Testing out gear is something I actually really enjoy. It’s an excuse to go for a run as part of my job, I mean really…how is that so hard? But when I recently asked what gear you really wanted to know about, I was surprised that what’s the best running jacket was the top question.
Which meant, I was going to get to run in a variety of conditions. Bring on the snow, the rain, the wind, I shall fear thee not with my new gear.
Over the last few months, I’ve pulled on a lot of jackets and gone for a run.
✅HINT: I LOVED all of these, but if I had to spend my money on just one, you’ll see it below.
The results below are jackets for a wide variety of situations that I would absolutely recommend. There were others tested that simply aren’t included here because they didn’t perform as well or better than the one’s I’ve listed.
What is a running jacket?
A layer that helps to make the run more comfortable by preventing chill from the wind or protecting you from the rain. Ideally it’s made from a wicking material that breaths because we don’t want it to hold in body heat creating a sauna effect.
The waterproof running jacket I mention below has been a game changer for me! I’ve worn it in so many different types of weather.
Should you wear a jacket while running?
Running layers are always useful, but more so when you are dealing with the elements. A running jacket is a great tool to ensure that you don’t use the weather as an excuse to skip your run.
Best Running Jackets for Winter, Wet, or Wind
Honestly, I wanted to test out jackets for a variety of weather conditions. So you’ll find that some are better for maybe a spring run and some for a cold winter run, hopefully showing you what you need year round to make running as comfortable as possible.
What am I looking for in these jackets:
- Water resistant vs waterproof (only the second keeps you dry in a downpour)
- How well does it fit, does it move around while you run, does it run true to size so you know what to order
- Breath-ability – will it cause you to overheat
What’s the best running jacket? The one that meets your needs for that day, but you’ll find many of these are versatile for a variety of conditions and temperatures.
Lululemon Running Jacket
I feel like I’m often asked if they make good running gear, so I might as well answer this question first. Yes, I run in a lot of Lululemon shorts, tanks and even jackets because they do make gear that works.
Eh hemmm that’s why they created the entire SeaWheeze race weekend and experience.
Currently their Break a Trail Jacket is the one most on par with the items I’ll be listing below. It’s waterproof, wind resistant, lightweight and designed for runners with vents to help release heat.
And if you’re just looking for a layer to help during the Spring or Fall transitions, the Ventilate Jacket is great and yup I LOVE that it comes in red because it makes us feel fast!
Cold Weather Running Jacket: Daehlie Jacket Winter
One of the things that we often find troubling with winter runs is that we start cold, begin sweating then are in a strange hot cold scenario. This jacket felt so extremely light, but with the Primaloft through the front chest it’s designed to keep your core warm and when that happens your body will continue to work on warming your fingers and toes!!!
Since your core is warm, this has light sleeves and the back is actually lightly aerated. All of these means a good fit that keeps you warm, but not over heated. The lower back pocket is also big enough to toss your phone in, though I didn’t do that because I assumed it would bounce.
Fit: I wore a Medium in this and felt good that I could layer under and it was not tight.
Durability: Definitely a jacket you could wear with packs and not worry about rips.
Cold Weather Running Jacket with Hood: Outdoor Research Vigor
Yup, you’re getting two winter running jackets because I’m using them both. This one imparticular I found ideal on really cold days because I could wear a beanie and then pull this hood up as well, finding that the hood stays in place for the entire run, while also providing protection for my neck!
This one also has the wind protection on the chest, while the sleeves are a heavier material than the previous jacket increasing the total warmth of this one. So if you tend to overheat, it could be too much…but when it was 10 degrees I was in heaven.
Fit: Closer fit to body, I was able to wear a base layer and second shirt if desired under.
Durability: Super durable due to the slightly thicker fabric.
Rainy Run Jacket: On Running Weather Jacket
✅If I had to pick ONE check this one would be it.
Hands down this jacket is worth every single penny if you find yourself running in wet conditions. I was skeptical of the price tag and because I’ve tried waterproof jackets that just made me feel like I was in a sauna.
