The 9 Best Running Vests of 2020

Stay visible and safe on your runs

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall for Women: Down For It All Vest at Lululemon

"Runners love the zippered pocket with hidden phone sleeve and the fact that the vest is form-fitting, but still moves with you."

Best Overall for Men: North Face Apex Vest at Zappos

"Although it’s lightweight and not too bulky, the vest’s wind-resistant fleece makes it an ideal layer for cold weather running."

Best Visibility: Nathan Streak Reflective Vest at Dick's Sporting Goods

"The ultra-lightweight vest boosts 1,200-foot visibility, 360-degree visibility, and 400 candlepower reflectivity."

Best for Hydration: Hydration Pack Running Vest at Nathan

"The 1.5-liter hydration bladder provides ample room for hydration needs, and the zippered pockets are perfect for stashing essentials."

Best for Warmth: Under Armour Vest at Dick's Sporting Goods

"UA’s ColdGear Reactor intelligent insulation adapts to your activity level to prevent overheating, while still keeping you warm."

Best Cooling: TechNiche HyperKewl Cooling Sport Vest at Amazon

"The lightweight pullover vest can provide five to 10 hours of cooling and comes in a variety of sizes, from extra-small to XXXL."

Best Budget: Columbia Fleece Vest at Dick's Sporting Goods

"At a fraction of the price of other running vests, the fleece keeps your core warm without weighing you down."

Best for Trail Running: Arc'teryx Atom SL Vest at Zappos

"Made with compact insulation to keep your core warm, this water-resistant, lightweight vest is perfect for hitting the trails."

Best for Racing: Salomon Ultra 8 Set Hydration Vest at Salomon

"With 10 storage pockets, the vest has plenty of room for everything you might need when racing or training for long distances."

Whether you're a marathoner or a new runner, a running vest is indispensable—it keeps you warm and protected from the elements, and can give you a place to store water and other essentials. But arguably the most important aspect of a running vest is that it can keep you safe during runs in low-light conditions by making you visible to oncoming traffic.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect racing vest or want a reliable layer for cold weather running, we've researched the best running vests for every runner's needs so you can find the one that's best for you.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall for Women: Lululemon Down For It All Vest

Lululemon Down For It All Vest

 Courtesy of Lululemon

It’s possible to stay warm and look chic on a run, thanks to Lululemon’s Down For It All Vest. With two types of insulation, it keeps your core warm and also has a water-resistant outer layer to keep you protected in unpredictable weather.

Designed for running and other outdoor pursuits, the flattering vest features flex fabric on the side, so it’s form-fitting, but easily moves with you. Runners love the zippered pocket with hidden phone sleeve, as well as the side pockets. Available in different colors and sizes, the vest also features a stand-up neck that keeps wind out without being too bulky.

Best Overall for Men: The North Face Apex Canyonwall Vest

The North Face Apex Canyonwall Vest

 Courtesy of North Face

Men looking for a comfortable, versatile, and high-performance running vest can’t go wrong with North Face’s Apex Canyonwall vest. Although it’s lightweight and not too bulky, the vest’s wind-resistant fleece makes it an ideal layer for cold weather running.

It also features a durable water-resistant coating, high collar, and adjustable cinch-cord hem to keep out the elements. Two zippered hand pockets are perfect for stashing your phone, gels, and other essentials. Practical yet stylish, this vest can serve double-duty for casual wear.

Best Visibility: Nathan Streak Reflective Vest

Nathan Streak Reflective Vest

 Courtesy of Nathan

Wearing a reflective vest is a simple way to make yourself more visible when running in low-light conditions. Although this affordable one from Nathan looks very basic, it boosts 1,200-foot visibility, 360-degree visibility, and 400 candlepower reflectivity. Designed with runners in mind, its unique shape allows for full range-of-motion, so you won’t feel constricted or uncomfortable.

The vest is made of ultra-lightweight, breathable mesh, allowing for good ventilation to prevent overheating or excessive sweating. Runners love that it has an adjustable fit, so it can go over all types of clothing—from a basic running shirt to a bulky jacket.

