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The 10 Best Men’s Running Jackets

Runner’s World Logo By Michael Charboneau of Runner’s World | Slide 1 of 11: When cold, wet weather comes around, you have two options: Run through it, or head for the treadmill. Although there’s nothing wrong with logging miles indoors, many runners prefer the fresh air—and with the right gear, you can get your run in even when the forecast looks dour. To stay comfortable, you’ll need to layer up, and a good running jacket is one of the most important layers to have in your closet.The Expert: I have been covering running and outdoor gear for years, both on-staff at Runner’s World and as a freelance journalist. I’ve been a runner for even longer: ever since I got my first pair of Brooks running shoes in middle school. In addition to covering running shoes and other topics for RW, I’ve written extensively about outdoor and fitness gear for other outlets, including Men’s Journal, InsideHook, Field Mag, and more. These days, I evaluate gear by running, hiking, and biking around Los Angeles, where I live. (And before you ask, yes, you can find chilly conditions in southern California—just head up to the mountains.)Choosing the Right Men’s Running JacketRunning jackets can block rain, snow, and wind and help you stay warm as you run. At the same time, a running jacket should also be flexible, light, and breathable; that way it won’t restrict your movement, weigh you down, or cause you to overheat.Broadly speaking, there are two main categories that are useful for comparing running jackets: protection and warmth. The materials used in the jacket will have a strong influence in how the jacket stacks up in both areas. Many running jackets utilize synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester. Nylon has the advantage of being lightweight and durable, while polyester wicks moisture well. The addition of stretchy materials like spandex or elastane make a jacket more flexible. Some jackets also incorporate natural materials like wool, which offers great temperature regulation properties (it traps heat when you’re cold but breathes and vents moisture when you’re hot).Suit Up: Our Essential Guide to the Best Men’s Running Gear • The Best Running Shoes for Men • 12 Great Men’s Running Shorts • 9 Workout Pants for Men Synthetic fabrics won’t absorb much moisture, but if you plan to run in the rain or snow, look for jackets that are specifically designed to be water-resistant. Some jacket manufacturers achieve this with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating over a base fabric. This treatment is good for light precipitation, but it won’t keep you dry in a heavy rainstorm. For more robust weatherproofing, look for fully waterproof jackets. They’re usually built with a water-impermeable membrane (like Gore-Tex) and taped or bonded seams to keep moisture from seeping through the jacket. They do come with a trade-off, however: Fully waterproof running jackets are less breathable.Some jackets are also designed with insulation to keep you warm. This can take several forms, including a fleece-lined interior, synthetic insulation, or even down. Each has its advantages: Fleece is soft and comfortable against the skin; synthetic insulation will keep you warm even if it gets wet; and down is lightweight, resilient, and easy to compress, which makes it more packable. Keep in mind, though, that insulation isn’t always necessary when you’re working up a sweat—you can also pair a simple shell jacket with a warm midlayer. By pairing it with different layers depending on the conditions, a shell can be more versatile than an insulated jacket, which is designed specifically for very cold weather.Finally, there are a few other features to consider. If you expect to run in rain or snow, a jacket with a hood will keep your head dry. If you tend to run hot, look for jackets with vents that will dump warm air and keep you cool. Jacket pockets can offer convenient storage, and many running jackets are designed to pack down into a pocket, which is helpful for traveling (or just saving space in your closet).How We EvaluatedTo compile this list, I used my own experience with running jackets, researched a wide range of options from top running brands, and talked with brand representatives to get more information on the latest running jackets for men. Below, I recommend a variety of options—from ultralight windbreakers to heftier insulated layers—to suit different preferences, budgets, and weather conditions. I evaluated each jacket based on its materials, weatherproofing, and warmth, and when possible, I tested jackets personally. To help you quickly sort through these options, see each review’s Key Specs section, which shows the size range (based on the manufacturers’ websites), weatherproofing, and weight of each jacket.

When cold, wet weather comes around, you have two options: Run through it, or head for the treadmill. Although there’s nothing wrong with logging miles indoors, many runners prefer the fresh air—and with the right gear, you can get your run in even when the forecast looks dour. To stay comfortable, you’ll need to layer up, and a good running jacket is one of the most important layers to have in your closet.

The Expert: I have been covering running and outdoor gear for years, both on-staff at Runner’s World and as a freelance journalist. I’ve been a runner for even longer: ever since I got my first pair of Brooks running shoes in middle school. In addition to covering running shoes and other topics for RW, I’ve written extensively about outdoor and fitness gear for other outlets, including Men’s Journal, InsideHook, Field Mag, and more. These days, I evaluate gear by running, hiking, and biking around Los Angeles, where I live. (And before you ask, yes, you can find chilly conditions in southern California—just head up to the mountains.)

Choosing the Right Men’s Running Jacket

Running jackets can block rain, snow, and wind and help you stay warm as you run. At the same time, a running jacket should also be flexible, light, and breathable; that way it won’t restrict your movement, weigh you down, or cause you to overheat.

Broadly speaking, there are two main categories that are useful for comparing running jackets: protection and warmth. The materials used in the jacket will have a strong influence in how the jacket stacks up in both areas. Many running jackets utilize synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester. Nylon has the advantage of being lightweight and durable, while polyester wicks moisture well. The addition of stretchy materials like spandex or elastane make a jacket more flexible. Some jackets also incorporate natural materials like wool, which offers great temperature regulation properties (it traps heat when you’re cold but breathes and vents moisture when you’re hot).

Suit Up: Our Essential Guide to the Best Men’s Running GearThe Best Running Shoes for Men12 Great Men’s Running Shorts9 Workout Pants for Men

Synthetic fabrics won’t absorb much moisture, but if you plan to run in the rain or snow, look for jackets that are specifically designed to be water-resistant. Some jacket manufacturers achieve this with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating over a base fabric. This treatment is good for light precipitation, but it won’t keep you dry in a heavy rainstorm. For more robust weatherproofing, look for fully waterproof jackets. They’re usually built with a water-impermeable membrane (like Gore-Tex) and taped or bonded seams to keep moisture from seeping through the jacket. They do come with a trade-off, however: Fully waterproof running jackets are less breathable.

Some jackets are also designed with insulation to keep you warm. This can take several forms, including a fleece-lined interior, synthetic insulation, or even down. Each has its advantages: Fleece is soft and comfortable against the skin; synthetic insulation will keep you warm even if it gets wet; and down is lightweight, resilient, and easy to compress, which makes it more packable. Keep in mind, though, that insulation isn’t always necessary when you’re working up a sweat—you can also pair a simple shell jacket with a warm midlayer. By pairing it with different layers depending on the conditions, a shell can be more versatile than an insulated jacket, which is designed specifically for very cold weather.

Finally, there are a few other features to consider. If you expect to run in rain or snow, a jacket with a hood will keep your head dry. If you tend to run hot, look for jackets with vents that will dump warm air and keep you cool. Jacket pockets can offer convenient storage, and many running jackets are designed to pack down into a pocket, which is helpful for traveling (or just saving space in your closet).

How We Evaluated

To compile this list, I used my own experience with running jackets, researched a wide range of options from top running brands, and talked with brand representatives to get more information on the latest running jackets for men. Below, I recommend a variety of options—from ultralight windbreakers to heftier insulated layers—to suit different preferences, budgets, and weather conditions. I evaluated each jacket based on its materials, weatherproofing, and warmth, and when possible, I tested jackets personally. To help you quickly sort through these options, see each review’s Key Specs section, which shows the size range (based on the manufacturers’ websites), weatherproofing, and weight of each jacket.

© Staff, Courtesy of Nike

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