The 12 Best Running Jackets for Women of 2021, According to a Running Coach

Protect yourself from the elements with these top picks

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Verywell / Chloe Jeong

If you like to run outdoors year-round, a high-quality running jacket can prepare you for whatever weather conditions come your way. Whether you’re trying to protect yourself in the cold, wind, rain, or snow, you need a jacket that’s comfortable and weather-resistant. To prevent overheating, a good running jacket should also be breathable and well-ventilated. Whitney Heins, founder, and VDOT certified running coach at The Mother Runners notes that a fitted design is also important if you're looking for a wind-resistant jacket.

The author of this piece, certified running coach and personal trainer Christine Luff, spent a week researching running jackets, talking to running coaches and runners, and reading product descriptions and reviews to determine the selection of jackets.

She tested four of the jackets on this list for 4 hours each for a total of 16 hours of testing. Luff tested them by running in all types of weather, including cool to cold temperatures, wind, and rain. Each jacket was evaluated for comfort, warmth, breathability, fit, durability, and overall value.

Here at the best running jackets for women on the market, according to a running coach.

Our Top Picks
With fabric that is both water repellent and UPF protective, this jacket is a great layer for runs in any weather.
This versatile BALEAF Windproof Running Jacket has many of the features of more expensive options, but at an affordable price.
Made with wind and water-repellent fabric, the jacket effectively wicks away sweat while keeping you warm.
The jacket features plenty of ventilation for warmer weather, but it's compact enough for layering on colder days.
Made of a lightweight and silky-smooth fabric, it breathes well, dries quickly, and insulates without overheating.
Available in sizes up to 3XL, this jacket showcases a flattering fit while offering a lightweight and ultra-soft feel.
This option features a water-repellent finish and stretchy material that makes it lightweight, well-ventilated, and breathable.
Made with a four-way stretch and water-repellent fabric, it’s comfy, easy to move in, and shields you from the elements.
With UA Storm technology, it effectively repels water and blocks wind, while the hood provides additional protection.
With a hi-vis yellow color and 14 reflectivity points, it makes you more visible to motorists, cyclists, and other runners.

Best Overall: Brooks Canopy Jacket

Brooks Canopy Jacket
Pros
  • Packable

  • Hood can be stashed

  • UPF 30 sun protection

  • Lightweight and breathable

Cons
  • Not suitable for very cold weather

  • May need to size up

This versatile jacket from Brooks gets our top pick for its comfort, functionality, and high-performance features. It’s lightweight and allows for a good range of motion, but it still features the right amount of protection to keep you comfortable in cool and windy conditions. Additionally, the fabric offers UPF 30 sun protection for bright days outdoors.

When wearing it in light drizzle, I was surprised at how the water repelled off the jacket with ease. The material is soft and the hood—which can be rolled up and stowed away—provides additional protection from the elements. The entire jacket can also be packed up into a built-in mesh backpack. Rather than tying the jacket around my waist, I was able to use the two small shoulder straps to easily carry it as I finished my run. Available in sizes XS-XXL, this well-made jacket is a great addition to any runner’s wardrobe.

Materials: Polyester | Storage: Zippered chest pocket, front hand pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Best Budget: BALEAF Women's Windproof Thermal Running Jacket

Baleaf Windproof Thermal Running Jacket
Pros
  • Windproof and water-resistant

  • Excellent storage

  • UPF 50+ protection

  • Reflective details

Cons
  • Too warm for cool weather

  • Could use some more ventilation

While running jackets are often an investment, this high-quality option from Baleaf features the durability and functionality of a higher-end jacket at an affordable price. It features an anti-splashing outer layer fabric that offers wind protection and water resistance. And thanks to the full zipped closure, high-cut collar, sleeve cuffs, and soft fleece interior, it kept me warm on colder days.

I will say I felt too warm when running in temperatures above 45 degrees, but I was able to let some heat escape by pulling down the front zipper. Adding ventilation under the arms would be a good addition.

The zippered front pockets were easy to open and close, even with my gloves on, and they had plenty of room for my phone, money, and other essentials. The running jacket is available in sizes S-XXL.

