It’s the season of changeable running weather. You can set off in bright sunshine and return home soaked through.
Temperatures are dropping too and it can start to feel too chilly for heading out in just a T-shirt.
A running jacket is a versatile piece of kit as it can provide you with the warmth for getting out of the door but it’s easily peeled off and tied around your waist or packed into a running rucksack once you’ve warmed up.
If it starts raining or the wind starts to howl, back on it goes.
How much you spend and the type of jacket you choose depends on where and for how long you run.
Heading off on a trail run in the hills/woods/mountains requires a jacket that gives you prolonged and reliable protection from wind and rain, whereas for a run through your local area, a more basic showerproof extra layer will suffice.
If you want a thin, lightweight waterproof jacket simply for staying dry, you can make up for lack of warmth with breathable base layers underneath.
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Asics accelerate jacket
Soft and extremely comfortable, this jacket provides all you need in a training jacket – breathability, warmth and protection from the wind and rain. It’s waterproof but the soft fabric means that it’s not as noisy on a run as a crinkly sounding traditional waterproof. It dried quickly after getting wet and the nicely designed hood doesn’t flop into your face.
All we’d say is that you may want to size up if you want an autumn base layer underneath – it moves well with your body and it’s a good length but it’s quite a form-fitting, narrow jacket with a tapered waist so a bigger size would give you a bit more room.
Buy now £125.00, Asics
Salomon lightning WP jacket
A beautifully lightweight, breathable and waterproof jacket. It has a minimalist design but high performance and the durable fabric will survive being stuffed in and pulled out of a running rucksack and caught on branches on the trails. It moves nicely with your body as you run and the fit easily allows layers underneath.
The hood is elasticated and fits close to your head and the jacket remained waterproof on a wet run while letting the heat out (extra vents in the upper back help and there’s a popper that keeps it from flapping if you want to unzip it).
Buy now £150.00, Salomon
Proviz classic women’s waterproof running jacket
A favourite for hi-viz kit, Proviz has done a good job with its running jackets. This is breathable, waterproof and its trademark reflectivity (it lights up like a Christmas tree when a light is shone at it) is abundant, rather than just the nod to visibility that many running jackets give. The stretchy fabric moves well while running and the hood is simple but effective. A great choice if you run at night or in the early morning but would suit a shorter frame or women who like a shorter jacket as it’s quite cropped.
Buy now £79.99, Proviz
Columbia women's outdry ex lightweight shell jacket
A technical jacket that means rain will never stop you from going on a long run into the hills. The higher price tag is reflected in its excellent performance – the fabric is breathable but waterproof. We like the long length – it comes down over your bottom if you’re average height – and the high neck (with the nice touch of soft abrasion pads on the inside to prevent chafing) and protective hood leaves you cocooned against the elements. It’s very light and packs down small into its own chest pocket. The fit is perfect for wearing a couple of layers underneath if it’s cold. Its pristine witness doesn’t stay white for long once you're out on a muddy trail but that just proves that you’ve used it!
Buy now £180.00, Columbia
2XU XVENT dwr jacket
A water-resistant jacket that’s soft, flexible and flattering, and it provides a nice barrier when the wind blows. There’s no drawcord at the bottom to pull it around your body but the jacket is a decent length and sits flat to the body. A vent that spans the width of the upper back helps prevent overheating and the hood is adjustable to bring it close around your head. Ideal for training runs in cooler weather.
Buy now £80.00, 2XU
Red original women’s active jacket
This sailing brand has created an excellent active jacket, made from Bluesign approved fabric, which means it’s produced sustainably. It has a four-way stretch, allowing it to move nicely with your body as you run, and it packs neatly down into its own pocket.
We like the warmth it provides, the extra long sleeves that don’t ride up as you run and the stiff visor in the hood to stop it drooping into your face. The waterproofing works in the rain and the jacket is breathable with added vents under the arm. It’s at the heavier end of jackets, but it’s still light enough for running and would be a versatile purchase for other activities.
Buy now £129.95, Red Original
Föhn women’s 2.5L hooded jacket
A very lightweight, technical waterproof – it kept us dry in a long downpour but was breathable enough not to cause overheating (and it has underarm vents). It fits well with plenty of room for a base layer underneath, doesn’t restrict your movement while running and it has nice details such as extra long cuffs to cover the back of your hand. An adjustable hood and drawcord around the bottom can bring it in closer if the weather comes in.
Buy now £100.00, Wiggle
Brooks women’s fusion hybrid jacket
The front, upper back and part of the sleeves on this jacket are windproof and water resistant (it has no hood), and the rest is soft, wicking fabric. A mesh bag with two thin rucksack straps is attached inside so that you can pack the jacket in on itself and carry it on your back and there are two poppers to stop it flapping when unzipped – both nice touches. The small comes up very small and it’s short in body and sleeve length, so would suit a shorter frame (even if you’re a size 8-10). The polyester used is 100 per cent recycled – a nice nod to the planet.
Buy now £110.00, Brooks
Decathlon kiprun light women’s showerproof jacket
A budget option that’s considerably cheaper than most running jackets. As the name suggests, it’s fine if you want a lightweight extra layer in drizzle and wind, but it’s not going to keep you dry in a downpour or even on a longer run in the wet as it starts to seep through. The material itself is not breathable, but you can undo long zips on the sides if you want some ventilation.
Buy now £34.99, Decathlon
Nike icon clash women’s running jacket
So lightweight, it’s almost see-through and very breathable – there was no overheating in this jacket. The loose fit allows for a thick base layer underneath and a drawcord brings it in around the bottom if required. It has no hood and it’s not the warmest jacket we tried but it will serve you well if you want something very light as your extra layer.
Buy now £67.95, Sports Shoes
The verdict: Women’s running jackets
As an everyday training jacket, the Asics accelerate does a great job in all departments, especially if you want to head out in a t-shirt rather than a heavier base layer. If you want a looser fit from your jacket, the 2XU XVENT is less waterproof but still a reliable training jacket as an extra layer of warmth and protection against showers.
If you’re after a thinner, lighter windproof/waterproof running jacket to keep you dry and wear over layers, the Salomon lightning, Columbia outdry and Föhn 2.5l are all excellent technical jackets that won’t let you down on the trails.