The best running jackets 2024: beat the wind and rain on your run with these ultralight offerings

The best running jackets have a bit of a tightrope to err, walk, required to protect you from the wind and preferably rain, while remaining breathable, light, visible, lightweight, packable... the list goes on.

Of course, one jacket is unlikely to tick every single one of these boxes, with some better suited to wild weather (usually at a weight disadvantage), while others are targeted at the ultralight brigade, and so on. Here we've selected running jackets that meet many of these requirements, if not often all, and what you consider the best will very much depend on your specific needs.

Of course, the primary function of the best running jackets is to repel wind and rain. If you're running, keeping warm shouldn't be too much of an issue but a cocktail of cold conditions, gusting winds and driving rain is a dangerous one, which is why adventure racers always have a lightweight running jacket in their pack.

We've braved a wide variety of challenging conditions to test the running jackets in this guide. Some rival the very best waterproof jackets in terms of performance, while others are basically ultralight windbreakers.

For fully waterproof protection on our runs, we love the R7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Trail Hooded Jacket, while for staying safe when running the streets at night we'd recommend the Evadict Waterproof Trail Running Jacket, which is also great value for money.

Meet the expert

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

best running jackets: inov-8 Stormshell
Tom Room

After competing professionally in triathlon from 2006 to 2011 – including two appearances in the 70.3 World Championships in 2008 and 2009 – Tom turned to writing and adventure-style event management. He organises trail, road, night and mud races in the UK under the name Relish Running, a company he set up to share his love of running, and all the secret trails he’d found while exploring the wilderness. He also wanted a career which was less tiring than being an athlete, it turns out being a race director was a terrible choice, it’s exhausting.

The quick list

This is the quick list, a snapshot of the best running jackets available in 2024. To delve deeper into the features and qualities of each featured jacket, see our more detailed reviews further down the page in this guide.

The best running jackets 2024

The best running jacket overall

R7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Trail Hooded running jacket on white background

When you need to train in inclement weather, the R7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Trail Hooded will ensure your top half is comfortable and dry (Image credit: Gore)
The best running jacket overall

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): 5.64oz/160g
Colors: Black
Best for: Running, hiking, and fastpacking for long periods

Reasons to buy

+
Fully waterproof
+
Excellent windproofing
+
Breathable for warmer days
+
Compatible with running vests and backpacks

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to some
-
Only comes in one color

"For longer runs (and hikes) when the weather is looking unpredictable, we grab the Gore-Tex Shakedry. It is super reliable, keeps us dry and warm, and breathes well," say our wild running expert, which sums up the appeal and quality of this jacket perfectly. It's completely windproof and fully waterproof. Full stop.

The jacket also has an adjustable hood with a visor that we found effective for keeping the rain off our face, and a draw cord at the waist for a snug fit that doesn't billow in the wind. Nobody needs extra air resistance when they're running. We also appreciated the elasticated cuffs, which keep the sleeves in place and allow easy access to your GPS watch, plus the large pocket on the back that's roomy enough for your running gels and other essentials.

This jacket really does tick all the boxes.  It is the most expensive jacket we’ve reviewed, but we think it's definitely worth shelling out for if you need something that'll resist the rain for long training sessions. If most of your runs are on the short side, say less than an hour, then stick to a cheaper model, but if you’re the type who heads to the trails and doesn't come back for hours then this is an excellent choice.

Read our full R7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Trail Hooded Jacket review

The best running jacket for protection

best running jacket: North Face Summit Superior FutureLight trail running jacket

The super-lightweight The North Face Summit Superior FutureLight is a packable running jacket offering excellent breathability and protection from the elements (Image credit: Craig Taylor)
The best running jacket for protection

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): 230g / 8.1oz
Colors: TNF Black / Deep Grass Green / Optic Blue / Summit Gold
Best for: Running, hiking, and fastpacking for long periods

Reasons to buy

+
Packs down small
+
Stylish looks
+
Eco-friendly manufacturing practices
+
Hem and hood are adjustable

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to similar models on test

The North Face Summit Superior FutureLight trail running jacket is an ideal choice for those who want a stylish waterproof with a neat fit. It comes with the full battery of The North Face's cutting edge tech, including a FutureLight membrane, but that's not at the expense of its looks, a standard we've come to expect from a crossover brand with one foot firmly in the fashion world.

We found it lived up to our expectations in the outdoor pursuits world too. It's a real workhorse out on the trails, with top-notch waterproofing and refreshing breathability - a line that's often hard to treat.

All in all, an incredibly lightweight, waterproof running jacket with above-average breathability and an impressively small pack size, the Summit Superior FutureLight jacket is perfect for stashing in your bag on longer trail runs.  Although it's quite an investment, our expert reviewer insists that "it’s worth the high price tag."

