A good outer layer can make all the difference to winter running. Here are the best women's running jackets we tested...
A good running jacket is vital in winter – you need something to keep you motivated to get out and pound the pavements in the chillier months. It’s an investment, but finding something warm, waterproof and with good ventilation will make all the different to your running.
Here’s our list of the very best women’s running jackets that will ensure you stay dry without overheating this winter. But, before you buy, what do you need to know?
Having a reliable running jacket in your arsenal of kit can help with getting out the door – even if you’re not wearing it. Taking a packable jacket with you can help you feel reassured that, if that grey sky does break, you won’t have to head for cover.
Why do I need a running jacket?
It seems pretty obvious that you’ll want to wear a running jacket to go running in the rain. But thinking a bit more about what type of runner you are could save you a lot of expense. As, like most kit, how much your jacket costs is down to how many bells and whistles you’ll need.
Be honest with yourself: even with the most reliable waterproof jacket, are you the type of runner who will head out for a run in heavy rain? Or do you just need something to wear when it’s windy that can cope fairly well with the odd rainshower?
A guide to waterproof women’s running jackets
Read the product description on jackets very closely. There’s a difference between ‘water resistant’ and ‘waterproof’. For a truly waterproof jacket you’re looking for it to have taped seams. Water will always find a way, and in waterproof jackets, the weak point is the seams. Having taped seams means that an extra layer of fabric has been used to seal the seams, to keep the rain from entering here.
If you’re planning to run an ultramarathon, many will have a mandatory kit list of items that you have to carry with you during the race. This will almost certainly include a running jacket with some specifying spec such as the taped seams.
The downside to some waterproof running jackets that keep the rain out is that they’re also pretty effective at keeping sweat from escaping, so breathability is something that we want to keep an eye out for, too.
A guide to lightweight women’s running jackets
A lightweight, rain-resistant jacket is a good option for windy days, cold days and light rain showers: basically any weather that will require an extra layer of protection that isn’t full-on rain. Wind will whip through your long-sleeve base layer and make you cold, but wearing a lightweight jacket over the top will give you enough protection. Layer them over tops on cold days to help keep you warm while allowing sweat to escape – because a sweaty body is likely to become a cold body. They often pack up into one of their pockets so they can easily be carried on the run; perfect if you’re not finishing your run at home and want an extra layer to pop on that will keep you from cooling down too much.
A guide to pockets and hoods
We know how important pockets can be on a garment. Your running jacket will almost certainly have pockets, but size and location matter. Can they fit your phone in? How many snacks can you carry? And where are they? Pockets on the lower back are likely to be bigger but less accessible while those on the breast are likely to be smaller but create less bounce from heavier items.
And what about hoods? If you’re looking for something that gives you more protection from the elements than your average lightweight jacket, a good hood is a must. If you wear your hair up, the hood needs to be big enough to take that into account. So if you’re trying a jacket on in a shop, do so with your hair tied up and check the hood still gives good forehead coverage. If you’re ordering online, keep an eye out for adjustable hoods so you can be sure you’ll find your perfect fit.
GORE R5 Gore-Tex Infinium Insulated Jacket
£249.99 | Tester: Geri
I have never really enjoyed running in a jacket until I tested this one, and I have been totally blown away by it. I’ve tested it on many very rainy, blowy evenings and its performance goes well beyond any other jacket I’ve run in. The fit was superb for me and, as things warmed up, the lining didn’t stick to my skin. The insulation gives just enough warmth without making the jacket uncomfortable to wear and it manages to be incredibly quiet and soft too. This jacket is a dream; it’s reflective, breathable, feminine and flattering, waterproof and it protects against the wind. Yes, it’s a little on the pricey side but it’s worth every penny.
Available in sizes S-XL
KEELA Liberty Softshell
£79.95 | Tester: Claire
The Liberty is a quality coat with many well-thought-out details. I love the tailored fit; although close, it’s comfortable and in no way restricting. Made with fabric that stretches in four directions, it provides great freedom of movement. Its scooped back adds extra length and its handy zips under the arm can be opened to help keep you cool. It has side and upper arm pockets for your valuables and it’s water repellent. The hi-vis is great for running at night or in bad weather, and wit’s a reasonable price.
