Beat The Rain With The Best Running Jackets In 2022
Many runners prefer to run outdoors for a multitude of reasons. To run indoors, you either need a gym membership, which can be pricy depending on your area, or a treadmill, which takes up a lot of space in your home. Some will cite folding treadmills, but the thing is, treadmills quickly become dreadfully boring, and besides, they don’t work the same muscles as plain outdoor running does where you have to navigate the ever-changing terrain.
However, running outside does have its own requirements, including comfortable running shoes and a good running jacket. When it’s windy or raining, it’s easy to want to skip that run, but we all know you’ll probably be stoked to have put those miles in later. Lessen the chances for excuses and get yourself one of the best running jackets we rounded up below. These jackets are breathable, well-ventilated, and light and will help protect you in the cold, windy and rainy weather.
Whether you run through the city, on the beach, in the alpine, or through the forest, we have a versatile jacket for you to protect you from the elements.
- Editor’s Choice: Tabernash GORE-TEX Infinium Full-Zip Jacket
- Best Wind Jacket: Houdini Pace Wind Jacket
- Best for Shoulder Season Running: Ten Thousand Tactical Over Zip
- Classic Style: 5.11 PT-R Emily Full Zip
- Best for Snowy Days: The North Face Apex Bionic Soft Shell Jacket
- Excellent Weather Protection: The North Face Men’s Venture 2 Running Jacket
- Lightweight Performance: Outdoor Research Men’s Helium II Running Jacket
- Hideaway Hood: The North Face Men’s Resolve 2 Jacket
- Easiest to Pack: Brooks Men’s Canopy Jacket
- Great for Wind and Light Rain: Icebreaker Rush Windbreaker
- Perfect for Dawn Patrol: The North Face First Dawn Packable Jacket
- Year-Round Wear: Patagonia Men’s Houdini Jacket
- High Visibility: ASICS Men’s Accelerate Jacket
The Best Running Jacket
Topping our list of the best running jackets is the Tabernash GORE-TEX Infinium Full-Zip Jacket. This model earns its spot because of its versatility, safety features, thoughtful design and budget-friendly price point. I tested this jacket on runs, but I think it’d also be an excellent choice for cross country and backcountry skiing thanks to the three-layer construction that keeps you exceptionally warm. The GORE-TEX membrane is both windproof and water repellent, making this a great option for light precipitation and windy days. While there is no hood, there is a hideaway facemask that tucks into the collar for face protection on particularly frigid days.
Throughout the entire jacket are small vents to increase breathability, they are particularly noticeable in the underarms and zipper of the jacket. Lastly, there are a few more details that make this the best budget running jacket, including the reflective details, a two-way zipper, zippered pockets, and the jacket’s ability to pack into its own pocket.
Reflective trim for safety
Zipped pockets for valuables
Venting throughout the jacket
Three layers for warmth
Water-resistant and windproof GORE-TEX membrane
Excellent for running or snow sports
- ModelTabernash GORE-TEX
Lightweight sun and wind protection come in a gorgeous package in the Houdini Pace Wind Jacket. I tested this incredibly light jacket while on a climbing trip with the youth climbing team I coach to Bishop, CA. The desert sun baked us but strong winds whipped through too, keeping temperatures cool. The Pace Wind Jacket was such a stylish hit that several team parents and team kids asked to borrow it consistently. Its wind resistance helped fight off the nips cold wind left without absolutely roasting the wearer.
This windbreaker jacket‘s construction features C9 Ripstop and Wish Woven windproof fabric. These two offer a breathable and lightweight construction that still offers wind protection. The thumb holes keep the sleeves in place and small valuables can be stored in the zippered chest pocket. This jacket pairs well with the Pace wind shorts, upping your wind protection for your lower half. This model is the perfect blend of style, wind resistance, sun protection and breathability. I highly suggest adding this jacket to your running gear, especially if you often run in windy, sunny climates. Lastly, when this jacket has been loved too much and is ready for retirement, you can send it back to Houdini to be recycled, a fitting end for an incredible jacket.
Made from durable, recycled polyester
Wind and water-resistant
Excellent air permeability and wind protection
Relaxed fit allows for layers underneath
- ModelW’s Pace Wind
Oftentimes when there is only a men’s version of a product, I rely on my partner, Patrick, to assist with testing. For this guide, he helped test the Ten Thousand Tactical Over Zip on his weekly runs, while rock climbing and all around Portland. He loved this as a light layer that still provided a bit of warmth when needed. It’s perfect for those not quite warm, but not freezing spring days. Other than having been put through the wash, this model is showing no signs of wear after climbing outside four times and going on weekly runs for about two months.
