15 best men’s winter running jackets to keep you going through the cold
Keep your fitness regime in full swing with reliable insulation
When you draw the curtains at 6am to see it’s cold, wet and windy, having the right running jacket could well be the difference between skipping a session or kitting up and getting outside.
Broadly speaking you’ll be considering three factors when deciding which running jacket is right for you; waterproof, windproof or insulation.
If you’re looking for a waterproof so you can run in the rain, it’s worth knowing that waterproof garments are often tested against a universal performance scale and rated from 0-50,000mm+.
The lowest you’d really want in a waterproof jacket is 10,000mm, with high end performance gear up at 20,000mm (being highly waterproof yet still flexible and breathable). But make sure breathability is good, or you’ll be sweating a lot.
Windproof jackets will suffice for much of the time, even in light rain, and they’ll be more breathable and lightweight than waterproof equivalents. Insulated jackets are great if you’ll be running in dry conditions when it’s going to be cold, or if you’ll be doing more gentle jogs where you’re unlikely to be exerting yourself.
In the following selection, we’ve included a range of running jackets for every type of runner and all weather conditions. They’ve been tested on moderate length runs, and careful consideration has been given to build quality, fit, materials and all round performance.
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Iffley Road Marlow II waterproof jacket: £195, Iffley Road
Built for the true runner, this is a brilliantly executed minimal jacket ideal for the British winter. Extremely waterproof (20,000mm) and breathable, this is a softshell jacket made from a high quality Italian three-layer fabric. It feels really nice next to your skin and has an almost velvet like matt finish on the outside. You’ll not only look the part in this classically designed lightweight jacket, but all seams are fully taped so there’s no chance of water seeping through.
The hem and cuffs have built in elastic, ensuring a nice snug-ish fit, and the body and arms have been proportioned to perfection – just nicely baggy to afford full movement plus ample room to wear with a base and thin mid-layer too if it was really chilly. There’s just a single horizontal zip pocket centrally placed on the back for small items such as keys or gloves, and a lovely soft feeling lining all around the neck including a generous chin guard to avoid any rubbing. It’s not the cheapest option out there, but quality comes at a price and British brand Iffley Road does not cut corners.
Soar all weather jacket: £239, Soar
Soar, a British brand, focuses solely on top-quality performance running gear, and from the moment you get your hands on this – its flagship winter running jacket – you know it’s the business. Made from a single layer of premium Italian fabric that you’ll just want to keep stroking, it has a nice insulating quality to it, is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) to make sure it's waterproof, and it’s really breathable too, so ideal if you’ll be running fast.
We think this one is best layered with a T-shirt below – it’s snug fitting so it’d be rather tight with anything more. And it can be worn next to skin too as the fabric has a brushed quality to it and feels really nice. Other details are well executed and subtle – reflective seams, a nice chest pocket (that fits an iPhone) as well as rear pocket to stash gels and gloves etc both with waterproof zips. This is a serious runners jacket that won’t disappoint, even if it does come at a higher price point.
Montane fleet jacket: £280, Montane
If you're looking for a winter running jacket to use in foul weather, this is just the job. Montane turn out high quality at fair prices – many of which are specifically designed for runners – and this item is no exception. Using a the premium Gore-Tex active fabric, it's highly breathable, super waterproof and windproof, and coming in at under 350g it's pretty lightweight too.
It has a super snug hood that fits nicely around your neck (almost up to your chin) and back of head – with three point adjustment too – complete with a soft panel on the inside chin to stop rubbing, so you're nicely protected and any water leaks will be kept to a minimum. Fitted with high-end waterproof YKK zippers, three handy pockets, adjustable toggle around the hem and Velcro tabs on the wrists, it's also really well cut and proportioned jacket has room for a couple of base layers.
Patagonia nano-air jacket: £180, Patagonia
Patagonia’s latest insulated activewear jacket is a joy and carves its very own niche from all the others in this round up. It’s really comfortable because of its stretchy construction and it’s soft on skin feel fabric, plus the cut is really nice with just the right amount of space under the pit, around the body along with a rather loose hem which comes lower than most (almost below the crotch).
