When the weather gets bad and you still want to get out there and run, these running rain jackets will help you stay dry. While keeping out the elements, these jackets also do a great job of staying breathable, so you won’t overheat.
We’ve reviewed and tested over 20+ different jackets. These are our favorites….
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Gore R3 Gore-Tex Active Hooded Jacket
Best for Cold Rain
Asics Storm Shelter Jacket
1. Gore R3 Gore-Tex Active Hooded Jacket
This rain jacket made by Gore Wear uses breathable Gore-Tex fabric to keep you comfortable while protecting you from the nastiest elements.
Unlike many of the other jackets we reviewed, the R3 jacket is lightweight and flexible. While many rain jackets are stiff and bulky, the R3 jacket is soft, feels great, and allows for free range of motion.
A problem with running rain jackets is they’ll keep you dry from rain – but don’t breath. So you end up soaked on the inside from sweat. Venting helps somewhat but also allows more openings for rain and wind to get in.
One advantage of Gore-Tex is it breaths while still protecting you from nasty weather. It’s the best of both worlds: cool and breathble with protection from water and wind.
Additional features help keep you dry. A waterproof hood with a bill keeps the rain off your head. It can be cinched up with two elastic cords for a secure fit. Unfortunately, there is no way to store the hood when it’s not needed. So it flaps around a little as you run.
The jacket zips up to your chin to protect your neck. Additional elastic cords are fitted in the front zip pockets. These can be used to cinch the waist tight and keep out rain and wind.
Smaller details are also nice. Every zipper has a tag to make opening and closing easy. A great feature when your fingers are numb from the cold.
We also liked that the jacket has two zippered pockets and a smaller key pocket inside one of the pockets. And the cuffs use velcro and elastic for a custom fit.
The biggest downside to the jacket is the cost. It’s one of the more expensive jackets on this list. But what you get is a breathable jacket that protects you from the elements. And it’s the only jacket that has the soft feel and flexible fit. Something you don’t normally find in a rain jacket.
- Soft and flexible fabric
- Lightweight and water/wind-proof design
- Breathable without being overaly vented
- Adjustable fit on the hood, waist, and cuffs
- Hood doesn’t store when not being used
2. Asics Storm Shelter Jacket
The Asics Storm Shelter jacket is one of the best deals available. This waterproof jacket holds off the elements while keeping you dry.
Made with laminated fabric, the outer shell keeps water out while remaining breathable. The waterproof hood snaps on and off for changing weather conditions. Put it on when it’s raining heavily – take it off and stash it in a pocket until you need it again.
The Storm Shelter jacket has three pockets: two zipper hand pockets that can store personal items. There is also an internal pocket for carrying a phone.
Fully sealed seams further keep the rain out. Adjustable cuffs and gaitered thumb holes keep water from dripping in through the sleeves.
And for safety, cars will see you coming with 360 degrees of reflective print.
- Tons of reflective print for great visibility
- Best heavy rain jacket for the price
- Has a boxy look
- Stiff material doesn’t allow good freedom of movement
3. Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket
It doesn’t provide much warmth but does a pretty good job at wind protection. The thin fabric won’t withstand all-day rain and wind, but will provide that necessary protection if you suddenly find yourself in a bad storm. Or if you need a light jacket for showers or drizzle.
Its real strength is the lightweight design. The jacket is featherlight. You can use the front pocket to pack the jacket into itself. This makes it easy to store and toss in your bag as a “just in case the weather gets bad quick” jacket.
And even though this jacket is waterproof, it’s still breathable. A hood completes the waterproof capabilities of this jacket.
- Extremely lightweight
- Packable design
- Wind and waterproof>
- Tons of color options
- Some felt the fit was small
- No pockets other than the small chest pocket
4. Altra Wasatch Jacket
This durable jacket is tough enough to take on rain, sleet, snow, maybe even hail!
It’s made with a waterproof but breathable fabric that’s heavy duty and tough. Despite the heavy material, it stretches freely for ease of movement.
Welded seams keep out rain and wind while vented underarms prevent overheating. A fitted hood can be cinched tight to keep you warm and dry.
The Wasatch Jacket has two, zippered side pockets to store and easily access small items. An interior pocket adds extra storage.