Both Patrick and I think the cut is rather flattering and the zippered sleeve pocket is a great spot to stash small valuables for a run. The water-repellent ripstop is great for fighting off those little drizzles and offers some wind protection. Overall, this is a great running jacket, a perfect light layer for shoulder season activities, and a durable piece of gear for a wide variety of outdoor pursuits.
Water-repellent ripstop outer layer for wind and water protection
Permanent anti-odor treatment
Zippered sleeve pockets
Great balance of breathability and warmth
- ModelTactical Over Zip
The 5.11 PT-R Emily Full Zip is a great jacket for chilly jogs. It was the perfect companion for late spring jogs around Portland and casual wear for chilly mornings and evenings. One of the things that separates the Emily Full Zip from many options on our list is the very casual look. This jacket resembles a casual hoody, making it quite versatile while offering some great performance features for runners.
I love this model because it fits the classic “PNW Casual” style, meaning it’s great for brews with friends, a quick morning hike in Forest Park, and a jog through the Pearl District. Some of the features I love are the moisture-wicking and anti-odor fabric, the adjustable hood and the classic kangaroo-style pocket.
Moisture-wicking and anti-odor fabric
Hood with adjustable drawcord
Internal heat transfer
- ModelPT-R Emily Full Zip
Our next entry into the best running jackets list is The North Face Apex Bionic Softshell Jacket. This jacket is ideal for cold temperatures, whether that’s a snowy hike, snowshoe excursion, or a frigid run. This model offers decent water protection but could be an excellent mid-layer companion to many of the shell jackets on this list. We love the stretchy material and ability to move freely. The soft fleece interior is comfortable directly against the skin and offers breathability to prevent trapping of excess heat, while a DWR coating on the exterior offers some protection from the elements.
We love this product as a mid-layer, running jacket, and for cold days. It shines in its versatility as a softshell and is wearable on active days and rest days. For extra storage, this jacket offers two zippered hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket.
Windproof and water-repellent shell
Soft fleece interior
Repurposed materials throughout the construction
Three zippered pockets
Great as a mid or outer layer
- BrandThe North Face
- Weight8 Ounces
The Venture 2 is one of The North Face’s most popular running jackets. This shell is both waterproof and windproof, offering excellent protection against the elements. The adjustable hood makes sure wind and water stay off your head and neck while you run, keeping your earbuds safe too.
The Venture 2 boasts a relaxed fit that doesn’t interfere with movement and the breathable DryVent 2.5 shell helps ensure you don’t overheat. There are Velcro cuff tabs, a flap over the zipper, and a cinch cord at the waist to help the jacket become more form-fitting when you need it to, keeping cold wind from getting in. If you are looking to upgrade your running equipment, make sure you also read our running shoes review.
Made from recycled polyester
DWR finish, waterproof and windproof
DryVent waterproof shell
Fully adjustable hood
- BrandThe North Face
- Weight15 Ounces
The Helium II from Outdoor Research is incredibly lightweight at only 5.5 oz. It’s also 100% waterproof, offering exceptional weather protection. This fully waterproof jacket also boasts a loose fit that doesn’t impinge movement while you run and the 30D ripstop nylon fabric also happens to be breathable and extremely comfortable.
The Helium II is intended to protect you from unpredictable weather, making it an excellent trail running and alpine companion. To that end, it’s great to take on a hike and there’s a nifty carabiner loop on its stow bag that lets you clip it to your belt loop, or a harness while you climb.
Seam taped throughout
Waterproof and breathable
30D ripstop nylon
Extremely lightweight at 5.5 oz
Pertex® Shield+ 2.5L
- BrandOutdoor Research
- Weight7 Ounces
This is a great-looking winter running jacket that’s determined to keep you warm even when the polar vortex has other ideas. The North Face DryVent™ 2L shell brushes off winter winds while keeping the warmth inside next to you where it belongs. The Resolve 2 uses a multi-layer approach to cold-weather comfort. One layer to ensure you stay dry, stay warm, and that the wind is kept at bay, the other for warmth.
