Best Cold Weather Running Jackets in 2020

Natalie Cecconi
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The best cold weather running jackets will keep you very warm and are designed to be worn while outside during winter. This review is going to look at the absolute best jackets to wear during winter running and cycling.

Just because the temperature outside is cold, doesn’t mean that you have to warm off. With the right jacket, you can go outside and run, bike, or work out in cold weather.

What Makes a Coat Best for Exercise?

There are a few things that you should look for when it comes to choosing a cold weather running jacket. Here are some important features to consider:

Light Weight : The jacket should be as light as possible, being the difference between warmth and being too hot with layers. The ideal weight will depend on how cold you will be.

The jacket should be as light as possible, being the difference between warmth and being too hot with layers. The ideal weight will depend on how cold you will be. Moisture Wicking : The jacket should be designed to wick moisture away from your body to prevent sweating. This will keep you comfortable throughout your workout.

The jacket should be designed to wick moisture away from your body to prevent sweating. This will keep you comfortable throughout your workout. Multiple Pockets : The best cold weather running jacket will have multiple pockets designed to keep your hands warm, but also store small items if you need to.

NameCategoryProduct
Smartwool Men's Smartloft 120 Jacket Graphite LBest Overall
Smartwool Men's Smartloft 120 Jacket Graphite L
ASICS womens Storm Shelter JacketBudget Pick
ASICS womens Storm Shelter Jacket
SUGOi – Men's Firewall 180 JacketUpgrade Pick
SUGOi - Men's Firewall 180 Jacket

1. Smartwool Men's Smartloft 120 Jacket Graphite L

Our rating: 9 / 10


Smartwool Men's Smartloft 120 Jacket Graphite L

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Pros:

  • Thick and warm
  • Versatile
  • Select material is lightweight
  • Easily accessible pockets
  • Hugs the body when worn

Cons:

  • No pit zips
  • A little tight on the arms

Smartwool has really done a great job with this running jacket – both in terms of the fit and the functional design. It’s thick and warm without being heavy, but the material is lightweight, which is great news for runners.

There are two versions of this jacket; one with the body in a fleecy material, and the other with a select material for the body. The select version is a little lighter in weight.

One other standout aspect of the jacket is that it’s very well cut for a great fit. It’s snug, but not so snug that you feel restricted. The cuffs are tight for a good seal around the wrist and the hem is flat sew, which helps it hug the body.

2. Salomon Women's Agile Softshell Jacket W

Our rating: 8 / 10


Salomon Women's Agile Softshell Jacket W

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Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight & breathable
  • A bit more feminine than previous versions
  • Affordable
  • Great athletic fit
  • Plentiful pockets without undue bulk
  • Very comfortable soft shell
  • Overall, a great design

Adventure awaits, but packing for your next jaunt can be a chore. Just when you get your hands on the perfect rain jacket, a scorching heat wave rolls around. That’s why we chose a softshell jacket from Salomon as our top pick for cold weather running jackets for women.

The soft shell material is the same type of nylon used for the Columbia Sportswear Omni-Shield material. It has a nylon with water-resistant coating and microfleece on the inside for warmth and comfort. The hood has been designed well, with a subtle drawstring and elastic on the back. And the front zipper is watertight and stays put when you really need it to.

The zip pockets on the side are deep enough for a wallet or smartphone, and not so deep that you can’t access them quickly.

3. Craft Mens Intensity Nordic Cross Country Skiing Training Reflective Jacket

Our rating: 8 / 10


Craft Mens Intensity Nordic Cross Country Skiing Training Reflective Jacket

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Pros:

  • 2-way zipper, easy to operate
  • Breathable mesh fabric is durable as well as comfortable
  • Good amount of pockets for all your gear
  • Reflective accents for safety
  • Waterproof technology for keeping you dry in harsh conditions
  • Integrated thumbholes
  • Proper sleeve length
  • Good cushioning

Cons:

  • Fit is slightly tight; order one size up if you’re between sizes
  • Hand pockets and chest pocket are somewhat tight

(X Large)

The Craft Mens Intensity Nordic Cross Country Skiing Training Reflective Jacket is an attractive and well-designed running outerwear. Craft kept the runner in mind when designing this jacket, incorporating a waterproof/breathable shell with mesh liner to keep you dry in most conditions.

