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Best Winter Running Jackets

last updated Aug 12, 2019

Some runners hang up their running shoes when the weather starts to get colder, while others are hardcore about keeping their training going year-round.

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.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research

icon
Baleaf Woven Hooded Windproof
98.3/100 our score
Comfort
99
Weather Resistance
98
Features
99
Fit
97
Baleaf Woven Hooded Windproof
Why is it better?

Good ventilation

Impressive weather resistance

Lightweight

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Baleaf Woven Hooded Windproof
Test Winner: Baleaf Woven Hooded Windproof
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
16
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1,998
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
18
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Sami Kritz
By Sami Kritz:

The cold is no excuse to skip your morning jog! These specially designed winter running jackets will you keep you warm without overheating you. Our newest additions to this list are the Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody and the Inov8 Softshell. Additionally, we have added fit as a criterion and updated each product review.

Sorting Options
Comfort Weather Resistance Features Fit By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
Comfort
99 %
Weather Resistance
98 %
Features
99 %
Fit
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
Amazon Link
$29.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98
Comfort
98 %
Weather Resistance
98 %
Features
99 %
Fit
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
Amazon Link
$164.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Comfort
98 %
Weather Resistance
98 %
Features
98 %
Fit
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
Amazon Link
$131.20
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Comfort
97 %
Weather Resistance
98 %
Features
97 %
Fit
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
Backcountry Link
$127.46
See Deal
Amazon Link
$200.00
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Comfort
96 %
Weather Resistance
93 %
Features
95 %
Fit
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Comfort
95 %
Weather Resistance
96 %
Features
94 %
Fit
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
Comfort
97 %
Weather Resistance
93 %
Features
94 %
Fit
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
Amazon Link
$29.98
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Comfort
95 %
Weather Resistance
94 %
Features
93 %
Fit
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
Amazon Link
$119.78
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Comfort
94 %
Weather Resistance
95 %
Features
92 %
Fit
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
Backcountry Link
$149.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
$160.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Comfort
94 %
Weather Resistance
92 %
Features
92 %
Fit
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.11.19)
Amazon Link
$32.98

Top 10 Picks

1. Baleaf Woven Hooded Windproof

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
Baleaf Woven Hooded Windproof
Amazon Link
Comfort
99
Weather Resistance
98
Features
99
Fit
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.99
Pros:

Good ventilation

Impressive weather resistance

Lightweight

Cons:

Limited color options

Some say that it isn't the best jacket for wind

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

Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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.

Fit
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98
Mizuno Breath Thermo Softshell
Amazon Link
Comfort
98
Weather Resistance
98
Features
99
Fit
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$164.99
Pros:

Water and weather resistant

Good insulation

Great ventilation

Reflective

Cons:

Can take time for insulation to create warmth inside the jacket

Could come in more color options

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

Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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.

Fit
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Inov8 Softshell Half Zip
Amazon Link
Comfort
98
Weather Resistance
98
Features
98
Fit
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$131.20
Pros:

Stylish

Decent weather protection

Good ventilation

Comfortable

Cons:

Not waterproof

Over-the-head design isn't for everyone

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

Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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.

Fit
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Salomon Bonatti
Amazon Link
Comfort
97
Weather Resistance
98
Features
97
Fit
94
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$200.00
Backcountry Link
$127.46
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Pros:

Very lightweight

Warm

Good weather protection

Good ventilation

Cons:

Torso area is short and slim

Hood is not adjustable

Cuffs and hemlines are not adjustable

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

Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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.

Fit
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 rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Arc'teryx Incendo
Amazon Link
Comfort
96
Weather Resistance
93
Features
95
Fit
95
best offer for today
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Pros:

Folds down into its own pocket

Designed with runners in mind

Good ventilation

Great at blocking the wind

Cons:

More and larger pockets would be useful

Not waterproof

Not the warmest option on our list

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

Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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.

Fit
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 rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Sugoi 180 Firewall
Amazon Link
Comfort
95
Weather Resistance
96
Features
94
Fit
93
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$49.99
Pros:

Good weather protection

Excellent warmth

Reflective features

Cons:

Could offer more colors

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

Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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.

Fit
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
Adidas Essential Tricot
Amazon Link
Comfort
97
Weather Resistance
93
Features
94
Fit
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.98
Pros:

Breathable

Easy movement

Flexible design

Classic look

Cons:

Some find that the fabric is a tad shiny

Not water resistant

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.

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Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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.

Fit
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 rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Saucony Nomad
Amazon Link
Comfort
95
Weather Resistance
94
Features
93
Fit
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$119.78
Pros:

Good weather protection

Comfortable interior

Great ventilation

Cons:

Could come in more colors

Could feature a waterproof zipper for better weather protection

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.

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Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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.

Fit
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 rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Pearl iZUMi Jacket
Amazon Link
Comfort
94
Weather Resistance
95
Features
92
Fit
90
best offer for today
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$160.00
Backcountry Link
$149.95
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Pros:

Great insulation

Excellent protection from rain and wind

Good ventilation

Good warmth

Cons:

Tends to run small

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.

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Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
The Pearl Izumi Jacket is lightweight and packable; it can fit easily into a back zip pocket for easy storage.

Fit
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Tsla Performance
Amazon Link
Comfort
94
Weather Resistance
92
Features
92
Fit
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$32.98
Pros:

Thumbhole for hand warmth

Zipper pocket for earphones

Available in many colors

Cons:

May run small

Doesn't hold up well in wet weather conditions

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.

