The 10 best running options currently available – and all fully reviewed by our team of gear testers
To become a good runner, you need to be dedicated and consistent and to be dedicated and consistent being in possession of a good running jacket can really help. Find the right one and it will allow you to get out to run happily and comfortably no matter what the weather.
Finding the perfect jacket can be tricky though, particularly if you’re new to running. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Over the last few seasons, our team of testers have been trying out countless running jackets in an effort to find the best options out there. Heck, we even managed to set an FKT in one of them (more on that below).
The Top 10 Best Running Jackets
The key consideration when choosing a running jacket is whether you want to have waterproof protection or not. Waterproof running jackets are obviously great for those very wet and miserable days, but they can be a little hot and clammy in milder temperatures and/or when you’re working hard. That’s why some runners will tend to prefer a water resistant jacket instead of a waterproof one. They’ll provide protection from wind and light rain while still allowing plenty of airflow.
We’ve gone into more detail on waterproof versus non-waterproof at the bottom of this article. You’ll also find our run through on the other factors to consider when choosing a running jacket down there too. Looking for something for running in the dark? Our round up of the best running head torches will help you there.
Following our tests, we consider the following to be the best running jackets.
Haglöfs L.I.M Series – Best Waterproof Running Jacket
Berghaus Hyper 140
Scott Explorair Light WB
Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoodie
Montane Featherlite Smock – Best Windproof Running Jacket
Montane Podium Pull On
Rab Phantom Pull On
Páramo Ostro Wind Proof
On Weather Jacket
Patagonia Storm Racer
BEST BUY: Haglöfs L.I.M Series
Price: £230 Weight: 230g Type: Waterproof Attributes: Lightweight, breathable, protective Best for: Mountain running, long distances
While this might not be primarily designed for running, we put it to the test over the course of a 500-mile self-supported run over the mountains of Wales and it passed with flying colours. Lightweight, very protective and with good breathability, it has all the right attributes for long-distance running in challenging conditions.
True to its name L.I.M (less is more), this has a simple design, the idea being that it’ll keep you protected and comfortable but without weighing you down. There’s a small zipped chest pocket, a toggled hem, elastic cuffs and a protective hood and that’s just about all there is to say in regards to its feature set.
This jacket, which is available in men’s and women’s versions, has been around for a number of years now and it’s become a popular option for ultra runners due to its impressively light weight.
While the 10,000mm waterproof rating of the Hydroshell fabric is decent enough but not particularly staggering, it more than makes up for that in the breathability department with a stated hydrostatic head of 50,000g/m2. That’s pretty phenomenal – up there with many of the premium membrane technologies.
Unsurprisingly, given the Berghaus Hyper 140’s light weight, there’s a very minimal feature set here. You get elasticated cuffs, a low profile hood and two hip height pockets There’s also a small little stuff sack to stow this away in.
Price: £90 Weight: 230g Type: Windbreaker Attributes: Lightweight, packable Best for: Short to medium distances
This lightweight jacket is a windbreaker, not a waterproof. A PFC-free, water repellency treatment (Scott’s in-house treatment known as DRYOzone DWR) ensures the jacket offers some water shedding and protection against light showers, but this isn’t a hard shell designed to keep you dry in torrential downpours. Instead it’s a jacket for windy days that might see a little drizzle or the odd shower.
Everything you’d ideally expect in a windbreaker is present here. You get an adjustable hood, two zippered hand-warmer pockets under flaps, a dropped tail at the back for a bit of extra coverage over the backside, a drawstring-adjustable waist hem, and elasticated wrist cuffs. It is available in sizes extra-small to extra-large in a variety of bold and two-tone colourways.
Price: £99 Weight: 144g Type: Windbreaker Attributes: Lightweight, packable, durable Best for: Short to medium distances
We loved testing this. It’s light, it’s breathable and it’s also surprisingly hardy too, all thanks to its impressive Pertex Diamond Fuse fabric.
The Helium features a low profile adjustable hood, a zipped chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack (with a carabiner loop to clip the jacket onto the back of your hardness) and an elasticated waist and cuffs that offer a good deal of adjustment, particularly so for such a lightweight jacket. Outdoor Research has also made use of clever laser-cut perforations under the arms to promote airflow.
Don’t expect this to protect you in heavy and prolonged rainfall, but it’ll do what you need it to do in any light downpours.
Price: £42 Weight: 110g Type: Windbreaker Attributes: Lightweight, packable, stretchy, breathable Best for: Short to medium distances
This jacket is so light and packable, you could tuck it away in a pocket in your shorts and barely notice it’s there. It’s perfect if you just want something that’ll keep the wind off you and provide a touch of warmth when you start out on your run. The water resistance is adequate enough to keep light rain off and it dries quickly too.
The features, as you might expect from such a light jacket, are very light and basic. You get a zipped chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack, toggled hem adjustment and a ⅓ length two-way zip for ventilation.
The fabric it’s made from is Pertex Quantum and this has a four-way stretch built into it, meaning the jacket will stretch and adapt to your movements.
