moisture and wind out so that you stay warm.
The best types of running jackets usually have a unique membrane on the exterior of the jacket that’s made to repel rain out of the jacket, and it’s almost always better for a runner when that membrane is waterproof instead of simply water-resistant. A water-resistant jacket will help keep moisture away from you, but can’t fully repel all water and can, still, get wet. A waterproof jacket, on the other hand, is built to keep you warm and dry, and moisture won’t absorb into the jacket.
The highest-quality running jackets usually have flat, taped seams and a hood included with them that uses a built-in visor for runners—all of these maximize the jacket’s ability to keep water out. Flat seams and waterproof zippers help seal you into the jacket so moisture won’t creep inside, and hoods with visors help to protect your head and eyes (keeping your vision clear) if you encounter rain or snow on your run.
The type of weather protection you decide you need will depend a lot on when you’ll be running, where, and what the weather will be like. The better the weather protection is in your jacket, the more expensive the jacket will be.
So, if you’re shopping for a winter running jacket on a budget, you want to consider how much weather protection you really need. If you know you don’t run on windy days because you simply don’t like it, for instance, you could skip worrying about a drop tail hem. So, review what you’ll be doing, and use that to make your selection so that you can save a little bit on cost.
While you certainly want a nice winter funning jacket that makes you warm and keeps you protected from the elements, you still need something that can breathe so you don’t overheat or find that your sweat is trapped inside your jacket, making you less than comfortable during your run. Good winter running jackets come with air vents that let air flow through so that the jacket can effectively regulate your temperature.
As most runners know, you’re going to sweat when you’re running since the activity level is high, and you want to make sure you get a jacket that can push that moisture away from your body and to the outside of the jacket so that you don’t overheat. Purchasing a jacket that’s able to breathe decently while you run is going to be a huge factor in your comfort level.
While the idea of finding a jacket that can breathe and ventilate might sound easy, a lot of jackets offer ventilation properties but sacrifice levels of weather protection. You want to make sure you buy a jacket that balances out both features well so that your jacket can breathe while still giving you the weather protection you need.
Versatility is a nice feature to have even when you’re in the middle of the coldest winter because you might need to adjust your jacket to feel comfortable. A lot of winter running jackets nowadays come with 2-in-1 construction, meaning they function as a standard jacket when you need it, but also include removable features—like removable hoods, sleeves, and other items.
Jackets that are more versatile also tend to be a bit pricier, so it’s yet another feature you’ll have to decide upon. If you feel you’ll need to be able to remove parts of the jacket, then this might be a great feature to have for you. But if you don’t feel that way and are shopping on a budget, then you can overlook this feature as a necessity.
Another important feature that we looked into when choosing each jacket is the way the jacket fits. Knowing if it is typically long or short in the arms is useful before buying so that you can size accordingly. If you are specifically looking for a long jacket to ensure keep your bottom warm as well, you'll see that in the fit description as well.
The fit of a jacket is also important to avoid chafing. To determine how the jackets fit, we took a look at the customer reviews. Some jackets had complaints of feeling tight across the chest, which in turn becomes tight in the armpit area. While running and moving your arms, you are an easy candidate for chafing and a tight-fitting jacket won't help you to avoid that. Check out the fit of each jacket to save yourself time and money and avoid ordering the wrong size.
Top 10 Picks
1. Baleaf Woven Hooded Windproof
The Baleaf Woven Hooded Windproof winter run jacket is a fantastic option for runners throughout almost any season, because it is light, durable, and still offers protection from the cold when layered.Read more
If you are looking for a layer that is light, breathable, weatherproof, and a good price, this is a wonderful running jacket option for you. The fit of this jacket is quite snug; however, it's not too tight, so you can still move freely.
This Baleaf Woven Hooded Windproof Jacket is waterproof, which is fantastic when snow or rain begins to fall. It is made from 100 percent polyester, and it's lightweight and weatherproof. The construction of this jacket makes it a great option because it is breathable due to the mesh, which allows air to flow in and out. However, don't let the mesh fool you; it's still a fantastic weather protective layer.
This jacket features zippered pockets as well as an adjustable hem and elastic cuffs. It is available in sizes ranging from Small to 3XL. The only aesthetic downside to this jacket is the fact that it is only available in black or gray.