Read our full The North Face Summit Superior FutureLight trail running jacket review

The most versatile running jacket

Berghaus Hyper 140 Waterproof running jacket on white background

Lighweight, rainproof and windproof, the Berghaus Hyper 140 Waterproof is a nearly perfect running jacket (Image credit: Getty)
The most versatile running jacket

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): 138g / 4.8oz
Colors: Men’s: blue / light gray / light blue; women’s: gray / red
Best for: Running and hiking in wet and windy weather

Reasons to buy

+
Very lightweight at just 138g
+
Surprisingly thin and flexible material for a waterproof running jacket
+
Works well for running and hiking

Reasons to avoid

-
Small carry bag
-
Hood lacks a flexible rain peak

"A fantastic, lightweight, highly waterproof jacket with good features for running and also hiking in the mountains," says our trail running expert. The Berghaus Hyper 140 jacket strikes the perfect balance between weight and waterproofing. We weren't expecting much from such thin, flexible fabric, but it did a fantastic job of repelling rain on test.

The cuffs and hem are close fitting, and we found that the high front zip offered great protection to keep your top dry. However, the hood lacks a flexible peak to direct the water out of your eyes, so we found it works best if you have a water-resistant baseball hat underneath. The jacket comes with a separate stuff sack, which would benefit from being slightly larger as it is not easy to achieve perfectly economical folds on the move. 

This jacket is great for people who love the outdoors, be it hiking or trail running. It's comfortable, lightweight, will fight the elements and offers good breathability for a genuine waterproof jacket. Saying that you will need to provide additional ventilation on warmer days and on runs where you are making more effort.

Read our full Berghaus Hyper 140 lightweight running jacket review

The best running jacket for long distances

best running jackets: inov-8 Stormshell

The Inov8 Stormshell has a particularly snug-fitting hood that won't budge in strong winds (Image credit: Tom Room)
The best running jacket for long distances

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): 6.2oz / 175g
Colors: Black / blue / red
Best for: Trail running on wet and windy days

Reasons to buy

+
Soft, high quality waterproof fabric
+
Sleeves with thumb holes pull down over hands for protection
+
Close-fitting hood for warmth

Reasons to avoid

-
Not many reflective details

"The Inov-8 Stormshell is as close as it gets to an all-round running jacket. This well considered design has extra features that make it handy for an array of climates throughout the year" said our expert tester, who felt it was outstanding when it came to more challenging conditions. 

The thumb holes at the ends of the sleeves are a welcome addition to the design not seen in others on test here. They mean you can eschew gloves and just pull the cuffs down over your hands to beat the chill on early morning and late night runs.

The snug hood and high front zip kept us nice and warm when the weather took a turn for the worse, with only a small part of our head remaining exposed to the elements. The lightweight and breathable fabric also means this jacket is very easy to wear without the dreaded clamminess these kinds of jackets sometimes produce.

It does come at a price, and for a new runner there are probably better entry options. However an experienced, long-distance runner will certainly appreciate all the features that it offers. Plus, our expert tester pointed to its versatility, saying: "the inov-8 Stormshell also kept me dry during a lot of hikes in the Lake District."

Read our full inov-8 Stormshell running jacket review

The best eco-friendly running jacket

Jack Wolfskin Prelite Windbreaker

We were seriously impressed by this windbreaker, which laughs in the face of strong cold winds, and comes with top eco credentials (Image credit: Julia Clarke)
The best eco-friendly running jacket

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): 120g / 4.2oz (women’s small)
Colors: Guave, Dolphin, Gecko, Silver gray
Best for: Hiking

Reasons to buy

+
Highly windproof
+
Water repellent
+
Very lightweight and packable
+
Good breathability
+
100% recycled materials

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than similar jackets on test

There's sometimes a trade off with ultralight outdoor clothing. Yes it'll stuff into your pocket easily, yes you can chuck it in your backpack and barely feel the difference. But when you come to put it on it can feel kind of, well fragile.

That isn't the case with the Jack Wolfskin Prelight Windbreaker, which manages to be ultralight and packable, but without feeling like you can accidentally shred it just by looking at it. It's been made from TEXASHIELD ECOSPHERE PRO fabric, which is water repellent and breathable, as well as being impressively windproof.

There's no struggle to keep the hood where it's meant to be, the hem and cuffs adjust to keep the wind out, and you can tuck your phone into the generous zipped chest pocket. It's also made from purely recycled materials, something we always love to see.

Our tester wore it on a day so windy that they were blown off the trail and their sunglasses were blown off their head. Despite the extreme conditions the windbreaker did exactly what it was meant to do and packed down to the size of a small apple. 

