Best Insulated Jackets for Running of 2024

We round up the best insulated jackets to keep you running outside during the coldest winter temperatures.

By on March 20, 2024 | Comments
Best Insulated Jackets for Running - testing the Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket - feature photo

The right insulated jacket can keep you warm when winter temperatures drop. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Cold temperatures are no reason to stop running outside, and having the best insulated jacket in your closet can keep you heading out the door in the coldest of temperatures. While plenty of runners get out in frigid climates where heavy jackets are needed to stay warm, we’ve focused this guide on jackets that will work for the more regular winter conditions that runners not living at extremely high elevations or latitudes experience.

This guide is for you if you’re running in weather anywhere from 20 degrees Fahrenheit and up. We’ve also included a couple of jackets for those living and running in even colder climates. Our testers, based around the western U. S., including in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the Colorado mountains, and the high desert of the Colorado Plateau in Utah, took out nearly 20 insulated jackets to see which ones kept them warm through speed workouts that involved sweating, multi-day fastpacking trips, and recovery jogs through the neighborhood. The iRunFar team has decades of experience running in cold weather and understands the importance of wearing a warm, insulated jacket when things get really chilly.

Our team, ready to run in all temperatures, turned to The North Face ThermoBall Eco Hoodie 2.0 for the freezing days when we still wanted to get outside. For days that were only just chilly, we regularly turned to the Dahlie Jacket Run and the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody.

For more background information about insulated jackets and the creation of this guide, see our buying advice, testing methodology, and frequently asked questions below the picks.

Best Insulated Jackets for Running

Best Insulated Jackets for running - zipping the Nathan Navigator Hybrid Jacket

iRunFar’s Alli Hartz tests a hybrid jacket for warmth, breathability, and overall comfort. Photo: iRunFar/Andy Cochrane

Overall Best Insulated Jacket for Running: The North Face ThermoBall Eco Hoodie 2.0 ($240)

Best Insulated Jacket - The North Face ThermoBall Eco Insulated Hoodie 2.0 - product photo


  • Lightweight
  • Warm for the size


  • Too warm for all but cold runs

Made with 100%-recycled materials and a perfluorinated-compound (PFC)-free durable water repellent (DWR) coating, The North Face ThermoBall Eco Hoodie 2.0 is a lightweight and warm synthetic jacket that has been a favorite amongst the iRunFar crew for a long time. Light and small, it’s packable as a just-in-case jacket if you’re headed into the mountains for a remote and committing run and an excellent option for multi-day fastpacking trips where you’ll encounter wet weather. The cut is relatively slim, and we had no issues fitting it under a rain jacket when conditions took a turn for the worse. The synthetic insulation kept us warm, even when it got damp from sweat or from moisture coming from the sky.

You can use the two two zip hand pockets to warm your hands or store small items. The entire jacket also stuffs into these pockets for easy storage when you’re not using it. The secure chest pocket will hold any small running essentials ranging from chapstick to nutrition.

The women’s version of this jacket is cut relatively slim compared to other similar jackets, but it comes in plus sizing options.

Shell material: 20-denier 38 gram/meter² 100%-recycled nylon with a non-PFC DWR finish | Insulation material: 11 gram/foot² ThermoBall™ Eco 100% post-consumer recycled polyester

Shop the Women's The North Face ThermoBall Eco Hoodie 2.0Shop the Men's The North Face ThermoBall Eco Hoodie 2.0

Best Lightweight Insulated Jacket for Running: Dahlie Jacket Run ($100)

Best Insulated Jacket - Dahlie Jacket Run - product photo


  • Highly vented and breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Visor on hood


  • Shoulders are not a traditional running jacket cut

The Nordic skiers have it dialed when creating clothing designed for use during high-intensity activities in the cold. The Dahlie Jacket Run comes from a Norwegian brand primarily known for its offerings to the cross-country skiing world. Its features are well thought out, and you can tell a lot of testing has gone into creating it. We found this lightweight insulated jacket the perfect choice for chilly runs during the winter months. Highly breathable, the microfiber material doesn’t hold onto moisture and keeps you dry. For additional ventilation on the back, there is a mesh panel near the top designed to dump excess heat. There is also a little extra insulation on the back of the arms, an area that frequently gets cold for runners.

The hood is insulated and provides extra protection during the coldest runs. Unlike many insulated jacket hoods, it has a visor, a small and thoughtful detail designed to give the face extra protection. The only storage is a small chest pocket.

Our only complaint with this jacket is that the cut around the shoulders was a little Nordic-skier-ish. While we didn’t necessarily find this to be a problem, especially given all of its other features, there are people who may be looking for a more traditional cut in a running jacket.