Best for Hydration: Nathan QuickStart Hydration Pack Running Vest

Nathan QuickStart Hydration Pack Running Vest

Courtesy of Nathan

Running vests are a convenient way to carry essentials, and this one from Nathan gives you easy access to an absolute necessity: fluids. The 1.5-liter hydration bladder provides ample room for every runner's hydration needs, and the zippered storage pockets are perfect for stashing your phone, money, keys, and other valuables.

You don’t have to worry about the vest bouncing and moving, as the adjustable front and side straps allow for a snug, custom fit. The lightweight, comfortable material wicks away water and the binding is soft and non-irritating, so chafing is not a concern.

Best for Warmth: Under Armour ColdGear Reactor Performance Vest

Under Armour ColdGear Reactor Performance Vest

 Courtesy of Under Armour

For cold weather running, you need layers that provide warmth, without being too bulky. With the ideal combination of protection and breathability, this vest from Under Armour does just that. UA’s ColdGear Reactor intelligent insulation adapts to your activity level to prevent overheating, while the UA Storm technology repels water to keep you dry.

The vest’s shaped hem gives further protection from wind and the cold, while the four-way stretch construction allows for easy, full-range movement. Runners also appreciate the zippered hand pockets that are perfect for stashing a winter hat, gloves, or nutrition.

Best Cooling: TechNiche HyperKewl Cooling Sport Vest

TechNiche HyperKewl Cooling Sport Vest

 Courtesy of TechNiche

While you may think it’s best to wear as little clothing as possible during hot weather runs, putting on this cooling vest can actually help you feel more comfortable. Specially designed for runners and cyclists, this lightweight pullover vest can provide five to 10 hours of cooling.

Simply soak the vest with water for two to three minutes before your run and then put it on. The vest’s water-resistant inner liner keeps you dry, while the water slowly evaporates and takes your heat with it. Because it relies on evaporation to keep you cool, the vest does work better in lower humidity. It comes in a variety of sizes, from extra-small to XXXL, and is machine-washable.

Best Budget: Columbia Steens Mountain Fleece Vest

Columbia Steens Mountain Fleece Vest

 Courtesy of Columbia

While some running vests can cost nearly as much as a winter jacket, the Columbia Steens Mountain Fleece vest is low in price but still high in quality. Comfortable, soft, and lightweight, it has an athletic fit and is perfect for layering.

The fleece keeps your core warm, while the stand-up collar provides additional protection from the elements. Available in several different colors and a wide range of sizes, it has large, zippered front pockets to hold your phone, gloves, and other running essentials.

Best for Trail Running: Arc'teryx Atom SL Vest

Arc'teryx Atom SL Vest

 Courtesy of Arc'teryx

Trail runners need a vest that has plenty of storage and can keep them protected in varying weather conditions. Arc’teryx delivers with this water-resistant, lightweight vest made with compact insulation to keep your core warm when you’re hitting the trails. It features an athletic fit with stretchy fleece on the sides, allowing for exceptional mobility and range of motion.

The fabric’s superior moisture-wicking abilities keep you dry, while the anti-microbial finish helps reduce odors. You’ll get additional protection from the elements from the vest’s hood, which has a water-resistant brim and securely tucks away when you’re not using it. Two side zippered pockets offer room for essentials you might need on the trail.

Best for Racing: Salomon Unisex S-Lab Sense Ultra 8 Set Hydration Vest

Salomon Unisex S-Lab Sense Ultra 8 Set Hydration Vest

 Salomon

When running a race, especially a marathon or ultra, you need a convenient and comfortable way to carry your essentials. The lightweight Salomon Unisex S-Lab Sense Ultra 8 Set hydration vest is an ideal gear-stashing choice, with plenty of room for everything you might need when racing or training for long distances.

Made of a very breathable, stretchy material, it’s designed for a snug, comfortable fit that keeps everything you need close and within reach. The thoughtful storage options include two front hydration pockets, two side zippered pockets, two front stretch pockets, one back main compartment, a back kangaroo pocket, and two side kangaroo pockets.

With so much space to hold your stuff, your only problem may be remembering what essentials you stuck in which pocket.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Running coach and avid runner Christine Luff appreciates the versatility of a quality running vest and wears her Nathan Streak Reflective Vest during early morning runs around her neighborhood (and sometimes for walking her dog).

Was this page helpful?