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.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
La Sportiva Maze Jacket
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New Balance Q Speed Winterwatch Jacket
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ASICS Lite-Show 2 Winter Jacket
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Best Men’s Winter Running Jacket
1. La Sportiva Men’s Maze Jacket
This breathable jacket by La Sportiva offers a soft, comfortable design with wind and rain protection where you need it most.
The Maze jacket features two types of fabric for maximum protection without restricting movement. The shoulders and chest feature Stormfleece for wind- and water-resistance. The lower torso is made out of stretchy fabric to provide maximum movement and flexibility. Combined, the jacket offers a nice balance between freedom of movement and keeping you warm.
And even though this jacket does a nice job at keeping wind and rain at bay, it still remains breathable. Sweat gets wicked away as you run to keep you dry.
Zippered pockets provide a place to store items during your run. A chest pocket is perfect for stashing small items like a phone, ID, or gels. Two zippered hand pockets give you additional places to get items safe.
This reasonably priced jacket also offers thumbholes in the sleeves. On cool days, use these to pull the sleeves part-way over your hands for added warmth.
- Good value
- Warm but not bulky
- Wind and water resistant
- Won’t protect you in heavy rain
Best Women’s Winter Running Jacket
2. New Balance Q Speed Winterwatch Jacket
This lightweight running jacket has all the features to help you have a great run in the cold. This jacket 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 Q Speed Jacket is constructed with water- and wind-resistant fabric for running comfortably in a variety of conditions. New Balance’s Heat Loft quilted fleece fabric lines the front-center of the jacket plus the lower flap in the back. This material keeps you warm without the added bulk and weight of traditional fleece fabric.
An adjustable vent in the back will help prevent overheating. 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.
- Insulated front and back panels
- Adjustable vent to prevent overheating
- Wind- and water-resistant fabric
- All black design not ideal for running in low light conditions
Best Waterproof Cold Weather Jacket
3. ASICS Stormshelter Jacket
The ASICS Stormshelter jacket will keep you dry in even the nastiest of heavy downpours. 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 reflective prints on the front and back for full visibility.
On the face of it, the ASICS Stormshelter looks thick and fluffy, but it’s lightweight and breathable. The removable hood provides extra protection and flexibility in unpredictable weather conditions.
The front zipper is water resistant, and cuffs are long, adjustable and fitted with gaiters and thumbholes. The side zipper pockets provide rain-protected storage for your belongings.
The Stormshelter Jacket also has a zippered chest pockets with media port, and a loop in the collar for headphone cords.
- Fully waterproof
- 360 degree reflective print
- Hood for keeping out the rain
- Waist isn’t tapered, lets cold air in
- Not the best looking jacket
Best Hybrid Winter Jacket
4. SmartWool Smartloft 120 (men’s) Smartloft 60 Hoodie Full Zip (women’s – pictured)
These two jackets by Smartwool combine warm merino wool with an insulated windblocker for warmth and versatility. They have 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.
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.
While these two jackets have different names, they are quite similar. The Smartloft 120 for men features slightly thicker insulation for core warmth but no hood. The women’s Smartloft 60 Hoodie has less insulation but comes with a stretchy, merino wool hood. Otherwise, they are basically the same.
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.
- Wind-proof and insulated around core
- Merino wool resists odor
- Stretchy fit for good freedom of movement
- Arm sleeves don’t protect against elements
Best Reflective Winter Running Jacket
5. ASICS Lite-Show 2 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.
- Thick, warm outer layer
- Lots of reflective detail
- Reasonably priced
- Not as wind- and rain-resistant as other jackets
- Good color options, although no black version for men
Best Lightweight Winter Jacket
6. Salomon Agile Softshell Jacket
If you are looking for a versatile jacket for both running 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.
- Soft feel but still weather resistant
- Warm and lightweight
- No hood
- Salomon clothing tends to run small
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 poocket. A tall collar offers increased protection from the elements.
- Lightweight design combines outer shell with moisture-wicking lining
- Wind-proof, water-resistant
Top Crossover Winter Running Jacket
8. Craft Intensity Jacket
This nordic ski jacket also doubles as a great cold weather runing jacket. It has a good outer layer 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.
The Intensity jacket ensures that through a windproof design in the front – and a breathable material in the back. A soft inner collar keeps your neck warm. And two zippered side pockets offer a place to keep personal items secure. Finally, reflective details offer some added visibility in low light conditions.
- Wind and water resistant
- Warm design
- No hood
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.
- Windproof and water resistant
- GORE Windstopper fabric for max wind protection
- Hoodless design
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!
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.