The 16 best running jackets for men 2020 | Tackle whatever the weather can throw at you

Waterproof and weather-resistant jackets to keep you running through the winter
The 16 best running jackets for men

People who say that there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing, have probably never trained for a marathon through the winter without a good running jacket, because trot out that maxim in front of a runner who’s just logged 20 miles in the wind and rain wearing an old jumper and you’re not going to make any friends.

However, while there definitely is bad weather, it’s true to say that getting the right gear for your runs in inclement conditions can make a big difference to how comfortable you are. There’s no jacket out there that can make torrential rain a joy to run in, but there are plenty of great options that will help you shrug off showers and power through a nasty headwind.

What jacket do you need?

When picking your running jacket your first choice is whether you want a fully waterproof or water-resistant top. Waterproof jackets naturally provide the most protection from the rain, and if you sign up for adventurous trail races you will often have to have one in your pack as part of the essential kit list.

However, there are very few waterproof jackets that won’t make you uncomfortably sweaty on a run, to the point where you might prefer getting wet from precipitation than your own perspiration.

If you’re training in sub-zero conditions that probably won’t be a problem, but if you’re in more temperate climes, then a water-resistant, windproof jacket is usually the better bet. You’ll still avoid getting wet during light rain, and the jacket will be far more breathable so you won’t get too sweaty.

Beyond the level of water-proofing, it’s also worth looking into what kind of storage a jacket offers, and also what reflective details it has on the outside. Most jackets are used in the winter when you’ll often have to train in the dark, so reflective details are handy to make you more visible on your runs.

Best waterproof jackets

Gore R7 Shakedry Hooded Jacket

The best running jackets to tackle your training in any conditions

When it comes to waterproof jackets, you really do get what you pay for, and the pricy Gore R7 Shakedry jacket is almost impossibly light and breathable given that it offers full protection from the rain. It’s so lightweight, in fact, that we tend to pull it on for runs on frosty days even if it’s not raining, which is always the sign that a waterproof jacket really is as breathable as they all claim to be.

The R7’s featherweight design also means you can easily pack it into a pocket or small bag to carry with you in case the weather turns, and the front chest pocket is well-positioned so it can take a large phone in a way that stops it bouncing around when running.

Once you’re done with your run in the rain, you can quickly shake the jacket to get rid of the water on its surface, so you don’t have to wait for it to dry before you pack it up again.

Inov-8 Stormshell Waterproof Jacket

The best running jackets to tackle your training in any conditions

When the weather is truly awful but you still have to head out for your run, the Stormshell is the jacket you want to have at hand. The taped seams, high zip, and peaked hood ensure the rain is kept at bay, and the thumb holes on the sleeves keep your hands cozy as well.

The Stormshell is a lightweight jacket too, built with intense racing in torrid conditions in mind, and it packs away into its own pocket to slip into your backpack to fulfill any essential kit list requirements your event might have.

It also comes in a pleasingly bright range of colors, rather than just the usual black, navy and grey options.

Castore Lorenzo Waterproof Jacket

The best running jackets to tackle your training in any conditions

If you’re anything like us, what will first attract you to this jacket is how good it looks, but let us assure you that it backs up its style with plenty of substance.

The Lorenzo jacket is 100% waterproof and warm enough that you’ll be able to use it with just a base layer layer for runs in the low single digits, or even sub-zero temperatures.

The jacket feels soft on the skin and the exceptional temperate regulation it offers means that you can wear it for easy runs on cold days – even when it’s not raining – without overheating. Though if you’re planning an intense session then it might be a mite too cozy.

Best weather-resistant jackets

On Weather Jacket

The best running jackets to tackle your training in any conditions

This jacket is one of the most versatile we’ve come across, offering protection from the elements while being stylish enough to wear when not running. It's also easily packed into its own pocket so you can carry it with you when you don't need it.

The Weather Jacket is not completely waterproof, but we’ve yet to run in a shower that the water-repellant coating couldn’t handle, and the cap design of hood means your face is well protected. Unless it’s really tipping it down, this jacket is the perfect breathable top later for your cold weather runs.

Nike Shield

The best running jackets to tackle your training in any conditions

The loose fit of this jacket allows you to run without restriction and add whatever other layers you might need underneath comfortably. While it’s not completely water and wind-proof, it provides more than adequate protection from both, so unless you have a day on mountain trails in midwinter planned it’ll more than suffice to keep you warm and dry.