The hood, though, is where the Resolve 2 really achieves separation from most competitors. The hood is one of the things that sets this piece of running gear apart, as it rolls down into the collar. When you have the hood out, it keeps your warm and comfortable while still allowing for decent visibility. When you don’t need it, easily tuck it away under the collar and it won’t add a ton of bulk. For more durable and affordable jackets, check our guide to best Carhartt Jackets.
Waterproof and windproof breahtbale jacket
DryVent™ 2L shell with breathable mesh liner
Covered, zippered hand pockets
Great outer layer for cold days
- BrandThe North Face
- Weight2 Pounds
The Brooks Men’s Canopy Jacket is a perfect jacket for cold weather running. Made from Breathable DriLayer Seal fabric, it’s light, breathable, and both wind and water-resistant. As a nice bonus, you can pack it into the zip pocket that comes with a wearable elastic band for easy portability.
The Canopy Jacket comes with two hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket where you can securely store your valuables when running. The no-bounce hood can also be stowed away when not in use, and the trim fit isn’t restricting at all, allowing you to remain comfortable every step of the way.
Wind- and water-resistant fabric
Packs into the zip pocket
Two hand pockets, zippered chest pocket
Light, breathable jacket
- Weight0.50 Pounds
The Icebreaker Rush Windbreaker is an excellent lightweight jacket with protection from the elements, namely wind and light rain. This jacket may not stand up to a full-on downpour but it fights cold wind as you run and features a hefty amount of impressive features in a featherweight package. The nylon outer layer is the main defense against the wind while the mesh interior lining offers moisture-wicking to keep you warm and dry.
The fit is designed to offer room for layers underneath for cold weather running. One of the most thoughtful features is offset shoulder seams, meaning less chafing when running with a hydration pack or a running backpack. Overall, this is an excellent light jacket for light rain and cold, windy weather.
Offset shoulder seams
Nylon shell offers wind protection
Mesh lining keeps you dry
Weighs 8.5 ounces
- ModelRush Windbreaker
- Weight8.5 Ounces
The North Face First Dawn Jacket is perfect for those rainy spring hikes or runs. The reflective details throughout the design of this good running jacket offer high visibility for city runners. Other features we love are the zippered back pocket, which is great for storing nutrition for the avid runner or other small items. The adjustable hood and hem, on the other hand, keep you warm while also keeping out wind and water.
This running jacket also features performance features like a moisture-wicking synthetic construction and a nylon shell outer layer constructed entirely out of recycled materials. We love an environmentally friendly product, especially in a fast-fashion world. When not in use, this jacket folds into its own pocket so it can be easily stored in or clipped onto the side of a running pack.
Nylon shell constructed with recycled materials
DryVent 2.5L waterproof membrane
Zippered back pocket
Reflective details for visibility
Exceptional wind and rain protection
- ModelFirst Dawn Packable Jacket
The Patagonia Men’s Houdini Jacket is stylish, breathable, lightweight, and yet very durable. It’s built with the cold weather in mind and features 100% ripstop nylon with a high degree of water resistance, high-quality stitching throughout, a zippered chest pocket with a clip-in loop for your hydration pack, and a reflective logo for protection.
This cold-weather jacket is tailored close, though there’s still room for a mid-layer should you need it and the hood effectively seals against the wind. Handsome, effective, and affordable comfort for the all-season workout. Patagonia also offers an extensive return and repair warranty program, so even if a trial run takes a toll on this lightweight jacket, you can rest assured it won’t be destined for the trash. Find more great jackets like this by checking out our guide to the most popular Patagonia jackets.
Built-in contoured hood
100% ripstop nylon with water repellent finish
Elasticized cuffs, drawstring hem and hood
This is another outstanding 3-season companion that’s going to keep the wind and rain at bay while allowing you to look and feel great in the process. The ASICS Accelerate is an ultra-lightweight, waterproof shell with zippered vents that provide comfort and taped seams that keep that cold air from sneaking in.
There’s a reflective logo and a string of reflective dots down the spine that alert vehicles to your presence, a zipper garage at the chin, 3 zippered pockets, and Velcro cuffs for good measure. All around, this is a great option for the price.
