THE perfect running jacket can be the difference between a good run and a great run. We tried out some of the best on the market and here’s how they scored…
A good running jacket needs to tick quite a few boxes: fit the weather come rain or shine, have good pockets to carry your phone, keys, money and maybe even gloves and a hat and be flexible enough to suit your style of run, whether that is a speed session or covering long distances.
As runners, we prefer a jacket that is breathable enough for short, fast, sweaty runs but also warm enough for long early morning runs at a slower pace.
We tried a number of running jackets over a variety of distances and in varying conditions, below are the ones that came out on top.
Pros: Super light and flexible with no restriction during the run.
Good across different weather conditions, very well thought out
Cons: Running with the bigger back pocket full of bits can feel a little clunky because the jacket itself is so light, expensive
This running jacket scored very highly for us because of the way it adapts to different weather conditions and stays breathable no matter what sort of run you’re on.
The stretchy, SpeedWeave fabric means the jacket never felt stiff or restrictive in our testing, even during interval speed sessions where there is increased movement in the arms and torso.
Most read in Product Reviews
The jacket is made up of overlapping panels rather than one piece of material, which means it’s easy for air to pass through the running jacket when you start to get warmer on your run.
It also has reflective details for running in the dark and the fabric is windproof and water-resistant, so it’s perfect for adverse conditions. Its hood is well designed with a drawstring to cinch it back to fit the head perfectly.
The running jacket comes with a small side zipped pocket that perfectly fits a phone and a bigger open pocket on the back. We tried this on a number of runs, including a midday 10K trail run and a faster 5K morning road run and it was comfortable and weather-proof every time.
Pros: Super lightweight, packs down quickly and easily, nice looking design, 100% recycled
Cons: Doesn’t have a full zip, which could be annoying to some
This is an incredibly light jacket and the ripstop fabric feels almost weightless when it’s on, but it still does a really good job of protecting from strong winds, keeping you warm on colder days.
It’s also water resistant, although it doesn’t have a hood which will mean having to wear a cap during rainy runs. It worked well during a run with a light shower and it kept us dry (luckily we’re not fussed about having a hood during light rain!). As an added bonus, the jacket dried very quickly on the run once the rain stopped.
If it does warm up, you need to pull it off over your head, which some might find annoying while running, but it was actually pretty easy due to the roomy side zip on the neckline and you’re rewarded by not having to waste time trying to zip up before tying around the waist.
The jacket allows for a nice flexible run and, if you want even more freedom, we would suggest going one size up. It has a large front pocket that is big enough to hold a phone and a small bottle. When not wearing the jacket, this front pocket doubles up as a small pouch to fold the jacket into, making it easy to store or carry.
- Marathon Jacket, £57.60 from Adidas – buy here
Pros: Good adjustable hood for very windy and chilly days, good fit, reflective on dark runs
Cons: Not waterproof but ok for light showers
This jacket was a good fit and has a little bit of extra length so it covers the glutes a little bit as well as the upper body, which is good when it’s a little chillier outside. Plus the loose design means it doesn’t restrict movement at all.
It is super-light so it won’t slow you down on those fast runs and the innovative overlapping fabric on the back of the jacket means it will keep you warm when it’s a bit cold while providing ventilation when you start to warm up.
Where this running jacket comes into its own is with the WND.RDY tech, which really does protect you when it’s blustery. However, this is not a waterproof jacket. It can cope with very short, light showers, but it’s not designed for a downpour, so it’s better suited to summer and autumn running. It’s also good for runs in low light as it has 360 reflectivity.
The running jacket has two pockets: a smaller one for keys, cards and cash at the front and a roomier square pocket on the back for your phone, gels, orienteering maps etc, with a smaller pocket within it to keep your items separate if needed.
The running jacket packs down into its own back pocket making it easy to carry.
- Running 1/4 Zip jacket, £40.50 from Gymshark – buy here
Pros: Very warm, sweat-wick fabric, good for trail walks and general sportswear
Cons: Doesn’t feel like a jacket as such, no pockets
This feels looks less like a jacket and more like a base layer as it doesn’t have a full zip or pockets and it’s made from nylon (non-waterproof) fabric.