However, what we like most about the Nike Shield range is the designs. Even the black version will stand out more than most thanks to the green flashes, while the purple and green jacket is a real head-turner, if you like to make an impression when you run. And with reflective trims around the pockets, you’ll be seen at night as well.

Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Running Jacket

The 8 best running jackets for men 2019: Tackle whatever the weather can throw at you

Unlike some weatherproof running jackets, which can feel restrictive, the Bonatti offers a surprising level of movement whilst still feeling tough enough to take on the wind and rain.

Made with something Salomon calls 'Advanced skin DRY', the jacket aims to balance comfort, breathability and protection against the elements. For all of those factors, it does an extremely good job, coming in as one of the softest and least rigid of the technical outdoor jackets we've tested. When running that's most noticeable in the fact it manages to avoid the rustling sound made by stiffer jackets.

That comfort is, however, a tradeoff and although it works perfectly in most conditions the waterproofing does struggle in more extreme wet conditions – something that tends to happen when you incorporate a high level of breathability into a fabric. For training up to middle distances, it's the perfect balance of fit and function, for long-distance trail running in the wilderness, you'll probably need something more formidable when taking on the rain.

Other features include a snug elasticated hood, the ability to pack it away in its own pocket and taped seams (a feature often required by races).

Adidas Terrex Agravic Windweave Jacket

The 9 best running jackets for men 2019: Tackle whatever the weather can throw at you

Don't let the fact that this little number from adidas looks nicer than most of your normal tops detract from its prowess as a running jacket. As well as a durable water-repellent coating that's designed to repel rain and snow it also has a clever bodymapping design with heat and sweat zones where you need them.

The athletic fit is built to allow freedom of movement, so it'll do the job whether you're running on the flat or scaling a mountain. Details include a handy chest pocket that the whole jacket can be stowed away in, elasticated cuffs as well as an adjustable hood and hem.

Best budget running jacket

Kalenji Run Wind

The best running jackets to tackle your training in any conditions

There are plenty of cheap running jackets out there that promise full protection from the elements, and indeed no rain will penetrate them, but you’ll probably not notice that because you’ll be sweating so much owing to their lack of breathability. As a result, if you’re working to a tight budget we recommend going for a windproof jacket.

The Kalenji Run Wind puts all its protection onto the front of the jacket, to help you push through headwinds, while the back has a ventilated panel on it to avoid overheating.

The fabric is also water-resistant enough that light showers won’t drench you, and there are reflective details on the front, back and hood.

Best reflective running jackets

Brooks Nightlife Jacket

The best running jackets to tackle your training in any conditions

Sometimes a picture says more than words ever could, and once you’ve seen the Brooks Nightlife Jacket we’re really not sure you’ll take much convincing of how visible it makes you on the run.

The fluorescent pattern on the top of the jacket is ideal for making you stand out on twilight runs, and when the sun has completely gone down the reflective strips positioned all over the jacket light up like a Christmas tree when light hits them.

The Nightlife jacket is water and wind-resistant, rather than proof, to ensure breathability, and it packs away into its own pocket, which has an elastic strap on the outside so you can wear the packed jacket on your arm.

Proviz Reflect360 Running Jacket

The best running jackets to tackle your training in any conditions

If being seen on night runs is your one and only concern, Proviz is a brand you should get to know, since it offers a range of clothing and accessories all designed to make you as visible as possible.

The Reflect360 jacket is a fine example of this. The entire front of the jacket is made from a reflective material that shines brightly when light hits it, turning from a muted grey color into a beacon that no driver can miss.

The reflective fabric is used for the arms as well, while a ventilated panel on the back ensures the jacket is also breathable.

Iffley Road Marlow II Waterproof Reflective Jacket

The 15 best running jackets for men 2020 | Tackle whatever the weather can throw at you

Function doesn't need to replace fashion when it comes to the best running kit, and British brand Iffley Road is a testament to beautifully designed kit that delivers when it comes to the technical features.

Made from a triple layer Italian softshell, the Marlow II is a formidable jacket when it comes to tackling the elements in style. Not only is it impressively light at 160g but the inner membrane offers a high level of water protection whilst ensuring breathability and comfort.

There's a full-length zip card, fully taped seams and the ability to stow it away in its own rear pocket, and the reflective stripes, as well as piping on the rear pocket, means that you'll be seen when running at night.

The only downside we've found from the Marlow II, aside from the hefty price tag, is the fact it doesn't have a hood. Which isn't a deal-breaker but it does mean some trail race may not allow it as part of your kit list.