There is a great size guide on the Amazon page for this jacket. Almost all reviewers agree that it fits true to size. Those who don't agree, claim that it fits slightly small. The jacket has a nice and relaxed fit and hasn't been uncomfortable or caused chafing to our knowledge.
2. Mizuno Breath Thermo Softshell
Mizuno’s Breath Thermo Softshell looks like a softshell jacket in its design, but it’s packed with a lot of unique technology that will help keep you warm any day you hit the trails when the weather is cold. The focus on the design of this jacket is excellent insulation formed from lightweight materials so that you’ll be able to stay warm and run as much as you want no matter how cold the weather gets.Read more
Inside the Mizuno Breath Thermo Softshell, the jacket is designed with Breath Thermo fabric, which is made to help generate heat as it absorbs moisture, keeping perspiration out and using your own body heat to generate warmth. The jacket gives you great insulation once you’ve warmed up, and will continue to provide you with warmth as you move.
The Mizuno Breath Thermo Softshell’s outside shell is made with 100% polyester Impermalite materials which create solid wind and water resistance for the worst winter weather conditions. Plus, the jacket comes made to ventilate well and also designed for flexibility, with a stretch quality that will move as you move and never restrict you when you are on-the-go.
The Mizuno Breath Thermo Softshell also comes with two side pockets that have 360 reflectivities and a lockdown zipper to keep the warmth in and the moisture out. There is also a vertical chest zip pocket and reflective overlays on the sleeves of the jacket.
The fit of this winter running jacket is relaxed and slightly fitted. It has a nice athletic look that will keep you comfortable throughout your run. The Mizuno website has a great size chart that bases your ideal size off of your height and weight to ensure a great fit. There haven't been any complaints about the seams or other discomforts.
3. Inov8 Softshell Half Zip
Our next addition is a great year-round Inov8 Softshell Half Zip jacket that adapts well to different climates and conditions. It uses Polartec Alpha insulation paired with great ventilation windows to keep you warm without overheating. There is also a long half-zip down the front that gives you even more control over your core temperature.Read more
The softshell from Inov8 is a comfortable jacket that you’ll find yourself enjoying on and off the trail. It looks great and thanks to its four-way stretch fabric, it moves with you. When running and working up a sweat, you can start to feel clammy inside your jacket. This jacket takes care of that issue by providing great ventilation through the back and arms. Additionally, depending on the climate, you can control your core temperature by utilizing the deep front zip.
While this won’t be the best choice during a downfall, it’ll be great in light rain. This jacket features a DWR finish that makes it water resistant and windproof. It features three layers and a nylon softshell outer layer that is abrasion resistant.
The Inov8 softshell is insulated with Polartec Alpha technology and does a great job of adjusted to different climates. Another great feature that helps to keep heat in and the rain off your head it the multidirectional hood. The jacket zips up to your chin and the hood features a drawstring to snugly secure it to your head.
As mentioned before, this jacket has great ventilation. There are vents on the arms and the back of the jacket. To hold your money, phone, and valuables, there is a decently sized kangaroo pocket that is easily accessible. To keep you safe when running at dawn, dusk, or night, the jacket also has reflective detailing.
The fit of this jacket seems to be right on. Even for people with long arms, their regular size seems to fit well. It is very comfortable and lightweight, allowing you to move freely. The women’s version of this jacket weighs only 198-grams and then men’s version weighs 223-grams. Additionally, this jacket packs down to almost nothing and it great for travel.
4. Salomon Bonita
For those outdoor enthusiasts looking for a lightweight, waterproof shell jacket, the Salomon Bonatti Winter Running Jacket was made with fast, active travel through the mountains in mind. Salomon Bonatti’s Winter Running Jacket is one of the lightest jackets on the market and easily compresses inside of its own chest pocket, making it a jacket that’s efficient to carry along with you when you don’t need it.Read more
The Salomon Bonatti Winter Running Jacket is made with Salomon Skin Dry Advanced technologies, making the jacket weather resistant while it also provides plenty of ventilation so you won’t overheat. The interior of the jacket is designed to transfer moisture from the inside of the jacket to the outside of the jacket so that you don’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable as you sweat.
As mentioned, the technology embedded in this jacket makes this jacket strong enough to withstand heavy rainfall and inclement weather. The Salomon Bonatti Winter Running Jacket also comes with a waterproof zipper, so that water can’t get through the interior of the jacket once you’ve zipped it close. The jacket is designed to be flexible and can handle a wide range of movement, so it won’t restrict your outdoor activities no matter what you do.