Unique to the Wasatch Jacket are two thumb locks to keep the sleeves from riding up. Unlike thumb holes in other jackets and shirts, these are lycra loops. The jacket doesn’t ride up your arm, but the thumb locks don’t pull the sleeves over half your hand. This allows small gloves to be worn with the thumb locks.
- Durable, waterproof design that lets you move
- Thumb locks for keep the arm sleeves in place
- Hood doesn’t cinch down for a snug fit
5. Ultimate Direction Ultra Jacket 2
As light as many windbreakers with the ability to pack down into itself, the Ultra Jacket 2 is your all-weather, all-purpose running jacket.
It’s waterproof to keep out the rain, but breathable so you won’t overheat. Elastic cuffs further help keep out the rain. And when it gets really cold, self-storing mitts keep your hands warm.
The latest version of the Ultra Jacket has new fabric that’s even more waterproof and breathable than the original. And new underarm vents provide added cooling, even when wearing a hydration pack.
Tapered seams keep out the elements while providing great durability. An internal pocket keeps your valuables dry. Finally, the TunnelEffect hood channels airflow to keep you cool while fitting nicely over a cap.
- Nice hood design with built-in bill
- Awesome wind and water protection
- Packs down for storage
- Some people found the hand mitts too small
- Sizing off for some people
6. Mountain Hardwear Exponent Jacket
The lightweight Exponent Jacket keeps you dry in the rain and packs down for storage when the weather improves.
It features VaporDry, Mountain Hardwear’s unique fabric that keeps you dry but remains breathable. An adjustable hood has a high collar to keep out the rain.
Unlike other jackets that have open underarm vents, the vents in the Exponent Jacket are zippered for customized airflow. For storage, there are two zippered pockets on the side of the jacket.
- Packable design
- Good value
- No chest pocket
7. Outdoor Research Guardian Jacket
Featuring OR’s unique AscentShell waterproof fabric, this running jacket protects you from the elements while keep the wind and rain out.
The jacket has a high collar and hood that cinches tight around your head. Seams are sealed on this jacket and elastic/velcro sleeves further keep water out. Another cinch tights at the waist to keep the jacket tight.
Besides breathable AscentShell fabric, the Guardian Jacket has zippered venting underneath both arms. There are two zippered pockets on the side of the jacket. There is also a zippered chest pocket with a hole to feed a headphone cable through.
Overall, this jacket is a great value given how waterproof it is. It’s thick enough to be worn along on cooler days or as an outershell on cold days. Probably too heavy for summer rain.
- Good value
- Breathable and waterproof
- 3 zippered pockets
- Hood doesn’t pack away when not in use
8. Marmot PreCip Jacket
Made with NanoPro waterproof fabric, the jacket both repels water and breaths to allow sweat to escape. Venting under the arm adds more breathability to the jacket while limiting how much water can get in.
The waterproof hood helps keep the rain out. When it’s not in use, it can be rolled up and velcroed down so it doesn’t flop around while you run. A tall collar zips all the way up to your chin. Elastic and velcro sleeves lock water out.
And if it’s only threatening rain, the jacket packs into itself for easy storage and packing. Throw it in your pack and only take it out when it starts to rain.
- Waterproof and breathable
- Packs into itself
- Waterproof hood that can be cinched down
- Good value
- Numerous color options
- Sleeves are tight, might not fit over light jacket
- Some runners complained it wasn’t waterproof enough
9. Craft Repel Jacket
The Craft Repel Jacket balances wind and rain protection in a comfortable shell that works for year-round use.
The waterproof fabric protects against water and wind, making this a good choice for hard rain and storms. Taped seams ensure water doesn’t get in. Elastic cuffs and waist also help keep the water out. We would have preferred velcro on the sleeves, but the elastic cuffs do a decent job.
The jacket’s hood cinches to tighten around your head. It can be tightened down in the back when not in use.
This jacket is also well vented allowing for good air circulation. In addition to back vent panels, they circle around the front part of the jacket as well.
Finally, if you do any running in low-light conditions, the Repel jacket has nice reflective details for nighttime visibility.
