best running jackets for women

Best Running Jackets For Women

Running jackets can make running (or walking) in the UK a little more tolerable when facing the ever changing weather conditions. If they are of good quality, they should keep you dry but at the same time, not cause you to overheat. 

Running jackets come in different designs, all with slightly different functionality, but the basic requirements should be that they are waterproof and breathable. Some are also windproof, thermal, high vis and reflective.  Depending on the brand, the span of sizes can range from XS to XXL.  

Many running jackets are made from the high-performance material Gore Tex, which we will go more into detail about later. In this guide we are going to look at running leggings in more detail.

What Makes A Good Running Jacket?

A good running jacket should protect you from cold weather, wind, and rain, whilst also being breathable. Their waterproof functionality should be specifically designed to keep the rain out, whilst also allowing sweat to move away from the body.

The best ones also have other design features such as high vis detailing, reflective sections (for safety when running in poor light), hoods and thumbholes to keep the sleeves down over your hands for extra warmth.

Waterproof and water resistant jackets aren’t the same thing; waterproof jackets are designed to allow no moisture from outside to get through and are suitable for long runs in really heavy rain. 

Water resistant jackets deflect water but are not 100% impervious to water, meaning they are ideal for short jogs in moderately wet conditions.

Just like you need breathability to avoid overheating, you'll also need a lightweight running jacket to avoid hefty bulk. Too much fabric, and you could find your running performance negatively affected.

How Should A Running Jacket Fit?

A running jacket should feel comfortable when in motion.  It is important to test the jacket out before buying to get a sense of how it feels.  A good tip would be to stretch your hands above your head and out in front of you to test whether or not it feels tight or uncomfortable around the shoulders / back.  If there is some tension there, it is advisable to go up a size, even if this means going for a size larger than you would normally buy in everyday clothing. Buying a slightly looser fitting jacket will also allow you add layers underneath for very cold runs.

On the flip side however, a running jacket should not be so baggy that it flaps around when running as this will ultimately slow you down, or at the very least feel uncomfortable.

The ideal running jacket has a slim, ergonomic cut. This cut will provide the most freedom of movement, helping you achieve optimal performance even in harsh conditions.

Lightweight jackets are also good for storage and travel, as they can be easily packed away in a gym bag or suitcase. That way, you'll be ready for any quick weather changes.

How To Choose A Running Jacket?

There are many styles and models of running jacket available, so it is important to keep in mind the functions that you need your new jacket to perform.  The minimum requirements should really be that the jacket is waterproof, high vis, reflective, thermal and breathable.  

Other little details such as thumbholes, pack away hood, and zipped pockets may also be a consideration and depending on personal preference, may influence your purchase.

Something to bear in mind is that although you want your jacket to keep you dry, too much protection can act as an oven around you, which is obviously no good on a run. The perfect running jacket will protect you from the weather without the potential to cause overheating. That's why you'll want to be sure your running jacket was made with breathable materials.

How To Wash And How Often Should You Wash Your Running Jacket?

Most running jackets can be washed on a low heat cycle in the washing machine without any problems. It is advisable to brush any excess mud and dirt off the jacket before putting into a wash cycle.

You do need to be mindful of which detergents to use though – it’s not advisable to use fabric softener, stain remover or bleach in the wash as these products can compromise the performance of the fabric.

In terms of how often you should wash the jackets, common sense should prevail; if you have been running in a couple of layers underneath the jacket, then it doesn’t need to be washed any more than once a month (depending on how often you run).

However if you run very regularly and get very hot and sweaty in it, it is probably a good idea to wash it much more regularly.

What Is Gore Tex Material?

Gore Tex is a durable, breathable waterproof and windproof fabric found in lots of outdoor clothing, footwear and accessories. Gore-Tex has some very special characteristics which make it the perfect material for outdoor gear. Its microporous properties repel water from the outside but allow moisture out, to avoid condensation and improve breathability.

Gore Tex isn’t 100% waterproof, but it is, and breathable too, meaning it is an ideal choice of material for running jackets.

 

Like most materials Gore Tex has a lifespan; for people that use their Gore Tex jackets very regularly this is about 3-4 years, for less frequent users Gore Tex garments can retain their functionality for up to 15 years. Gore Tex items can be washed on a low heat cycle in the washing machine with no impact on their functionality.

What Is The Difference Between Summer And Winter Running Jackets?

Generally avid runners have two go-to jackets; one that is just an outer shell intended for when it is rainy and windy, but the overall temperature is relatively mild, and another thermal jacket.

Thermal running jackets should be waterproof but also be made of denser material to trap heat for when the temperature really dips.