Read our full Jack Wolfskin Prelight Windbreaker review

 

The best running jacket for wind chill

Running man in woods wearing Salomon Sense Flow wind jacket

The Salomon Sense Flow jacket is designed to keep the wind off without you getting clammy but it's worth noting it's definitely not waterproof (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best running jacket for spring and fall

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): men’s: 125g / 4.4oz / women’s: 120g / 4.4oz
Colors: men’s: Carbon; women’s: Carbon / Peach amber
Best for: Ideal for fall and spring, when windchill can make running unpleasant

Reasons to buy

+
Great windproofing 
+
Super lightweight
+
Well ventilated
+
Packs down small
+
Some reflective elements

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof
-
Very limited colors
-
Neat fit won't suit everyone
-
No recycled content

The Sense Flow jacket from Salomon is ideal for spring and fall running, when it’s not cold enough for something more insulated, nor warm enough to completely shed your layers. Extremely lightweight and very easy to stuff into a hydropack or even a pocket, the Sense Flow can be carried with ease all the time you’re warm enough to do without it, but once you round a corner, leave the tree line or reach a peak and find yourself suddenly exposed to wind and all the chill factor that comes with it, you will treasure the protection this jacket supplies. It’s important to note that the Sense Flow is not waterproof, and nor does it claim to be – its main role is to protect you from the wind, and it does that with style. 

There is a thin layer of synthetic insulation on the inside, which does a reasonable job of keeping you warm, but reducing wind chill is definitely the main focus, and to this end it zips right up to the chin, and features thumb loops on the cuffs to cut out breezes and stop sleeves rolling up your arm. The Sense Flow also has some well-thought-through features to allow airflow and ventilation, to prevent you from overheating. It has a full zip, so you can dump heat quickly when necessary, but a popper on the chest also allows you to keep the coat secure while the zip is open. The rear of the jacket is vented, so it allows  your back to breathe without letting cold air in. 

There’s an adjustable waist cord, and a zipped chest pocket for small essentials. All the pocket zips have pull cords, so they’re easy to use in cold weather, whether your hands have just gotten cold, or you’re wearing gloves. While there are some reflective elements on the sleeves we’d have liked to see a few reflectors on the back of the jacket too, as these can make all the difference to your visibility when running on lanes or sharing space with traffic.

The best winter running jacket

Columbia OutDry Ex Lightweight Shell running jacket on white background

The Columbia OutDry Ex Lightweight Shell is white for visibility, and is fully waterproof (Image credit: Columbia)
The best running jacket for winter

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): 6.7oz / 190g
Colors: White
Best for: Short training sessions and races

Reasons to buy

+
Fully waterproof
+
Stylish design and great for visibility
+
Easy to wipe clean

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for use with a running vest due to rear ventilation panel
-
Only available in white
-
Hood isn't adjustable

"If you are looking for a stylish waterproof at a great price then this jacket is a great option," says our running expert. This smart running jacket from Columbia only comes in white, which won't suit everyone's preferences, but means you'll be nice and visible at night. 

It's fully waterproof with sealed seams, making it a solid choice for rainy training sessions, and has a vented back to allow airflow. It's a smart design, but we found that it doesn't work well when worn with a running backpack or hydration pack that blocks the vent.

The hood isn't adjustable, which would normally be a minus, but in our tests it stayed in place even in high winds. On dry days, you can stash it out of the way to minimize wind resistance. The jacket can also be packed into its own chest pocket if you start to warm up.

We’d recommend it for shorter sessions when you don't need to carry additional water, gels, and other gear.

Read our full Columbia OutDry Ex lightweight shell jacket review

The best jacket for scrambling

Man wearing Arc'teryx Gamma Lightweight Hoody in the woods

The Arc'teryx Gamma Lightweight Hoody is super stretchable, meaning it's great for scrambling, and even climbing, as well as running (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best jacket for scrambling

Specifications

Weight: Men’s: 300g / 10.6oz; Women’s: 265g / 9.3oz
Colors: Men’s: Black / Phenom / Black Sapphire / Edziza (revised version only) / Blue Tetra (revised version only); Women’s: Black
Best for: Climbing, hiking, biking

Reasons to buy

+
Very stretchy
+
Super lightweight
+
Windproof
+
Good amount of recycled materials

Reasons to avoid

-
Low thermal protection
-
Not much pocket space
-
No thumb loops

Our review covers the original Gamma hoody, which is still widely available, but there is a newer iteration, which is made from a different material – Wee Burly Double Weave (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane). The new version is significantly heavier and more expensive, but it is available in an wider range of colors.

The original version is extremely light, and made from Fortius 1.0, which is a softshell material with plenty of stretch, thanks to its 14% dynamic elastane content (the rest is made up of a hardwearing nylon). This includes a significant amount of recycled materials, something we are always happy to see. The Gamma has a neat fit that won't suit everyone, but there's not denying it has bags of style.

This isn't a fully waterproof jacket, and that's not a claim Arc'teryx are making, but it has been treated with durable water repellent and will serve you well in light rain or damp conditions.