This option from Montane brings waterproof protection but with barely any penalty in regards to breathability or weight. It’s a jacket that’s made with serious running in mind; stuff like multi-day ultramarathons or mountain marathons.
As you’d expect with a jacket that weighs just 110g and that scrunches up to about the size of an apple, this thing is light on features. You get a hood that’s semi-elasticated around its rim, the hem is elasticated as well and so are the cuffs (only slightly though). Then there’s that quarter-length zip which is made from water resistant YKK Aquaguard with a protective storm flap on the inside. There are no pockets unfortunately.
This is almost identical to the Montane Podium Pull On only it has the added benefit of giving you a pocket to keep your phone in. It’s also fractionally lighter too. In fact, at 90g this is one of the lightest waterproof jackets you’ll find.
We reckon this will appeal to two types of outdoor enthusiasts. First of all, it’ll suit mountain runners; any people who are after kit that could give them a competitive edge while still meeting the waterproof jacket criteria for a race.
It’ll also suit just casual trail runners who want something that’s light and compact enough to stick in their running vest or even the pocket of their shorts just in case the weather suddenly turns on them. “The ultimate stash and forget waterproof”, Rab call it.
Price: £120 Weight: 116g Type: Windproof Attributes: Lightweight, packable, eco-friendly Best for: Short to medium distance running
This is a very light offering designed for a range of activities, including hiking, climbing and running. It comes pre-treated with a Nikwax solution, making it highly water resistant, just bear in mind that this will need topping up every now and then, something that’s very easy to do at home. What’s more, if you combine the Ostro Windproof with Páramo’s Ostro Fleece, you also get a very effective wet weather system.
Loads of nice features here, including a toggled hood, useful pockets, hem adjustment and reflective details and you can count on it coming from a company with some excellent eco credentials. In fact, Páramo is one of the best brands out there when it comes to sustainability.
Price: £190 Weight: 255g Type: Windproof with water resistant panels Attributes: Lightweight, packable, very breathable Best for: Short to medium distance runs
This is an incredibly well-made jacket with excellent fabrics and an innovative design. The key thing we like about it is the fact it has loads of clever little hidden vents that keep wind and rain out while still allowing hot, moist air to escape. And you also got a good degree of wet weather protection from this thanks to its clever water resistant panels located across the shoulders. It’s by no means a waterproof jacket, but you could wear this for a 20-minute run in light rain and still feel adequately protected.
Features include a little zipped pocket that doubles as a stuff sack, semi-elasticated cuffs, reflective details and then a protective hood with a neat little peak.
Lightweight, stretchy, windproof and water resistant and very breathable. There’s a lot to like here.
Price: £220 Weight: 175g Type: Waterproof Attributes: Innovative design, compatible with race vest Best for: Ultra running, long-distance running, mountain marathons
Take one look at this jacket and the first thing you’ll notice is the pretty unique, two zipped design. By throwing this jacket on when wearing a trail vest, the two zips allow you to fold down the font collar of the jacket, improving ventilation and providing access to your hydration flasks. The jacket has also been built with a loose fit to accommodate this, so there’s no need to size up.
The Storm Racer ain’t no slouch in the waterproofing department either, thanks to its three-layer H2No fabric. H2No is, of course, Patagonia’s own in-house waterproof material, which boasts a 100% recycled 30D nylon ripstop face fabric.
The key things to look for? Go for something that’s lighter than 200g, that’s breathable and that will keep the wind out at the very least. It also helps to have at least one pocket to hold a phone and make sure to check that it’s big enough for the model you have.
Hooded or hoodless, waterproof or just water resistant, that stuff’s all down to personal preference and the conditions you plan to venture out in.
Waterproof Running Jackets Versus Non-Waterproof Running Jackets
When choosing a running jacket and working out what type is best for you, the key thing to think about is the kind of situations and conditions you’ll mainly be using it in. If you tend to only run for a short session before returning home and jumping in the shower, do you really need to have waterproof protection? OK you might want it on cold winter days, but in the warmer and milder months, you’re probably going to end up sweaty and clammy in a waterproof and you’d be better off wearing something that’s just water resistant and windproof.
For long-distance running where you’re venturing far away from the warmth of your home or car, it’s wise to run with a waterproof running jacket, that’s unless you’re absolutely sure there’s not going to be any rain. And if you’re keen to take part in organised trail running marathons or ultra marathons, bear in mind that a waterproof jacket will normally be an essential race requirement.
Other Things To Look For
Pockets are always handy, but too many and the jacket might be on the heavy or flimsy side. In many cases, it’ll be unnecessary to have more than one pocket. Most will have a chest pocket, either on the inside or the outside of the jacket. Those located on the inside will tend to be a safer, drier place to store your phone but the tradeoff is that they can be harder to reach when you’re on the go.
If there’s a hood, check whether it’ll hold and whether there’s a toggle so you can adjust the fit. Some will simply have an elasticated rim, which isn’t often ideal if you’re likely to be using the jacket in very windy conditions. Likewise, check how the cuffs hold as well. Most jackets will simply have elasticated ones but there are options out there with more reliable, albeit heavier, Velcro tabs too.
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