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The Best Winter Running Jackets That Make Cold-Weather Runs Bearable

From lightweight shells to heavy-duty layers that can stand up to snow and rain, these jackets will keep you comfortable in the cold.

best winter running jackets
Staff, Courtesy of GORE

In the hot, humid summer months, the idea of running through a snowstorm might sound like heaven. But winter brings its own set of challenges. You want to keep your body warm, yet you don’t want to overheat. And achieving the perfect balance of layers to do that can feel like solving a college-level math equation, with temperature, run time, and windchill as variables. You’ll also have to factor in the prospect of rain or snow, which requires an outer shell that’s both waterproof and breathable so you don’t get soaked from precipitation or your own sweat. Of course, getting it right takes a bit of trial and error, which ultimately begins with finding a dependable winter running jacket.

Read on for helpful buying tips, followed by in-depth reviews of the best jackets from our testing.

How to Dress for Winter

Finding your next favorite winter running jacket will make a huge difference in your motivation to get out this season. But “winter weather” can vary widely from day to day and region to region, so the ideal outer layer for you will depend on the conditions in which you expect to run. Because you’ll warm up as you move, the trick is to dress for temperatures 20 degrees warmer, including the windchill, than the current forecast.

If you’re planning on running through rain or precipitation, you’ll also need a jacket that repels water. The ones below cover the range of winter weather, from cold temps to rain and snow and the occasional balmy day, so you’ll be prepared no matter what’s going on outside.

Related: The Best Waterproof Rain Jackets for Running | Great Running Gloves for 2021 | Fleece-Lined Leggings We'e Wearing All Winter

How We Chose

Runner’s World’s headquarters are in eastern Pennsylvania, where winters arrive early and stay long after the party has ended. To stay sane in an early November icepocalypse or late-April snow shower, we’ve had to find gear that motivates us to head out into single-digit temps and embrace the season. Every winter running jacket on this list has been evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors in an array of winter conditions, including snow, wind, bitter cold, and even the occasional warmish day. In addition to using our own experience running in these jackets, we’ve also researched the market and surveyed online reviews to find any feedback we might have missed. We judged our picks based on value, technical fabrics, comfort, warmth, and of course, looks. Here are the jackets that help us avoid the treadmill all winter.

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Traps Heat
Houdini Outright Houdi Fleece Jacket

  • Wicks sweat
  • Cozy

  • Not a lot of weather protection

Key Specs

  • Estimated Temp Range: 20 to 30 degrees F
  • Weather Features: Quick-drying

This jacket is essential for runners who live for those 20- and 30-degree long jaunts. Trapping in enough body heat for hours on the road, the Outright also does an excellent job at wicking sweat on the inside, meaning you won’t get the chills with every hint of a breeze in the later miles.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

Heavy-Duty Cold Protection
Lululemon Women’s Another Mile Jacket

  • Ultra-warm
  • Stylish

  • Pricey

Key Specs

  • Estimated Temp Range: 10 to 30 degrees F
  • Weather Features: Water-repellent, windproof

“When I tried on this jacket, I was surprised by how well cut and flattering it looked, compared to other boxy jackets (or, you know, ragged sweatshirts) I’ve worn to stay comfy when it’s cold outside,” said our tester. The hemline hits right at the hip, with stretchy material on the sides and sleek, yet still incredibly warm, padding through the torso. And the sleeves—which feature thumb holes—end perfectly at the wrists.

Versatile Core Warmer
Nike AeroLayer Vest

  • Very breathable
  • Allows arms to swing freely
  • Quilted core warmth

  • Need a warm base layer for colder temps

Key Specs

  • Estimated Temp Range: 20 to 40 degrees F 
  • Weather Features: Water-resistant

When worn over a base layer, vests are the perfect solution for when you need a warm core but don’t want to stew in your own sweat or hamper your full range of motion. This lightweight, synthetic model is one of our favorites for when we want to stay toasty in below-freezing temps without any excess bulk or risk of overheating after the first two miles. The AeroLayer has a quilted outer layer with stretchy panels at the sides for breathability. It also has two side pockets, a hidden rear pocket, and a high neck you can zip up for max warmth.