It has a zip that extends to cover your lower face and a good peak on the hood to protect you further from the elements. Storage comes in the form of two hand pockets, both of which zip shut.

The four-way stretch fabric makes it the perfect option for scrambling, hiking and climbing and hiking, as well as running. So yes, it's not cheap, but it's very versatile and there's no denying its quality, although it doesn't have thumb loops, which feels like a missed opportunity in such a great design.

The best reflective budget running jacket

Evadict Waterproof Trail Running Jacket on white background

The Evadict Waterproof Trail Running Jacket is weatherproof, reflective, and won't break the bank (Image credit: Evadict)
The best reflective running jacket on a budget

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): 7.4oz / 210g
Colors : Black (men's) / honey (women's)
Best for: Chilly trail runs

Reasons to buy

+
Waterproof 
+
Good reflective features
+
Snug hood to prevent drafts
+
Bargain price

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as breathable as some
-
Quite noisy
-
No storm flap behind front zip
-
Limited adjustment

We tested this running jacket on several sub-zero training sessions, and once we eased into the run, the jacket retained our heat very nicely. The fabric has a reassuring, yet sometimes distracting rustle, akin to a full on waterproof coat so you know it will put up a good fight against the elements. The flip side to these insulating properties is that you can easily get quite hot and sweaty as the fabric isn't as breathable as that of higher end jackets, but you could argue that a quick unzip to let air circulate will help restore homeostasis.

The jacket has simple yet stylish reflective lines on the front and some smaller lines on the back that are wonderfully illuminated by the light of a headlamp. A tight-fitting hood, along with a high front zip will offer your face a lot of shelter on wetter days. When you try the jacket on you will soon find a small carry bag nestled in one of the two front pockets, which is a nice addition. These features are often reserved for higher end jackets, finding them all in this very well priced jacket makes it a strong buy in our book. In fact, our trail running expert exclaimed "Wow, what a bargain!" when she first got hold of it.

Read our full Evadict Trail Running Waterproof Rain Jacket review

The best value running jacket

Rab Vital Windshell running jacket on white background

If you're watching your spending, the Rab Vital Windshell is an excellent option (Image credit: Rab)

8. Rab Vital Windshell Jacket

The best value running jacket

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): 4.4oz / 125g
Colors: Shadow, acid, ink, pine and more
Best for: Runs and short hikes in light rain and wind

Reasons to buy

+
Packs into its own pocket
+
Shower-resistant
+
Can be unzipped and secured with buttoned tab for ventilation

Reasons to avoid

-
Few reflective details

When the weather is turning and you want to head out for a 30- to 60-minute run, the Rab Vital Windshell Jacket is a good choice. It's also well suited for the mountains and trail walking as a lightweight layer that won't take up loads of space in your bag, as it packs down into its own pocket.

In our tests, the jacket kept the wind at bay, and although it's not fully waterproof, its hydrophobic coating shrugged off light rain showers. To help you keep cool on the move, when you unzip the jacket you can secure the two sides together three quarters of the way up with a little buttoned tab, which stops the sides flapping around, while at the same time making the jacket nicely breathable.

Aside from a couple of small logos, there are no other reflective markings, which makes this a jacket best used on traffic free routes and trails if you are running at night.

The best lightweight running jacket

Man wearing Nathan Stealth running jacket

The Nathan Stealth is an excellent lightweight jacket for all but the very wettest conditions (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)
The best lightweight running jacket

Specifications

Weight (men's small): 125g / 4.4oz
Colors: black, bright lime, charcoal and more
Best for: hikes and trail runs in all but very wet conditions

Reasons to buy

+
Super light at 125g
+
Not noisy to run in
+
Packs down into its own storage pocket
+
Moisture wicking and fast drying

Reasons to avoid

-
Few reflective details
-
Not suited to extreme conditions

Sometimes the clue's in the name, and that's the case here. The Nathan Stealth jacket is a silent runner, and ultralight too. Our expert tester said, "The barely-there feel and ventilated back make it a great jacket for hitting the trails, whether you’re hiking or running."

At only 125g (4.4oz) and packing down small into its own storage pocket, this is a well-specced jacket if you want to keep weight and space taken up to a minimum.

It's a soft shell windbreaker made from moisture wicking and fast drying nylon. No, it's not waterproof and it's not designed for extreme conditions, but the DWR (durable water repellent) finish holds up well against the occasional drizzly spell or sudden shower. Perhaps more important, the Stealth effectively stops windchill in its tracks. However, when persistent rain is forecast, you’ll need a running jacket that's more robust.

Nevertheless, our trail running guru asserted that "as a windbreaker, it’s adept and is much more pleasant to wear on a long run than a stiffer, stuffier hard shell".

