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Want to keep your running routine going strong this fall and winter? Here’s an easy way to increase your motivation: Invest in a quality rain jacket for running. These high-performance layers will keep you from getting soaked by raindrops (or sleet or snow), so you can stay warm and dry even in cold, wet weather — and that’s one less excuse to skip your run. Running rain jackets come in a variety of styles, from lightweight, packable layers that can handle mild showers to robust, fully waterproof options that are ideal for longer routes in harsh weather.
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- Best Overall: Janji Rainrunner Pack Jacket 2.0
- Best Value: REI Co-op Swiftland H2O Running Jacket
- Best Lightweight Jacket: Inov-8 Stormshell V2
- Best for Backcountry Running: Arc’teryx Norvan Shell Jacket
- Most Versatile: Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Jacket
- Best for Running With a Hydration Vest: Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket
- Best for Packability: Brooks Run Visible Convertible Jacket
- All-natural Fabric: Icebreaker Shell+ Merino Cotton Windbreaker
What to Consider When Shopping for Running Rain Jackets
Running rain jackets have to strike a delicate balance: They need to repel water, so you stay dry, but they also need to vent hot air and sweat vapor, so you don’t overheat while running or sprinting. (Your typical rubber rain slicker, in contrast, would feel like a sauna after a couple miles.) Waterproof jackets for running also feature trim silhouettes to minimize bulk, and they’re designed to allow your arms to move freely as you run. Here’s a closer look at the main features to know when comparing models.
Waterproof jackets are built with an impermeable layer that blocks water and keeps it from seeping through the jacket and soaking you. There are three types of layering used: 2L, 2.5L, and 3L.
- 2L jackets have an outer face fabric with a waterproof layer bonded underneath it. They also usually have a separate liner on the inside of the jacket to protect the exposed waterproof layer from abrasions against your body. The separate liner adds weight, so this construction is most often used in casual rain jackets not designed for running.
- 2.5L jackets have an outer face fabric, a waterproof layer bonded beneath, and a protective coating applied over the waterproof layer on the inside of the jacket. These are generally the lightest waterproof running jackets.
- 3L jackets are made with an outer face fabric, a waterproof layer, and a third protective fabric on the interior. The 3L design offers maximum waterproofing along with stellar durability. 3L jackets are great options for long rainy runs or especially harsh conditions.
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Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Coatings
A DWR coating is another staple feature in performance rain jackets. This coating is applied to the exterior of the jacket, and it causes water to bead up and roll off the jacket, rather than soaking into the face fabric. This ensures the jacket breathes well (sweat vapor can’t move through soaked fabric as efficiently), and it keeps the jacket from developing an uncomfortable clammy feeling against your skin.
DWR coatings degrade with use. The best way to preserve your jacket’s functionality is to wash it according to the care instructions on the tag. If necessary, you can apply an aftermarket DWR coating to restore the finish.
Mother Nature doesn’t care about your training schedule, but with a dependable running rain jacket in your closet, you can head out for a run no matter what the forecast looks like. All of the options below are designed specifically for running or high-intensity outdoor activities. Grab one, and you’ll be set to hit your goals this season.
The Best Running Jackets
Best Overall: Janji Rainrunner Pack Jacket 2.0
Janji Rainrunner Pack Jacket 2.0
The Rainrunner is a well-reviewed option that’s packable, breathable, and highly weatherproof. The 2.0 model features an updated 2.5L design with fully taped seams (the seams are sealed to prevent water leaking through) and a PFC-free DWR finish for robust water resistance without harmful chemicals. I tested an earlier version of this jacket under a shower head at full blast, and it didn’t leak a drop. A large vent across the torso area dumps heat as you run, so you stay cool. When the rain clears, you can roll down the hood (a snap closure keeps it in place) or pack up the jacket entirely: It stuffs into its own front pocket, and a carry strap makes it easy to tote while running. Plus, like all of Janji’s running products, it’s available in eye-catching colorways to help you stand out from the crowd.
Best Value: REI Co-op Swiftland H2O Running Jacket
REI Co-op Swiftland H2O Running Jacket
REI’s Switftland jacket is a serious bargain. Like the Janji Rainrunner above, it’s a 2.5L design with fully taped seams and a DWR exterior coating for excellent water resistance. A slit on the back panel sheds excess heat, and a toggle on the hood lets you cinch it down for maximum protection from the elements. The only drawback? At 10.4 ounces, it’s on the heavy side for a running jacket.
Best Lightweight Jacket: Inov-8 Stormshell V2
Inov-8 Stormshell V2
Weighing in at just 5.2 ounces, the Stormshell V2 offers all-weather protection with less heft and bulk than other jackets. It’s a 2.5L design, and the Pertex Shield waterproof membrane, taped seams, and PFC-free DWR exterior coating block raindrops while also venting sweat and excess heat as you run. For even more airflow, you can unzip the front—a snap button near the collar keeps the jacket from flapping around in the wind. A zippered pocket offers some storage and a place to pack down the jacket when not in use.
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Best for Backcountry Running: Arc’teryx Norvan Shell Jacket
Arc’teryx Norvan Shell Jacket
On long runs that take you deep into the wilderness, it pays to be prepared, and the Norvan is a strong choice for maximum protection. It has a 3L construction and utilizes Gore-Tex C-Knit material, a waterproof membrane with a knit backing for protection from wear-and-tear, improved breathability, and a soft feel against the skin. That means you get superb water resistance and a comfortable fit—essential for dealing with foul weather for extended periods. The Norvan has a slim silhouette that minimizes bulk, so it won’t feel like you’re wearing a tent while running. Finally, Arc’teryx designed this jacket with a built-in Recco reflector, a battery-free, passive device that helps rescuers locate you in an emergency.
Most Versatile: Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Jacket
Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Jacket
Designed for high-intensity outdoor adventures, the AscentShell Jacket is perfect for athletes who dabble in lots of different sports. It features a stout 3L fabric structure with taped seams and an interior storm flap behind the front zipper for reliable waterproofing whether you’re kayaking, climbing, or trail running. It has plenty of storage, too: Zippered hand pockets on the outside and an internal zippered chest pocket can keep all your essentials secure. At 10.9 ounces, it’s heavier than the other options in this guide, but if you want one rain layer for all your activities, the AscentShell is a strong choice.
Best for Running With a Hydration Vest: Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket
Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket
The Storm Racer is like no other rain jacket. Instead of a single zipper at the front, it’s built with two zippers that extend downward on either side of the jacket. Although it might look bizarre, the layout serves a purpose: The Storm Racer is designed to be worn over a running vest, and the dual zippers allow you to unzip and fold down the front of the jacket to access your water bottles, gels, or whatever you’re carrying on your chest. The sturdy 3L construction wards off precipitation to keep you dry, and the whole thing stuffs into its own pocket for storage.
Best for Packability: Brooks Run Visible Convertible Jacket
Brooks Run Visible Convertible Jacket
Most rain jackets will pack down into a small bundle, but then what? You’ll need a pack to carry it, or else you’ll have to run with a balled-up jacket in your hand. The Run Visible Convertible Jacket solves that storage issue. When not in use, the jacket converts into a vest. The DWR-treated fabric repels light rain, and reflective patches keep you visible at night or in low-light conditions (the patches work whether you’re wearing the Run Visible as a jacket or as a vest). It’s not the most waterproof option available, but for short runs in soggy weather, it’s a solid choice.
All-Natural Fabric: Icebreaker Shell+ Merino Cotton Windbreaker
Icebreaker Shell+ Merino Cotton Windbreaker
Rain jackets are usually made with synthetic fabrics, but Icebreaker is changing that paradigm with its Shell+ windbreaker. Instead of nylon or polyester, it’s made from a woven cotton fabric with a PFC-free DWR finish to block water (there’s no waterproof membrane). Merino wool mesh panels under the arms and at the back vent excess heat and sweat vapor, so you stay comfortable even when you’re really hauling. If you’re looking for an alternative to petroleum-derived activewear, this jacket should be at the top of your shopping list.
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