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The 10 Best Women’s Running Jackets

No matter the weather or your preferences, these running jackets have you covered.

best running jackets for women
Staff, Courtesy of Columbia

As the weather turns colder, some runners move their workouts to a treadmill or turn to indoor cross-training. But if you prefer to keep your runs outside, it’s important to dress appropriately for the cooler temps so you can continue to run comfortably.

Dressing in layers is key, and a big component of an effective layering system is a good running jacket. Your running jacket needs to do more than keep you warm though. It should protect you from the elements—water and wind—but also allow you freedom of movement. Women’s running jackets blend these factors of performance and function with a sleek profile.

About the Expert: Marissa Cruz Lemar is an avid runner who has spent the better part of the past 18 years running in the mid-Atlantic, specifically the Washington, D.C., area and Annapolis, Maryland, where she lives now. Cold weather running, in the 30- to 40-degree range, is her favorite, providing her with plenty of opportunity to test a variety of jackets. As long as there’s no ice on the roads, Marissa keeps running outdoors even when it’s below freezing, so she’s learned to handle the elements, whether by layering up or wearing a more insulated jacket. But because she runs outside year-round, Marissa is familiar with what works on wet but not especially cold days, too.

Finding the Right Women’s Running Jacket

There are many things to consider when it comes to picking the right jacket. Things like material, water protection, and weight are especially important.

In terms of material, something stretchy is ideal so the fabric can move with you. Polyester, for example, gives you a great amount of flexibility and stretch, especially when combined with elastane. And like nylon, polyester wicks moisture well, allowing sweat to evaporate before it can freeze and cause a shiver-inducing chill.

Although synthetic fabrics don’t absorb much moisture, you should still look for a water-resistant or waterproof jacket if you log miles in rain or snow. Water-resistance, often achieved with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating, is a lower level of protection that will keep you dry in light to moderate rain for a little while. A waterproof jacket, on the other hand, offers a higher level of protection, thanks to a bonded membrane that seals out water. That’s great if you’re going to be out in heavy precipitation for a long run, but keep in mind membranes often limit breathability. Both water-resistant and waterproof constructions also block wind.

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The amount of insulation you need will depend on the conditions you’re running in, and to a certain extent, your personal preference and natural physiology. People with faster metabolisms generally run warmer and won’t need as much insulation. Even people who run colder will need less insulation on a 40-degree day during a high-output run than if they were walking around that same day. And some runners prefer to wear many layers, instead of one heavier outer layer. For their part, some companies employ body-mapped insulation or venting that varies between women’s and men’s styles.

The rest are bonus features. Thumbholes, a hood, and pockets are helpful and can increase warmth but aren’t required. Pockets, for example, are great for stashing things like gloves or a hat. And pockets with zippers are an extra bonus for securely storing valuables, like your keys and phone.

How We Evaluated

In addition to my own experience wearing running jackets, I researched the market and examined online reviews to recommend the best running jackets for women. This article includes a variety of styles—insulated, waterproof, pullover, and lightweight—so you’ll be covered no matter the weather or your preferences. I prioritized jackets made from materials that are stretchy and breathable and evaluated each model based on weather protection, value, comfort, and style. For the 10 women’s running jackets that made the cut, I included an estimated temperature range in Fahrenheit in each review. For jackets I’ve run in, this range is based on my personal experience; for models I haven’t, I made assessments based on the product descriptions and reviews. Keep in mind these are estimations, and your own experience might vary—our what to wear tool can help with that.

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Best for Fall Temperatures
Under Armour Tech Full Zip
Under Armour

  • Wicks sweat
  • Reflective logos boost visibility

  • Not weather-resistant
  • Pockets don’t zip

Key Specs

  • Sizes: 2XS–2XL
  • Estimated Temp Range: 40­–50 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: None

This is a fall staple for me because it’s the perfect lightweight option. The loose fit lets me layer a tank or T-shirt underneath without adding bulk. The material is 100 percent polyester, making it stretchy and allowing a wide range of movement as I stride. Finally, the moisture-wicking material keeps me dry and comfortable.

Breathable Jacket
Smartwool Merino Sport Ultra Light Hoodie

  • Very breathable
  • Lightweight

  • Not ideal for really cold runs

Key Specs

  • Sizes: XS–XL
  • Estimated Temp Range: 40–50 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: DWR treatment

This Smartwool jacket combines several materials for optimal performance. Mesh panels of Merino wool in the lining release heat and help regulate body temperature; paired with polyester, the lining also wicks moisture well. The durable nylon exterior protects you from wind and precipitation. You’ll be comfortable as you rack up the miles and stay visible thanks to reflective details throughout.