Read our full Nathan Stealth Jacket review

The best running jacket for packability

Woman wearing Patagonia Houdini jacket

The Patagonia Houdini weighs around 100g, and packs down into its own pocket (Image credit: Future)
The best running jacket for packability

Specifications

Weight (variable by size): 3.5oz / 100g
Colors: Black, dried mango, lagom blue, night plum, and more
Best for: Cool weather road or train running, wind, light to moderate rain

Reasons to buy

+
Super lightweight
+
Compact and packs  into small pocket
+
Well-sized, adjustable hood
+
Effective against wind chill

Reasons to avoid

-
No reflective detailing

The Patagonia Houdini is a super compact and convenient running jacket that you can easily keep in the pocket of your backpack, hydration pack, or even a waist belt for those moments when the wind chill hits without warning. "Anywhere you could fit a small water bottle, you can keep the Houdini," our reviewer said after two years of testing.

Despite having no lining (it's made from a single layer of recycled ripstop nylon), we found that the Houdini really cuts out the wind. It'll also keep you dry in a sudden shower thanks to its DWR coating and generously sized hood that's large enough to fit over your running hat. It won't keep you completely dry in a torrential storm, but for spring showers it's ideal.

Our only real complaint is that, unlike many of the running jackets in this guide, the Patagonia Houdini has no reflective details for visibility when running it night. It's a strange omission from Patagonia, but if you don't mind throwing on some lights, it's not a deal breaker.

Read our full Patagonia Houdini Jacket review

The best running jackets comparison table

Swipe to scroll horizontally
JacketList priceWeightStyleCompatibility
R7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Trail Hooded Jacket$300 (US) / £299.99 (UK)160g / 5.64ozWaterproof running jacketWaterproof, windproof, breathable, all weather conditions
The North Face Summit Superior FutureLight trail running jacket$290 (US) / £270 (UK)230g / 8.1ozWaterproof running jacketWaterproof, windproof, breathable, all weather conditions
Berghaus Hyper 140 Waterproof Jacket$250 (US) / £200 (UK)138g / 4.8ozWaterproof running jacketWaterproof, lightweight and breathable, this is a real all rounder
inov-8 Stormshell$230 (US) / £160 (UK)175g / 6.2ozWaterproof running jacketTrail running, waterproof, windproof, reflective, breathable, lightweight, soft fabric
Salomon Sense Flow jacket$170 (US) / £155 (UK)men’s: 125g / 4.4oz / women’s: 120g / 4.4ozWindproof running jacketIdeal for fall and spring, when wind chill can make running unpleasant
Columbia OutDry Ex Lightweight Shell Jacket $199 (US)190g / 6.7ozWaterproof running jacketWaterproof, Wind resistant, lightweight
Evadict Waterproof Trail Running Jacket$90 (US) 210g / 7.4ozReflective and waterproof running jacketTrail running, waterproof, windproof, reflective
Rab Vital Windshell Jacket$89 (US) 125g / 4.4ozWater-resistant running jacketTrail running, lightweight, windproof
Nathan Stealth Jacket$90 (US)125g / 4.4ozWater-resistant running jacketTrail running, lightweight, windproof
Patagonia Houdini jacket$109 (US) / £100 (UK)105g / 3.7oz Ultralight packable running jacketCool weather, wind and light rain

How we test the best running jackets

Our reviewers test runnning jackets during wet and wild weather in a range of environments, from hills and peaks to coastal paths and woodlands, on short runs and on longer adventure runs. Features (including waterproofing, breathability, ventilation, materials, style, pockets, freedom of movemnt and overall comfort) are tested against claims made by the brand, and we assess factors such as value for money, durability, functionality and environmental impact.

Meet the testers

best running jackets: Alex Foxfield
Alex Foxfield

As well frequently running his local trails in Bristol, Alex enjoys mixing running and scrambling in the mountains of the UK. His preference is always to be moving at speed in the uplands and, when he can't get to them, needs his regular a trail runs to burn off some energy. Like a dog.

best running jackets: Claire Maxted
Claire Maxted

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races. 

Craig Taylor image
Craig Taylor

Growing up just south of the glorious Brecon Beacons National Park, Craig spent much of his childhood running around the hills. As he got older, the hills got bigger, his runs further, and his passion for spending quality time in the great outdoors only grew - falling in love with all forms of outdoor adventure. Having recently returned to the UK after almost a decade in Germany, he now focuses on regular runs and adventures in nearby Eryri (Snowdonia) and the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons).

How to choose the best running jacket

The best running jackets can be quite an investment, so you need to consider what you will need from the garment. We've broken down some of the key considerations below and included a few frequently asked questions too, for good measure...

Waterproofing

If you are looking for the best running jacket to wear when running in the rain, and for long periods of time, then you should up your budget and look for fully waterproof and windproof jackets. Look out for products with durable water repellency (DWR), the layer that makes rain bead delightfully on your jacket. Even better still, a jacket with a membrane like Gore-Tex will stop water soaking through but also let sweat evaporate out as vapour, which is key for runners.