Nope, not this one!! I used it over my winter fleece on a day where snow was falling and on a warm rainy trail run in Sedona. In both cases I was amazed to finish up finding that truly I was still dry (I mean minus my normal sweat session). More importantly in the warm weather instance was that this jacket is light and since it wasn’t hot enough to want to be wet, it felt like the perfect weight.
Fit: I went with a small. It’s a good fit with plenty of movement in arms and shoulders even when I had on a couple layers underneath. Doesn’t look baggy when wearing just a short sleeve shirt. I did pull the hood up and actually had it stay in place while running.
Durability: This has been tossed in an out of bags and worn with a pack, I feel pretty confident it’s got a very long life.
Waterproof Running Jacket: Gore Shakedry jacket
What runner among us doesn’t know Gore-Tex? They ensure that your trail shoes doesn’t soak your feet, they provide the grip on lots of your shoes, they are the pioneers of waterproof.
But did you know they have their own clothing? When you need to get your run done and the rain just won’t stop, this is your jacket. While it was initially designed for cyclists, we runners are getting the benefit of the active technology that helps to ensure it’s breathable, windproof and doesn’t just keep off a little rain, but is truly waterproof.
Fit: Ultra lightweight running jacket with a closer to the body fit than another other jacket listed here.
Durability: It’s super thin, so probably not idea to wear with a hydration pack.
Crisp Temps Running Jacket: Patagonia Houdini
You’ve entered that weird how do I dress phase of Fall and Spring…usually a layer too many or one not enough. Enter this jacket from Patagonia.
It’s super light weight, water resitanct and it packs down super tight, so you could throw it in your pack if you decide it’s too much. But likely even if you warm up, I think you’ll find this layer can stay on. It’s just a lightweight addition that will block some of the early morning breeze and help you adjust to varying temperatures.
Fit: A size small was a good fit. Not tight, a general fit that leaves a little room. I’m not sure I could ever get the hood on this to stay up, so it feels a little unnecessary, even if cute.
Best Reflective Running Jacket: PYR Fully Reflective Jacket
Sometimes you aren’t as concerned about the elements as you are the darkness that sets in for a good portion of our running year! Which means it’s time to take your reflective wear to the next level with this jacket.
No need to remember extra blinky lights, you are now the light and I guarantee you’ll be seen in this. It looks gray in the daylight, but as soon as the lights hit it you are visible to the max! If you want a little less, they have shirts and vests too, but today we’re talking jackets.
This jacket is water repellent and a bit heavier than the other options reviewed here, simply due to the materials needed. I could see getting warm in this jacket if it was a normal Colorado morning where the temp jumps quickly as the sun comes out, so definitely for those dark runs or cooler days.
Ready to try this one out?? Use code PYR20 for 20% off.
Fit: This is one to size down. The small is swimming on me, which isn’t uncomfortable, but also not super flattering.
Durability: Thick quality material, no fears of it ripping or losing it’s reflection! Can be machine washed, which is not the case for a lot of these.
Winter Running Jacket: NB Radiant Heat Jacket
Let’s call this the coldest weather running jacket! It should get you through most temps thanks to the inner lining which is similar to the mylar blankets they often hand out after races!
That lining, actually reflects your body heat back to you, which we generate an awful lot of while we run…even when it’s Arctic outsides. This jacket has the Primaloft mentioned previously throughout the entire chest, front and arms which means warmth without weight. You will find the low back and sides to be a more stretchy breathable material.
Fit: I like that the collar comes up high enough to cover your neck, so there’s not that one weird area exposed. With a small can still get on a base layer and another if needed comfortably.
Yes, everything here was reviewed as a women’s running jacket because that’s what I wear. But have no fear, these are also the best men’s running jackets I feel very confident in saying as the overall features and technology are the same.
More questions on running jackets or other gear?
Let me know so I can keep reviewing exactly what you need!
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