The Best Running Jackets for Fall: Layers We Love
Cool weather is great for running but not for bare arms
It’s time to start layering up for your morning (or evening) miles
Here are just a few of the running jackets we love for chilly days
Think we missed one? Throw it in the comments
It’s marathon season, or maybe it’s personality season. Either way, it’s fall, y’all. That means it’s time to start switching your running wardrobe and putting away the singlets and short shorts for warmer days. Well, you can still wear ’em for races, just not every day. Instead, you might want to gear up for when Mother Nature throws the hissy fit that we call November to April in some parts of the country. That’s right, we’re talking running jackets.
For the most part, we’re sticking to jackets that will get you through the fall months. We’ll circle back in December or January for a few winter picks, but they’re a little heavier than we need right now. These options are ready for rainy days and windy ones, and they’re sure to be an upgrade over whatever you got as a race premium. Of course, our picks are premium in their own ways — you don’t get a high-end running jacket without spending a little cash. We’ve noted all the prices, so you don’t put your wallet through undue stress.
Let’s get to it.
NOTE: We may make a small commission from some of the shop links below, so if you pick up a jacket on the list, thanks for helping us out!
This running jacket is so lightweight it’d get hammered drunk off one can of O’Doul’s. Seriously, when putting it on, it feels like you’re juggling those handkerchiefs that float in the air (anyone else go to magic school, or is that just me?). In all seriousness, it’s incredibly lightweight and one of the only jackets I could wear over 50 degrees on the run without overheating. On a cold and windy long run, I threw this on, and it kept me warm for the duration of my activity.
Bonus details are that it offers 360-degree reflectivity and it’s packable into the hood pocket (which apparently can also hold a phone). It says it’s water-repellent, but only for very light rain. Anything harder, and you’ll be soaked, so know that this is more of a wind layer than a rain layer.Shop Terrex Agravic Windweave Pro
Of all the jackets I’ve ever worn, I’ve probably gotten the most compliments wearing this one. My wife steals it from me on the reg. It packs down to nothing, it’s super comfortable and stretchy, and it is indeed waterproof, in addition to offering far better breathability than any other rain jacket I’ve worn. That’s probably thanks to its 30k waterproofing / 30k breathability rating, which is the highest we’ve seen in any jackets we’ve tested.
It also packs into its hand pocket, with a built-in elastic strap for carrying. That’s how I can always tell when a runner designed a running jacket, or at least that real runners tested it. Two years later, this is still my go-to jacket for rainy conditions.Shop Janji Rainrunner
Orange you glad we didn’t say banana again? Well, we didn’t say banana in the first place, but like Houdini himself, we made an orange appear out of nowhere. An orange jacket, that is. Do I care that we just made a terrible collection of fruit-based dad jokes? No, because this is one of the best running jackets around, and it just so happens to be called The Orange Jacket. It comes in black, too, but that one is still called The Orange because it packs into no more than the size of an orange.
As you can probably guess, that means this is one minimalist layer. There’s not a lot to The Orange Jacket (though it’s seedless, at least). It only has one chest pocket, and the hood can be rolled down for easier storage. Houdini designed its lightweight jacket for more than just running — it’s prepped for ski touring, mountaineering, and even trad climbing. Any one of those sports will probably put more wear and tear on it than your weekend run, so this baby should last a good long time.Shop Houdini The Orange Jacket
We’ve already put a few pieces of the Brooks RunVisible collection through their paces over the years, but one that we haven’t tried is this convertible jacket. It’s not convertible like a full-on Transformer, but we’re guessing it’s because you can convert the hood from up to down and back again. Whatever the definition, this is one of the most visible jackets you’re probably ever going to see — and you will see it coming. This one is loud with a capital LOUD.