Durable, waterproof finish
Lightweight, breathable, 10K WR/10K BR stretch
Chest pocket with earphone slot
- Weight1 Pounds
Why Trust Us
I started loving running when I was 8. I think it was a third grade field day. Running was accessible and I had this crazy (for an eight-year-old) ability to go for miles. The love affair lasted until I overtrained and was unable to run after age 16. From there, I took a hiatus until a meniscus tear from other sports informed me that my knees were fine. So I started running again and it's one of my favorite parts of my week. I don't run often, mostly as a supplement for my other sports but it's been a staple of my life for years and years. Trail running in the PNW and the cascades is excellent and that's where the rain jackets of this guide were tested. I looked at how weather-resistant they were as I dealt with the drizzle and light showers Portland is known for. I also looked at stretchy materials for freedom of movement, wind protection for the gnarly Columbia River Gorge winds, and warmth for cold weather running.
Who This Is For
This guide is for anyone looking for a running jacket. This guide may suit those with more cold, wintery days than those closer to the equator simply because of its nature, but it gets cold all over and some less than ideal weather conditions shouldn't stop your training. This guide will also put emphasis on wind and waterproof fabric and jackets, so if those are lower on your priority list, there may not be as many options here for you.
How We Picked
Selecting the best running jackets started with our personal tried and true favorites. From there we looked at best sellers, what runners prefer, and the top-performing running jackets. We know that we'll have runners of all abilities, sizes, and mileage reading this who all live in a variety of climates. With this in mind, we wanted to have a huge variety of options available to suit the desert trail runners, forest fiends, and city runners.
How We Tested
Testing running jackets involved quite a few runs. These jackets were all tested during a very rainy spring here in Portland, Oregon. They ran with me through cities, Forest Park and on Mt Hood. Temperatures and weather conditions while testing included 35 and cloudy, lots of 45 and rainy days, and a few cold weather days up in the alpine.
Features To Look For In Running Jackets
Few running jackets will earn top scores in every one of the following categories but we look for those that rank high in most of them:
Quality - Like any other article of clothing, the quality of a running jacket starts with things like materials and progresses to the cut, the stitching, finished seams, overall comfort, and the quality of the zippers. If a jacket doesn’t impress in those basic areas, all the waterproofing in the world isn’t going to turn it into a high-quality, high-value garment.
Material - The best running clothes are made from materials like 100% polyester, ripstop nylon, GORE-TEX, and the like. There’s no compromising on material considerations if your running jacket is going to last more than a single season. You’ll also want to consider the quality of the zippers, whether the hem and cuffs feature elastic, drawstring, or Velcro and whether the lining is able to effectively wick away moisture so that you’re not swimming in sweat.
Durability - While many good running jackets can be described as “affordable” that’s not the same as “cheap”. And since it’s going to cost you real money you want to make sure your running jacket is going to hold up for at least a few years. If the materials, stitching, and hardware are all first-rate, most jackets should last you a while depending on how many miles you put in and what the conditions and terrain you run in look like.
Design - The design you choose for your running jacket is the one thing that is purely subjective which means the ball is in your court on this one. Just keep in mind that choosing a certain design that is void of some important features doesn’t make a lot of sense. The selection process ought to go something like this: look for several jackets that have the features you want and need and then from those, select the design that best speaks to your tastes.
Venting and breathability - There are different types of vents including the straightforward zippered slots, mesh pockets that will vent hot air if you open them, and even Velcro cuffs that can be opened all the way to allow hot air out. Breathability is venting without the zippers or Velcro. The breathable material will let just enough air pass through it to prevent you from needing to vent in some cases. However, don’t expect breathability alone to suffice when you’re running a marathon. Venting and breathability are absolutely vital because we generate so much body heat as we run.
Weather resistance - Some running jackets are waterproof and some are not. What you get will depend in large part on the climate where you live. But most people will need to account for the possibility of wind and rain. There are two ways you can do that. Either buy separate rain and wind jackets or buy a windbreaker that’s also a waterproof jacket. Whatever you choose is up to you but it’s hard to beat the convenience of having one jacket that can handle any eventuality. Residents of the PNW need a waterproof jacket for the light drizzle that persists for six months out of the year, while a desert dweller may not need to worry so much about waterproofness but winds could be their main concern.