Shell material: 100% polyester | Insulation Material: 93% polyester, 7% elastane

Shop the Women's Dahlie Jacket RunShop the Men's Dahlie Jacket Run

Best Medium-Weight Insulated Running Jacket: Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket ($210)

Best Insulated Jackets for Running - Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket - product photo


  • Made of recycled materials
  • Stretchy insulation


  • It is too warm for all but the coldest runs

When outside temperatures get cold and you’re looking for a medium-weight insulated jacket that will keep you toasty warm, the Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket is a great option. Its ability to handle variability, its namesake, makes it stand out from other similar options, and it has many features that make it a good companion for really cold runs. The 50%-recycled 3DeFX insulation stretches with movement and provides high mobility. It is also very warm for its weight. A 20-denier nylon shell has a DWR coating and is water-resistant. The entire jacket is fairly compressible and goes down to about the size of a large grapefruit.

The insulated hood is warm, and under-arm perforations dump heat and prevent sweat buildup. The strategically placed insulation around the torso helps to prevent hot spots and minimize sweating while still keeping you warm. The elastic cuffs further seal in heat, and there are two hand pockets for storing items and keeping the fingers warm when you’re stopped.

This jacket has an athletic cut and is slimmer than other options in this guide. If you cannot try it on first, it’s a good idea to check the sizing chart when ordering this jacket. Tall sizing is also available with a longer torso and sleeves.

Shell material: 20-denier ripstop nylon | Insulation material: 50%-recycled 3DeFX insulation

Shop the Women's Outdoor Vitals Vario JacketShop the Men's Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket

Best Hybrid Insulated Jacket for Running: Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody ($299)

Best Insulated Jackets for Running - Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody - product photo


  • Great breathability
  • Lightweight


  • High price

The Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody is a top choice for high-effort running in cold weather and lower-intensity jogs when it’s just chilly out. Hybrid insulated jackets are designed to maintain a comfortable internal climate by trapping warmth and releasing excess heat and moisture when required to keep you warm and comfortable. The lightly insulated style of hybrid jackets makes them a favorite amongst the iRunFar team.

The synthetic insulation is located strategically throughout the jacket to provide protection where it’s needed and venting where it’s not. The polyester shell is highly breathable, and the synthetic insulation keeps you warm even if it gets damp from sweat or a drizzle. The non-insulated parts of the jacket are made of Patagonia’s R1 knit paneling, which is highly breathable and quick-drying. Since there isn’t insulation on the back of this jacket, it is more comfortable to wear a running vest without worrying about sweat buildup. The hood is easy to deploy and remove, and the jacket has two zip hand pockets.

Patagonia remains committed to supporting environmental causes. The shell is made from 100% recycled polyester, and a PFC-free DWR coating helps it shed water. The insulation is also 93% recycled polyester. This jacket is made in a Fair Trade Certified factory, and the company is part of the 1% for the Planet program, donating a portion of its profits to organizations working with environmental conservation.

Shell material: 100% recycled polyester ripstop with a PFC-free DWR finish | Insulation material: 93% recycled 40-gram FullRange polyester

Shop the Women's Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid HoodyShop the Men's Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody

Best Mountain Running Insulated Jacket: La Sportiva Koro Jkt ($139)

Best Insulated Jackets for Running - La Sportiva Koro Jkt - product photo


  • Reasonably price point
  • High breathability


  • Boxy fit

If your runs take you high in the mountains in the shoulder seasons or you get out consistently during the winter months, you understand the importance of having a warm jacket on hand. The La Sportiva Koro Jkt, a hybrid insulated jacket, sets itself apart from others with its balance of warmth and breathability. Environmental concerns surrounding the clothing we use for running are coming to the forefront of the industry, and we appreciate that this jacket is made entirely from recycled materials, including the insulation, which is a blend of Primaloft ThermoPlume and polyester. The front insulated portion of the jacket blocks wind and traps warmth exactly where you need it to. Stretchy fabric makes up the rest of the jacket, including the hood, which increases breathability to stay dry during hard efforts. The PFC-free DWR coating provides water resistance if you get caught in a shower. Two hand pockets and two internal pockets are perfect for holding smaller items you might need on your run.

Many clothing items from La Sportiva have a slimmer European cut than many of their American counterparts, so be sure to check the sizing chart. If you want to have the option of wearing extra layers underneath or are simply after a slightly roomier fit, you may want to size up.

