2012 Best Running jackets
As the dark nights draw in, the desire to pull on your running shoes and head out for an evening training session can cease dramatically, especially if it’s cold and wet. To help get you through the dark and probably dingy depths of the 2010 – 2011 winter I have reviewed a selection of the top running jackets that I have had a pleasure of running in over the past two months.
Jacket Type Comfort Performance Value for Money Overall UK Retailer US Retailer
Salomon XT Softshell Ultra Lightweight Outer 90 80 70 80 Link Link
Nike Vapor Storm Proof 80 80 80 80 Link Link
Nike StormFly 10 Thermal 85 90 60 78 Link Link
Nike Storm-Fit Convertible Storm Proof 80 70 70 73 Link Link
Adidas Supernova Gore Windstopper Storm Proof 80 70 70 73 Link Link
Nike Microfibre Rain Ultra Lightweight Outer 70 70 70 70 Link Link
Salomon XT Softshell Running Jacket
The Salomon XT Softshell is a jacket that is fast becoming a mild weather favourite of mine. It is not only ultra lightweight but is has also been designed with a slimmer profile to fit like a second skin. Unlike some of the Nike jackets, the XT SoftShel moves and feels like it is a second skin instead of making you feel like you are running in an ordinary anorak. The ClimaWIND fabric is stretchy and so moves with you even when sprinting or doing track work where other jackets sometimes feel constricting.
Because the jacket fits like a second skin, there is no loose material (air vents, baggy sleeves etc0) to catch the wind when you are running in stormy conditions and as such you don’t feel like you are wearing a sail! The XT Softshell doesn’t just stop the wind but it feels like the wind is flowing around you as you run.
The waterproofing is exceptional and the jacket stays breathable and is not constrictive through light showers (I haven’t taken the jacket out in torrential rain yet!), but its does lack a formal waterproof hood. As such this jacket should be treated as a very good quality and windproof running jacker for mild weather training, but of you are looking for something that you can use for other and more cold weather occasions then you should look at something like the Nike Storm fly.
This is still currently my favourite running jacket as it is something I can wear on top of my normal summer running kit without having to dig out and thermal base layers.
Nike StormFly 10 Running Jacket
Best running jacket for icy cold winter running
The Nike StormFly 10 is easily the most expensive jacket out of all the jackets I tested. I was lucky enough to have one of these sent to me by Nike as otherwise the high price tag would have probably steered me towards the Nike StormFit Instead. Once you pull this jacked on however it is easy to see how this jacket is a cut above the rest. The Storm-Fit 10 fabric is incredible and blocks out all wind and rain whilst still letting sweat out. Nike haven’t skimped on any of the extra features either and the has zipped vents, a covered zip and even an ipod holder. The only problem is that because it is only available in black, this jacket really isn’t suitable for night time running. On the plus side, the jacket is so well insulated that running on days where is it zub zero temperatures and there is frost/snow on the ground isnt a problem. To be honest, the jacket is probably even too warm for all but arctic conditions but some unzipping of some flaps and zips is all that it takes to turn up the air con on those longer runs! On a final point, this jacket was the only jacket that I actually looked forward to going outside for a run in sub zero temperatures with, as I knew that it would keep me toasty!
Nike Storm-Fit Convertible
This is one of my favourite running jackets of this season and one that I use all year round. The Storm-Fit Convertible, like its name implies is a highly wind and water proof jacket that also has detachable sleeves. The sleeves zip off quickly and easily, and make this jacket a great option for milder weather, or for sessions where you feel like you need extra mobility. I tend to use this jacket when I do any of the Military fitness outdoors circuits sessions or when playing touch rugby as not having constricting sleeves is a massive bonus. if you decide not to unzip the sleeves, then the ventilation comes from one mesh patch on the back of the jacket. This section has a rain cover to prevent rain seeping in but I have found that moisture doesn’t always escape as well as it should. This is nice jacket to have of you are going to be making use of the detachable sleeves but otherwise I would stick to the Nike Vapor.
Nike Vapor Men’s Running Jacket
Although this is last years model now, the Nike Vapor keeps coming out on top and thanks to its recently reduced price, continues to be the best selling lightweight jacket from the Nike collection. The Nike Vapor Running Jacket provides you with a lightweight layer that gives you the protection you need whilst maintaining sufficient breathability. The longer back hem of this jacket helps to keep it in place whilst the hood with bungee cord and toggle is an added warmth and rain protection feature. Mesh panels are at the sides and lower back of the Nike Vapor running jacket to provide enhanced ventilation. The Nike Vapor jacket is machine washable and 100% polyester. Although the Nike Vapor running jacket will only put you back a modest £50 ($70) it only features the Nike swoosh logo making it less safe in low visibility conditions. At less then £42 ($60) however, the jacket would make a great addition to any jogger’s wardrobe for those early evening long winter runs.
Nike Microfibre Rain Running Jacket
The Nike Microfibre Rain Running Jacket is made from 100% polyester with a Teflon finish and is perfect as ultra lightweight outer layer, keeping you warm and dry when running in the rain and wind. Because it is lightweight it is perfect for those long winter runs where a little more protection from the elements is required. The jacket has two large zip up pockets perfect for storing valuables as well as reflective piping making it visible in low light conditions. The two-way zip ensures easy accessibility and the opportunity to ventilate. At £34.99 it’s also a great price.
Adidas Supernova Gore Windstopper
The Adidas Supernova Windstopper is the upgrade to last years Riot Running Jacket. It comes in both men’s and women’s designs, is lightweight, warm and breathable giving it the perfect combination of features for winter runs. The jacket features breathable ‘CLIMAWARM™’ insulation fabric (Adidas’ dedicated cold-weather material) that has a brushed interior and is designed to keep you very warm in cold weather conditions while still allowing moisture transfer. The jacket has been upgraded with the Gore Windstopper fabric which is one of the highest performing fabrics on the market. Used the world over for all kind of high performance sportswear the Gore outer layer provides exceptional water resistance and wind proofing that anyone who has ever worn any North Face gear with already be familiar with. The Supernova Windstopper running jacket also has a ‘FORMOTION™’ design allowing it to move easily with your body’s motion as well as reflective piping to ensure visibility at night. At £80 this jacket comes in at the top end of the price range, however with the added warmth, the technological features included and the smart design you can expect high performance and the Adidas Supernova Riot Running Jacket is perfect for serious runners who are expecting to run some high mileage this winter.
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