So, in effect the shell-type jacket would be the ‘summer weight’ jacket and the more thermal one would be considered as the ‘winter weight’ jacket.

What Should You Wear Underneath Your Running Jacket?

It depends on many factors when deciding which layers to wear under your running jacket.  These are as follows: the temperature outside, the length of run you are planning, how windy it is, the pace you run at, and whether you ‘run warm’ personally (some people feel the cold more than others).

In mild but rainy conditions it would be sensible to just wear a running vest or T-shirt under the running jacket only.  In colder conditions it may be a good idea to add an additional breathable base layer, gloves and possibly a hat.

In no particular order, we are going to cover some of our favourite running tights:

  • Inov-8 Stormshell Waterproof Running Jacket
  • Under Armour Surge Running Jacket
  • Nike Shield Women's Running Jacket
  • On Women's Weather Jacket
  • Adidas Own The Run Hooded Running Windbreaker
  • Montane Spin GTX Women's Running Jacket
  • Asics Accelerate Light Women's Running Jacket
  • Salomon S/Lab Motionfit 360 GoreTex Womens Jacket
  • Rab Kinetic Ultra Womens Jacket
  • Nike Gore-Tex Infinium Women's Trail Running Jacket

INOV-8 STORMSHELL WATERPROOF RUNNING JACKET - £180 (BEST OVERALL)

inov-8 stormshell womens running jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Available in 5 colours
  • Reflective
  • Packs away into own pocket
  • Very lightweight
  • Higher price point

The Inov-8 Stormshell Waterproof Running Jacket is made from a highly breathable, waterproof Pertex Shield fabric, that ensures the jacket will reliably protect you from heavy rain keeping you dry, but also cool. 

Movement won’t be compromised either as the material is flexible and cut specifically designed to accommodate a runner’s movement. Reflective detailing will ensure visibility when training in low light.

This jacket has an adjustable hood, and full-length zip.  It is super lightweight and can be folded up and packed away into its own pocket – pretty smart!

>>> Check The Latest Price Of Inov-8 Stormshell Waterproof Running Jacket

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UNDER ARMOUR SUREGE RUNNING JACKET - £29.99 (BEST VALUE)

under armour surge womens running jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Affordable
  • Underarm vents
  • 100% waterproof
  • Only 1 colour available
  • Relaxed fit
  • No high vis / reflective details

The Under Armour Surge Running Jacket is 100% waterproof and is also breathable.  The 2.5 layer bonded fabric has a very smooth exterior to allow moisture to run straight off.

It features zipped underarm vents to increase airflow, and secure hand pockets for valuables and for keeping hands warm before and after your run!  

Adjustable cuffs and a bungee hem allow you to adjust the fit of the jacket to suit your style and preference and to also prevent water ingress.

>>> Check The Latest Price Of Under Armour Surge Running Jacket

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NIKE SHIELD WOMENS RUNNING JACKET - £94.95 (BEST FOR SIZE OPTIONS)

nike shield womens running jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Available in up to size XXL
  • Adjustable hood with inbuilt balaclava
  • Built in mittens for extra coverage
  • Mid to high price point
  • Only available in 2 colours

The fabric of the Nike Shield running jacket resists against wind and water, this is a high performance lightweight running jacket available in 6 sizes up to XXL.

There are some nice features which you don’t always see, such as an adjustable hood with inbuilt knit fabric balaclava to keep your face and neck warm. 

This jacket features full length zip and zipped pockets for storing valuables and in-sleeve mittens to protect your hands from the elements. Reflective features allow visibility in low light to keep you safe near roads.

>>> Check The Latest Price Nike Shield Women's Running Jacket

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ON WOMENS WEATHER JACKET - £190

on womens weather running jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Adjustable hood
  • Zipped breast pocket
  • Bungee cord at waist
  • Higher price point
  • 4 sizes - up to large
  • One colour option

The On Women’s Weather Jacket is a lightweight waterproof dual layer jacket that will keep you dry and still be breathable for when you start working hard.

A zipped breast pocket means valuables can be kept safe and a bungee cord at the waist allows you to adjust the fit.

A drawstring hood also allows for flexibility of styling and fit, while the peak will stop the rain driving into your face and stop the glare from the sun.

>>> Check The Latest Price Of On Women's Weather Jacket

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ADIDAS OWN THE RUN HOODED RUNNING WINDBREAKER - £63

adidas own the run hooded womens running jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Affordable price
  • 5 sizes including XL
  • Made with 100% recycled materials
  • Not waterproof
  • 3 colour options

The Adidas Own the Run jacket is a packable windbreaker. It will shield you from howling winds and light showers, but not give total protection from the rain. 