Honestly, Brooks might be keeping 3 M’s annual sales numbers up with its love for Scotchlite Carbon Black Retroreflective technology. You’ll find hits of the reflective tape all over the RunVisible jacket, from the hemline to the sleeves, to the neck — it’s everywhere. We’re not complaining, as it can be dangerous running in the dark without a little extra visibility, but you’ve gotta be ready to light up like a whole-ass Christmas tree.Shop Brooks RunVisible Convertible Jacket
This is one of our cold-weather running jackets (in fact, Robbe wore it almost all last winter as his go-to wind shell), but we couldn’t wait until we published a winter roundup, so it’s going in here. That’s how much we love this one from Arc’teryx. The Gore-Tex Infinium truly does block all of the wind and handles light rain quite well (though it’s not 100% waterproof). It’s stretchy enough to allow for a range of motion, and the hood rolls up into a collar, so it’s not annoying if you prefer to have it down. Put a Merino layer underneath this, and you’re set for just about anything.Shop Arc'Teryx Trino SL
When you see Tracksmith on the list, you know two things: It ain’t gonna be cheap, but it’s gonna be well made. This rain jacket holds true on both accounts. It’s made with classic Tracksmith style in mind — simple, with high-end details. It’s one of the lightest running jackets on our list, but don’t expect it to add any warmth. The Tracksmith site even mentions that it can keep the rain out on temperate days or serve as a protective layer that won’t add warmth. I guess that’s worth points for honesty.
One look at this rain jacket, and you’ll understand why they’re upfront about the heat. It’s as breathable as they come, with large vents on the front and the back, and the material is so light that you just might forget you’re wearing anything. Tracksmith adopted a PFC-free nylon construction and bonded seams to both reduce weight and boost water resistance, so you can bet no detail has been overlooked.Shop Tracksmith Rain Jacket
If I had a dollar for every time we featured a product tangentially related to the world’s greatest magician on this list, I’d have two dollars. Not a lot, I know, but it’s still weird that it happened twice. Anyway, the first time was a brand, and this time it’s a running jacket by a company owned by Mother Nature. That’s right, Patagonia’s owner gave it back to the planet, and now we have to hope that the globe can keep the hipsters decked out in their fleece and flannel.
In the meantime, the Patagonia Houdini jacket is a great lightweight pick for fall miles. It’s made with windproof fabric and finished with a coating of DWR to keep the rain at bay — though it’s not waterproof by any means. The rear hemline drops below your booty to keep you a little drier, and yes, there’s a small Patagonia logo to show off your brand loyalty.Shop Patagonia Houdini
Alright, so you already know Ciele as the hat people. They’re pretty good at that, but it turns out that they can do a lot more, too. Ciele recently dropped its first elite collection, and the FLRJacket is the shining star. Well, your wallet won’t be shining, but the jacket has a lot going for it. It’s fully waterproof thanks to a three-ply construction that blends a breathable membrane, a lightweight hardshell, and a mesh liner. It’s still light as a feather, not that we fully know how Ciele pulled that off.
This isn’t just Ciele hyping itself up, either. The FLRJacket achieved a 30K breathability and 20K waterproofing rating, both of which are excellent. Basically, anything over 15K is the goal, as breathability under that will leave you feeling like you’re in a trash bag, and waterproofing under that will leave you wet. Sure, the price is steep, but this is a running jacket that can last a long time and comes with the backing of a million-mile warranty.Shop Ciele FLRJacket
Pit zips. Pit zips. PIT ZIPS. They’re the accessory we’ve always known we wanted but could rarely find. They’re the rain jacket equivalent of the watch window. It’s no surprise they’re rare since this is a jacket meant to keep things out, but Outdoor Vitals found a way, and they’re heaven-sent.
Alright, let’s back up a step. Anything Outdoor Vitals does is Grade-A. This Tushar Jacket is probably the best waterproof jacket I’ve ever worn, despite the dude’s facial expression above. It’s just incredibly hydrophobic. The zippers are reinforced and locked down to keep moisture from the weak points. I don’t know if you can wear the Hoover Dam, but this jacket is dam close.Shop Outdoor Vitals Tushar
Are you from the mountains? Do you just want to show your love for them? La Sportiva is your brand. Its purposeful designs and brilliantly bold colors are born out of mountain adventures and the attitude that goes with them.
This Session Tech Hoody offers an athletic fit and cozy sweater-like feel for the cool air that comes with the first orange leaves of fall. It’s meant for the highly aerobic sport of ski touring, but we won’t tell if you don’t. The arms, back, and hood are all made of waffled microfleece, while the chest and shoulders adopt a more weather-resistant finish.
I’ve used this running jacket as a warm layer pre-run, during those frigid fall mornings (we’ve already had some in the Rockies), and post-run to stay warm. Even though the Session Tech Hoody isn’t water or windproof, it is highly resistant to the cold. This versatile jacket can be worn as an overlayer or a mid-layer on extreme days.Shop La Sportiva Session Tech Hoody
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No Nike?? They make the best apparel in the industry and nothing?? What did they do to piss you off??