Materials: Polyester, spandex | Storage: One zippered back and two zippered pockets, two internal slide-in pockets | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry low

Best Splurge: Lululemon Women's Another Mile Jacket

Another Mile Jacket
Pros
  • Good storage options

  • Well-insulated

  • Wind- and water-repellent

  • Attractive

Cons
  • Expensive

  • No plus size options

The lululemon Women's Another Mile Jacket is a high-performance, functional outer layer with lots of impressive features. It’s made with wind- and water-repellent material that wicks away sweat—keeping you protected and dry in all weather conditions. The PrimaLoft insulation also keeps you warm, while the hood offers some additional protection from harsh weather.

With two zippered pockets and a hidden phone pocket, the jacket has plenty of room to stash your essentials. Available in three colors and sizes 0 to 14, it also has reflective details and a removable dickie, perfect for when you warm up and want to lose a layer. While it's more of an investment, the high-tech material and Lululemon's quality promise return and exchange policy will have you confident in your purchase.

Materials: Polyester, nylon, lycra | Storage: Two zippered pockets and hidden phone pocket | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Best for Summer: Patagonia Women's Houdini Jacket

Patagonia
Pros
  • Water-repellent and windproof

  • Lightweight and well-ventilated

  • Packable

  • Cinchable hood

Cons
  • Runs small

  • No plus size options

The weather can quickly change during summer runs and this lightweight Patagonia Houdini jacket will be your companion in unpredictable weather. The water-repellent, windproof finish offers shelter from the elements, and an adjustable hood provides even more protection. The drawcord at the hem also keeps out the wind, especially when you’re running uphill.

The jacket's relaxed fit won't restrict movement, and the lightweight design allows for layering on cooler days. If you really start to heat up, it can be conveniently packed into the chest pocket. Available in sizes XS-XL and a few different colors, this durable, well-designed shell is a nice addition to any runner’s collection.

Materials: Nylon Storage: Zippered chest pocket | Care: Machine wash cold, air dry

Most Stylish: Tracksmith Session Jacket

Tracksmith Session Jacket
Pros
  • Stylish

  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Packable

  • Allows for excellent range of motion

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not good for plus size

For a chic-looking alternative to the classic running windbreaker, this jacket from Tracksmith features a flattering, fitted design. Made of a lightweight and silky-smooth fabric, it breathes well, dries quickly, and insulates without overheating. The high-stretch fabric offers good mobility, while the micro-mesh side panels add some breathability for when you start to warm up.

The jacket’s semi-elasticated cuffs help to keep out the cold and wind, and the zippered side pockets are big enough for your keys, credit card, and a large smartphone. Available in sizes XS-XL, it's a packable and stylish choice that's easy to take on the go.

Materials: Nylon, polyester, elastane | Storage: Two front zippered pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, hang dry

Best for Plus-Size: Athleta Run With It Jacket

Athleta Run With It Jacket
Pros
  • Wide range of sizes

  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Very comfortable

Cons
  • Not suitable for extreme cold

  • No reflective details

The Athleta Run With It Jacket features a flattering fit that can be worn with athletic gear or day-to-day clothing. While stylish, it's still functional and showcases a recycled, stretch fabric that feels silky and prevents you from overheating.

Due to the featherweight composition, it may be too light for extreme cold. However, the relaxed style can be layered for additional warmth. It's available in a wide range of sizes, from XXS-3XL, and it has plenty of storage space in the zippered front and rear pockets.

Materials: Recycled polyester, spandex | Storage: Two front zippered and one rear zippered pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Best for Rain: On Weather Running Jacket

On Weather Running Jacket
Pros
  • Water-repellent

  • All-weather protection

  • Good breathability and ventilation

  • Reflectivity

Cons
  • Limited colors

  • Expensive

The On Weather Running Jacket is designed to shield you from the elements since it features a water-repellent finish and tear-proof, stretchy material. It's lightweight, well-ventilated, and breathable—meaning you don't have to worry about overheating. The cap-fitted hood stays in place while you're running and a small bill shields your face from rain and wind. Additionally, the jacket has elastic at the bottom for more protection.

A zippered chest pocket is ideal for keeping your phone, money, and other essentials secure and dry. Plus, reflective elements on the chest, wrists, and zippers help you stay visible when running in low-light conditions. Available in sizes XS-XL, the On Weather jacket has all the features you’d want in a dependable outer layer.