Vollebak Solar Charged Jacket

The Solar Charged Jacket from Vollebak is by far one of the most technically impressive pieces of running kit you're likely to see at the moment. Like something from a Luc Besson film, the jacket is made from a material that absorbs light and then emits it via an eery glow.

That light can come from the sun, indoor artificial lighting or via a handheld torch or smartphone. It's also so responsive to light that you can actually write words on the material – which may be an issue if your friends get hold of it when you nip out the room.

Aside from the impressive futuristic tech, the Solar Charged jacket is no slouch when it comes to more terrestrial features. It's constructed from a 3-layer stretch fabric, is waterproof to 2,500mm (that's 'light to average rain'), has a rear zipped pocket, an elasticated hood and incorporates a number of breathability features across the design.

It is, inevitably, an expensive pice of kit though. So unless you're the most wanting of tech-fans, you may need to wait until the technology becomes significantly more widespread.

Best lightweight running jacket

Soar Ultra Jacket 3.0

The 15 best running jackets for men 2020 | Tackle whatever the weather can throw at you

Soar's range of running kit doesn't come cheap, but when you experience the intricate level of design and quality that goes into every item, it's obvious why.

This is the third iteration of Soar's popular running jacket, designed to offer the perfect balance between weather protection and weight. Constructed using the brand's Rainout fabric, it's built to cover you for anything up to heavy rain, without being too heavy or thick.

The stretch-woven Italian fabric manages to feel secure yet relaxed as your upper body moves and the single membrane material means that you won't overheat on hotter days. The sleek fit also combines taped seems with a high neck to keep the cold and wet out.

As well as a drawstring waist, the Ultra Jacket 3.0 features a zipped rear pocket large enough for gels or smaller run essentials – although you may need to add a running belt to carry your phone – and you also receive a 300ml bottle of Grangers Performance Wash to keep the jacket performing at its best.

Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody

The 9 best running jackets for men 2019: Tackle whatever the weather can throw at you

If you're looking for a super lightweight running jacket that you can carry around at even the slightest threat of drizzle the Incendo Hoody is a great choice.

In comparison to some of the weightier options on this list, it may lack some of the waterproofing power, but that's a trade-off you make when you want something as thin as this. For the depths of winter, it's probably not going to give you the level of protection you need but if you want something for the spring/autumn that will take the edge of the wind and tackle a lighter shower, you won't find anything as well balanced.

Designed specifically for running on the trails, the Incendo offers impressive freedom of movement while the light breathable material is made to offer a high level of ventilation. It'll also stow away into its own little bag that you can easily strap onto your belt for when the weather turns.

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

The 11 best running jackets for men 2019: Tackle whatever the weather can throw at you

The Helium II is a formidable piece of kit when you want the lightest most compact jacket out there, whether that's because you're heading out on the trails and want to be carrying the absolute minimum or because it's just one of those days where anything could happen.

At 180 grams you'd expect that Outdoor Research may have limited the technical aspects of the jacket. Fear not though, the functional aspects of the Helium II are impressive, especially for something ultralight. The lightweight 30D ripstop nylon face fabric is surprisingly durable and offers an excellent level of breathability, whilst the waterproofing is beyond what you'd expect – although not as competent as some of the weightier options on the list.

Considering the price and the weight, the Helium II offers an impressive level of protection against the elements. It is, however, a trade-off, so if you're expecting the most hard-wearing weather-proof jacket on the market you'll need something considerably bulkier.

Features include an easy to use and secure adjustable hood, a zip chest pocket, an internal pocket/storage pack for the jacket, reflective logos and a carabiner loop.

New Balance Printed Impact Run Light Pack Jacket

The 13 best running jackets for men 2020: Tackle whatever the weather can throw at you

The Impact Run jacket is one of the lightest jackets we've ran in and, to be completely honest, it doesn't offer a great deal of protection when it comes to the wind and rain – so if you want something for tough conditions it's unlikely to hack it.

The reason we like the Impact Run jacket so much is because it is so thin and light. It's perfect for those runs when it's just a bit chilly outside and you want something to take the edge off without making you sweat 2km into the run. The fabric is almost paper thin so it's barely noticeable, but it does offer a nice extra level of coverage from light rain and wind, especially if you're only wearing a t-shirt underneath.

Our favorite feature of the jacket is a strap that's packed away in the pocket that means you can pack it in on itself and wear around your waist when you start to heat up. A really nice little feature that's perfect if you're unsure whether you might need a jacket or you think the weather might turn when you're out.

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