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The North Face Lightriser Futurelight running jacket review: low maintenance, high protection

This stylish, lightweight running jacket repels moisture on rainy days without letting too much build up on the inside, keeping you dry, comfortable and moving

The North Face lightrise futurelight running jacket
(Image: © The North Face)

Our Verdict

This lightweight, stylish waterproof running jacket is made for movement using recycled materials and performs well in repelling the worst of wet weather without allowing much moisture to build up on the inside

For

  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Stylish
  • Adjustable hood
  • Internal mesh pocket for storage
  • Reflective logos for enhanced visibility

Against

  • Pricey
  • Only one pocket, in the back

The North Face Lightriser Futurelight running jacket: first impressions 

On the rack, The North Face Lightriser Futurelight running jacket is a great looking minimalist waterproof shell. With the men’s version weighing at 7 ounces, you barely notice it on and it’s perfectly form fighting without being tight or catching anywhere.

Made using recycled materials, Seamsealed FUTURELIGHT is an advanced fabric technology that can be customised to deliver optimised combinations of breathable-waterproof protection. The result is a highly waterproof jacket that is also breathable, so it repels moisture from rain but keeps too much sweat from building up on the inside.

A full zip allows extra protection on rainy runs and the adjustable hood ensures it stays up when you’re moving fast. The sleeves are tailored to stay in place when you’re pumping your arms and partially elasticated wrists keep wind and rain out without being constrictive. An internal mesh pocket at the back allows you to carry your phone, gloves or keys and reflective logos on the front and back increase your visibility on the trails.

This jacket comes with a big price tag, but serious runners will love the protection it offers and look great at the same time. Wear this over a running tee or tank on rainy summer days or over a base layer in cold weather for impressive protection.

Specifications

• RRP: $300 / £270
• Sizes available:   Men’s and Women’s XS - XL
• Materials:  Shell: Polyester 100%), Lining: Nylon (80%), elastane (20%)
• Weight: 200g / 7 oz
• Colors:
 Black, Chlorophyll green, White  
• Best use: Trail running

The North Face Lightriser Futurelight running jacket: on the trails 

The North Face running jacket

This jacket has quickly secured its spot in my cold weather kit owing to its ultra light weight, exceptional warmth and trim fit (Image credit: The North Face)

Once summer’s heat fades, my typical running kit looks like layering my rain jacket over a long sleeved baselayer which keeps the worst of the weather off but admittedly allows a fair bit of moisture to build up on the inside, plus I usually have a very smelly rain jacket that I can’t use for anything else.

The North Face Lightriser Futurelight jacket is my first actual running jacket and when I pulled it out of the packaging, it seemed a bit luxurious, but after running it for the last few weeks, I totally get it.

First off, it’s great looking with a nice trim cut and minimalist style. I expected it to be, like lots of clothes, a bit annoying once I got moving but I was instantly impressed at how well designed it is. It manages to be slim fitting without rubbing and also doesn’t move around irritatingly, even at the cuffs. For downpours, I love the adjustable hood which stays up even when I’m going fast against the wind.

Its big selling point is that it’s fully waterproof, and lately I’ve been able to put that to the test running in a showers of the torrential nature and can attest that it's watertight. The Futurelight technology is designed to repel moisture but also be breathable and it works. On a few warmer, wet runs when I was wearing a base layer, a little moisture still built up on the inside but I’ve never overheated or felt clammy in this jacket which is a big win.

I’ve layered this jacket over a tank top, tee and long sleeved base layer and it fits well and performs with all three.

This jacket has no external pockets, favoring a minimalist look, and just one internal mesh pocket at the back. I was a bit doubtful that my phone would stay in it and thought it might be annoying if I wanted to pull it out to check my GPS, but I’ve yet to drop my phone and find it quite easy to reach back and access. The phone does bounce around a little, but not so much as to stop me using it and in fact I’ve stopped using my running vest for extra pockets when I’m wearing this.

Finally, this jacket is made from recycled materials which is a bonus, and doesn’t seem to stink after quite a few runs, which makes it more enjoyable to put on and means I won’t be washing it frequently so it will hold up.

This is definitely a highly priced item and geared towards the more serious runner, but if you’re willing to fork out, you’ll love it.

Here’s how it performed:

Sizing

Fits true to size. 

Fit

Trim fit without being skin tight, minimalist design with a high collar and long sleeves to keep the rain out, lands mid-hip. 

Comfort 

Very comfortable because it’s so lightweight and with a little stretch, it’s easy to move in. The sleeves don’t move up and down when you’re running and there’s no annoying rub or chafing anywhere. 

Temperature regulation 

Water and wind protection keeps you warm on cold days when you’re moving fast, though this isn’t an insulated jacket, while breathable fabric keeps you from overheating. 

Breathability 

Good breathability. A little moisture did build up on the inside when I went for a hard run in a downpour on a warmer fall day, but it didn’t feel clammy. 

Durability 

The key to durability here is that it doesn’t get stinky, so you won’t wash it a lot. It’s certainly well made and seems to hold up well as a running jacket, but wearing it with a heavy pack on a hike may be asking too much. 

Here’s where we tested The North Face Lightriser Futurelight running jacket: 

Loch Ard is a beautiful loch in Stirlingshire, Scotland that provides perfect mirror image reflections at dawn and dusk and plenty of wooded trails for hiking and running.