The wrists hug a little more and the warm neck zips up nice and snugly, keeping out any cold winds. It’s perfectly insulated for a running jacket – ideal for chillier day’s running, or if you’re on a more gentle jog. It is highly breathable and treated with a DWR, so you’re ok in a shower (but probably not best in full rain as you’d get wet).
Needless to say every aspect has been considered regarding environmental impact, and any issues with it, Patagonia will put right. A fantastic jacket, and one that will double up for everyday wear, and even for socialising at the weekend too which is always handy.
Arc’Teryx norvan sl insulated hoody: £350, Arc’Teryx
That rare combination of a fully waterproof running jacket that’s also insulated, norvan is Arc’Teryx’s top end trail running line. This one uses a premium Gore-Tex material making it waterproof, windproof yet still highly breathable. Combine this with a nice touch of synthetic insulation (40 g/sqm), this is very much intended for use in chilly, wet conditions.
It has a watertight zip and no external pockets (just a small internal chest one), and a snug fitting hem, wrists and hood all give the jacket a nice fit. The finish of the jacket looks rather shiny, meaning you probably wouldn’t be wearing this one for social use, but if you’re after a super technical piece of kit that you can use in anything nature will throw at you, this is it.
Castore fly weight jacket: £135, Castore
This is a versatile hooded shell jacket with a more relaxed fit, making it ideal if you want something that packs down very tightly, is feather light and suitable if you’re likely to exert yourself above a slow jog, or perhaps do speed work (or you simply get very hot when running), as there’s little to no insulation. It’s made from a really premium feeling polyester fabric that’ll offer a good amount of rain protection too, and build quality feels top drawer. It’s is backed up with a two year guarantee.
It’ll keep out cold winds, and would even work well used layered with a next-to-skin and mid layer underneath for really chilly days. It’s nicely cut offering a looser fit with no elasticated wrists or hem so there’s plenty of natural air flow. The cut around the neck is lower than normal – the collar probably sits around an inch above your T-shirt neckline – so keep that in mind if you like protection around the neck. It has a zip pocket centrally placed to the rear and two generously sized front pockets. It’s an eye-catching jacket made for runners.
Berghaus hottar hybrid insulated jacket: £100, Berghaus
This well-priced insulated jacket is brilliant – it neatly blends insulated front and back panels with a knitted-effect fleece on the shoulders, neck and arms for added comfort, flexibility and breathability. The synthetic insulated parts of the jacket provide a really nice level of warmth, plus being DWR treated you don’t have to be over the top on avoiding rain; showers should be fine.
The fleece section is super comfortable and feels great on the skin, plus it’s a neat touch having it around the neck too. Two zip pockets act brilliantly as hand warmers as they are partly fleece lined. This is a fantastic jacket that can also be used for leisure and general outdoors use too.
Inov8 protec shell waterproof jacket: £270, Inov8
Born in the Lake District, it’s no surprise that Inov8 has produced a really capable jacket suited to the wildest of weather. Made from a robust (with a nice matte finish too) three layer high quality waterproof (20,000mm), windproof and breathable material, Inov8’s toughest running jacket also has fully taped seams.
The zip veers off to one side by the chin to reduce the chance of any chaffing annoyance, plus there’s then a big insert of soft fabric which rests on your neck and chin. The two external pockets open up next to the central front zip, which means you don’t have anywhere to place your hands to keep them warm should you stop. There’s an internal pocket for your phone placed nice and high at the top of your chest which will keep your device snug and keep bouncing to a minimum. An adjustable drawcord hem and Velcro wrists finish the line up on this near indestructible jacket.
On waterproof anorak: £320, On
This high-end Swiss trainer running brand also turns out some real quality apparel now too, and if you’re going to be raining in the rain, it doesn’t get much better than this understated piece. Its three-layer membrane is an environmentally sound choice too (it’s PTFE-free) and it’s is really waterproof (20,000mm) and windproof.
Breathability comes via two small vents on the front and a larger flap on the back all along the shoulders which allows airflow to avoid any sweat build up. The fit is really nice, generous enough around the body and hugs gently around the wrists and hem which are loosely elasticated, and it cuts lower around the back for any kick up. With no pockets, a half zip and an adjustable hood completes a simple yet very well built and functional jacket that won’t be out of place for casual use too (it doesn’t scream technical which is quite nice).