- Good price
- Venting in front and back
- Reflective detail
- Strong, 3-layer waterproof fabric
- No velcro around cuffs
Running Rain Jacket Buyer’s Guide
We’ve had our fair share of runs in rainy weather. It goes without saying, that the best (maybe only?) way to make these runs enjoyable (tolerable?) is to wear the right rain gear.
That starts with a running rain jacket.
We’re going to break down what to look for when shopping for a rain jacket. We won’t be covering all the technical aspects of these jackets – just practical things to look out for when shopping.
The first thing to keep in mind is what kind of tolerance you have for wet runs. Not all rain is created equal. There’s a big difference between cold, winter rain and warm, summer rain. Wind, temperature, and amount of rain coming down all play in a role in which jacket is going to work best.
Some jackets are heavy and wouldn’t be good in warm weather. Others are too thin or vented for windy or cold runs.
If you are the type of runner where no amount of rain or cold will stop you, it might be worth investing in a heavier jacket for cold rain and a lighter jacket for the summer. It’s difficult to find a jacket that will satisfy both.
That being said, let’s get started with what to look for when buying a rain jacket for running.
Waterproof vs Water-resistant vs Breathability
No question the biggest challenge in finding a good rain jacket is finding the right the balance between breathability and waterproofing.
Jacket material that totally blocks rain and water often doesn’t breath well. This means you get steamy inside the jacket. You may even sweat more and be just as wet from that as you would from the rain.
To allow for more breathability, most jackets have venting built-in, usually under the arms or midway up the back, to allow some airflow.
But we’ve found the best way to balance rain-resistance and breathability is to buy a jacket made with Gore-Tex or a similar material. This fabric breaths better but still repels water.
Gore-Tex has been the mainstay since it was invented in the 70s. But some major brands offer their own, similar competing material.
But even this type of fabric has its limitations. While it does breath better than rubber or nylon fabric, it can still feel warmer than other lightweight running jackets.
Waterproof vs Water-resistant
There are different levels of rain-resisting jackets. A water-resistant jacket will keep you dry during a rain shower but may not stay dry during a downpour or long, extended runs.
But when it comes to breathability, a water-proof jacket – even if made from Gore-Tex – won’t breathe as well as a water-resistant jacket.
Running rain jackets do a great job at blocking wind. But like their water-protection powers, their windproof-ness varies by jacket. Usually, the more waterproof jackets protect you better from the wind. But again what you need will depend on how likely you are to go out in bad weather.
As we mentioned earlier, running rain jackets almost always have vents to help with air circulation.
Make sure you find a jacket that has ventilation or you may otherwise find yourself overheating regardless of how breathable the jacket claims to be.
Most running rain jackets have hoods, but it’s not true for all. Generally, the water-resistant jackets forgo a hood. Not a huge problem, just make you wear the right headgear.
More hardcore rain jackets do include a hood. Look for a hood that’s big enough to go over a hat, especially one with a bill.
Some jackets have a hood with a built-in bill. This helps keep rain out of your eyes.
The jacket should also include a high collar that can be zipped up to keep wind and rain away from your face. The hood should also be adjustable and able to cinch tightly against your head.
Since jackets are full of zippers – and because it’s easy for water to seep through – running rain jackets usually have coatings to help keep out water or a cover or flap to protect the zippers from the rain.
We prefer flaps over a rubber coating. The coating can sometimes make the zipper harder to zip and unzip.
Check the sleeves at the cuffs to make sure there is a way to tighten them. Loose cuffs allow water to seep inside the sleeve, making your arms just as wet as if you weren’t wearing a jacket.
We like sleeves with velcro rather than elastic cuffs. The velcro is more adjustable and comfortable to wear. We’ve found it’s easier to keep water out this way.
Some jackets can be tucked into themselves via a pocket, allowing them to be stored and carried as a small bundle. These packable jackets are great to stash in your pack or carry when the weather is iffy and threatening rain. Pull these out and unpack as needed.
Cold weather or warm weather jacket
The final consideration is whether you want a jacket for cold weather or milder temperatures.
Most running rain jackets are made of fabric that’s layered together. An outer layer is formed with an inner liner to provide rain and wind protection on the outside and a comfortable liner on the inside. The most robust jackets are made with 3-layers sandwiched together.
The heavier the material, the warmer it will be. Depending on the season you plan on running, this will dictate how thick of a jacket you’ll need.