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Best Cold Weather Running Jackets in 2021

 

Many a winter run has been postponed because of plunging temperatures. While it’s perfectly okay to take a day or two off when the cold is really biting, you don’t want to slack off too much on your winter training – you still have to be ready for your spring races. Therefore, a good cold-weather running jacket is a must-have for runners.

Cold weather running jackets are different from other running jackets. They are made with thicker fabric, often with extra insulation around your core.

For something less heavy and more versatile, check out our article on the best lightweight running jackets.

We’ve reviewed over 20+ cold weather running jackets available now. These are the best of the best.

 

women running in cold and snow

 

Top 4 Best and Favorites

 

Salomon Agile Softshell Jacket

 

  • Warm and breathable
  • Freedom of movement
  • Versatile
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Arc’teryx Argus Jacket

 

  • Stylish
  • Warm without being bulky
  • Wind and water-resistant
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New Balance Impact Run Winter Jacket

 

  • Insulated front/back panels
  • Venting for circulation
  • Water-resistant design
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ASICS Lite-Show Winter Jacket

 

  • Lots of reflective detail
  • Thick, warm jacket
  • Well priced
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Best Overall

1. Salomon Agile Softshell Jacket

If you are looking for a versatile jacket for both running, cross country skiing, and casual wear, the Salomon Agile Softshell is a good choice.

This super-lightweight jacket has wind protection in the front to keep you warm. But a breathable, mesh back prevents overheating. While this jacket markets itself as a cross-country skiing jacket – its versatility makes it perfect for cold weather running.

It comes with many features for water resistance and moisture-wicking. Reflective details help you be seen at night or during early morning runs.


PROS:

  • Soft feel but still weather resistant
  • Warm and lightweight
  • Freedom of movement especially around arms and shoulders

CONS:

  • No hood
  • Salomon clothing tends to run small

 

 

Best Men’s Winter Running Jacket

2. Arc’teryx Argus Jacket

This breathable jacket by Arc’teryx offers a stylish, comfortable design with wind and rain protection.

The Argus jacket features lightweight insulation with a nylon outer shell that keeps you warm without restricting movement. The jacket has a minimalist design to keep it light – yet it remains wind- and water-resistance. While it breaths well and dries out quickly, the synthetic insulation will still keep you warm and comfortable. Combined, the jacket offers a nice balance between freedom of movement and keeping you warm.

Zippered pockets in the back provide a place to store items during your run. An interior pocket is perfect for stashing small items like a phone, ID, or gels. A drawcord cinches the waist to prevent cold air from coming inside the jacket.

The Argus jacket also offers thumbholes in the sleeves. On cool days, use these to pull the sleeves part-way over your hands for added warmth.

While not the cheapest jacket, this lightweight jacket is the best option for keeping cold weather at bay.


PROS:

  • Stylish
  • Warm but not bulky
  • Wind and water resistant

CONS:

  • Won’t protect you in heavy rain


 

Best Women’s Winter Running Jacket

3. New Balance Impact Run Winter Jacket

This lightweight running jacket has all the features to help you have a great run in the cold. It fits snugly, with a long collar and sleeves for maximum protection against the elements. It stretches to allow for a free range of movement.

The Impact Jacket is constructed with water- and wind-resistant fabric for running comfortably in a variety of conditions. New Balance’s Heat fabric keeps you warm without the added bulk and weight of traditional insulating fabrics. Additionally, it wicks away sweat and moisture to keep you dry.

An adjustable vent in the back will help prevent overheating. Large zipper hand pockets provide a good place to stash items. 

The last nice thing about this jacket is its stylish appearance. The Q Speed jacket looks just as good for a casual night out as it does running the roads on cold, winter mornings.


PROS:

  • Insulated front and back panels
  • Adjustable vent to prevent overheating
  • Wind- and water-resistant fabric

CONS:

  • All black design not ideal for running in low light conditions

 

Best Lightweight Cold Weather Jacket

4. ASICS Accelerate Jacket

The ASICS Accelerate jacket will keep you dry in cold and wet rainstorms. The outer shell has a water-repellent finish and every seam is sealed to protect against the cold and rain. For enhanced safety at night, the jacket has 360-degree reflective detailing on the front and back for full visibility.

While the ASICS Accelerate is lightweight and breathable, it still provides plenty of warmth in cold weather. The removable hood provides extra protection and flexibility in unpredictable weather conditions.

The front zipper is water-resistant, and the cuffs are tapered to keep out cold weather. The side zipper pockets provide rain-protected storage for your belongings.

The Accelerate jacket should keep you warm on cool and cold days, it works well as an outerlayer on the coldest days when paired with a thick mid-layer.


PROS:

  • Waterproof
  • 360-degree reflective print
  • Hood for keeping out the rain

CONS:

  • Not warm enough to wear alone on extremely cold runs

 

Best Merino Wool Winter Jacket

5. SmartWool Smartloft-X 60 Hoodie

This jacket by Smartwool combines warm merino wool with an insulated wind blocker for warmth and versatility. It’s ideal for running on the coldest days.

It has a merino lining that keeps you warm while allowing you to move freely. Insulated panels on the front and back add extra warmth and a layer of wind and water resistance to the jacket. A hood helps shield you from the elements.

The jacket has multiple pockets to stash gear. There are two zippered hand pockets plus a zippered chest pocket with an outlet for a headphone cord. There are also two interior pockets without zippers.

The best part of merino wool is that it resists odor. You can wear it year after year and it won’t develop any stinky “runner” smells. Merino wool is also super-soft but keeps you warm even when wet.