Available in sizes 8-20
INOV-8 Thermoshell Pro Insulated Jacket 2.0
£210 | Tester: Esther
This jacket is so light, and packs up so small (into its own pocket!), you’d be forgiven for thinking it’ll be little more than a shell; in actual fact, this is an incredibly toasty number. Created especially for longer days out on the trails, it’s easy to wear and easy to pack away too. The quilting is more narrow than usual, and this, along with 4-way stretch, allows more freedom of movement, and prevents the padding from moving within the jacket, ensuring you stay warm. The fit is spot on; it’s close but not tight, and it’s thin enough that a hydration pack fits neatly over the top. A few more high vis elements would have been nice, even if it is a mid-layer (I’ll mostly wear it without an additional shell), but that’s me just trying to find something wrong with it! The arms are lovely and long, and the hood is snug and stays put. Windproof and water resistant, with a dipped hem and zipped side pockets, this is a smashing piece of kit for the trails.
Available in sizes 6-16
£140 | Tester: Tina
As a lightweight and waterproof jacket with a hood, the Halo is a good option when conditions change quickly. As it’s very streamlined, there’s no flapping in the wind and it packs down small enough to fit in your waist belt. It’s also easy to pull on or stash away quickly when the rain hits. The winning features are the high-zipped neck and peaked hood that provide total protection and prevent cold air circulating around your neck. The waterproof pockets set this jacket apart; they’re so important, not only for protecting your essentials but also keeping your spare gloves dry! You’ll appreciate the extended arms with thumb holes and droptail rear coverage too. This is a technical jacket that feels light but gives you the quality of a mountain shell.
Available in sizes XS-XL
PROVIZ Reflect 360 Outdoor Fleece-Lined Jacket
£119.99 | Tester: Tina
What a winning all-round jacket for ultimate safety in the dark, plus vital warmth. This new-season kit from Proviz has already proved its worth during the darker evenings and it really does have everything to keep you warm. Adjustable arm cuffs and hem ward off the chill, a fleece lining keeps you cosy. It’s waterproof, has a hood and the zips are storm proof with pulls to help out frozen fingers. The reflective glass beads are outrageously bright and the three large pockets give you the storage space you want. I can’t find fault and I’m so happy I’m not going to have to suffer in the wintry cold ever again! It’s an incredible item if you love the great outdoors, weighs in at just 600g, and is machine-washable. Bucket-loads of kudos to Proviz for this one.
Available in sizes 6-18
BROOKS Canopy Jacket
£80 | Tester: Laura
This stylish jacket is light enough to wear on a warm day but warm enough to wear in chillier weather over layers, and thanks to the wind and water resistant DriLayer, you need not worry about those unexpected downpours. If you decide mid run you don’t need a jacket at all, you can pack it up into its very own mesh pouch that includes straps so you can wear it like a backpack – genius! The addition of the ruched sleeves, ample pockets and reflective detail are icing on the cake. It’s a purchase you’re unlikely to regret.
DECATHLON Kalenji Waterproof Trail Jacket
£54.99 | Tester: Esther
This is astonishingly good value for money. Created in a featherlight, incredibly waterproof fabric that squidges up nice and small, it’s ideal for trail runs when you can’t be sure of the Great British weather. The seams are taped (hurrah!), it has two good-sized side pockets, and the hood stayed fi rmly put, even in the very autumnal gusts we tested it in. Yes, it makes you look a bit like a banana, but show me a trail runner who thinks that’s a bad thing? And check out the price!
£110 | Tester: Caroline
ADIDAS Terrex Agravic Rain Jacket
£130 | Tester: Geri
I liked the look and feel of this super lightweight jacket; it’s breathable, a lovely fit and looks really cool. It’s perfect to carry on your long runs or rides as it’s so easy to pack – and when you do pack it away, it stows into a tiny parcel, perfect for stashing in your backpack on trail runs. It was completely windproof and kept me really toasty, and the best part is that it doesn’t rustle when you run, something that can be really offputting. It wicks the sweat away and is very breathable, and it gives you protection from all but very heavy rain. I particularly love the slim fit of this jacket, and the reflective highlights. It’s flattering and looks good, which isn’t always a given with a rainjacket. The only downsides are the cost, and the fact it’s only available in yellow, but otherwise this is a real investment piece.
Available in sizes XS-XL
GORE R5 Partial Gore-Tex Infinium Soft Lined L/S Shirt
£179.99 | Tester: Beccy
This cool weather jacket is a nice fit and good looking. It’s soft lined, but is also lightweight and highly functional, designed for running, with fourway stretch material under the arms for mobility. The outer is water resistant with highly breathable panels to keep you ventilated on your winter runs. Reflective details on all sides keep you visible on those dark evenings, and you also get a phone or wallet-sized concealed pocket at the back. This is a super cool, well designed product.