Wind- and Water-Resistant
Brooks Canopy Jacket

  • Breathable and weather-resistant
  • Lightweight and packable
  • Cell phone pocket

Key Specs

  • Estimated Temp Range: 20 to 40 degrees F
  • Weather Features: Wind- and water-resistant

Brooks put a lot of attention into small features that help the Canopy adapt to the weather or your preferred running style. For example, it comes with a hood, which can roll up with a small clasp when it isn’t raining so that it doesn’t bounce around and annoy you. The two spacious zipper pockets are enough for keys and energy gels. There’s also a small mesh pocket on the chest, which holds a phone—a nice touch because stashing your cell in a side pocket often creates too much annoying movement. What’s more, the entire jacket can be stuffed into its left zipper pocket. An elastic strap lets you carry it or hook it to a backpack.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

Stylish Wind-Stopper
Craft Supersoft Lightweight Running Jacket

  • Stylish
  • Easy to pack down

  • Too lightweight for real cold

Key Specs

  • Estimated Temp Range: 25 to 45 degrees F
  • Weather Features: Wind-resistant

Craft, a Swedish brand, excels at making high-quality athletic gear that’s equal parts functional and flattering. This soft polyester women’s jacket doesn’t depart from that formula—it’s formfitting but comfortable, and it blocks out wind to keep you surprisingly warm, given its thin material. It has a fitted hood and thumb holes to hold the sleeves down and cover your hands when you’re on the fence about gloves. Two zipper hand pockets and a hidden interior chest pocket store your stuff. The whole jacket packs down into a small bag or pocket if you get too warm.

Good for Runs of all Distances
Gore Wear Partial Gore-Tex Infinium Hooded Jacket

  • Breathable
  • Lightweight

  • Runs on the small side

Key Specs

  • Estimated Temp Range: 20 to 40 degrees F 
  • Weather Features: Wind-resistant

    When you don’t want to bundle up too much, there’s the Partial Gore-Tex Infinium Hooded jacket. “The breathable Infinium material traps heat well, so I’d be comfortable in the winter wearing a summer running shirt underneath in temps as low as 15 degrees,” said our tester. It’s not for cold rain, however, as it soaks up just about everything. Even so, the jacket is still light even sopping wet.

    Bonded Moisture-Repelling Material
    Athleta Women’s Inlet Jacket

    • Warm without feeling restrictive
    • Removable hood
    • Good coverage

    • Too warm for sunnier days

    Key Specs

    • Estimated Temp Range: 0 to 25 degrees F
    • Weather Features: Windproof, water-resistant

    Though it’s stuffed with 800-fill down insulation, the Inlet is a standout for its coverage. Its water-resistant bonded nylon-spandex blend staves off the elements, while the long length blocks from the high collar down to the hem that reaches below the hips. The removable hood has adjustable toggles should you want to cinch it down against the wind. Thumbholes keep the sleeves secure and keep cool air from seeping in.

    Durable, Lightweight Shell
    Marmot Tempo Women's Softshell Jacket
    Now 29% off

    • Keeps out wind and rain
    • Breathable
    • Pockets galore

    Key Specs

    • Estimated Temp Range: 20 to 40 degrees F
    • Weather Features: Waterproof, windproof

    More of a windbreaker than a true softshell, the Marmot Tempo is built to be an over layer for balmier winter runs and light precipitation. It’s made from a polyester-elastane blend designed to both shed water and breathe well—a tightrope that the jacket manages better than most. The fit is relaxed but not loose, and it has elastic cuffs, a drawcord at the hem, and overall stretchy fabric so you can drop into a sprint without your upper body feeling restricted. Two zipper hand pockets and a chest pocket hold your keys, cards, and gloves after your hands warm up.

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