Materials:  Polyamide, polyester, elastane | Storage: Zippered chest pocket | Care: Machine wash, hang dry

Best with Pockets: Lululemon Mist Over Windbreaker

Lululemon Mist Over Windbreaker
Pros
  • Excellent storage

  • Lightweight

  • Packable

  • Water-repellent

Cons
  • Limited color choices

  • No reflective details

This durable and comfortable jacket from Lululemon is crafted with four-way stretch and water-repellent fabric—designed to be comfortable while shielding you from the elements. The hood provides additional protection from rain and wind, and when I wasn’t using it, I appreciated that I could tuck it into the small loop so it didn’t bounce around.

This jacket also has thumbholes—one of my favorite winter running attire features—which keep the sleeves down and keep out the wind and cold. Two zippered front pockets and a large rear pocket offer plenty of storage space. I also like that it packs up into the back pocket for easy portability. You can find it in sizes 0 to 14, but since it's form-fitting, size up if you want a roomier fit.

Materials: Polyester, elastane | Storage: Zippered front pockets, back zippered pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry low

Best for Wind: Under Armour Women's UA Forefront Rain Jacket

womens ua forefront rain jacket
Pros
  • Blocks wind and repels rain

  • Reflective details

  • Versatile

  • Packable

Cons
  • Reflective details are very small

  • Hood can’t be stowed away

This jacket from Under Armour can keep you warm and protected in windy conditions. It features UA’s Storm technology that effectively blocks wind and keeps out rain, and when I wore it for a run in a steady drizzle, I stayed dry thanks to the water-repellent exterior. The hood also provided additional protection and I was able to cinch it so that it stayed in place.

Even as I warmed up during my run, I felt the heat dissipate due to the mesh lining that offers excellent breathability. It's available in several colors and sizes—XS-XXL—and it packs up easily making it great for travel or stashing in a running pack on the go. Although it’s very lightweight, I found that it provided excellent coverage and insulation.

Materials: Polyester, nylon | Storage: Two zippered front pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Best for Visibility: L.L. Bean Bean Bright Multisport Jacket

L.L. Bean Bean Bright Multisport Jacket
Pros
  • Ideal for low-light conditions

  • Lots of storage

  • Windproof

  • Good ventilation

Cons
  • Not suitable for extreme cold

  • No plus sizes available

There are fewer hours of daylight in the winter, so you may find yourself running in low-light conditions more often. Be seen and stay safe in the L.L. Bean Bright Multisport Jacket that boosts visibility while providing protection from harsh weather. With its hi-vis yellow color and 14 points of reflectivity, it ensures that you’re seen by motorists, cyclists, and other runners while you’re out on the road.

The jacket is also windproof, but very lightweight and flexible, so you won’t feel weighed down. Additionally, a back vent promotes airflow to help you stay cool and dry. One zippered rear and two hand pockets can securely hold essentials, while two interior mesh pockets and a phone sleeve provide additional storage. Choose from four sizes, from S-XL.

Materials: Polyester Storage: Three external and two internal pockets, phone sleeve | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Best Waterproof: Lululemon Cross Chill RepelShell Jacket

Lululemon Cross Chill RepelShell Jacket
Pros
  • Waterproof and windproof

  • Cinchable hood

  • Plenty of storage

  • 360-degree reflectivity

Cons
  • Expensive

  • No plus sizes available

Waterproof jackets keep the rain out, but they’re sometimes too heavy and not breathable or flexible enough for running. Fortunately, Lululemon's Cross Chill Jacket is designed with lightweight waterproof and windproof fabric that won't weigh you down.

The jacket’s four-way stretch fabric allows for a good range of motion, while the cinched hood keeps out rain and wind. With zippered pockets in the front, chest, and back, there’s plenty of storage space for your phone, keys, and other essentials. Choose from five different neutral and vibrant colors and numerous sizes, from 0 to 14.

Materials: Polyester, nylon, lycra, elastane | Storage: Zippered exterior pockets with a hidden phone sleeve, zippered chest and back pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Best for Winter: Asics Lite-Show Winter Jacket

Asics Lite-Show Winter Jacket
Pros
  • Good for very cold weather

  • Windproof and water-repellent

  • 360-degree visibility

  • Breathable

Cons
  • May be too warm for cool weather

  • No hood

Ideal for cold weather running, this jacket from Asics has a thicker shell, offering more protection from wind and frigid temps. The premium soft-shell blocks wind and repels water, but it's breathable enough to keep you from overheating.