Comfort – It goes without saying that the fit of your jacket will play a huge role in determining how comfortable it is. But there’s more to comfort than just fit. The elasticity of the fabric is important as well as how it feels against your skin and how the jacket feels when it’s wet. Are the seams sealed? If they’re not they could allow cold air and moisture in that could make things very uncomfortable indeed. Is there a “garage” for the zipper near your chin? Does the hood pull down on your head? A comfortable jacket is likely to be worn more. If you don't get the right jacket, it may spend more time in the closet than on the trails.
Mobility - Mobility and comfort go hand in hand. If your running jacket restricts your movements when you run then it’s not much of a running jacket. When you try your running jacket on, raise your arms and put them through standard running motions. Twist, turn, bend forward and backward. If you find that the jacket doesn’t go with you, send it back. Trail runners and folks who spend time in the alpine may also be greeted with occasional scrambling or downed trees, making a mobile and versatile jacket absolutely imperative.
Day and night visibility - Having reflective material on your running clothes is crucial. Especially during the winter months when the days are short and it’s often dark whether you run in the morning or the evening. No matter how alert you are, cars move so fast that it only takes seconds for things to get ugly. You cannot assume they will see you; you have to take steps to make yourself visible. That means a reflective running jacket. The classic black jacket is great but in this case, prioritizing safety is key.
Season – Running jackets aren’t designed for Miami or LA, usually. They’re designed for people who get up at dawn to get their cardio in Central Park or along Storrow Drive in Boston or Lakefront Path in Chicago. These, and a thousand others like them, are towns where the weather changes drastically throughout the course of the year and where your running jacket will need to compensate for the chills of October, the arctic blasts of January, and the late frosts in April. Colder weather shouldn't stop your training and a quality cold weather jacket is key for cold winters.
Storage - Many of the top running jackets will fold up into their own pockets. But that ability is mostly important to backpackers and maybe rock climbers. Most runners store their jackets in the closet or on a hook in the foyer. Trail runners and hikers can also benefit from a jacket that folds into its own pocket.
Running Jacket FAQ
Q: What’s the difference between a waterproof jacket and a water-resistant jacket?
A: Water resistance is the most basic level of protection. Essentially it means that it’s not easy for water to penetrate the garment, although if the rain is heavy or persistent enough it’s going to get through, like it or not. Waterproof means the garment is impervious to water. So you could wear it for hours in the pouring rain and whatever part of you is covered by the jacket is not going to get wet. The thing about waterproofing is that in most cases it’s achieved by treating the fabric in some fashion and these treatments can wear off over time. So a running jacket that was completely waterproof when you first got it may let water through after a couple of dozen washings. In which case you’ll need to retreat it.
Q: Are windproof and waterproof jackets breathable?
A: The best windproof and waterproof jackets are generally quite breathable. They have an outer fabric layer that’s typically treated with a water repellant and an inner layer that’s breathable, meaning it has tiny little holes that are too small to allow liquid water to penetrate but are just big enough to let water vapor escape so you stay dry inside.
Q: Should the jacket be loose or tight?
A: To a certain extent it depends on the elasticity of the fabric. If the fabric gives only a little, the jacket will need to fit pretty loose. If the fabric has plenty of play, it can be cut tighter to the body. If you live in a place where the winters get brutally cold you’ll probably want a jacket that’s loose enough to accommodate a mid-layer beneath it but not so flowy that there are too many air pockets and you end up cold.
Q: How do I re-waterproof my running jacket?
A: You can usually tell if a jacket needs re-waterproofing by hand washing and drying it in the dryer according to instructions. Test it when it comes out. If the DWR (durable water repellent) isn’t revitalized and water is soaking into the surface, it’s time to re-waterproof. To do so, hand wash the jacket again, this time using a commercially available cleaner/waterproofer. Dry the jacket in the dryer according to instructions. The jacket should now be re-waterproofed. You can also spray the jacket with a waterproofing spray (there are many available on the market). Keep in mind that not all running jackets are waterproof jackets.
Q: How do I clean my running jacket?
A: Different jackets and materials will have different care instructions but as a general rule you should remove any stains or trouble spots by hand using a spot remover that’s approved for the material. When the tough spots are out, fill the sink with lukewarm water. Put the jacket in the water with a teaspoon of mild detergent. Gently wash the jacket by hand. Gently wring it out. (Conversely, if the care instructions call for machine washing follow those instructions.) When the jacket is clean either hang it to dry or place it in the dryer following the garment care instructions on the label.
- Water Resistant Versus Waterproof Jackets - REI Co-Op