Waterproof qualities come at a price, both in terms of dollar and in terms of weight. Fair weather runners may be better served by getting a jacket that is water-resistant, rather than fully waterproof. A water-resistant jacket will fend off rain to a point but won't keep you dry if you're out for hours on end. On the plus side, it won't break the bank (quite as much) and it will probably weigh a little less.

Runner wearing jacket in mountains

If you're out in the mountains for long periods, a fully waterproof running jacket is a good option (Image credit: Getty)

Ventilation

As well as keeping rain out, we demand that the best running jackets also allow sweat to escape. However, on a long run in your jacket, you're going to get hot regardless of the conditions. The best running jackets have ventilation zips under the armpits that facilitate the flow of air, reduce condensation and cool you down.

Weight

Perhaps the biggest distinction between a hikers' jacket and a running jacket is the consideration that goes into its weight. Where speed is concerned, weight – or the lack of it – is key. There's often a trade off between a jacket's weight and its ability to repel the worst of the elements, but advances in materials mean that jackets like Berghaus' Hyper 140 strike a compelling balance. At just 138g, it performs the task of much heavier rivals commendably. If you're after something a little more featherweight, it might be worth checking out the best lightweight running jackets.

If you’re looking for the best running jacket for short runs, as an extra layer, then perhaps you don’t need to spend the big bucks. Water-repellent jackets are usually lighter, much cheaper and stow away more easily than fully waterproof garments. If you don't often find yourself running in the rain, garments like the Salomon Sense Jacket – which weighs in at just 80g – are a good option. Just don't expect it to keep you warm and dry on a mountain in January.

Runner wearing jacket approaching mountain

A hood is recommended for mountain running (Image credit: Getty)

To hood or not to hood

This decision may come down to the kind of running you intend to do. If you're pounding the city streets a few times a week for an hour at a time, you will probably be fine without a hood. On the other hand, if you're looking to do long trail races in the hills and mountains, or multi-day races, having a hood is as wise a choice as having a pair of running gloves.

Fit

When you buy an outer shell for hiking, you want quite a loose fit because of all the layers you may have to wear underneath it in cold conditions. However, this is not the case with running. You want your running jacket to fit snuggly over your base layer, as the rest of your warmth will come from your exertion. However, don't go for too tight a fit, as you want as much freedom of movement as you can. This is the age old compromise with waterproof materials – protection vs freedom.

Frequently asked questions

What material is best for a winter running jacket?

A winter running jacket has a fine balance to strike between protection from wind and rain, warmth and breathability, all while being lightweight enough to comfortably run in. A waterproof outer layer will typically be made from polyamides, such as nylon. These strong fabrics are highly resistant to wear and tear, as well as having good weather repelling qualities, particularly when it comes to being effective windbreakers.

Sometimes, this face fabric is treated with DWR (durable water repellent), which adds further resistance to the drink. However, this resistance fades with use and repeated laundering. If you're after a waterproof running jacket, look for a waterproof yet breathable membrane, such as Gore-Tex. This is the most famous and most trusted waterproof tech out there, though many brands have quality proprietary membranes, such as The North Face's FutureLight and Columbia's OutDry.

How do you wash a waterproof jacket?

It doesn't matter how much it cost or how many zeros it has in its Hydrostatic Head rating, your waterproof jacket will lose its magic the more you use it and the more laundry cycles it suffers. However, there are products, such as NikWax's Tech Wash and TX.Direct Wash In, that can give your waterproofs a new lease of life.

You shouldn't wash your waterproof clothing along with other items, but instead treat them to a separate wash. Use a dedicated waterproof detergent, such as NikWax's Tech Wash, which cleans your garments without compromising their performance.

If you notice that said performance is starting to suffer on the trails, it's time to reproof. This time, after washing your garments with a dedicated detergent like Tech Wash, put them back in the washing machine with a reproofer, such as TX.Direct Wash In. This will restore your jacket's water repelling qualities.

How do you test a jacket's breathability?

The Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR) is a commonly used measure of how breathable a fabric is and it can be tested using something called 'the Inverted Cup Test'. 

The fabric in question is placed on a moisture vapor permeable membrane and secured to an inverted test cup, which is filled with potassium acetate. The cup is then placed in a water-filled container.

The potassium acetate pulls the water up through the membrane, thus altering the weight of the cup over a 24-hour period. The cup is then measured to see how much fluid passed through the membrane, providing an insight into its breathability.