This jacket fits great, even over multiple layers, and is excellent for a variety of tasks besides running, including skiing, fitness activities, and casual wear. The jacket’s size generously accommodates a base layer and several other layers underneath.

4. Smartwool Women’s Full Zip Hoodie

Our rating: 7 / 10


Smartwool Women’s Full Zip Hoodie

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Pros:

  • Thick, warm and cozy
  • Stays put even when you’re running hard
  • The outer side is resistant to wind
  • Great for layering
  • Can be worn as a base layer
  • Generous fit — not too tight or too loose
  • The cut is quite roomy but not sloppy
  • Very high quality

Cons:

  • Quite expensive
  • Limited color options only a few basic colors
  • The quality of Smartwool’s customer service could be better

This sweater from Smartwool is a great choice for women looking for a no-nonsense mid-layer. It’s designed to retain warmth and has a thick, roomy, and comfortable fit.

It’s warm enough to wear on its own in mild weather, or layered over long underwear in cold weather.

Some runners do say that Smartwool’s customer service isn’t the best, but Smartwool has got customer service issues handled. They clearly outline how to get in touch with them right on their website.

5. ASICS womens Storm Shelter Jacket

Our rating: 6 / 10


ASICS womens Storm Shelter Jacket

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Pros:

  • Pricing is average
  • The water-repellent material is easy to clean and extra comfortable
  • Packed with features to keep you dry and warm
  • It includes a thin, breathable inner layer and an outer layer for protection
  • The front zip can be accessed quickly and easily even while running
  • It fits snug without being restrictive

Cons:

  • The reflective outer layer is a magnet for pet hair
  • The jacket is a bit heavy.

The Asics womens Storm Shelter Jacket is a 2-layer jacket made of 100% polyester material. It boasts waterproof and windproof qualities in the outer layer, with the inner lining consisting of a thin, breathable fabric. Both layers are completely water-resistant.

Along with superior water-resistance, the Asics rain jacket features a sleek design and excellent construction. It has a windproof hood with a drawstring that can be adjusted to fit snugly around your face.

The front zip can be accessed even while running, which makes for quick and convenient access. The zipper is also water-resistant, so there’s no need to worry about water leaking in through it.

6. SUGOi – Men's Firewall 180 Jacket

Our rating: 6 / 10


SUGOi - Men's Firewall 180 Jacket

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Pros:

  • Great for winter, fall, and moderate spring weather
  • 100% windproof
  • Great wicking capability and water-resistance
  • Very lightweight and comfortable
  • Great high-quality design
  • Reasonable price
  • Highly versatile
  • Great build quality
  • Highly breathable with anti-bacterial treatment
  • Windproof front mesh panels

Cons:

  • Limited color options
  • Fit is a bit small
  • Zippers can get stuck
  • The collar can get tight

This stylish windproof jacket is made with a superb balance of lightweight and high-quality material. It allows for excellent breathability and water resistance.

The Sugoi Firewall 180 weighs just 9.1 ounces. It is quite affordable compared to similar jackets in the market. It is available in 6 sizes, so you won’t have any problem with sizing despite it being a one-size-fits-all design.

It comes with adjustable cuffs on the sleeves and a drawstring at the bottom hem. It also includes two side pockets and two chest pockets.

7. Arc'teryx Trino Jacket

Our rating: 6 / 10


Arc'teryx Trino Jacket

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Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Affordable
  • Packs up small enough to fit in a pocket so you can take it anywhere
  • Nice styling, better for casual wear than for running
  • Light enough to hang on the back of a chair when you are out for lunch
  • Reflective trim for increased visibility in low light

The Arc'teryx Trino Jacket offers a great combination of lightweight compact design and water protection. It is the best synthetic insulation jacket to survive the wettest of wet weathers.

The Arc'teryx Trino Jacket is the everyday go-to jacket that will keep you dry and stylish in the worst weather conditions. It also doubles as a travel jacket that sucks up into it's own chest pocket and fits in an overhead bin.

The Arc'teryx Trino Jacket has a great modern style that works well for everyday use. It also packs small enough that you can easily stuff it in your pack and forget about it until you need it.