Designed with Skin Fit large hood and a pretty thin visor to help keep the rain out of your eyes, the hood has an elastic hold to keep it in place so your head stays warm even when it’s cold outside. Also, the jacket has articulated sleeves to help with full arm swing movement, making it a versatile outdoor jacked for the avid winter runner.
Customers love the lightweight materials and fit of this jacket. For the most part, everyone agrees that it fits true to size, however, a few reviewers claim that it runs small, especially in the torso area. One other gripe that we noticed is that some shipped jackets have thumbholes and some don't. If you were looking specifically for a jacket to fit around your hands, this may be a gamble.
5. Arc'teryx Incendo
The Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody is a comfortable go-to jacket that is a favorite among many runners. We would have liked to see a bit more insulation, but the wind blocking ability is great. There are strategically placed mesh air vents to keep you cool while raising your body temperature. If you're looking for a slim fit for mild winters, this would be a great choice.Read more
This jacket was built for running and hiking. The nylon material allows you to move in all directions without discomfort. To keep you from overheating while jogging in this jacket, there are dot mesh armpit air vents for superb breathability. Another feature that aids in the overall comfort of this jacket is the chest snap. The snap allows you to fully unzip the jacket without worrying about it losing it’s fit or falling off a shoulder.
If you’re going out in anything more than light rain, you’ll need a stronger layer. However, the DWR finish does help to keep out a decent amount of water. The nylon fabric also does a great job at blocking the wind and is also resistant to abrasions. As extra security to keep you dry and to keep the gusts from picking up your jacket, there is an adjustable hem drawcord.
To keep your valuables safe with you while you run, there are two zippered hand pockets. Perhaps more importantly, to keep YOU safe while running, there are small reflective strips on sleeves and back of the jacket.
The hood of the jacket can be folded and snapped away. The whole jacket itself can be zipped into the zippered hip stuff sack. This makes this a great option for a portable and packable jacket. Last but not least, there is also a media pocket with a headphone port.
The Arc’Teryx Incendo offers you an athletic, slim fit. It fits close to the body and allows you to run more aerodynamically. Overall, reviewers agree that it fits well and true to size. As a reference, the back length of the jacket is 28.7-inches. The jacket is very lightweight as well, weighing only 4.6-ounces.
6. Sugoi 180 Firewall
The Sugoi 180 Firewall Winter Running Jacket is designed to keep you warm during the coldest of winter days and is designed to be windproof and water resistant. The comfortable fleece-like interior on this jacket provides a lot of warmth on cold winter days, and the flexibility of the jacket will help keep you going all day long.Read more
This jacket has four-way stretch technology designed into it, meaning it moves as you move and won’t restrict your activities while you are on-the-go. It has a slim fit and a tendency to run a bit small.
The Sugoi 180 Firewall Winter Running Jacket is made to protect you from the elements, designed with 100% nylon and a lightweight thermal knit laminate that will ward off both the wind and the rain. It is also made with Lycra cuffs that keep the wind and snow out, and also hold the sleeves of the jacket where they need to be. The jacket also features thumbholes, which will help keep you warmer when the weather gets below freezing temperatures.
Designed with a reflective stretch ribbon, this jacket will keep you visible to oncoming traffic even if you run when the light outside is low, adding a bonus safety feature. Plus, you get three total pockets and plenty of room to hold your items safely in your jacket.
Overall, this jacket fits as you would expect. It isn't a slim fit and you will still be able to add a few layers underneath, if necessary. The sleeve length has also been praised by tall people for not being too short. The soft inner layer of the jacket sits comfortably on the skin without causing any chafing or discomfort.
7. Adidas Essential Tricot
Here is a jacket that boasts the classic tried and true Adidas three-stripe track look, but this jacket is so much more than that. It has many added bonuses that will have you ready to clock miles in style and comfort.Read more
This jacket is made of a pure blend of poly tricot fabric, which allows it to be breathable and flexible. Not to mention, the fit of this jacket is sleek and looks great while you hit the trails, track, or road.
The stand-up collar on this jacket, paired with the full-length zipper and snug fitting cuffs, help to hold in warmth and keep your comfortable while jogging. This jacket is ideal for brisk mornings but is not recommended for freezing temperatures nor rain. There is no need for you to worry about feeling clammy or sweaty, as the fabric easily wicks your sweat away.