The best lightweight running jacket

Man wearing Nathan Stealth running jacket

The Nathan Stealth is an excellent lightweight jacket for all but the very wettest conditions (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)
The best lightweight running jacket

Specifications

Weight (men's small): 125g / 4.4oz
Colors: black, bright lime, charcoal and more
Best for: hikes and trail runs in all but very wet conditions

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely light at 125g
+
No swishing sound
+
Packs into its own storage pocket
+
Moisture wicking and fast drying

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited reflective details
-
Not suited to really harsh conditions

The Nathan Stealth Jacket is well named. It lets you run light and silent on the trails, while providing a decent amount of protection against the elements. We found that the barely-there feel and ventilated back make it a great jacket for hitting the trails, whether you’re hiking or running.

It’s also wonderfully lightweight, weighing in at only 125g (4.4oz), packs down small, and is moderately priced too. Made from moisture wicking and fast drying nylon, it’s a great, minimal soft shell windbreaker, perfect for chilly winter and shoulder season runs.

Of course, being an ultralight soft shell, it’s not designed for taking on harsh and wet conditions, though there’s a DWR (durable water repellent) finish for the occasional drizzly spell or sudden shower. We found that the Stealth effectively stops windchill in its tracks. However, when persistent rain is forecast, you’ll need a running jacket that's more robust.

Nevertheless, our trail running guru asserted that "as a windbreaker, it’s adept and is much more pleasant to wear on a long run than a stiffer, stuffier hard shell."

Read our full Nathan Stealth Jacket review

The best running jackets comparison table

Swipe to scroll horizontally
JacketList priceWeightStyleCompatibility
R7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Trail Hooded Jacket$300 (US) / £299.99 (UK)160g / 5.64ozWaterproof running jacketWaterproof, windproof, breathable, all weather conditions
The North Face Summit Superior FutureLight trail running jacket$290 (US) / £270 (UK)230g / 8.1ozWaterproof running jacketWaterproof, windproof, breathable, all weather conditions
Berghaus Hyper 140 Waterproof Jacket$250 (US) / £200 (UK)138g / 4.8ozWaterproof running jacketWaterproof, lightweight and breathable, this is a real all rounder
inov-8 Stormshell$230 (US) / £160 (UK)175g / 6.2ozWaterproof running jacketTrail running, waterproof, windproof, reflective, breathable, lightweight, soft fabric
Jack Wolfskin Prelight Windbreaker£115 (UK)4.2oz / 120g (women’s small)Water resistant running jacketTrail running, hiking
Salomon Sense Flow jacket$170 (US) / £155 (UK)men’s: 4.4oz / 125g; women’s: 4.2oz / 120gWater resistant running jacketTrail running, hiking
Columbia OutDry Ex Lightweight Shell Jacket $199 (US)190g / 6.7ozWaterproof running jacketWaterproof, Wind resistant, lightweight
Arc'teryx Gamma Lightweight Hoody$220 (US) / £170 (UK)men’s: 300g / 10.6oz; women’s: 265g / 9.3ozWater resistant running jacketClimbing, hiking, biking
Evadict Waterproof Trail Running Jacket$90 (US) 210g / 7.4ozReflective and waterproof running jacketTrail running, waterproof, windproof, reflective
Rab Vital Windshell Jacket$89 (US) 125g / 4.4ozWater-resistant running jacketTrail running, lightweight, windproof
Patagonia Houdini jacket$109 (US) / £100 (UK)105g / 3.7oz Ultralight packable running jacketCool weather, wind and light rain
Nathan Stealth Jacket$90 (US)125g / 4.4ozWater-resistant running jacketTrail running, lightweight, windproof

How we test the best running jackets

Our reviewers test runnning jackets during wet and wild weather in a range of environments, from hills and peaks to coastal paths and woodlands, on short runs and on longer adventure runs. Features (including waterproofing, breathability, ventilation, materials, style, pockets, freedom of movemnt and overall comfort) are tested against claims made by the brand, and we assess factors such as value for money, durability, functionality and environmental impact.

Meet the testers

best running jackets: Alex Foxfield
Alex Foxfield

As well frequently running his local trails in Bristol, Alex enjoys mixing running and scrambling in the mountains of the UK. His preference is always to be moving at speed in the uplands and, when he can't get to them, needs his regular a trail runs to burn off some energy. Like a dog.

best running jackets: Claire Maxted
Claire Maxted

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races. 

Craig Taylor image
Craig Taylor

Growing up just south of the glorious Brecon Beacons National Park, Craig spent much of his childhood running around the hills. As he got older, the hills got bigger, his runs further, and his passion for spending quality time in the great outdoors only grew - falling in love with all forms of outdoor adventure. Having recently returned to the UK after almost a decade in Germany, he now focuses on regular runs and adventures in nearby Eryri (Snowdonia) and the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons).

How to choose the best running jacket

The best running jackets can be quite an investment, so you need to consider what you will need from the garment. We've broken down some of the key considerations below and included a few frequently asked questions too, for good measure...