8. Craft Womens Intensity Nordic Cross Country Skiing and Training Softshell Jacket

Our rating: 5 / 10


Craft Womens Intensity Nordic Cross Country Skiing and Training Softshell Jacket

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Pros:

  • Breathable mesh
  • Great insulation
  • Affordable price
  • A waterproof shell

Cons:

  • Not a lot of storage features
  • The thumb loops are too loose and come right off

The Craft Womens Intensity Nordic Cross Country Skiing and Training Softshell Jacket is a lightweight, waterproof, and breathable jacket that is ideal for athletes who spend a lot of time outdoors.

This jacket has a 100% polyester shell with a nylon tricot lining, which will keep you warm and dry with its synthetic insulation. Also the breathable liner will ensure that you don’t get too hot, so you can maintain the right heat level.

9. Salomon AGILE SOFTSHELL JACKET Men

Our rating: 5 / 10


Salomon AGILE SOFTSHELL JACKET Men

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • High quality, durable material
  • Relatively cheap, considering the features
  • Highly functional
  • Good fit
  • Waterproof sleeve zippers
  • Good ventilation
  • Packable
  • Great sleeve length
  • Elastic drawcords; no bulky or restrictive cinches

The Salomon AGILE SOFTSHELL JACKET MEN is an extremely versatile lightweight softshell jacket for staying active and cool in any season. This jacket is highly breathable and completely waterproof. Its elastic cuffs give an adjustable fit.

It features a hood that comes with a removable visor for enhanced protection from rain or wind.

The jacket itself is full of thoughtfully designed features. Its zippered pockets are easy to get into yet water tight. The softshell material is lightweight and durable, yet breathable and stretchy. It’s also wind resistant, which is helpful when you need additional protection.

10. ASICS Women's Lite-Show 2 Winter Jacket

Our rating: 5 / 10


ASICS Women's Lite-Show 2 Winter Jacket

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Pros:

  • Water resistant coating and fabric
  • Includes Aegis antimicrobial treatment
  • Adjustable hood, drawcord at the hem
  • Thumbhole cuffs, and reflective piping to enhance the visibility
  • Does not restrict movement and remains comfortable in wide range of weather conditions with a feminine design

Cons:

  • Runs small
  • No insulation properties
  • Zipper is a little flimsy
  • The features are somewhat O.K

The ASICS Women’s Lite-Show 2 Winter Jacket is a great option for the cold, wet, and windy conditions of winter running. It’s a women’s specific design, made of lightweight materials for breathability and comfort. It features pit-zip vents for added breathability, thumbhole wrists for warmth, and a drawcord hem. The reflective panels and piping at the back enhance visibility, and there’s a hood for additional protection from the elements.

At 5.1 ounces, the lightweight construction is helpful for runners who have a lot of momentum and need a lightweight layer to keep warm at the start of winter runs.

11. New Balance Women's Q Speed Winterwatch Jacket

Our rating: 5 / 10


New Balance Women's Q Speed Winterwatch Jacket

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Pros:

  • Waterproof breathable
  • Vapor permeable
  • Highly versatile: can be used in a wide range of temperatures
  • Comfortable, enough to use as a daily jacket
  • DWR finish repelled water and is easy to wipe off
  • Fits well
  • Reflective logos and piping help with visibility
  • Thumb holes
  • Good range of motion

Cons:

  • This has a simple no-frills design
  • The sleeve length is a little short

Be sure to check out our detailed review of women’s winter running jackets, written by one of the leading apparel experts on womens activewear and running gear.

12. ASICS Men's Lite-Show 2 Winter Jacket

Our rating: 4 / 10


ASICS Men's Lite-Show 2 Winter Jacket

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Pros:

  • Super lightweight
  • Comprehensive insulation
  • Seam-sealed design
  • Breathable outer layer to manage moisture
  • One-hand zip for easy on/off
  • Comes with thermal wear for cold days
  • 2-in-1 design that is stylish and functional
  • Affordable price point
  • Good for running and casual wear
  • Many color options

Cons:

  • The short sleeves are tight to roll up
  • Zipper gets caught in the collar
  • Standout color is too shiny
  • Jacket runs small
  • Not suitable for windy conditions

When it comes to cold weather running jackets, a good quality jacket is an essential part of your exercise gear.

