Running jackets are essential gear that protects from wind and rain, with the best ones made with lightweight material that features taped seams to avoid chafing.
Testers found this jacket an ideal option for fast runners, featuring secure zip pockets, stuff sacks, and a wired peak on the hood. Plus, it has reflective details to increase visibility during low-light running sessions.
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Consider your anticipated weather and conditions when selecting a running jacket. For instance, if you anticipate running in cool morning runs under cloudy skies at high altitudes on rainy days, polyester or nylon fabric that keeps air moving through its weave may help prevent overheating. In contrast, cold weather jackets might include fleece layers for additional warmth.
If you plan on carrying extra gear when running, ensure the jacket you select has enough pockets. Many jackets feature large front or “kangaroo” pockets, and some even provide chest pockets; runners who require visibility in low-light environments may appreciate reflective materials in their jackets.
For convenient packing and transport, the ideal running jackets fold into their pocket or hydration pack strap for convenient filling and transportation. In addition, they should fit snugly so as not to flap in the wind or catch clothing; drawstring toggles at the hem, elasticated cuffs with thumb hooks, adjustable wire-peaked hoods with drawstring toggles at their center hemline, and press stud closure behind the zipper can help improve ventilation during heavy rainfall. Our top picks include press stud closure behind the zipper that can be secured to provide more excellent ventilation during heavy rain – our top picks include drawstring toggles at their hem; drawstring toggles at their hem; drawstring toggles at their center, elasticated cuffs with thumb hooks at their centers as well as press stud closure behind the zipper to boost ventilation during heavy rainfall – our top picks also include drawstring toggles at their hem.
This jacket’s breathable fabric and hood protect from wind and rain while keeping sweat from condensing into a sticky layer that makes you uncomfortable. Plus, its lighter weight may prove helpful during winter runs when layers may need to be added for warmth.
Full-length zip and adjustable hood make this running jacket easier to put on/take off while running, while reflective details ensure you remain visible to traffic. Furthermore, its hood stays in place better than other models, which tend to move during a run and limit peripheral vision.
An excellent running jacket must be breathable to allow moisture – sweat – to escape, while reflective material helps ensure visibility when running in low-light conditions.
Many jackets in this category feature snug-fitting hoods that provide extra wind resistance during rainy and cold conditions and tend to be quieter to not distract from running.
Look for a waterproof jacket that offers superior protection from precipitation. While waterproof jackets may cost more than those featuring only water-repellent or water-resistant technology, they’re well worth investing in for runners who spend much time running in wet conditions. Some of the top options in this category include the Cotopaxi Teca half-zip jacket, Patagonia Houdini Air, Black Diamond Distance Shell, and Janji Rain Runner, as good examples of great choices.
Breathability makes up 30% of each running jacket’s overall score; therefore, our testers wear each jacket on three outdoor runs in different conditions and distances to test how it feels before, during, and after running. They pay close attention to details like pockets, adjustable cuffs, and hoods and how the design affects performance before, during, and post-running.
Most of the jackets we tested feature polyester or nylon fabrics, which provide breathability to keep you from overheating during your run. Some water-repellent treatments may offer more rain protection than donning waterproof layers, but they may still fall short when faced with torrential downpours.
The Patagonia Houdini jacket is our choice for lightweight wind resistance. With its PVC-free DWR coating and recycled nylon ripstop fabric – both of which help defend against cold winds – and adjustable hem, hood, and cuffs that ensure optimal comfort and visibility, we think this jacket stands up well to wear all year round.