Waterproofing

If you are looking for the best running jacket for adventures in all weather conditions, and for long periods of time, then you should up your budget and look for fully waterproof and windproof jackets. Look out for products with durable water repellency (DWR), the layer that makes rain bead delightfully on your jacket. Even better still, a jacket with a membrane like Gore-Tex will stop water soaking through but also let sweat evaporate out as vapour, which is key for runners.

Waterproof qualities come at a price, both in terms of dollar and in terms of weight. Fair weather runners may be better served by getting a jacket that is water-resistant, rather than fully waterproof. A water-resistant jacket will fend off rain to a point but won't keep you dry if you're out for hours on end. On the plus side, it won't break the bank (quite as much) and it will probably weigh a little less.

Runner wearing jacket in mountains

If you're out in the mountains for long periods, a fully waterproof running jacket is a good option (Image credit: Getty)

Ventilation

As well as keeping rain out, we demand that the best running jackets also allow sweat to escape. However, on a long run in your jacket, you're going to get hot regardless of the conditions. The best running jackets have ventilation zips under the armpits that facilitate the flow of air, reduce condensation and cool you down.

Weight

Perhaps the biggest distinction between a hikers' jacket and a running jacket is the consideration that goes into its weight. Where speed is concerned, weight – or the lack of it – is key. There's often a trade off between a jacket's weight and its ability to repel the worst of the elements, but advances in materials mean that jackets like Berghaus' Hyper 140 strike a compelling balance. At just 138g, it performs the task of much heavier rivals commendably. If you're after something a little more featherweight, it might be worth checking out the best lightweight running jackets.

If you’re looking for the best running jacket for short runs, as an extra layer, then perhaps you don’t need to spend the big bucks. Water-repellent jackets are usually lighter, much cheaper and stow away more easily than fully waterproof garments. If you don't often find yourself running in the rain, garments like the Salomon Sense Jacket – which weighs in at just 80g – are a good option. Just don't expect it to keep you warm and dry on a mountain in January.

Runner wearing jacket approaching mountain

A hood is recommended for mountain running (Image credit: Getty)

To hood or not to hood

This decision may come down to the kind of running you intend to do. If you're pounding the city streets a few times a week for an hour at a time, you will probably be fine without a hood. On the other hand, if you're looking to do long trail races in the hills and mountains, or multi-day races, having a hood is as wise a choice as having a pair of running gloves.

Fit

When you buy an outer shell for hiking, you want quite a loose fit because of all the layers you may have to wear underneath it in cold conditions. However, this is not the case with running. You want your running jacket to fit snuggly over your base layer, as the rest of your warmth will come from your exertion. However, don't go for too tight a fit, as you want as much freedom of movement as you can. This is the age old compromise with waterproof materials – protection vs freedom.

Frequently asked questions

What material is best for a winter running jacket?

A winter running jacket has a fine balance to strike between protection from wind and rain, warmth and breathability, all while being lightweight enough to comfortably run in. A waterproof outer layer will typically be made from polyamides, such as nylon. These strong fabrics are highly resistant to wear and tear, as well as having good weather repelling qualities, particularly when it comes to being effective windbreakers.

Sometimes, this face fabric is treated with DWR (durable water repellent), which adds further resistance to the drink. However, this resistance fades with use and repeated laundering. If you're after a waterproof running jacket, look for a waterproof yet breathable membrane, such as Gore-Tex. This is the most famous and most trusted waterproof tech out there, though many brands have quality proprietary membranes, such as The North Face's FutureLight and Columbia's OutDry.

How do you wash a waterproof jacket?

It doesn't matter how much it cost or how many zeros it has in its Hydrostatic Head rating, your waterproof jacket will lose its magic the more you use it and the more laundry cycles it suffers. However, there are products, such as NikWax's Tech Wash and TX.Direct Wash In, that can give your waterproofs a new lease of life.

You shouldn't wash your waterproof clothing along with other items, but instead treat them to a separate wash. Use a dedicated waterproof detergent, such as NikWax's Tech Wash, which cleans your garments without compromising their performance.

If you notice that said performance is starting to suffer on the trails, it's time to reproof. This time, after washing your garments with a dedicated detergent like Tech Wash, put them back in the washing machine with a reproofer, such as TX.Direct Wash In. This will restore your jacket's water repelling qualities.

How do you test a jacket's breathability?

The Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR) is a commonly used measure of how breathable a fabric is and it can be tested using something called 'the Inverted Cup Test'. 

The fabric in question is placed on a moisture vapor permeable membrane and secured to an inverted test cup, which is filled with potassium acetate. The cup is then placed in a water-filled container.

The potassium acetate pulls the water up through the membrane, thus altering the weight of the cup over a 24-hour period. The cup is then measured to see how much fluid passed through the membrane, providing an insight into its breathability.