ASICS is a well-known sports brand that produces high-quality garments for competitive athletes. Their Lightweight Zip jackets are made with a cutting edge fuse and soft spun interlock. They are designed with a modern outlook, perfect for runners.

Coupled with a breathable membrane, this brings about high definition and excellent elasticity, while the lightweight material makes it a perfect choice for cold weather running.

13. Firewall 180 JKT Wmn

Our rating: 4 / 10


Firewall 180 JKT Wmn

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Great value for the price
  • Seam-sealed
  • Fully adjustable
  • Wind and water resistant

Cons:

  • The hood tends to get in the way when wearing a helmet
  • Not the best for really cold weather

This women’s jacket is fully packed with features that aid in the protection from weather while running. It’s made with a lightweight fabric material that is also seam sealed. In addition, it comes with a fully adjustable hood, and a sleeve pocket.

14. Arc'teryx Trino Jacket

Our rating: 4 / 10


Arc'teryx Trino Jacket

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Pros:

  • Made with 100% Recycled Polyester
  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Weight: n/a
  • High-quality zippers and stitching
  • The zipper is locking
  • Has a storm hood with a nice fur material
  • Generous fitting

Cons:

  • You may roll up the sleeves as they are a little long
  • The zipper is easy to blow open in wind
  • Tends to run on the small side

The Arc'teryx Trino Jacket is a hooded running jacket ideal for cold weather. It's made with Arc'teryx's trademark ThermaPro recycled Polartec Alpha insulation, which is a soft and warm non-woven fabric.

The Arc'teryx Trino also features a fully seam sealed construction that helps keep wind, snow, and rain out. It also includes 3 large zip hand pockets with zippered security, an internal media pocket, an external zippered pocket, as well as a soft, brushed chin guard and a concealed storm closure.

Bottom line: It's an awesome running jacket for the winter. It is soft, with a windproof design and great insulation. Although it fits a little small, it is a durable running jacket that keeps you warm and dry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best jacket for winter running?

There are some good cold weather running jackets on the market today. While a thin windbreaker will keep your skin comfortable in cool weather, it is a waste to wear one during heavy rain and snow. The essential function of a cold-weather running jacket is to defend your skin from wind and water, while letting heat out.

When the temperature drops, some running clothing is not enough to keep your body well insulated and your confidence on the running track. Some running jackets provide extra insulation over your body, keeping your body heat from being squeezed out. And some running jackets have separate underpants. These models of running jackets help to save your skin from outside forces.

What runners wear in cold weather?

When you are running in the cold weather, your upper body generates most of the heat. And the most part of your upper body is your chest. So, your running gear should concentrate on keeping your chest warm.

So, what kind of jackets should you wear when the temperature drops? It really depends on a few factors: latitude, activity, outdoor temperature, and personal preference. Some people prefer to wear only light base layers. Others like to pack as many layers as they can. And there are few people who wear puffy winter jackets.

The wind chill can affect how you dress for running. You might wear a fleece pullover when the temperature is 60 degrees and the wind chill is -5. But you may need two fleece pullovers at 10 degree temperature and 5 degree wind chill.

What kind of winter jacket is the warmest?

There’s no one jacket that is the warmest. Each has different features that make it warm. For example, at the top of the list are down jackets. Down feathers have the highest warmth-to-weight ratio. They are also very light and packable. But, down can be a little more cumbersome to wash. One more thing is their cost. Since they are made of feathers, it makes no surprise that they’re most expensive.

The next place is a fleece jacket. It is made of polyester and spandex which is very breathable. This makes it very warm, yet comfortable. In addition, it is also very airy and easy to clean. The only drawback is the fact that it is no longer as fashionable as other materials.

Conclusion

When you’re out running in the cooler months of the year, the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about something as mundane as a jacket you’re wearing. You want to be able to focus on your run, your music, and maybe the scenery around you.

That said, having the right jacket on, is immensely important. You have to choose one that is able to keep you warm, but not overdry your skin when you start heating up.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Smartwool Men's Smartloft 120 Jacket Graphite LBest Overall
Smartwool Men's Smartloft 120 Jacket Graphite L
ASICS womens Storm Shelter JacketBudget Pick
ASICS womens Storm Shelter Jacket
SUGOi – Men's Firewall 180 JacketUpgrade Pick
SUGOi - Men's Firewall 180 Jacket