Best waterproof running jackets for 2024: Run dry

A good quality waterproof jacket will keep you protected from the elements, even in the worst of downpours

three different waterproof running jackets

by Kate Milsom |
Updated on

A waterproof trail running jacket should be at the top of your essential kit list – well, maybe under shoes, but only just! Training in the rain is pretty unavoidable. What you can control is what you wear. Investing in a high-quality waterproof will transform your running experience and keep you exploring the trails all year round.

We've been testing waterproof jackets as winter continues to batter the UK with it's usual torrential fury. Naturally, the best running rain jackets tick a lot of boxes. They need to have an excellent waterproof membrane while retaining a good level of breathability and comfort, which is certainly not an easy balance to strike.

Plus,

We look for a variety of features in a running rain jacket, but top of the list has to be waterproof and water-resistant capabilities. It might not always be raining though and just because it's raining, doesn't mean the temperature in the single digits. Hence, we also must consider breathability, range of movement, weight, and fit when choosing a waterproof running jacket that needs to be both comfortable and functional.

In particular, a good waterproof jacket will have features designed to keep the rain out. These include the all-important taped or bonded seams to seal out any water ingress through seam stitchings. Go for a jacket with cinched cuffs at the wrists and hem, with some form of adjustability like a drawstring or elastic to create a flush seal.

A high neckline gives you the option to really burrow away from the rain, and a hood can be a deal breaker for some - especially those with long hair! When it comes to a hood, look for one with some rigidity and sort of peaked 'cap' or wire set into the front to shelter the eyes from incoming raindrops. Again, adjustability is also key here to ensure the hood stays firmly in place and doesn't rustle. Along with your waterproof jacket, you'll want to consider levelling-up to some waterproof trail running shoes to keep you feet as bone dry as your top half while you run.

runer in a waterproof jacket

Best waterproof running jackets at a glance:

Inov-8 Stormshell – Best in Test

Decathlon Evadict – Best Value

Montane Phase Lite – Best for high performance

Rab Phantom – Best pack-down shell jacket

All of the rain jackets on test are made to withstand some level of downpour, keeping you as dry as possible as you run. Thankfully, there is a standardised means to measure the extent to which a material is waterproof, we call this unit of measurement the Hydrostatic Head.

What is Hydrostatic Head?

The Hydrostatic Head (HH) of a material is the height at which a column of water must be held against a fabric, before the build-up of pressure that's created causes the water to start penetrating the material. These days, the test is carried out using a water pressure machine which can replicate the downward pressure created by such a column. Typically, the tighter the denier weave of the fabric, the less moisture that's let through.

In the UK, companies are allowed to claim that a garment is waterproof if it has a HH of at least 1500mm. However, we'd recommend you reach for a waterproof jacket with a HH rating of at least 10,000mm, if not 15,000mm. A high HH would be 30,000mm, which means that the fabric let through water only once the column of water pressure reached 30m high. In other words, this fabric has a high level of waterproofing.

Best waterproof running jackets in detail:

Best in Test

LFTO

The Inov-8 Stormshell is aptly named and delivers on what it promises. Made to cope in the wettest conditions, the Stormshell is a performance-driven layer with a streamlined fit.

The structured hood keeps the rain off and out of the eyes, with a drawstring sinching the sides for adjustability. A high collar and zip create a secure fit, while soft lining inside the zip garage avoids any uncomfortable rubbing.

A light 150g, the Stormshell manages to remain fairly breathable in use, while also offering a high level of waterproofing thanks to the taped seams and waterproof Pertex Shield fabric. If the weather clears up, the one pocket at the front of the jacket can also be used as a stuff sack to pack it away and into a running pack.

Fit is comfortable, offering a slim silhouette without being restrictive. The partly elasticated wrists and hem keep the jacket in place well, though the sleeves seem to fall a little short to make comfortable use of the thumb loops.

Check out the men's version here

Pros

  • Fully waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Well-fitting

Cons

  • A little pricey
  • Only one pocket

Best Value

LFTO

The Decathlon Evadict comes in at the budget end of our selection, yet it has many good features. At first sight, the yellow colourways and reflective stripes make the Evadict highly visible in poor weather conditions, which is always a big plus in our books for overcast and rainy running.

The Evadict has hydrostatic head of 10,000mm, which is the minimum you’d expect from a decent waterproof jacket. Taped seams and a taped zip provide weather resilience, but lacks of a full storm flap which might create a vulnerability in extreme conditions. Though the Evadict is pitched as a breathable jacket, the lack of ventilation and not so breathable material can trap some perspiration agains the skin, for this reason I’d don this jacket for colder trail runs as Decathlon suggests.

The hood has a peak and a high neck, which offer good protection from the elements. Though the lack of tightening system to the hood feels like an oversight. Moving down to the cuffs, the wrists are semi-elasticated to reduce water ingress and a dipped hem at the back of the jacket offers slight rear protection and stops it riding up when running.