The reflective details enable you to keep safe when running in low light conditions. 

The integrated hood will give further protection from the elements.  This full zipped jacket is not only functional but also stylish.

>>> Check The Latest Price Of Adidas Own The Run Hooded Running Windbreaker

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MONTANE SPIN GTX WOMENS WATERPROOF RUNNING JACKET - £249.99 (BEST LIGHTWEIGHT JACKET)

montane spine gtx womens running jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Very lightweight
  • 100% waterproof
  • Hidden hood
  • High price point
  • One colour option
  • Largest size is Large

The Montane Spin GTX Women’s Waterproof Running Jacket is designed for elite athletes, it is the ultimate in lightweight and breathable protection for runners.

Made from Gore Tex to provide optimal waterproof protection. It is designed to be a close fit making it perfect for high performance runs, with a mid-height collar and rollaway hood. 

The jacket features two mesh lined pockets with YLL Aquaguard zips meaning you will feel reassured that your valuables will be protected by the elements! 

The full length Aquaguard zip with storm flaps will also ensure that the waterproof credentials of the jacket are not compromised.

>>> Check The Latest Price Of Montane Spin GTX Women's Waterproof Running Jacket

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ASCIS ACCERELATE LIGHT WOMENS RUNNING JACKET - £89.99 (BEST FOR SUMMER)

asics accelerate light womens running jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Affordable price
  • Elasticated hood
  • Zipped pockets
  • Not completely waterproof
  • Largest size available is Large

The Asics Accelerate Light Women’s Running Jacket is wind resistant and also rain repellant, keeping you dry in light rain showers.

Ventilation zones allow cool air to circulate whilst letting hot humid air to escape. An elasticated hood provides protection from drizzly of runs. The full front zip and adjustable hem aid ventilation and breathability.

This jacket also features reflective detailing all around to ensure visibility on low light runs 360 degrees. Zipped side pockets provide secure storage for valuable items.  This jacket is also easily packed away.

>>> Check The Latest Price Of Asics Accelerate Light Women's Running Jacket

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SALOMON S/LAB MOTIONFIT 360 GORETEX WOMENS JACKET - £279.99 (BEST  WATERPROOF JACKET)

salomon S/Lab motionfit 360 GoreTex womens running jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Very breathable
  • Stretch waistband
  • 100% waterproof
  • High price point
  • Only available in black

The Salomon S/LAB MotionFit 360 Gore Tex is incredibly high performing – it is waterproof and windproof, and due to the superlight Gore Tex ShakeDry fabric, it is also very breathable.

The jacket features an innovative stretch waistband that lets you store the jacket around your waist and can be easily pulled up over your running pack whenever you need it. 

The MotionFit 360 design ensures that you can freely move on the most demanding of runs. The full zip allows ventilation control and the skin fit hood allows all over waterproof performance.

>>> Check The Latest Price Of Salomon S/Lab Motionfit 360 GoreTex Women's Jacket

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RAB KINETIC ULTRA WOMENS JACKET - £179.99

rab kinetic ultra womens jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Zipped sleeve pocket
  • Packaway hood
  • Available up to XL
  • High price point
  • Only 2 colours available

The Rab Kinetic Ultra Women’s Jacket is a stretchy waterproof design that is also very breathable.

It features a close-fitting rollaway hood and full zip with storm flap for ventilation control. The extended cuffs with stretch binding provide extra waterproofing and protection against the elements.

Featuring reflective details for safety when running in low light and proflex fabrics for flexibility and comfort. 

This running jacket is made from 100% recycled polyester.

>>> Check The Latest Price Of Rab Kinetic Ultra Womens Jacket

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NIKE GORE TEX INFINIUM WOMENS TRAIL RUNNING JACKET - £179.95 (BEST FOR TRAIL RUNNING)

nike gore tex infinium womens running jacket
 PROS CONS
  • Zipped sides for extra ventilation
  • Removable balaclava in hood
  • Reflective detailing
  • Higher price point
  • Only available in 3 colours

The Nike Lightweight Gore Tex Trail Running Jacket is a lightweight but hard-working jacket suitable for the most unforgiving trail runs. 

It is lightweight and breathable and has added side zips for added ventilation. Reflective sections will keep you visible in low light and it folds up in a neat little bag when not in use too.

Made from 75% recycled polyester, this jacket will ease your sustainability conscious a little too.

>>> Check The Latest Price Of Nike Gore-Tex Infinium Women's Trail Running Jacket

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DO YOU WEAR A JACKET WHEN RUNNING?

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