Paramo fuera smock: £75, Paramo
Not only is this the most affordable option by a long way in this round up, but it's a great option for the more environmentally conscientious consumer too. From ethical manufacturing, to not using harmful treatments on the fabric, through to a recycling scheme for old gear, the East Sussex-based brand produces high quality apparel that lasts.
This minimal smock is an exceptionally lightweight shell that’s windproof and water repellant, making it perfect for running in windy conditions when there might be the occasional shower. Equally if you might want to stow away into a backpack, it packs into its own chest pocket and will take up little space. It has elasticated cuffs and hem making it fit well, it’s easy to wash, and at this price is a steal compared to most others.
Under Armour coldgear insulated jacket: £115, Under Armour
This lightly insulated jacket, a new release from Under Armour, lends itself perfectly to those chilly and dry morning runs – not being wind or waterproof it’s not intended as a foul weather type jacket. The front panels have an almost quilted feel to them, then on the side, back and arms is super stretchy knitted fabric with a very cosy brushed feel, which on bare skin feels luxurious and silky soft.
It’s really nicely cut and proportioned – well fitted around the waist, the long arms with thumb holes are the perfect length, and when zipped right up, the collar provides extra warmth. The grey colour cuts quite a dash too and there’s no doubt you’ll feel great in this, plus it’s a fair price.
Norrona bitihorn super light down 900: £279, Norrona
This is a top-quality and super lightweight insulated jacket suited to running in cold and dry conditions. With a great amount of super high quality ethically-sourced natural down insulation (900 fill power – the highest you can get), you’ll still be kept warm running in near zero or sub zero conditions. Plus, it features a DWR (water repellant) finish so if you get caught in a shower, it shouldn’t be the end of the world.
It has nice hand warming pockets perfectly placed to slip your hands into (nb, no zip), and the jacket feels really well constructed and fits perfectly. What’s more it will seamlessly cross over into more everyday hiking and casual wear, too.
Icebreaker tech trainer hybrid jacket: £180, Icebreaker
A brilliantly executed piece of kit, this is a great fitting lightly insulated jacket with a merino-lycra blend hugging the entire body and arms, with an additional overlay of warming panels on the front and shoulders. Although it’s not waterproof or windproof, it offers a great level of warmth while still being highly breathable, meaning you won’t overheat even if you’re training hard.
With long arms with thumb holes, chin guard and zippered hand pockets, we think it can be happily used for strolls around the park and general outdoor casual use, as well.
Odlo millennium yakwarm pro jacket: £180, Odlo
This body hugging jacket fuses natural and modern fabrics that will keep you running in very cold and dry conditions. It’s made up of two quite distinct materials, the most notable of which is a more insulated one used in the chest, upper arm, shoulder and neck areas – this is made from a hard wearing fleecy feeling fabric and yak wool, which provides a nice level of insulation. It’s a little stiff when new (most likely because of the natural yak wool), but no doubt this will loosen up nicely with wear.
On the remainder of the body is a much more lightweight fabric (with merino wool) which is super stretchy and breathable helping you keep cooler if you get hot. The hem has an elasticated drawcord so you can have it as tight as you wish, the snug cuffs are also elasticated and it’s worth noting the neck zips up really high, lending itself to really cold runs.
Adidas terrex windweave insulated hooded jacket: £169.95, Adidas
With a generous amount of premium synthetic insulation, this jacket uses a technology originally developed by Nasa which offers high insulation and low weight. The jacket is intended for runners who won’t be massively exerting themselves, just going for a more relaxed morning jog around the park on a chilly winter’s morning, or running in sub zero conditions.
Made of a polyester ripstop fabric, it has a slight water repellency, so it's best not to wear it in anything more than a light shower. It’s lightweight, nicely cut and a great option if you’re looking for a more heavily insulated running jacket.
The verdict: Winter running jackets
Our top pick is the Iffley Road Marlow waterproof jacket because it's totally waterproof and breathable, with a great cut plus room to layer if it’s very cold. We also really like the top quality material.
If you’re planning on a longer day on the trail and you want to be prepared for anything that’ll get thrown at you – rain, snow, freezing wind – the Arc’Teryx Norvan insulated SL hoody is in a league of its own to protect you in any weather.
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