For the coldest days, you can even use these jackets as a mid-layer underneath another shell. So you can get merino wool warmth with core protection, and a shell on top to keep out wind and snow.


PROS:

  • Wind-proof and insulated around core
  • Merino wool resists odor
  • Stretchy fit for good freedom of movement

CONS:

  • May provide too much insulation in milder temperatures

Best Reflective Winter Running Jacket

6. ASICS Lite-Show Winter Jacket

This jacket combines the warmth of a winter running jacket with reflective details that make it perfect for early morning or evening runs.

The Lite-Show jacket is made with a soft outer layer that’s thick enough to keep out the cold. But it still allows for good movement. It will wick moisture quickly while you sweat.  Thumbholes in the sleeves add extra warmth.

This jacket has reflective elements on both the front and back, as well as on both sleeves. You’ll be seen easily when running in the dark.

The Lite-Show jacket as two front pockets to store items, and a smaller internal pocket to store a phone or other more valuable items.


PROS:

  • Thick, warm outer layer
  • Lots of reflective detail
  • Reasonably priced

CONS:

  • Not as wind- and rain-resistant as other jackets
  • Good color options, although no black version for men

Top SUGOi Cold Weather Jacket

7. SUGOi Firewall 180 Jacket

The SUGOi Firewall jacket features wind-resistance fabric and an adjustable hood for maximum protection from the wind. It is a comfortable piece of apparel that makes use of a warm and wind/rain-proof design.

You’ll stay warm on the run without feeling weighed down. The jacket’s outer shell is lightweight and fused with S-Tek Lite insert for extra moisture-wicking power.

This jacket also has two hand pockets and a smaller, internal pocket. A tall collar offers increased protection from the elements.


PROS:

  • Lightweight design combines outer shell with a moisture-wicking lining
  • Wind-proof, water-resistant

CONS:

  • Pricey

Top Nike Winter Running Jacket

8. Nike Aerolayer Jacket

The Nike Aeorlayer jacket combines quilted insulation with woven fabric to create a warm, lightweight jacket.

The outer layer is light and repels moisture for cold, windy, and even rainy weather. None of these conditions should hold you back from going for a run, and with this jacket, they won’t.

Added insulation in the front keeps you warm. A hood adds more protection from cold weather. And two zippered side pockets offer a place to keep personal items secure. Finally, bits of reflective detail offers some added visibility in low light conditions.


PROS:

  • Wind and water-resistant
  • Breathable
  • Warm design

CONS:

  • Not many color options

Best Windproof Winter Running Jacket

9. Arc’teryx Trino Jacket

The Arc’teryx Trino jacket features GORE Windstopper technology for a windproof design that will keep you warm in windy, damp weather.

The GORE Windstopper fabric is on the chest and arms where you need the most protection. Arc’teryx’s Atreus fabric is used in the rest of the jacket. This material keeps you warm while maintaining plenty of breathability and moisture-wicking qualities with a flexible design.

While the jacket lacks side pockets, it does have an out of the way back pocket to store some gear. An internal media pocket is a safe place to store your phone. It has a headphone wire hole, if you want to listen to music while you run.

For a custom fit, the Trino Jacket is adjustable above the waist to secure the jacket and keep out the wind.


PROS:

  • Windproof and water resistant
  • Moisture-wicking
  • GORE Windstopper fabric for max wind protection

CONS:

  • Hoodless design
  • Expensive

 best winter running jackets

Cold Weather Running Jacket Buyer’s Guide

We all know that it is important to stay warm while running in cold weather. At the same time, we don’t want to be too hot and sweaty. Thus, it’s important to find a cold weather running jacket that provides the comfort that you need against the cold, but also gives you the flexibility to run easily.

Soft Shell vs Hard Shell

A hardshell jacket is waterproof and windproof, and normally has a hood. It can also be insulated. The idea is to provide protection against the rain and snow in a lightweight, waterproof, yet durable package. It’s known as a “hard shell” because the fabric does not stretch very much. Often, it has a distinct “crinkly” sound—a hard shell jacket makes much more noise than a soft shell jacket, and it is durable.

By contrast, a soft shell jacket is a water-resistant jacket that provides some protection from light snow and rain. It is important to note the difference between waterproof and water-resistant. Some jackets can occasionally feature waterproof breathable technology, but in general, water-resistant is the way to go if you also want breathability.

Soft shells are great for running, as they are breathable and flexible, and they can be great as an insulating midlayer under a waterproof hard shell on especially cold days. Soft shells do offer water resistance, so if it’s a light rain or snow, you’ll be just fine. However, for a serious downpour, you’d likely want a hard shell.

Thin vs Thick Jacket

Obviously, as the word “thick” implies, a thick jacket is going to be warmer, but at the same time, it is going to be more cumbersome, giving you less freedom to move. If the weather doesn’t get extremely cold where you live, a thinner jacket is likely going to be the better option, as it will be more breathable and flexible.

However, there may be instances where the weather requires a thicker jacket. Knowing the winter climate you usually run in will assist you in selecting the best jacket for you. You might want to consider what the temperature is normally like in the colder months, and how often it tends to rain or snow in your area. North Carolina in the winter likely will not require a thick winter jacket, whereas Wisconsin definitely will!

Pockets

Finally, don’t forget about pockets. It’s important to know how many pockets you need for your gear. Most jackets come with pockets, but some do not. If you need to store items in jacket pockets, you need to know how many pockets there are as well as if they are zippered. You don’t want your phone falling out during your run or getting wet just because the pocket wasn’t zippered.

The Wired Runner