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The North Face Mountain Athletics Women’s 1/4 Quarter zip fleece review: a snug and stylish layer for cold runs and chilly summits

This sporty, pullover fleece provides cozy comfort on chilly summits, and is stylish enough to wear around town

Staff writer Julia Clarke wearing the The North Face Mountain Athletics Women’s 1/4 Quarter zip fleece while hiking
(Image: © Julia Clarke)

Our Verdict

This casual, midweight pullover fleece is more stylish than technical, but provides ample warmth on day hikes

For

  • Warm and cozy
  • Flattering fit
  • Soft lining
  • Deep zip lets you cool off without stripping off
  • Reflective details
  • High collar blocks the breeze
  • Small chin guard prevents chafing

Against

  • Shorter length can mean a cold bum
  • No elasticated cuffs or hem lets the draft in
  • You may need to size up
  • No pockets

The North Face Mountain Athletics Women’s 1/4 Quarter zip fleece: first impressions 

This sporty, midweight fleece has a boxed design that is more stylish than technical, but it provides ample warmth when you need a layer to throw on at a chilly summit during mild weather hikes and is great for wearing around town. A high collar with chin guard helps keep a cold draft out of your neck, while a deep zip allows you to cool off without stripping off. 

Specifications

RRP: £65
Gender specification: Women’s
Sizes: XS to XL
Materials: Polyester 97%, elastane 3%
Colors: Blue/back, White/black
Best use: Hiking, camping, road running 

Without drawcords on the cuffs and hem and the shorter cut make it less technical for cold weather hiking, but its robust construction will certainly hold up against your backpack if you decide to wear it on a colder day hike. Reflective details help you stay visible on cold night runs, too. You might need to size up in this one, but in doing so there’s plenty of room to layer it over your favorite hiking top or running top

The North Face Mountain Athletics Women’s 1/4 Quarter zip fleece: in the field 

Staff writer Julia Clarke wearing the The North Face Mountain Athletics Women’s 1/4 Quarter zip fleece while backpacking

The fabric definitely holds up to strap rub, though the cut is a little short to wear with a hip belt (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

This is a nice-looking fleece that provides plenty of warmth, though its stylish cut makes it better for hanging out or wearing around town than it is for serious hiking endeavors. Rather than a fleecy outer, it has more of a shell feel which I don’t like as much aesthetically, but it won’t pill and the super soft fleece lining which feels really cozy. We’ve had quite a warm summer and early fall, and I’ve not really needed it much while hiking, but it has been great for throwing on at a few windy summits while I eat lunch. Long sleeves and a high neck help keep the breeze out, but the stylish, boxy cut doesn’t cover up my bum and there’s no elasticated hem or cuffs so it’s not the best for really cold weather. I did wear it for the beginning of a chilly hike recently and it was pretty breathable, plus the long deep zip (which is called one quarter but more like two thirds) meant I could cool off without stopping to strip off. 

Staff writer Julia Clarke wearing the The North Face Mountain Athletics Women’s 1/4 Quarter zip fleece while hiking

Size up unless you like yours really snug (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

I like a pocket or two when I’m hiking and this doesn’t have any, unfortunately, but I did wear it with my backpack and it holds up nicely against strap rub. I usually wear a small size but the medium looks pretty good on and leaves room for layering, so I think sizing up is a good idea unless you like a really snug fit. It has reflective details and North Face lists it for wearing while you train – it certainly hasn’t been cold enough for that yet, but I’ll definitely consider it for trail running this winter if it gets really cold. Other than that, I think I’m more likely to wear this for lounging around this house this winter when I can’t afford to pay for fuel.

Here’s how it performed:

Sizing and fit

This runs a little small so it’s not a bad idea to size up if you want to layer it over other clothes. The boxy fit with long sleeves and high neck is stylish. 

Comfort

Cozy and soft inner fleece lining. 

Temperature regulation and breathability

Definitely provides instant warmth, though it’s not particularly warm. It’s as breathable as any fleece and the deep zip helps you cool off.

Durability 

Mid-weight, sturdy material and construction plus the outer isn’t fleecy so doesn’t pill.

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.