If you would prefer to look a little less like Paddington Bear on your everyday city outings, I also recommended Adidas’ Rain.Rdy City Jacket ($260) from this year’s Wish List. While our other recommendations are pretty formless, the Rain.Rdy is incredibly stylish, and the women’s version cinches at the waist to give you a shape. The big chest pocket is very convenient if you walk or bike a lot with your phone, and it’s also made from 60 percent recycled fabric and left undyed for a smaller ecological footprint.
Best Rain Jacket for Running
My requirements for a running rain jacket are much different than for an everyday one. I’m sweating and usually out for an hour or less, so I don’t care as much if the jacket is a little more permeable. However, I want it to fit well, not chafe, and have good ventilation so I don’t become clammy when I’m working out.
This winter, the jacket I have reached for the most is Lululemon’s winter running jacket. The Cross Chill arrived in a blindingly neon wasabi yellow-green with reflective details, perfect for visibility in Portland’s gray, wet weather. It’s stretchy and skintight, so it doesn’t rustle under my arms as I’m running.
Like a lot of Lululemon’s gear, it’s packed full of thoughtful details. The hood can be cinched over a hat. The thumb holes help keep my sleeves down. I also particularly like the placement of the big zippered phone pocket in the small of my back. I usually run with a tiny Nathan running vest ($100) to carry my phone, but with the Cross Chill, I can slip my iPhone 14 into the back pocket and not worry about putting on an additional accessory. And, of course, none of this would matter if it didn’t keep me warm and dry while on hour-long trail runs in the pouring rain.
★ Great Alternatives: The classic running jacket is the Patagonia Houdini ($109), which is super simple and packs down incredibly small. The company recently switched to a PFC-free DWR, but I do have to admit that the Houdini rustles, it’s not terribly breathable, and I get a little clammy when I run in it. If I’m not wearing the Cross Chill, I like the North Face Lightriser, which is trim, breathable, and cut close to the body to eliminate annoying rustling. It’s also made from North Face’s spider-woven Futurelight fabric. However, it is priced at an eye-watering $300.
If keeping incredibly dry isn’t an issue for you, there are a number of lightweight PFC-free options that are a little more permeable, like Nathan’s Vamos track jacket ($100) or Smartwool’s merino anorak ($130), which uses a PFC-free DWR. These don’t pack down as small, though.
Best Rain Jacket for Biking
As much time as I spend in the rain, I never get quite as soaked as I do when ebiking my two children to and from school. If you’re a dedicated cyclist who spends hours training with a Peloton, you will probably be better off with a lightweight, high-visibility jacket that can stretch as you move and vent heat. However, if you’re an everyday bike commuter, you likely want a less-technical jacket.
Cleverhood is an independent, Rhode Island-based company, and its signature garment is the biking-friendly Rain Cape. However, the anorak is my favorite. Like the cape, it’s cut very generously to allow for a flannel shirt and a small down jacket underneath.