As any regular runner knows, weather conditions are rarely constant and sometimes you are going to need to wear a little more than a running shirt and shorts. There is a big market for running jackets these days as runners find themselves in need of a comfortable extra layer of protection from wind rain and cold. These jackets tend to have to be light, breathable but well insulated.
1. New Balance Hi-Viz Beacon
Designed mainly as a high visibility jacket the Beacon stands out wonderfully in high traffic areas and in after dark runs. Reflective tape is found all around this jacket meaning you will show up in headlights and be at less risk of getting sideswiped on a road run. This jacket is also pretty good against the elements, standing up to light rain and moderate winds. You will need a substantial layer beneath the jacket in more extreme cold conditions and the fit leans towards the loose side so there is some flapping of material.
2. Patagonia Houdini
If the weather is breezy and drizzling you are going to need a jacket and the Houdini is a great option for minor weather conditions. It is an ultra lightweight jacket that you might even forget you are wearing making for improved comfort on your runs. As it is lightweight however, it will not stand up to very cold conditions so you will need a little insulation underneath to use this in winter.
3. Outdoor Research Helium II
Designed for really wet weather the Helium II is a thin lightweight rain jacket with great waterproofing. This tightly sealed jacket will keep water out while still allowing sweat to evaporate, so in terms of comfort it’s pretty good. Sadly, the waterproofing comes at the cost of a noisy material as running is accompanied by a loud rustling sound.
4. Pearl Izumi Ultra Wind Blocking Jacket
Waterproofing without rusting and a shiny material is hard to achieve but the Ultra Wind Blocking Jacket has pulled it off. Using an innovative soft shell fabric exterior this cool looking jacket will cut through the bite of the wind and the misery of the rain. It is a comfortable resilient jacket and breathes enough to let sweat evaporate but protects enough to keep the chill away.
5. The North Face Animagi
When winter hits hard and the temperatures drop fast you need something to keep you from freezing. This cozy thick jacket is still lightweight enough to not hinder your run but substantial enough to fight off the chill. Great for ice and snow this jacket does lack a hood meaning it doesn’t handle heavy rain very well, so it does let you down in that respect.