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Run jackets: 11 of the best reviewed

A run jacket that battles the elements will provide an essential surge to your training. Matt Baird tests and rates 11 running jackets

NORTH FACE RAPIDO MODA

£85.00

For manchilds of a certain disposition, Rapido will always be the TV company behind Eurotrash. It’s also one of the more affordable offerings from North Face’s exhaustive range. If the brush strokes prompted some Mr. Motivator-themed heckling, the Rapido Moda is a serious running contender, offering windproofing to rival the best hardshells here.

The durable water-repellent (DWR) finish is able to handle showers but surprisingly, unlike the similar Asics and Brooks, water ingress is noticeable for anything harder. There are neat touches, with the elasticated hems and cuffs keeping things in place, useful pockets and reflective elements. Like the Saucony, however, the Rapido suffers with breathability despite some rear vents. With the temp at 0ºC and wearing just a tee below, we still overheated.

Verdict: Neat features let down by breathability of fabric and the jarring design 69%

ODLO SCUTUM RUNNING

£75

Odlo have fine form on these pages and, since arriving, the lightweight 264g Scutum (Latin for shield but be careful how you type it into Google!) has rarely been off our back in the outdoors, proving versatile for commuting, park visits with the kids and more. And for running? Mostly impressive. The adjustable hood makes it stand out from most of the company here, the sole internal and external pockets are useful, and we like the elasticated cuffs. Windproofing is impressive for such a lightweight number and the two-ply construction creates efficient breathability for a hardshell, even 

if the duo of layers regularly got tangled up with each other. A relentless downpour did eventually break the water-repellent finish on the arms, and there are definitely warmer options here. Few can match the versatility, though.

Verdict: Stylish, versatile and great for daily use. Another winning release from Odlo 84%

ASICS ACCELERATE

£100

The Accelerate from über run brand Asics is the brightest here by some margin and, while it won’t win any pub points, the reflective decals and mass of orange polyester provide some winning safety features for night running.

Asics have clearly stirred all their vast knowledge in their mind wok for this one, with the number of run-friendly features almost too exhaustive to list. Thumb loops and knitted cuffs? Check. The plushest collar in town? Affirmative. A smartly-placed phone pocket with media port? Oh yes. There’s also side pockets and a couple of giant, open internal stashes for gloves and a hat. The windproofing is satisfactory and, surprisingly given the softshell nature, the top is water-resistant. Our only, and key, negative is that it isn’t the warmest, and a decent base layer is wise for any sub-10ºC conditions.

Verdict: We applaud the waterproofing and features, but it ain’t the warmest 87%

GORE ESSENTIAL

£149.99

As the supermarket-esque Essential tag suggests, this jacket exists at the bottom of Gore’s run jacket range. But, at £149, there’s nothing budget about this noir number, with durability, construction and finishing all exemplary. For winter warmth, there are none better here; sub-zero conditions are handled with aplomb and – thanks to Gore’s proven Windstopper material – there’s superior draft-thwarting, water-resistance and decent breathability, too.

The quartet of internal and external pockets, plush collar and fleece-lined inner add to the winning mix. Given the thickness and 454g weight, we wouldn’t use it for anything over 5ºC or fast-paced efforts but the subtle stylishness and functionality thankfully means it doubles as a winter coat. Our medium comes up relatively short, however, so try before buying.

Verdict: The best for deep-winter running, and no slouch for breathability too 90%

PEARL IZUMI PERSUIT  

£89.99

As anyone who’s witnessed our T1 sojourns will testify, we’re not the best at getting dressed in a hurry. And the myriad of sleeve lengths and combinations for the Pursuit had us baffled for what felt like an eternity. Faff over and thumb-loops utilised, and the softshell polyester combines with a full-length zip shield to prove efficient enough at wind protection.

Pearl Izumi target this for ‘high aerobic running’ and the rear fleece panels are certainly breathable. But – and it’s a big but – we’re just struggling to see how much use we’d get out of this. A windproofing base layer and tee will suffice for most high-intensity efforts in winter, the key lack of water-resistance means it’s outdone by the Zoot and Asics here, and superior windproofing and warmth can also be found elsewhere. And we would’ve liked more than a single pocket on the chest.

Verdict: Breathable and flexible but the window of opportunity is minimal 61%

Continue reading our guide to run jackets (3/3)


 
 

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