Most Affordable
C9 Champion Full Zip Cardio Jacket
C9 Champion

  • Low cost
  • Zippered pockets

  • Material can be a lint and hair magnet

Key Specs

  • Sizes: XS­–2XL
  • Estimated Temp Range: 30–45 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: None

This is a great midweight jacket that will keep you warm in just-above-freezing temps. Although very form-fitting, it’s made of polyester and spandex, so it gives as you move. The thicker fabric still wicks moisture and dries fast, so it’s a nice option on colder days. Instead of a hood, the Cardio Jacket sports a tall mock neck that fends off bone-chilling gusts.

Drop-Tail Jacket
Lululemon Mist Over Windbreaker

  • Stretchy material
  • Extra zippered pocket in the back

  • Sleeves are a bit long

Key Specs

  • Sizes: 0­–14
  • Estimated Temp Range: 40–50 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: Water-repellent fabric

Lululemon offers a stylish, slim-fit jacket in the Mist Over Windbreaker. The drop-tail design pairs nicely with leggings or running tights while still providing coverage (and warmth). In addition to wind protection, you’ll keep dry thanks to the water-repellent fabric. It’s made of a stretchy polyester and elastane blend, but plan to size up if you want to add layers underneath more comfortably because this is a more fitted option.

Best for Wet Weather
Patagonia Houdini Jacket

  • Available in 10 colors
  • Great at wind blocking

  • Not super breathable

Key Specs

  • Sizes: XS­–2XL
  • Estimated Temp Range: 35–50 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: DWR treatment

The Houdini is a solid option that keeps you dry in the face of nasty precipitation. It’s made of a durable water-repelling material and nylon. The jacket also features an adjustable hood that comes down low on your forehead and stays put, which frees you from fussing with a flapping hood as you run. Half-elastic cuffs that lock in some warmth and a chest pocket to stash your stuff are nice extras.

Baleaf Laureate Thermal Mock Neck Pullover

  • Low cost
  • Moisture wicking

  • Extra-fitted so size up to layer or for a relaxed fit

Key Specs

  • Sizes: XS–3XL
  • Estimated Temp Range: 25–40 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: None

This Baleaf piece brings the benefits of a jacket to a fitted pullover style. Don’t let the brushed fleece interior fool you, though—it’ll keep you warm without trapping heat. The moisture-wicking material helps you stay comfortable as you get warmed up, and the half-zip style means you can unzip for extra ventilation. This option is extra stretchy because it’s made of a polyester and elastane blend, like the Lululemon Mist Over, so you’ll have lots of flexibility as you move.

Best for Freezing Temperatures
Athleta Rock Ridge PrimaLoft Jacket

  • Warm
  • Available in many sizes, including regular, tall and petite styles

  • A bit bulky

Key Specs

  • Sizes: 2XS­–3X
  • Estimated Temp Range: 10–30 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: DWR treatment

The Athleta Rock Ridge is a perfect option for super-cold runs. It’s made of a down-alternative, so it insulates very well. Extras like a high collar and hood that cinches tight help seal out the cold nicely as well. It’s also water-repellent to keep you dry in wet weather.

Best for Layering
Columbia Park View Grid Fleece Full Zip

  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Extra interior pocket

  • No water protection

Key Specs

  • Sizes: XS–3X
  • Estimated Temp Range: 30­–50 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: UPF 50

This jacket offers a midweight option that’s great for layering. Wear it on its own as an external layer as a mid-layer under a weather-resistant shell. The full polyester design is stretchy but offers a looser-fit alternative to the C9 Champion jacket above.

Stretchy Fabric
Marmot Olden Polartec Hoody
Now 27% off

  • Stretchy
  • Breathable

  • No weather protection

Key Specs

  • Sizes: XS–XL
  • Estimated Temp Range: 40–50 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: None

The versatile Olden is another jacket that works great for layering. Because it’s moisture-wicking, you can pair it with a long-sleeve underneath or a vest on top and stay dry all run. Two zippered pockets keep your gear secure, and the Polartec Power Stretch fabric, a blend of polyester and elastane, give you a great range of motion.

Lightweight Yet Warm
Brooks Canopy Jacket

  • Breathable
  • Internal pocket

  • Short torso might cause fit issues for some people

Key Specs

  • Sizes: XS–2XL
  • Estimated Temp Range: 25–40 degrees
  • Weatherproofing: Water-resistant fabric with UPF 30

The Canopy jacket is a great pick because while lightweight, it’ll still help you withstand really cold temperatures due to its high collar and fitted hood. It’s made of a water- and wind-resistant material to protect you from the elements. One cool extra feature is that if you warm up and want to unzip, there is a snap on the chest that will minimize the jacket flapping behind you.

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