The 8 Best Running Rain Jackets in 2024

Renowned Oregon University track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.”

We aren’t sure we agree, but you don’t have to run on a treadmill just because the weather isn’t perfect. Whether it’s an unexpected downpour or a misty drizzle, having a rain jacket that’s breathable, but water-resistant can make it a lot easier to feel comfortable running in the rain.

Run In Any Weather: Best Running Hats ● Best Running Tights ● 10 Strategies for Running in Winter

Finding the perfect rain jacket can be tricky. You can’t make a rain jacket that achieves absolute breathability without compromising waterproofing, and vice versa. Finding that delicate equilibrium between proper protection and the ability to let sweat dissipate isn’t always easy. Luckily, we can help you navigate the nuances of picking the right running rain jacket for any weather, so you’re ready for anything.

Best Rain Jackets for Running

What to Consider in a Running Rain Jacket

To achieve that balance between repelling outside moisture and venting internal sweat vapor, rain jackets pair a water-resistant coating or membrane (Gore-Tex is one example) with a durable outer face fabric. The water-resistant layer is either applied as a film or bonded to the interior of the face fabric, blocking out water droplets and keeping you dry.

The waterproof layer also has microscopic pores that allow sweat vapor to pass through to the outside, making the jacket breathable. The outer fabric protects it from dirt and abrasions.

If this all sounds very jargony and technical, that’s because it is. Shopping for rain jackets can get confusing, with manufacturers touting proprietary designs and making bold claims about performance. Here’s what you need to know to cut through all that and pick the best running rain jacket for you.

Why Trust Us?

Runner’s World has helped runners of all skill levels improve their performance and engage with their love of running for more than 50 years. Our most important gear recommendations, including essentials like running shoes and rain jackets, are based on the hard work of our test team, which put the latest and greatest running gear through their paces day in and day out. In 2024, the test team includes Runner-in-Chief Jeff Dengate, and test editors Amanda Furrer and Morgan Petruny.

In this guide, all of the jackets have been either tested or researched and checked by test editor Amanda Furrer. That testing includes lots of rainy-day test runs, as well as permeability testing by cutting patches from select jackets and measuring the amount of water vapor that permeated through each, allowing us to draw conclusions about breathability. She also solicited feedback from runners in the Runner’s World wear-test program, who have also worn these jackets in all kinds of weather.

In addition, three writers have contributed to this story. Cory Smith, Michael Charboneau, and Caitlin Giddings have taken the data and feedback from the test team, and added their own personal experience and expertise to finalize this guide. Cory Smith is a California-based running coach who has competed in the NCAA D1 National Championships. Michael Charboneau and Caitlin Giddings are former RW test editors who have tested all kinds of running gear, including rain jackets.

How We Selected The Best Running Rain Jackets

We selected the best running rain jackets based on a comprehensive testing process rooted in hands-on testing, consultations with brand representatives on new designs and technology, and feedback from everyday runners. In addition to the work of the test team outlined above, which assessed the jackets’ wind- and rain resistance, comfort, and fit, we meticulously combed through online reviews to make sure that our testers didn’t miss any widely discussed benefits or problems. We are confident that, no matter the temperature or the amount of rain, there’s a jacket that will suit every type of runner, in any type of weather.

Our Running Rain Jacket Reviews

Best Overall

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket

Helium Rain Jacket
Pros
  • Good size range
  • Lightweight and breathable
Cons
  • No hand pockets

Key Specs

Material DWR-coated ripstop nylon, Pertex waterproof membrane
Layers 2.5L
Weatherproofing Waterproof
Sizes XS to XXXL

Our test team has worn this jacket through snowstorms, high-elevation deluges, and other suboptimal trail-running conditions, and found it to be a capable ally when the forecast makes a turn for the worse. The jacket features a 2.5-layer Pertex Shield membrane that serves as a one-way valve for liquid: it completely blocks out precipitation while venting sweat vapors.

At 6.3 ounces for a men’s medium, it’s barely heavier than a wind jacket, but with more built-in protection from the elements. An adjustable hood, cinchable hem, and elastic cuffs help further seal out water. If you need to pack it down, the Helium stuffs into its own zipper chest pocket, where you can carry it via an included carabiner loop.