In terms of pocket capacity, there’s two generous pockets on either side, which can be filled with all you need for a shorter run. Included with the shell jacket is a little stuff sack for packing it neatly away when not needed, and stashing in your running pack.

The sizing is generous, making it possible to fit a running pack underneath the shell later. But if you like a slimmer fit, I’d recommend you size down.

Check out the men's version here

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Decent waterproofing

Cons

  • Lack of breathability or air vents
  • No storm flap at zip

Best performer

LFTO

The £300 price tag may cause some to baulk, however the price is supported by some great features and technology. Gore-Tex and sealed seams provide maximum waterproofing to an exceptional level at 28,000HH, which in turn is supported by a full-length storm flap behind the zip and an adjustable firm peak hood with a three-point pull system. The result? A snug, accurate, and dry fit.

Velcro adjustable cuffs and a drawstring hood aid wind- and water-resistance, while two large pocket vents allow for air circulation inside the jacket, although wearing a pack under the jacket may cover part of these.

The ample length of the Phase Lite means it doesn’t ride up high with movement, which works well with the drawstring at the hem to keep everything in place. Overall, I found the Phase Lite to be as the name suggests, extremely lightweight, tough, and able to stand its ground in extreme weather, with a great fit.

Check out the men's version here

Pros

  • High overall quality
  • Waterproof and windproof
  • Well fitting

Cons

  • High price-tag
  • No reflectivity

Best technical jacket

Soar Ultra JacketLFTO

When you first get your hands on the Soar Ultra Jacket, you can instantly tell that it’s made to be a seriously piece of running kit. The Ultra is designed to be a high-performing and technical waterproof running jacket. In the Ultra, Soar has developed their own membrane-free, waterproof fabric dubbed Rainout, which makes for a lightweight (144g) and breathable jacket that’s still superbly protective in showers. 

The woven knit fabric is created via a heat-shrinking process, which creates a dense weave. A Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating is applied before and after this process, which Soar says results in the Ultra being both windproof and waterproof. Visible taped seams add to the waterproofing, as well as being a unique style feature. 

A four-panel construction wraps the jacket round the body to create a slightly tailored fit, with partly elasticated wrists and a drawstring hem doing a good job of keeping the jacket in place. The jacket’s true to size, with a size S fitting as a UK8, while still allowing for room inside for movement and extra layers. 

For such a waterproof and structured jacket, I’m impressed by the incredible flexibility and stretch in the lightweight material. Which does a good job at warding off rain for runs of up to an hour, while still managing to remain fairly breathable - an elusive combination in a rain jacket! Note though that there’s no hood, so if you like to run hood up in the rain, then take a look at our other waterproof jacket reviews. 

Unusually, the Ultra has one pocket that’s located at the lower back. It’s easy to access on the go, so no qualms there, and has a large capacity with plenty of room for a phone, gels, keys and change. 

Check out the men’s version here

Pros

  • Technical features
  • Good waterproofing
  • Refelctive detailing 

Cons

  • Large price-tag
  • Only one pocket

Best shell

Rab PhantomLFTO
Price: £157.49 (was £174.99)

www.sportsshoes.com

At first glance, the Rab Phantom appears pretty simple and straightforward. That’s because it is. But therein lies the beauty of it. At 70g, the Phantom must be the lightest waterproof layer we’ve ever tested, and that’s saying something. 

Rab describes it as ‘the ultimate stash-and-forget’ shell and it fills this purpose down to a T, the whole jacket packing neatly into the tiny stuff sack provided, which is so small it’s the size of my palm - and I’ve got small hands.   

Material used is 7D Pertex Shield 2.5L which Rab claims has a hydrostatic head rating of 20,000. Showers bead off the fabric pretty well, the waterproofed zip guard and taped seams adding that extra layer of protection. But the Phantom does struggle in the really heavy stuff, in these conditions we’d reach for the OMM Kamelika (see review above) or Inov-8 Stormshell for that extra ounce of protection. 

The Phantom is a pull-on style with half zip. A true shell, there’s no pockets on the jacket whatsoever, but this doesn’t make it devoid of run-specific features. The bottom and wrist hems are partly elasticated, which keeps everything in place while leaving room for manoeuvre. 

The hood has a ultra-thin wire threaded through the peak it to give some slight structure, while the high neck allows you to zip the coat all the way up to your nose for protection in really foul conditions. When not needed, the hood can be hooked away at the nape, but there’s really no need as there’s no rustle or bounce when running hood-off.