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Comfort
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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.

Fit
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.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

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.

Weather Resistance

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.

Features

Ventilation
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
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.

Fit

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.

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Know Your Trail

When selecting the best winter running jacket that will meet all your needs, you want to first think about where you’ll be running, how often, and what the weather will be like when you hit the trails. After that, consider the features you actually need to get out of your jacket; some features like warmth, weather protection, and comfort are pretty standard, while others are really up to your judgment.

Reflectiveness

Some jackets feature a reflective zipper or strips to keep you safe while runnning in the snow or the dark. If your jacket of choice does not include any reflective areas, you should attach them yourself, or attach a small light to the jacket to ensure your visibility. Driving in these conditions can be difficult and you want to make sure you will be seen.

Other Factors to Consider

Weight

Finding a winter running jacket that’s lightweight is a feature a lot of runners want since many feel that the lighter they are, the faster they can move. Typically, the best winter running jackets provide you with the best protection and are still made to be lightweight.

With winter running jackets, there’s no real report on what a jacket needs to weight to make a difference, but most runners feel that a good, lightweight winter jacket should weigh less than five ounces. However, remember that even if the jacket is lightweight and doesn’t offer the level of weather protection you really need, how light that jacket is, doesn’t really matter in the long run—the weather protection matters more.

So, make sure your lightweight jacket selection also has good weather protection features and that the weight doesn’t detract from the jacket’s weather protection. If you know you might need to break down your jacket and pack it along with you, some jackets can also be packed right into their pockets, which is a nice feature to have if you know you might be removing the jacket here and there if the weather gets warmer.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How do I make sure my winter running jacket will protect me during the winter?

a:

When searching for a winter running jacket with effective safety features, you want to make sure it includes reflective features on the jacket. How reflective your jacket needs to be, really depends on how often you plan to run in conditions when the light is low outside, and if the answer is often, then you’ll want a jacket with reflectivity.

During the winter, visibility for drivers can already be poor, and if you’re outside when the sun isn’t shining, you’ll be thinking about staying safe and visible to oncoming traffic. To help make sure runners are safe and don’t have to keep worrying about vehicles as they run, many running jackets offer reflective features, and some are totally covered with reflective material.

Some jackets also come with LED lights in them, in areas along the shoulder and zipper. Some other jacket manufacturers make jackets that are bright in color, like neon shades, so that runners wearing their jackets are very easy-to-see.

Since visibility for drivers is often poor during the winter, and if you do plan on running when the sun isn’t out, you’ll want to purchase a jacket with reflectivity in its design. Many brands nowadays offer these features, and reflective jackets will help keep you safe from any accidents.

q: What should a good winter running jacket provide?

a:

A good winter running jacket should provide you with enough features so you stay warm and comfortable while being protected from the weather. That can be broken down into the following:

Make sure your jacket keeps you warm. There are many jackets on the market nowadays that are made to be lightweight for runners, but don’t sacrifice warmth inside the jacket. Most good winter funning jackets offer brush fleece lining, allowing for a lot of heat and comfort while still cutting back on bulk.

Make sure your jacket blocks the wind. If you know you’ll be running when it’s windy out, blocking wind is going to be an important feature of your jacket. Otherwise, you’ll cool down much quicker if the jacket can’t handle wind, and you’ll never feel fully comfortable.

Make sure your jacket ventilates well. All winter jackets offer different levels of ventilation features, but the best types of winter jackets protect you from the weather, keep you warm, and offer ventilation.

Make sure your jacket has reflective properties if you’ll be running when the sun isn’t out. Also, since low light conditions are poor visibility are more common during the winter weather, you want to be seen to stay safe.

Make sure your jacket fits you so you feel comfortable. If you find you are between two different jacket sizes, it’s almost always better to go with the larger jacket. Also, jackets that run longer in the back offer more warmth and heat than those that don’t. If your jacket fits too small, you might feel as if you are suffocating while you run.

Make sure your jacket has decent features like a hood, pockets, and thumb holes. Some jackets also come with places to hold MP3 players, and interior pockets. Figure out the extra features you need, and pay for what you need to save a little money.

q: When will I need an insulated winter running jacket?

a:

If you plan on hitting the trails whenever it’s cold out, then you’ll want an insulated winter running jacket for the entire winter season (or whenever the weather gets cold). Almost all winter running jackets offer high-quality insulation of some sort, and since your goal is to stay warm as you run, you certainly need something with effective insulation.

While different jackets are made with a variety of insulation features, what you require really depends on your climate and running conditions. If you’re dealing with full-on winter weather, make sure the insulation is warm enough to keep you at a comfortable temperature throughout your run.

q: Is wind-resistance a feature I will need in my winter running jacket?

a:

Another weather feature many jackets will advertise is wind resistance, since wind is an issue for many runners when the breeze is relatively strong. Some running jackets include a drop tail hem construction in their jackets, which helps to more effectively block and keep the wind out of the jacket. This will make sure you can run without the wind interfering, ensuring a more comfortable run. If you can find this feature included in your winter running jacket, it is a bonus.

q: Is a lightweight jacket a better winter running jacket, and will it offer the same protection?

a:

As far as weight is concerned, getting a lightweight jacket is an excellent idea, especially if you want to be able to pack it down. However, you need to make sure the jacket isn’t sacrificing weather protection to make it lightweight, so keep an eye out as you make your selection. Check reviews to get other purchasers comments as they have used it in the field.