Best run jackets review 2014

Six of this year’s best run jackets tested and rated by our expert reviewer

Best run jackets review 2014

Best run jackets review 2014

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A successful run jacket has to perform a tricky balancing act of being lightweight yet providing warmth from the elements, while also promoting breathability to stop the build-up of sweat. The ability to be water-resistant or even waterproof is also an important element to consider. 

Before purchasing, think about what conditions you’ll be using the garment in. For chilly urban runs, a lightweight option with reflectivity options may suit your needs best; if you’re heading off into the fells this winter then look for something more sturdy.

Other factors include the type of pockets, options for MP3s and aesthetics; a good-looking jacket will help you get out the door in the bleak winter days. Medium, long arms, high collars and short lengths were all part of the mix here, so ideally try before you buy.

… and don’t forget to check out our other 2014 round-ups: best aerobars, best turbo trainersbest tri bikesbest tri bike shoesbest wetsuitsbest lightweight run shoesbest trail shoesbest energy barsbest bike jacketsbest bike helmetsbest TT helmetsbest recovery drinks and best tri-suits.

Odlo Logic Timer

Price: £85 from www.odlo.com

Odlo Logic Timer

Formed by a man named Odd Roar Lofterød, Odlo have fine recent form around here, with their Evolution Warm baselayer scoring highly and their Flyweight bike jacket doing us proud at the Ballbuster. Constructed with a silky polyester outer shell and a mesh inner, the stylish, cyan Logic Timer is the second lightest on test and was the first out of the box for some runs in about 8°C conditions. 

Once on, the jacket sat well on our frame, with the weight barely noticeable and arm movement unrestricted. In the worst rain November could throw at us, we were kept dry throughout, with the only moisture being of the perspiration variety. The trade off of that water-repellent shell is that you do lose a little breathability. Elsewhere, the small side pocket was hard to slip our hand into, with the tiny zip slider being tricky to locate, especially with gloves on.

Verdict: Stylish and lightweight offering that’s good for rainy weather, less so for a big freeze, 82%

Brooks Infiniti VI

Price: £90 from www.brooksrunning.co.uk 

Brooks Infiniti VI run jacket

You instantly know this is a Brooks jacket from afar, with the understated styling reeking of the Seattle brand. This visual familiarity transforms into reliability onto the run, with the ‘semi-fitted’ Infiniti VI sitting well on our frame and the lightweight construction barely noticeable when moving through the zones. Unlike many brands, who err on the side of caution regarding seepage, Brooks claim that the Infiniti is waterproof. 

In driving rain, the jacket withstood whatever H20 was thrown at it (though there was a hint of clamminess on the skin in the most extreme downpours). The polyester/polyurethane blend offers plenty of stretch, with the reflective strips over the major seams adding more safety to night adventures. Brooks tout this for temps from 4-18°C, but with a layering system we’d definitely brave the mercury dropping further.

Verdict: To Infiniti and beyond! A fine creation for beating the wind and rain… and at a decent price too, 93%

Gore Mythos 2.0

Price: £169 from www.goreapparel.co.uk

Gore Mythos 2.0

Boasting Gore’s industry standard Windstopper construction, the Mythos 2.0 is another example of the brand’s expertly-crafted output, a master of common sense design over flashy style. Thumb loops, hem toggles in the large pockets, reflective details and a stealthy internal pocket for MP3 player (and hiding Soreen from your run buddies) are all present, with a fleece-lined collar providing the luxury.

Using Gore’s True Fit online guide, the optimum fit was achieved, with the 100% polyester jacket streamlined and free from excess flapping. At 458g, it’s up there with the Pearl Izumi as the heaviest offering on test, and it performed admirably in biting conditions and even in rain, also keeping our core warm and well-regulated during the Ballbuster’s second run leg. The major sticking point is whether to stump up for that price tag.

Verdict: Excellent offering for tackling wind-chill and even the rain. The only question is whether it fits your budget, 91%

Best run jackets review 2014

Best run jackets review 2014 (cont)

We continue our look at this year’s best running jackets…

2XU Vapor Mesh 360

Price: £85 from www.2xushop.co.uk

2XU Vapor Mesh 360 run jacket

The Vapor Mesh 360 from 2XU eclipses the Odlo as the lightest on test, with the Aussie brand heralding it for multi-season use. Compared to the thumb loops, fleece collars and multi-ply constructions elsewhere on test here, it’s a simple fellow, with the concealed small back pocket for MP3s the only added feature. 

The R&D has all gone into the construction, with a ‘barely-there’ lightweight feel once running, and the mesh panels on the side, shoulders and back successfully promoting breathability. Despite the shell-like material, the Vapor Mesh fares badly in the rain (admittedly 2XU don’t promote any water-resistant benefits), with beads of rain soaking in rather than rolling off, in contrast to Brooks and Odlo. The wind protection is adequate in chilly conditions, but for anything nippier we’d definitely want more protection.

Verdict: Lightweight and lithe, but for £85 we’d want more wind- and some water-resistance, 76%

Pearl Izumi Fly Softshell

Price: £89 from www.madison.co.uk

Pearl Izumi Fly Softshell run jacket

The Pearl Izumi Fly Softshell comes in just 10g shy of the Gore in the heavyweight stakes, and it shares plenty of similarities with its rival. Comfort, thumb loops and stretchiness are all present and correct, and the smart style meant we wore it to the pub without too much mocking. Pleasing touches include a full-length draft flap behind the zipper that successfully stopped drafts. 

Once on, the long sleeves had to be rolled up but the jacket dealt impressively with the wind and cold, proving surprisingly breathable as well. It remained the least water-resistant on test during runs in the rain, however, with water soaking into the fabric instead of running off the outer-lining. Although Pearl Izumi don’t tout its water-resistant virtues, we’d require a run jacket that at least offers an attempt at water resistance in the unpredictable winter months. 

Verdict: Superior at battling winds and the freezing cold, but not one for tackling the rain, 80%

Saucony Nomad

Price: £90 from www.saucony.co.uk

Saucony Nomad run jacket

Saucony are riding high in the Baird terrace, having produced our top road running shoe of recent times in the Kinvara 5. We have to admit that the Nomad was the last to emerge from the test box, with a crimson colour scheme that could’ve come from our school rugby kit. There are plenty of neat design features, though, with the thumb loops making us feel snug, a zipper garage that stops neck-rubbing and an MP3 pocket located on the chest to restrict internal cable movement. 

Onto the run, the warmth provided is impressive, the breathability adequate and it withstood a light shower, although the elasticated bottom hem kept flipping up. While comfy enough, we just couldn’t get used to the two layers of material, with the quilted inner and outer shell having too much disparity between them, making us feel like we were running in two jackets.

Verdict: Well-crafted design features and warmth let down by the baggy, two-ply performance, 74%

And the winner is…

Brooks gets Best on Test for their Infiniti VI jacket

and Gore gets Ed’s Choice for the Mythos 2.0

… don’t forget to check out our other 2014 round-ups: best aerobarsbest turbo trainersbest tri bikesbest tri bike shoesbest wetsuitsbest lightweight run shoesbest trail shoesbest energy barsbest bike jacketsbest bike helmetsbest TT helmetsbest recovery drinks and best tri-suits.

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