If we had it our way, every run would start and finish in perfect weather (and the occasional glass of Scotch would replace a recovery drink). But Mother Nature’s idea of perfect isn’t always a picturesque sunset or a sunny beach. For those of us not living in a running commercial, sometimes the long-mileage day may start with a thunderstorm or a few inches of snow. On days like these, instead of rolling over and heading back to sleep, grab a good running jacket and start pounding out those miles. Whether you’re just heading around the block a few times, working on your interval training or putting in a marathon, we’ve found the best running jackets for soldiering through the tough stuff.
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Salomon GTX Active Shell Jacket
Best Running Jacket For Extreme Weather: Featuring a super-light Gore-Tex Active membrane, the GTX Active Shell by Salomon should be your weapon of choice for cold, wet, winter running. The two-layer membrane is breathable enough to keep you from overheating but easily sheds precipitation. Lightweight construction features include elastic cuffs, welded seams and zippers and Salomon’s Skin Fit hood. If your idea of a good run includes getting out for a few miles in the middle of a Nor’easter (even we’re not that crazy), don’t worry. The GTX Active Shell is more than up to the task of fighting off even the worst blizzard to keep you on the road. (Disclaimer: always run safely in dangerous weather.)
Merrell Torrent Shell
Best Jacket For Ultra-Distance Racers: So you’re one of those crazy runners who is just getting warmed up at a marathon distance? If you’re regularly putting in training runs for that next 50- or even 100-miler, every ounce in your pack or race belt counts. The Torrent Shell is your ultra-light answer for protection from the elements on even the longest runs. 20-denier ripstop material is wind proof and water resistant. Stretch mesh panels down the sides allow for ventilation should your run warm up quickly. The entire jacket packs into the chest pocket, making it packable into any race pack or even a pocket on your running shorts.
Nike Vapor Jacket
Best Urban Running Jacket: If you’re more of an urban adventurer, the Nike Vapor jacket has all the features you need to not only brave the weather but some of the obstacles you’ll encounter on a run through dark city streets. Lined with Dri-Fit microfiber polyester and strategically placed mesh vents, it keeps water out with the best of them. An adjustable and removable hood allows you to tailor the Vapor to the conditions without carrying extra weight. Reflective hits on the sleeves maintain visibility if you’re out after dark.
Brooks LSD Lite III Jacket
Best Budget Running Jacket: Maybe you’re a little tapped out after splurging on a couple new pairs of running shoes, but you still need that all-weather gear for some good training (that is, unless your idea of fun involves spending hours on a treadmill). The LSD Lite III has all the features you’d expect from top-tier offerings — water-resistance, windproofing, venting, reflective hits and light 4.3-ounce construction — for a fraction of the price. It also features a storm guard and zipper garage to keep you comfortable when you have to button up for harsh weather.
The North Face Animagi Jacket
Best Running Jacket For Cold Weather: For a more insulated solution when the weather turns cold, the Animagi jacket from The North Face features body-mapped Primaloft Eco insulation for your core along with stretch knit sleeves. A lighter back panel bleeds off any excess heat after your sprint that pack of cute girls out for their morning jog. An internal MP3 pocket, thumb loops on the sleeves and a secure chest pocket for keys and wallet round out this cold-weather piece. You could always double down and just run in your favorite down jacket, but you’ll be more comfortable (and look much less like a running marshmallow) if you just stick with the Animagi.