To the uninitiated, running in winter doesn’t sound that appealing. It’s often cold, any wind brings with it a gust of chilly air, and there’s a good chance you might get caught in a shower. But if you’ve got the right kit to keep you warm and dry, it’ll help you retain the running momentum that you’ve built up throughout the year – even in the depths of winter.
Like gloves and running tights, a winter running jacket is essential for anyone who plans on running all year round – and much more than a glorified long-sleeved top. An extra layer to be worn over a T-shirt, a running jacket’s main job is to keep you warm on colder days when the heat generated from running alone isn’t enough to keep the chill off.
Most jackets offer some sort of water and wind resistance, while others include reflective detailing – handy when running after dark. A good winter running jacket’s most important characteristic, however, is its breathability; get this wrong and the build-up of sweat on the jacket’s inside will soon leave you cold and damp, and worse off than not wearing one at all.
How we tested
For this article, we tested a variety of men’s winter running jackets to find the best you can currently buy online – whether you’re looking for something for commuting, for tackling changeable conditions, or an all-out trail-specific top layer. We tested the jackets throughout autumn as the seasons changed from the mild end of summer to the cold start of winter, and took any opportunity to put them through their paces in windy and wet conditions.
To be considered, the jacket had to do what it claimed it could do, and keep us comfortable and dry throughout our sweat sessions.
The best men’s winter running jackets for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Montane spine waterproof jacket: £250, Montane.com
- Best for sub-zero temperatures – New Balance reflective impact run winter jacket: £120, Newbalance.co.uk
- Best for commuting – Proviz classic men’s active running jacket: £99.99, Provizsports.com
- Best for changeable conditions – On Running weather jacket: £190, Sigmasports.com
- Best for trail running – Salomon bonatti 2.5L: £150, Salomon.com
- Best for Gore-Tex protection – Arc’Teryx norvan LT hoody: £350, Arcteryx.com
- Best lightweight jacket – Columbia FKT II windbreaker: £90, Columbiasportswear.co.uk