Check out the men’s version here

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight and compact
  • Great race-mandated waterproof

Cons

  • On the spendier side for a shell
  • Can’t cope with heavy downpours

Best for versatility

Under Armour OutRun The StormLFTO
Price: £67.49 (was £89.99)

www.sportsshoes.com

This suave and streamlined number from Under Armour (UA) is a comfy and practical everyday sports jacket with a peppering of run-specific features. As the name suggests, this jacket is designed to outrun the storm, not to weather it. Translated, this equals a combination of features to boost comfort - four-way stretch and lightweight construction - with ample breathability provided from the vents along the back and woven fabric.

Though the jacket is not fully waterproof, it aims to be water-repellent and was fairly protective in brief and light showers. This is partly due to the wind-resistant material and solid build. However, it doesn’t manage against heavy or sustained rain, so would be best suited to a cloudy day when showers are only a possibility. 

UA describe the OutRun jacket as having a streamlined fit, which feels pretty accurate. There’s enough room for a
running t-shirt and base layerunderneath, and a drawstring waist offers a choice of fit, allowing for full range of movement when running. 

The bungee adjustment on the hood is so subtle, we almost missed it, but it emulates the thoughtful details strewn throughout. These include the two hand-sized pocket at the front, one with an inner mesh compartment the ideal size for keys, and the smattering of reflective detailing on the front and back.

Check out the men’s version here

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Stylish
  • Range of uses

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof (doesn't claim to be)

Best for visibility

66° North Straumnes JacketLFTO

The 66°North family consists of a fleece base layer, trousers, and jacket. The Straumnes jacket caters for both the casual runner and the serious endurance athlete in the depths of winter.

This Icelandic outdoors brand are used to training in tough conditions, so the Straumnes incorporates their stretchy yet breathable Gore-Tex Infinium shell to help runners weather the worst of it.

Our favourite feature of the jacket is the reflective details, which are strewn throughout - on the arms, hemline, and within the main iridescent material itself (of the 'lava' colour).

We used the Straumnes jacket and trousers in sub-zero conditions, which is where they really shone - here's our full review of how they fared. The jacket performs like an outer layer, protecting from wind and light showers, while fitting with the comfort and flexibility of a softshell mid-layer.

The slim athletic fit is flattering and streamline, while the two pockets on the front offer plenty of capacity for stashing the essentials, though we found them a little large for securing our kit when running.

Check out the men's version here

Pros

  • Perfect for running in sub-zero
  • Very comfortable
  • Reasonably sustainable brand

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Pockets too big for running

Recommended

On Running AnorakLFTO
Price: £160 (was £320)

www.on-running.com

The On Running Waterproof Anorak is a triple-layer design with a focus on providing full weatherproofing and performance to the user. The three-layer membrane is waterproof with a rating of 20,000HH, which is maintained via the taped seams and water-repellent coating. It also sports hydrophilic elements in the lining, which draws moisture from the body, allowing you to sweat in complete freedom with no repercussions on performance.

Breathable and soft, the anorak design is a snug fit to pull on and off when on the move. It sits well against the body and has a longer hem at the back which gives a streamline feel for faster running. A short half zip on the front has a built-in storm flap allow for minimal water entry.

Large rear ventilation slits and two smaller front ones are a bonus and help to circulate the air through the jacket. Though if you’re running with a pack, these will effectively be blocked at the rear. Another drawback I found was the lack of pockets, which meant there was nowhere to stash valuables. Despite this, the jacket does have the function to pack away into its own inner pocket at the hood.

The cuffs are a good design, being stiff at the front and allowing for run-off of water. Meanwhile, a peaked hood design for foul weather stays in place and is adjustable, but not enough for optimal closure, which results in the wind and rain finding its way inside in really harsh weather.

Check out the men's version here

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Good waterproofing and breathable
  • Well designed cuffs
  • Stylish and unique look

Cons

  • Vents useless with a backpack
  • No pockets
  • Hood adjustment leaves gaps for elements

Recommended

LFTO

Adidas have produced a super lightweight waterproof jacket in the Terex Agravic 2.5. First off, though no hydrostatic head is quoted for the RAIN.RDY material, I found the waterproofing to be very good, with taped seams adding the necessary reinforcement.

The jacket’s comfortable material stretches well and moves with the body as you run, though I did find the size S to be rather on the spacious side for a ‘slim fit’ shell. I’d err towards wearing the Agravic for colder runs as the lack of ventilation led me to get warm fairly quickly.

Though the high neckline does help to keep the hood in place, I did find the hood problematic in use as its looseness with no means of adjustment meant that the wind and driving rain had ample opportunity to enter the jacket.

As for design, the jacket’s slightly longer front allows the water run right off it, with elastic cuffs going a good job of repelling water entry. A storm flap behind the zip and front pocket are positive features and aid overall robustness. There’s one pocket available on the front breast which is handy for valuables and also doubles up as a pocket to pack it away.

The Agravic’s 360-degree reflectivity makes the jacket stand out and I was more confident running in low visibility – other more vibrant colourways are available too.