Shop Men’s Shop Women’s

Columbia’s Pouration jacket offers dependable protection from the elements and doesn’t cost a fortune. Technically, this jacket was designed for hiking, but its zippered underarm vents come in handy for runners, too.

The two-layer design is fully seam-sealed and features an Omni-Tech waterproof-breathable membrane to block water from coming in, while letting sweat vapor escape. A polyester mesh liner protects the waterproofing and keeps the jacket from clinging to your body while running.

It also has several helpful features that ensure a snug fit, including cinched drawcords at the hem and hood, and Velcro closures at the cuffs. Zippered pockets at the chest and waist provide storage, and the jacket packs down into one of the hand pockets, so it’s easy to store in a pack (or a suitcase if you’re traveling). The muted colors and casual style make it a great extra layer to bring on a casual walk, in addition to runs.

When unpredictable showers loom, nothing beats the convenience and security of a lightweight, packable rain jacket. The Janji Rainrunner 2.0 wowed us with its remarkable portability and superb wet weather protection. Easily compressing to the size of a small sandwich within its own side pocket, the jacket also boasts an elastic loop for securing it to your arm when not in use. We appreciated this feature, especially on days with variable rain when we didn’t need the jacket for the entire run.

To guard against the wet weather, Janji uses a 2.5L laminated shell with a PFC-free C0-DWR water repellency and fully taped seams that provide ample shielding from the rain. To help keep airflow and allow body heat to escape, venting flaps circle the entire jacket. During a humid 55-degree rainy test run, we were dumbfounded by its ability to regulate heat. Even fully zipped up with the hood on, we never got overheated or felt swampy inside—a strong testament for someone who always runs hot.

The jacket has two generously sized side pockets, which we found useful while not running. It’s important to mention that the jacket comes in a slim fit, hugging closer to the skin. We’d recommend buying a size up if you plan to use it as a shell, or want a looser fit. We wish the jacket extended further down to provide more coverage around the waist, but this is a useful piece to literally keep in your pocket.

Shop Men’s Shop Women’s

If you want the most breathable, ultralight jacket, the vent-equipped Salomon Bonatti jacket should be on your shopping list. This rain shell features diagonal vents at the shoulders that dump hot air and sweat vapor when you warm up. It also has a snap closure at the front to keep the two sides from flapping around when the jacket is unzipped, which allows you to partially open the jacket for increased airflow while running.

Salomon’s AdvancedSkin waterproof membrane blocks rain, and the nylon face fabric has a DWR treatment for additional weather resistance. The nylon fabric also stretches, giving you good freedom of movement. At just 5.3 ounces for men’s versions and 4.6 ounces for women’s, this high-performance jacket won’t weigh you down, and it conveniently packs into its own chest pocket for easy storage in dry weather. That’s the only pocket you get with this jacket, though, so bring along a running belt if you need room for your keys and phone.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

Designed specifically for women, the Oiselle Whirlwind is perfect for cool, blustery spring days. We found the wind-blocking woven ripstop material felt comfortable and smooth.

More importantly, it keeps cold air and light rain out. In a head-to-head test against the CEP Cold Weather Windbreaker, one tester from the RW field test program praised the Oiselle Whirlwind; “I liked this one WAY more because the CEP one let too much wind in, and the backs of my arms got cold,” she said.

While the Whirlwind is primarily a shell to block wind and rain, she also noted that it was unexpectedly warm. “It’s definitely a jacket I’d wear on a windy or cooler day because it’s not the most breathable,” she said.

That’s a welcome perk on chilly days, but you may want to opt for a more breathable option, such as the Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody or Patagonia Houdini, if you tend to run hot.

Lastly, the Whirlwind is packable and easy to carry, stuffing into one of its two zippered side pockets easily. Once stowed away, you’ll find an elastic band that secures the jacket pouch around your arm.

When Mother Nature greets you with a torrential downpour, the 2023 ISPO Award-winning Gore Concurve is the ultimate sanctuary. Made with Gore-Tex’ new ePE fabric, the Concurve is thinner and lighter than most waterproof jackets, while boasting a lower carbon footprint.