Still, it’s designed specifically for running when it’s that bit colder and was in fact one of the warmest running jackets we tested. The fabric has the sweat-wick tech to help when you inevitably warm up as the run goes on, but during the cold weather, the funnel neck really helps, as do the thumbholes that stop the sleeves from rolling up.
While the running jacket performed really well in the wind and cold, it is not designed for the rain. It withstood an on-off very light shower to be fair during a 5K run, but anything heavier would mean a certain drenching.
It would work really well under one of the other super lightweight waterproof jackets as an extra line of defence in the winter.
- Kalenji Men’s Windproof Running Jacket, £44.99 from Decathlon – buy here
Pros: Good value, very good fit, good ventilation
Cons: Stuff bounces in the pockets a bit, a bit heavy for fast runs
At first look, this doesn’t look like your usual running jacket; rather a hiking jacket or everyday coat, but don’t be deceived by appearances. Despite its thicker fabric, it’s very light to run in and the perforations along various areas of the jacket and breathing gaps in the back of the jacket keep you well-ventilated when you feel hot.
The running jacket performed well on a 10K road run and coped well with a few bouts of light rain, but it’s not advertised as waterproof so bear that in mind.
It also has a handy foldaway hood, which came in use and was easily adjustable to fit the head. Two front pockets with zips can easily hold a phone and a few other bits in each (although our belongings did bounce around a little in testing).
- Everydayrun Full-Zip Knit Jacket, £63.75 from Adidas – buy here
Pros: Comfortable, fashionable, good ventilation
Cons: A little warm for summer runs
This is a good-looking running jacket that could be also be used for football training or down the gym.
The heavy fabric is soft and gives the impression that it’s better suited to indoor wear when the weather is bad outside, but the jacket actually has a durable water-repellent coating, which means it stood up well to a run during light rain (we do think it would start to feel heavy and soggy during proper and consistent rainfall, though).
The jacket feels very comfortable; a little more like a tracksuit top and it comes up a bit big in sizing, which means movement for the arms and torso is easy. If you like your running jacket a little less baggy, going a size smaller would be recommended.
There are two large pockets on the front of the jacket and, although it looks less technical than some of the others, it comes with 360 reflectivity, has ventilation strips near the shoulders and kept us very warm on an early spring run, although it might be a little too hot in the summer.
- Light Speed Running Jacket, £155 from Sweaty Betty – buy here
Pros: 100% recycled materials, incredibly comfortable, very easy to move in
This is a really well-thought-out running jacket and it fits like a glove, although it’s pretty snug on the bust, so do think about going up a size if you need larger sizes around the chest.
The fabric has more of a tracksuit material feel, but this running jacket is water resistant and, despite its thicker, quilted material, it dried very quickly after a spot of rain during a trail run.
The excellent fit with its thumbholes means this jacket stays in place, as does anything that is placed in the two large zipped outside pockets and the two open pockets inside.
The jacket comes with reflective detailing and sweat-wick tech to keep you dry, even on fast, clammy runs. The design of this running jacket means you’ll stay warm on cold and windy days but ventilated on warmer days. It’s best suited for colder summer days and then perfect for Autumn, Winter and Spring.
- Adizero Running Jacket, £102.40 from Adidas – buy here
Pros: Loose fit allows easy movement, doubles up as everyday wear, good in the cold, reflective in low light
Cons: A little heavier than some of the other jackets, can be a little warm once you get going
This is a super-comfortable running jacket: rather than being made to fit, it’s a loose box shape around the torso and has looser arms too, which works well to allow full range of movement when running.
The sleeves narrow at the wrist and there are adjustable drawstrings around the base of the jackets to ensure protection against the elements.
The fabric is a little thicker than some of the other running jackets we reviewed and is made from 80% recycled materials, which is a nice bonus. The slightly heavier feel performed well on colder evenings and in strong winds and the hood worked well when trail running in light rain for an hour.
However Adidas doesn’t make any claims that the jacket is waterproof, so maybe it would struggle in heavy downpours, which we didn’t get to test it in.
The jacket has three pockets in total: one on the left breast, which just about fits a phone, but there’s more room in the two zipped lower front pockets.
The running jacket can easily double up for everyday wear as it’s a nice shape and colour.
Want to find more savings on your online shopping? Then head to Sun Vouchers where you can get discounts and voucher codes from hundreds of top retailers including B&Q, Boots, Iceland, Lookfantastic, Dunelm, adidas and more.