Check out the men's version here

Pros

  • Insanely lightweight
  • Pocket fits a phone
  • Packable shell
  • Quick drying

Cons

  • Hood gapes and isn't adjustable
  • Questions over durability

Recommended

Outdoor Research Helium Rain JacketLFTO
Price: £38 (was £130)

www.outdoorresearch.com

A funky looking disco green jacket, the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket its sure to draw attention. The shell jacket provides a standard fit, which allows enough space to wear a small pack underneath.

There’s a good level of waterproofing at 20,000HH thanks to the Pertex Shield Diamond Fuse technology with taped seams, which allow for comfortable running in adverse weather, although some vents for breathability would have increased this. Diamond fuse technology improves durability, abrasion resistance and make the fabric stronger, while weighing in at a tiny 152g.

Drawstrings aid a snug comfortable hood, with an ample stiffened peak to repel wind and rain. The cuffs however fall prey to a lack of adjustability, the half elasticated design translated to water creeping in a little. A drawstring along the bottom hem of the Helium allows for a snug fit around the hips, keeping out the elements.

The partial storm flap means that the zip area is vulnerable to water entry, although an aquaguard coating should aid reinforcement at this area, and only time will tell how effective this is. Over the month of testing, we did find these held up to the test. Perhaps due to this coating though, I did find the zip itself to be rather stiff and cause the body of the coat to curl and fold when done up.

At the end of the run, rest assured a small pocket with a tether hook for a car key means you won’t be hitchhiking home! Such a small but useful feature, it's surprising more manufacturers don’t include this detail.

Check out the men's version here

Pros

  • Good looks and style
  • Waterproof
  • Key pocket
  • Super lightweight

Cons

  • Cuffs not completely protective
  • Pocket capacity limited

Recommended

LFTO

The Dynafit Alpine Gore-Tex running jacket is made to be both breathable, practical and highly waterproof for rainy runs out on the trails. At first glance, I love the unique style with the innovative full-length back zip allowing for expansion so that a pack can fit comfortably underneath the jacket.

When not in use, this can be zipped up to create a snug fit. The cut is such that the jacket’s elasticated hem felt a little short in the body and arms, a size S fitting fine in terms of space but not as good for length. That said, the jacket boasts good tech features.

Great wind-proofing and the assurance of Gore-Tex fabric equals confidence in all conditions, with great breathability vents providing the optimum overall temperature control. As for the hood, it’s snug and well-fitting, the elasticated inner lining with additional overlayed peak negates the need for drawstrings.

All in all, the Alpine packs a punch when it comes to performance as well as styling, with reflective strips and a slim 165g in weight making this a desirable jacket.

Check out the men's version here

Pros

  • Great styling and looks
  • Rear zip feature unique and innovative
  • Effective hood and waterproofing
  • Ample ventilation

Cons

  • Runs small
  • Lack of waist and cuff adjustments
  • No pockets

What to look for in a waterproof running jacket

Waterproofing: Jackets will come in varying levels of waterproofing, which is measured by their hydrostatic head (HH) rating. Premium-end gear has a 20,000mm HH or higher, which means a 20m column of water can stand on the fabric before water penetrates it. The minimum you would want for a rain jacket is 10,000mm HH.

Seams: For a garment to be fully waterproof, its seams must be properly sealed so no water can penetrate to the layers below. This means that the seams must be reinforced to keep the rain out, this can be from taping to cover up the tiny holes left in the material from stitching, or welding the seams which should create both a watertight and airtight seal.

Breathability: Waterproof jackets struggle to be breathable as waterproofing creates a seal against the elements, which can also reduce airflow as well as water ingress. Look out for features like breathable materials, vents which can be opened during a break in the clouds, and thinner materials which will be more breathable than layers with thick waterproof membranes.

Hood: Some runners don’t like running with a hood, if you like the coverage though, a well-structured hood will keep you even more dry on a rainy run. Look out for internal wiring and structure to the tip of the hood to keep rain off your face, plus adjustability with drawstrings on the side along with a snug fit to keep the hood in place.

Cuffs: Look for jackets with some form of closure along the cuffs to keep the rain out. This could be with a drawstring, elasticated hem, or cuff that keeps the end of the sleeve tight to the wrist.

Zips: A zip is a point of weakness in a waterproof garment as this is an area where rain could seep through. A waterproof jacket should have reinforcement along the zip, which could be in the form of a waterproof coating, or a long zip baffle to provide an extra layer between yourself and the zip.

Visibility: It’s likely that with rain will come conditions of low visibility. Grey and dim cloudy skies will make you far less visible to traffic and other runners, so having a jacket with some touches to boost visibility is always a plus in our books. This could mean a completely fluorescent colourway or be in the form of more subtle reflective details.

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