The jacket’s brushed knit side panels allow for an excellent range of motion, while the stand-up collar offers optimal warmth and protection. It also has strategically placed, reflective details that provide 360-degree visibility for when you’re running at dawn or dusk. Available in sizes XS-XXL, this attractive jacket has zippered front pockets for secure storage of your on-the-run essentials.

Materials: Polyester | Storage: Zippered front pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Final Verdict

The Brooks Canopy Jacket (view at Zappos) stands out for its comfort, fit, features, and performance. Made with a lightweight, stretchy fabric, it provides good coverage from the wind and rain and has excellent ventilation and moisture-wicking capabilities.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the high-quality Baleaf Thermal Running Winter Jacket (view at Amazon) is an excellent pick. It’s well-insulated, windproof, water-resistant, and has many of the features that runners want in a versatile running jacket, including zippered pockets and reflective details.

What to Look for in Running Jackets for Women

Weather Resistance

Most running jackets are wind- and water-resistant, so they’ll offer some protection from the elements. To stay completely dry in the pouring rain, you’ll need a jacket that’s waterproof. If you’re looking for a waterproof jacket, make sure it has a breathable waterproof membrane.

“Typically when a jacket is seam-sealed, it doesn't allow air to get out,” says Catherine Moloznik, senior director of merchandising at Fleet Feet. “So when you’re doing a high-intensity workout, like running, you want to have a breathable jacket that helps to keep your temperature in check.”

Some runners prefer to have a couple of running jackets in their running wardrobe to be prepared for varying conditions. If the forecast is calling for downpours, they’ll wear a waterproof jacket, while dry conditions with an occasional drizzle or snowfall may require a water-resistant jacket.

Comfort and Fit

A running jacket should be comfortable, fit properly, and promote good mobility. “The jacket should be form-fitting, but still allow for your upper body and shoulders to move freely as you run,” says Moloznik.

Materials

Look for jackets that are made of comfortable, stretchy materials that are breathable and have excellent moisture-wicking ability—such as technical fabrics or synthetic blends including polyester, Lycra, spandex, and nylon. Avoid jackets that are overly thick and bulky, since you may overheat once you start warming up. Don’t run in a jacket made of cotton, as it holds moisture and can put you at risk for frostbite or hypothermia.

Storage

The weather can quickly change during a run, so it’s always nice to have a jacket with some room to stash a hat and gloves. Pockets also come in handy for storing on-the-run safety items such as your phone, money, and ID, as well as long-run nutrition. Look for a jacket that has at least one zippered pocket so you can securely stash some items.

“Extra points go to a jacket that has lots of pockets to store your gear in a waterproof zone,” says Whitney Heins.

Reflectivity

Check to see if the jacket has reflective trim, stripes, or other designs on the front and back. “Typically the time of year when you’re running with a jacket is a time of year when there is less light outside, so 360-degree reflectivity is key,” says Moloznik. Although you can always add some reflective elements yourself, it’s nice when a jacket has some built into the design.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should a running jacket be loose or tight?

    A running jacket shouldn’t be tight or loose, but fit just right. “I like to make sure that people have enough shoulder mobility,” says Moloznik. “You also don’t want a jacket to be too loose because that can allow too much cold air to flow.”

  • Are down jackets good for running?

    While down provides warm insulation for a jacket, a down jacket will probably be too warm for most running conditions. You may be able to run comfortably in a down vest, with other layers underneath. But running in a down jacket will most likely lead to overheating, so they’re not ideal for running.

  • Is a windbreaker good for running?

    A windbreaker may be good for some runners, but it really depends on the conditions. “Wind-proofing will help break the cold wind you’re running against and keep you more comfortable on the run,” says Moloznik.

  • How to clean a running jacket

    Most running jackets can be cleaned in the washing machine in cold water with your regular running clothes. For best results and to get rid of any funky smells, you may want to use a sports detergent. Once it’s washed, you can tumble dry your jacket on low, or hang dry.

    However, you should check the product label for the recommended care. Some manufacturers may recommend that running jackets shouldn’t go in the washing machine or dryer and may need to be hand-washed.

  • Do I need a waterproof jacket for running?

    Even if you do some running in the rain, you don’t necessarily need a waterproof jacket. Some water-resistant jackets do a good job of repelling light rain.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Certified running coach and fitness writer Christine Luff has spent years researching, testing, and recommending fitness and athletic products and knows that the right gear can tremendously improve performance and comfort.

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