The jacket comes fully equipped with reflective details for good nighttime visibility, an adjustable hem, two zippered hand pockets and an adjustable hood with innovative magnetic closure system. Our wear-testers praised its flattering slim fit, noting it “doesn’t roll up or cause issues anywhere,” while offering superb freedom of movement.

Of course, truly waterproof jackets with a three-layer membrane come with a drawback. As one RW tester noted, maximum waterproofing means minimum breathability. Despite wearing only a t-shirt underneath the jacket on runs in temperatures hovered around freezing, she still returned sweaty. With smart layering in the right temperatures, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more capable, fully waterproof jacket to tackle wet weather.

Shop Men’s Shop Women’s

Best Reflective

Brooks Run Visible Convertible Jacket

Run Visible Convertible Jacket

Key Specs

Material Drylayer Seal w/ DWR coat
Layers N/
Weatherproofing Water & wind resistant
Size​s XS – XXL

Brooks’ Run Visible Collection includes some of the best reflective running gear, including shoes, tights, socks, gloves and, of course, reflective running jackets. The Run Visible Convertible Jacket assures your visibility and safety during those dark early morning and late evening jaunts. We wouldn’t recommend wearing it in a downpour, but the proprietary DWR fabric shines in shielding against mild wind and rain.

The signature feature, however, is its reflectivity. The jacket stands out so brightly that it borders on being obnoxious–which isn’t a bad thing when safety is a concern. The white fabric does a great job catching the light, but it’s the strategically placed 3M Scotchlite Carbon Black Stretch reflective strips on high-motion areas that truly shine bright.

We also love that the jacket packs into a built-in reflective vest, which is perfect for times when it’s not needed during breaks in bad weather. It makes the jacket feel a little bulky, though. Cory also said that he loved the option to unzip the front and secure the jacket with snap buttons to dump heat when he started feeling overheated mid-run.

Shop Men’s Shop Women’s

When bone-chilling winter rain causes you to hesitate about heading out for a run, Tracksmith’s NDO (No Days Off) jacket is your ultimate companion, ensuring warmth and dryness throughout your run. This highly technical jacket combines the water-repelling, windproof, and breathable assets of a softshell with the cozy, warming sensation of a Merino wool liner. It’s undoubtedly the most insulated jacket in our lineup, ideal for those chilly runs where light rain may transition to snow in a flash.

We appreciated the thoughtful touches that set the NDO jacket apart, including a two-way zipper for ventilation and the elastic sleeve gaiters designed to prevent chilly drafts from sneaking up the arms. Additionally, there are stretchy nylon elastane panels strategically placed under the arms as side gussets to improve ventilation and enhance range of motion. That, combined with the breathable softshell fabric, gives the NDO jacket suburb breathability without compromising warmth.

While expensive, Tracksmith’s commitment to excellence shines through in the NDO’s meticulously detailed design. From what we’ve seen, no jacket will keep you warmer and drier without compromising ventilation.

Shop Men’s Shop Women’s


Q+A With Our Experts

janji running rain jacket

Michael Charboneau

janji running rain jacket

Michael Charboneau

Headshot of Cory Smith

Cory Smith is a running coach and journalist specializing in running and fitness-related content and gear reviews. He is the founder of Run Your Personal Best, an online running coaching business that has helped hundreds of runners achieve personal bests in distances ranging from 800 meters to 100 miles. Cory holds a USA Track & Field Level 1 and 2 Endurance Certification and was the former Head Cross Country/Track Coach at Penn State Brandywine. Over his running career, Cory has held three Maryland state records, was a two-time National Championship qualifier while at Villanova University, and holds personal bests of 4:03 in the mile and an 8:05 in the 3K. 

Headshot of Michael Charboneau

Michael is a freelance writer with years of experience covering gear and the outdoors for Runner’s World and other publications; when he’s not writing, he’s usually biking, hiking, and running in the mountains around Los Angeles, where he lives. 

Headshot of Amanda Furrer

Amanda is a test editor at Runner’s World who has run the Boston Marathon every year since 2013; she’s a former professional baker with a master’s in gastronomy and she carb-loads on snickerdoodles. 

link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *