Is It Worth It Buying a Waterproof Running Jacket?

Is It Worth It Buying a Waterproof Running Jacket?Pin

Welcome back to our newest article and today’s piece will be done a bit differently. We are fond of compiling guides for you to learn new things and understand technicalities better, so here we are again, but with a discussion this time.

Today’s topic will settle the matter of whether you actually need a running jacket and even more so, whether you need a waterproof one specifically.

Running is the most popular physical activity, along with walking and most people prefer running in nature. It helps both your body and your mind by helping you become healthier, calmer and happier.

There is a downside to running in nature, however, and that is the weather. This becomes more of a problem during rainy or snowy weather as not only are you working hard against the terrain, but now you have to worry about getting wet, too.

That is why waterproof jackets were developed, to keep you warm and dry despite the weather. For those who might not know, there are also jackets specifically for running.

Table of Contents:

What Are Running Jackets and Must You Own One?

Running jackets are a special type of jacket that is made for movement and comfort. It does not constrict your upper body and it often comes with high protection against the elements.

The one feature running jackets have in common is their ability to be windbreakers, which is very important since you will be moving fast and cold wind can quickly become an issue.

However, some professional and avid runners advise against looking for a jacket that is specifically for running. They recommend opting for lightweight layers, such as a base layer, a running vest or wind jackets.

Waterproof Jackets

Waterproof jackets in general, as the name suggests, are jackets that do not allow any wetness to get through and into the jacket.

They are great for keeping you dry and warm in unstable weather and are especially suitable for those who practice winter sports. Hard shell jackets are typically waterproof, but you don’t have to worry about recognizing specific types of jackets in order to know whether they are waterproof or not.

More often than not they will be labeled as such.

Another way you can know is by referring to the water column information. A jacket with a water column rating of more than 5.000mm is completely waterproof, while those with a lower rating are water-resistant or water-repellent.

Water-repellent is used for jackets that have been treated with a special coating or whose fabric is designed to repel water by causing it to bead up and roll off.

Membranes are usually what make a jacket waterproof. For example, in our reviews and articles there are mentioned different types of fabric technologies such as Gore-Tex or DryVent. In addition to being waterproof, they are also windproof so you get full protection, along with high insulation.

Related: Waterproof vs Water Resistant vs Water Repellent Jackets: What’s the Difference?

Here is a video that shows how is waterproofness tested:

How is Waterproofness Tested?

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Waterproof Jackets For Running

As we said, you don’t necessarily need a jacket that was designed specifically for running. Technically any jacket can be used when running, but each will bring to the table both the positive and negative features.

Most running jackets, however, are either highly water-resistant or waterproof and that is where the issue begins.

Waterproofing a jacket means that a fabric with tightly woven fibers has to be used, which minimizes the size of pores. The result of it is the desirable weather resistance, but they often lack the most important feature of a running jacket; the breathability.

Breathability refers to a jacket’s ability to allow perspiration to get out and allow for air flow. Running is an intense activity that causes the body to quickly warm up and if there is no means of cooling things down, excessive sweating will follow.

Not only will a wet and sweaty jacket feel uncomfortable, it is also a cause for concern, especially in cold temperatures as it will leave you prone to hypothermia.

This is the reason why the experts are not too fond of running jackets in general, as they lack respiratory abilities. It’s best to compromise a bit of water protection than having to run in a damp and stuffy jacket, after all.

You might also like: Best Waterproof Running Jackets Reviewed: A Buyer’s Guide

What To Use For Running

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You now know why you need to prioritize breathability over weather-resistance in a running jacket, but what should you look for in a jacket for running, apart from that?

Avoid Cotton

Cotton is lightweight, most of the time, but it absorbs moisture like no other fabric, therefore it will leave you all damp and uncomfortable. That’s why synthetic fabrics are the best for this matter as they wick moisture away from the body.

Running Vests

Now vests are a great choice for running. They provide some protection, while the open arms leave plenty of room for your body to cool down while running.


What you need in chilly weather is a layer that will keep your core warm and protect you against cold winds. Windbreaker jackets or vests are a great choice as they are quite lightweight and work well in different conditions.

Sports Bras For Women

A good sports bra will support both your bust and back, leaving you comfortable to focus solely on running and not having to fumble around with your top.

Visible Clothing

Reflective clothing is necessary if you will be running in bad weather. With low visibility you don’t want to take any chances on your safety, so look for vests, tops or jackets that come with reflective strips or a fully reflective fabric.


To summarize everything shortly, waterproof jackets are not a good idea for runners. Unless it’s a highly breathable membrane, which can be found in higher-end jackets, you are better off with lighter and more breathable layers.


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