It boasts the classic three-stripes that Adidas jackets are known for, and one of its main benefits is that it comes in a wide variety of colors, so you can match with anything you may want. Because of the fabric, you will feel complete freedom to move in absolutely any way that you want or need, which makes any run a heck of a lot more fun and comfortable.
If you are looking for a jacket that looks fantastic, is breathable, sweat-wicking, flexible and is priced fairly, look no further. This jacket hits all of those points easily.
You can count on this jacket to fit true to size. If you are looking for a slimmer fit, you may want to try sizing down. When not fully zipped, the collar comfortably lies flat. There are no zippers on the side pockets, which may not be ideal for your belongings, but it does give the jacket a sleek look.
8. Saucony Nomad
The Saucony Nomad Winter Running Jacket is water resistant and very warm, designed with a fleece-like, soft liner that will keep you warm even when the winter weather hits freezing temperatures outside. Designed with snowy days in mind, this jacket works well to keep you comfortable and warm while protecting you from the winter weather elements.Read more
This jacket is made to ventilate well and has thermal, stretch fabric on the back and underarms. It is also made with an ultra-breathable fleece lining which is made to push sweat to the outside of the jacket. The jacket also has a zipper garage, which helps produce chafe-free comfort.
The Saucony Nomad Winter Running Jacket is designed from 92% polyester and 8% spandex materials and includes wind and waterproof flex shell laminate on the exterior of the jacket to help keep you as dry as possible. Plus, the jacket is very lightweight, and the spandex in the jacket helps to keep it flexible so it moves with you without creating a restrictive feel.
The Saucony Nomad Winter Running Jacket also has a lot of reflective features over the outside of the jacket, making you visible to oncoming traffic even when there isn’t much light outside, helping you to stay safe. This jacket is available in two colors, black or persimmon.
If you are in-between sizes, it is recommended to go a size up with this jacket. The fabric has a great feel and isn't stiff at all, so it will comfortably move with you. The sleeves are also a great length and feature thumb holes to keep them in place on a cold run. The fit of this jacket isn't tight and there have been no complaints of discomfort or chafing.
9. Pearl iZUMi Jacket
The Pearl Izumi Jacket is made from 100% polyester and is a great thermal jacket to maintain warmth and transfer unwanted moisture. Other great features that this jacket brings to the table are solid wind and water resistance. This jacket retails at a very reasonable price and is an all-around durable and dependable winter running jacket.Read more
The Pearl Izumi Jacket is very breathable and made with elite thermal fleece, so it can transfer moisture out of the jacket to ensure sweat won’t build up on the interior, meaning you stay warm, dry, and comfortable even as you sweat and move.
The design of the Pearl Izumi Jacket focuses on great insulation and water-resistant features that make this jacket one of the best options on the market today. Waterproof and windproof, the Pearl Izumi has you protected in a variety of less-than-ideal weather conditions.
The Pearl Izumi Jacket is lightweight and packable; it can fit easily into a back zip pocket for easy storage.
There is a size chart available on Amazon to help guide you in the right direction, however, reviewers have stated that the jacket runs small. It is intended to have a slim fit, so if you are looking for something a bit looser, your regular size would probably be great. The reinforced seams lay flat and haven't caused any noted discomfort to reviewers.
10. Tsla Performance
This winter running jacket is made designed for performance and brought to you by a company that prides themselves on technology. This jacket not only fits great and maintains body heat but also is stylish and lightweight. Welcome to the next age of running jackets.Read more
This jacket is not just extremely comfortable, it also has state-of-the-art insulation technology and maintains body heat to ensure you are warm enough while running this winter. This jacket comes with a variety of pockets for storing and easily accessing your personal items.
This jacket is absorbent and will help to wick away sweat but it is not water resistant. However, it is wind-resistant. With its high-end insulation, this Tsla jacket is the ultimate defense against the cold temperatures while running this winter season.
The Tsla offers a variety of benefits including a zip hoodie to make sure your head and upper body stay warm, and thumb holes in the sleeves prevent ride-up sealing in your body heat, but also providing partial coverage for your hands.
This pullover is meant to have a slim athletic fit. If you like the style but aren't looking for a slim fit, you may want to go up a size. It is not intended to be worn with layers underneath. Many reviewers have mentioned that the sleeves are quite long, which for some is a great thing and an annoyance for others.
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