Best Running Jackets
If you enjoy running, then you’ll want to pick up a good running jacket so you don’t need to stay inside and hit the treadmill when the days are colder outside. Keep yourself warm and enjoy plenty of fun with your outdoor workouts by selecting the best running jacket for your adventures.
Nowadays, there is a bevy of choices to consider when deciding what type of running jacket to purchase. To help save you time, we’ve compiled a list of the best types of running jackets on the market today, as well as giving you some tips and pointers on the things you’ll want to examine before you purchase your jacket.
- North Face Naked
- Solid weather protection
- Outdoor Research Boost
- Good ventilation
- Arc'teryx Incendo
10 Best Running Jackets
The North Face Better than Naked
While North Face improved its ventilation system on this new jacket when compared to its previous model, the jacket has an average rating with breathability. The jacket does come with vents in it, and does allow for some breathability, but there is still some room for improvement with ventilation.
However, the plus side to this jacket is its excellent wind and weather protection, which could be the reason why the breathability factor isn’t as high on this product. You’ll receive excellent protection from the wind and weather while running in this jacket, but you will perspire in it.
The North Face Better than Naked Running Jacket does protect you well from the elements, even though its breathability could be better. Plus, the design is stylish, which is always a plus, and it’s made to be durable and long-lasting.
- Good weather protection
- Solid wind protection
- Average ventilation
- Can make you sweat
The Outdoor Research Boost
The Outdoor Research Boost Running Jacket brings runners great breathability, strong weather resistance, and a very comfortable fit. 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.
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.
- Affordable price
- Good ventilation
- Excellent weather protection
- Pouch could be more refined.
- Tends to run small.
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.
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.
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 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.
- Very portable
- Great weather protection
- Offers decent breathability
- Could have better ventilation
Patagonia Houdini Pullover
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 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.
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 a drawcord hem.
- Affordable price
- Good weather resistance
- Simple to use
- Could be more breathable
- More ventilation vents would make the jacket more comfortable.
Montane Featherlite 7
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 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.
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.
- Weather resistant
- Very lightweight
- Breathability could be better.
- Tends to run small.
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. 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 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 droptail 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.
- Good price
- Good all-around weather protection
- Good visibility
- Could be more breathable
- Could provide better size and style options.
Nike Impossibly Light
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. 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.
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.
- Very lightweight
- Good weather protection
- Packs down well
- Fit feels restrictive
- Could offer better breathability
- Could be more comfortable
Marmot DriClime Windshirt
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. It’s very versatile and lightweight, and also made to be decently breathable with its DriClime Bi-Component Wicking Lining.
With its moisture-wikcing 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.
- Good for cold weather protection.
- Good for casual running
- Good water resistance.
- Not great for running in warm weather
- Not very breathable
The Salomon Agile jacket is made to fit comfortable, and comes with hand warming pockets and 360 reflective details, so you’ll be visible to oncoming traffic even in lower-lighted conditions. 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 its 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.
- Decent all-around jacket
- Good weather protection
- Could offer better breathability
- Could fit more comfortably.
Adidas Men’s Essential Tricot
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.
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.
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.
- Good weather and moisture protection
- Very stylish
- Great comfort
- Fabric is a bit shiny
- Sizes can run small
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
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.
Running Jacket Breathability
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 making 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.
Jacket Weather Resistance
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 stretchy 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.
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.
For example, while the North Face Better Than Naked Jacket has great breathability and excellent weather protection, it’s not made to be efficiently portable. It does include a system that lets you pack the jacket down, but it can be difficult to easily get the jacket in and out when you need it. Does that mean you shouldn’t buy this jacket if you like everything else about it? Not necessarily. How portable you need your jacket to be all depends on when you want to run, and whether or not you feel you need to be able to bring a jacket with you, or simply wear one for the duration of the run.
We’ve listed a few good portable jackets on our list above that provide excellent features and are also easy to pack down and carry. The Montane Featherlite 7 has a nice pack-down stuff system, and the Outdoor Research Boost is also a well-made, portable jacket. Both of these jackets are easy to carry, pack down, and remove without much effort, and both are made to be lightweight and portable.
Typically, jackets that are made to be more lightweight in 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 be depends 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: Do I Need A Jacket That Provides Visibility?
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.
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.
When selecting the best running jacket to meet your needs, you’ll need to consider the type of runner you are, meaning whether you are more casual or hardcore, where and when you’ll be running, and the types of weather you might encounter. Most runners need jackets that offer plenty of ventilation while still providing good weather protection.
If you are shopping on a budget, and know you won’t be outside for long periods, then getting an affordable, average, all-around jacket will probably suit your needs. However, the more adventurous runner will want something that offers portability and excellent comfort as well to perform well no matter what the weather might be outside.