BERGHAUS Nula Hybrid Jacket
£100 | Tester: Esther
Typically solid design from outdoors stalwarts Berghaus, this, but with a more flattering fit than you might expect. You can feel the warmth of the insulation across your torso from the second you put this on, while the sleeves are made from a lighter material, which enables you to move your arms effectively. The two zipped side pockets are a plus, and the hood is lovely and snug. It’s so warm, this really is for incredibly cold runs, but is also perfect for early morning bootcamps. It packs down beautifully, and the colour is just lush.
COMPRESSPORT Hurricane Waterproof 10/10 Jacket
£160 | Tester: Louise
Weighing just 10g, you’ll be amazed at how compact this jacket is, and how easily it can be stored in a rucksack or pocket, ready for sudden downpours. Totally waterproof with 10,000 Schmerber water resistant fibres, and sealed seams, you will feel well protected from moderate wind or rain. The fitted cut and extensible fibres mean you are not restricted in your movement too, and though airtight, it’s still very breathable and sweat wicking. Light, convenient and protective.
2XU Pursuit Insulation Jacket
£150 | Tester: Caroline
If you’re looking for a coat to keep you snug before and after races, which you can comfortably wear when striding out in the coldest of winter days, the 2XU is a near perfect option. Its double weft knit, microfibre, down shell keeps you both dry and toasty. The deep side pockets are fleece lined, while the handy chest pocket is perfect for your smartphone. There is no hood, but with a beanie, you should be set to go.
SUNDRIED Softshell Jacket
£70 | Tester: Sue
The softshell jacket will keep you warm and comfortable during your winter and spring running. The clever sweat-wicking fabric keeps you dry and cool, even on the toughest run. It’s water repellent, with an adjustable hood, hem and cuffs, allowing you a bespoke fit with a good range of movement for training in. The inside is made of fleece and feels luxurious to run in. The casual appearance of this jacket means you could easily use it for the school run or to pop for a coffee after training.
PARAMO Velez Adventure Light Smock
£245 | Tester: Sarah
This coat has excellent wind and rain protection, and it’s warm, too, with ventilation options and a handy front pocket. The coat is made of Nikwax Analogy Waterproof fabric, with a four-hour waterproof promise. It’s really breathable too. It has a silky feel to the fabric, is a lovely colour and has a hood which shields the rain and wind, and stays in place. Fantastic for all outdoor activities, but obviously this is an investment piece.
SUNDRIED Padded Jacket
£70 | Tester: Claire
The Sundried women’s padded jacket is made with soft, luxury fabrics and is really comfortable to wear, with a stylish fit, too. Although padded, it’s very lightweight and breathable, making it warm and comfortable to run in. It’s water-repellent rather than resistant, so it keeps you dry from any light rain showers that may take you by surprise. Its sports toggles on the hood provide a secure fit around your face, keeping you sheltered from the elements. It also has three zip pockets which are perfect for carrying your running essentials. This a great practical jacket for your winter running.
KEELA Storm Jacket
£104.95 | Tester: Geri
This superb jacket ticks so many boxes. It comes in bold, vivid colours and has such a feminine cut. This is a waterproof jacket which will protect you from even the heaviest downpours. You will love the oversized hood, which can be adjusted in three ways, providing a great fit while running. It can also be worn over a cycling helmet. Further features include reflective patches, a zipped chest pocket, a zipped back pocket, the adjustable hood, the breathable material, and Velcro adjustable cuffs. This jacket is versatile, lightweight and, quite frankly, just awesome.
RAB Alpha Flux Jacket
£140 | Tester: Tina
The light, close fit of this jacket makes it so easy to run in. There’s no bulk, yet there’s just enough insulation, making it a great mid or outer layer. The hood is stretchy, so it stays on your head rather than being blown off in the wind, with a high zip to ensure your neck is kept warm, too. Insulating panels are broken up by more breathable, stretchy panels under your arms. The pockets fill the whole of the front panel, so there’s more than enough storage space. It’s so comfortable against your skin, with handy stretchy cuffs and thumb loops. It squashes down really well, too.
THE NORTH FACE Flight Futurelight Jacket
£225 | Tester: Claire
The Flight FutureLight jacket is incredibly soft and comfortable. It has custom-developed seam tape, which keeps the jacket seam free, making it really flexible with no itchy stitching. Its soft waterproof fabric provides an impenetrable moisture barrier yet still offers ultra-breathability. The lightweight fabrics help regulate body temperature, while the soft material hangs beautifully. It doesn’t rustle when you move; the slim sleeves help with this. With its adjustable hood, hem, and elastic cuffs, it’s especially great when running against the elements, and it can also be stowed into a handy pocket at the back.
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