Shell material: Polyamide and elastane | Insulation material: Primaloft ThermoPlume; 100% recycled polyester

Shop the Women's La Sportiva Koro JktShop the Men's La Sportiva Koro Jkt

Best Budget Insulated Jacket for Running: Decathlon Forclaz MT100 Hooded Synthetic Jacket ($70)

Best Insulated Jackets fo Running - Decathlon Forclaz MT100 Hooded Synthetic Jacket - product photo


  • Affordable
  • Warm


  • Too warm for all but very cold runs

Insulated jackets can carry quite a price tag, but the Decathlon Forclaz MT100 Hooded Synthetic Jacket is a quality jacket at a very reasonable cost. A relatively warm insulated jacket ideal for running in sub-freezing temperatures, we also loved it as an everyday-wear option. The insulation is recycled polyester, and the shell is made of a 20-denier polyamide and treated with a water-repellent finish. It’s ready to shed light moisture, and you don’t have to worry about the synthetic insulation losing its warmth if it gets wet.

The insulated hood provides warmth, and the draw cord on the hem adjusts the fit and allows you to seal in warmth when it’s cold. Two hand pockets provide storage, and the jacket easily stuffs away into one of them so that you can easily carry it in your pack when not in use.

This jacket tends to run a bit smaller than others, so it’s worth considering sizing up, especially if you plan on wearing more than one layer underneath it. This is definitely one to check the sizing chart on before purchasing.

Shell material: 20-denier polyamide | Insulation material: Recycled polyester

Shop the Women's Decathlon Forclaz MT100 Hooded Synthetic JacketShop the Men's Decathlon Forclaz MT100 Hooded Synthetic Jacket

Best Insulated Jacket for Fastpacking: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody ($360)

Best Insulated Jacket - Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody - product photo


  • Very light for its warmth
  • Compressible


  • Expensive
  • Down insulation isn’t warm when wet

Many runners avoid down jackets because the insulation loses its warmth if it gets wet, but we believe that their light weight and packability give them a place in the fastpacking world. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody is a very warm jacket for its weight and it compresses down incredibly small in a pack. Multiple iRunFar testers choose this jacket for fastpacking trips, even those with rain in the forecast. While you do have to be more careful to keep from sweating through a down layer and protect it from moisture if it starts to rain, the extra attention can save you weight and bulk in your pack.

This jacket has an outer shell of 10-denier ripstop nylon with a DWR finish for water resistance. The 800-fill down insulation is Responsibly Sourced Down (RDS)-certified. The jacket packs down into one of the two hand pockets for storage, and zippers on them can keep small items secure.

The hood liner and the cuffs are elastic for improved fit and heat retention. The final baffles on each wrist, an area that often sees higher levels of sweat, are filled with synthetic insulation instead of down so that they stay warm even if they get damp.

While some will argue that synthetic jackets are a better option for running, the specific needs of gram-counting fastpackers also make it worth considering down, and this jacket packs a lot of warmth for the weight.

Shell material: 10-denier ripstop nylon with a DWR finish | Insulation material: 800-fill RDS-certified down insulation

Shop the Women's Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 HoodyShop the Men's Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody

Comparing the Best Insulated Jackets for Running

The North Face ThermoBall Eco Hoodie 2.0 $240 20-denier 38 gram/meter² 100%-recycled nylon with a non-PFC DWR finish 11 gram/foot² ThermoBall™ Eco 100% post-consumer recycled polyester
Dahlie Jacket Run $100 100% polyester 93% polyester, 7% elastane
Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket $210 20-denier ripstop nylon 50%-recycled 3DeFX insulation
Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody $299 100% recycled polyester ripstop with a PFC-free DWR finish 93% recycled 40-gram FullRange polyester
La Sportiva Koro Jkt $139 Polyamide and elastane Primaloft ThermoPlume; 100% recycled polyester
Decathlon Forclaz MT100 Hooded Synthetic Jacket $70 20-denier polyamide Recycled polyester
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody $360 10-denier ripstop nylon with a DWR finish 800-fill RDS-certified down insulation

Choosing an Insulated Jacket for Running

Some of the best insulated jackets for running, like one of our favorites, the Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket, are generally reserved for some of the coldest of winter runs and often end up being multi-purpose garments for people who wear them not only for running but also for hanging out at trailheads, camping, and as an everyday jacket during the winter. Choosing the right jacket for your specific needs is important since they tend to be on the pricier side of running apparel. There are several jacket features to consider when selecting the best insulated jacket for running for you.


Insulated jackets keep you warm by trapping air in the insulation. These air pockets reduce energy transfer between your body and the surrounding air. Having a jacket that’s too big can lead to big gaps between your body and the jacket, allowing cold outside air to move between the jacket and your body. This completely defeats the thermodynamic principles that allow an insulated jacket to keep you warm. Insulated jackets, especially if you’re not wearing many layers underneath, should fit snugly but not tightly. A jacket like The North Face ThermoBall Eco Hoodie 2.0 has a slimmer cut, which can be useful for retaining warmth.

Be sure to think about the type of layering system you use for winter runs before choosing a jacket that may end up being too small. A jacket that fits too tightly will not only be uncomfortable and limit your range of motion, but it will also compress the insulation and can make it less effective at keeping you warm.

An insulated jacket should allow you to have a full range of motion with your arms and not move around on your body through the various stages of arm swing. It should also be long enough that when you reach your arms to the sky or bend over to pick something up, it doesn’t leave your mid-section exposed.

Best Insulated Jackets for Running - road running in the La Sportiva Koro Jkt

The hybrid La Sportiva Koro Jkt balances breathability and warmth. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi


As with all pieces of running gear, weight is important. Since even the best insulated jackets for running tend to be one of the heavier pieces of clothing used for running, it’s worth looking at the gram scale when choosing one.

Synthetic insulation is heavier and less compressible than down insulation, so opting for a down jacket instead of one with synthetic insulation may be tempting. We recommend against this in most situations as down loses its insulative properties as it gets damp. The down feathers clump together and can’t hold air anymore. As runners who often partake in vigorous exercise, we sweat, and this moisture can turn a down jacket into dead weight if you sweat through it. That said, several iRunFar team members choose to take down jackets, like the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody, on fastpacking trips to save weight and are careful about removing them before they start to sweat.

Insulation Type

The two main types of insulation used in jackets are down and synthetic. For running, synthetic fill is generally the smarter, albeit heavier and bulkier choice. Synthetic fill is generally made of polyester, which mimics the heat-trapping properties of down. And while plastic doesn’t do nearly as efficiently of a job at catching heat as nature-created feathers, it has its advantages, including not being an animal product. Synthetic insulation can be made more environmentally friendly by coming from recycled products. Most of the best insulated jackets for running, including many in this guide, are made with recycled insulation.

Down comes from goose or duck feathers. If purchasing a down jacket, it’s important to ensure that it’s Responsible Down Standard-certified so that it comes from animals treated as humanely as possible. The only down jacket in this guide is the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody, which we recommend more for fastpacking applications than traditional running ones.

Shell Material

Most insulated jackets have a polyester or nylon shell treated with a durable water-resistant (DWR) coating to hep it repel light moisture. Even with a DWR coating, insulated jackets generally falter in heavy precipitation and soak through easily. Synthetic insulation stays warmer than down when wet, but it’s still better to keep it dry whenever possible. There are insulated jackets that are fully waterproof, but they tend to be heavy and too much jacket for most running situations.

In hybrid insulated jackets, the insulated area of the jacket may be covered in one material while the rest is made of a completely different material. For example, the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody has a polyester shell over the insulated part of the jacket while the rest is made from Patagonia’s R1 knit fabric.

Best Insulated Jackets for Running - details of Dahlie Jacket Run

The strategic insulation placement of the Dahlie Jacket Run is optimized for warmth and breathability. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi


A jacket’s breathability depends on its insulation and shell and becomes an increasingly important factor to consider as temperatures drop—the best insulated jackets for running need to breathe well. The La Sportiva Koro Jkt was notable for the breathability of its materials, while a jacket like the Dahlie Jacket Run has built-in vents to get rid of extra heat. The Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket has under-arm vents as well. While sweating through a shirt on a pleasant day out probably doesn’t have many negative consequences aside from a little discomfort, sweating through your insulative layers on a cold day can result in disaster. Many runners have found themselves in an uncomfortable situation in a wet base layer or jacket when the sun dips behind the horizon and temperatures drop. Because insulated jackets are inherently warm, it’s important to pay close attention to temperature regulation when wearing them. If you start to sweat, either slow your effort, unzip the jacket to dump heat, or take it off completely to keep your base layer as dry as possible.


Sustainability has become an increasingly important factor to consider when purchasing clothing. Many companies have moved towards using recycled materials in both their jacket shells and insulation. They use RDS-certified down for down jackets to ensure that the ducks and geese the feathers come from are treated humanely.

One of the big advancements in jacket technology has been eliminating the use of perfluorinated compounds (PFC) in DWR coatings. Older DWR coatings used these fluorine-containing compounds, an environmentally harmful material that does an excellent job repelling water due to its hydrophobicity. While the compounds used in traditional DWR coatings weren’t shown to be harmful to humans, the byproducts of the manufacturing process, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are highly toxic and difficult to dispose of safely. Luckily, technological advances have found equally effective ways to make a material water-resistant without PFCs. The Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoodie and La Sportiva Koro Jkt use PFC-free DWR finishes.

Why Trust Us

The team at iRunFar doesn’t slow down when winter arrives, and we’ve taken the time to search the market for the best insulated jackets available. We looked for jackets with high-quality insulation that would keep us warm even if we got sweaty, breathe well, and stand up to the test of time. The jackets in this guide consist of time-tested team favorites, some of which have been in our closets and packs for years, and some new jackets that push the limits of the warmth-to-weight ratio.

Our team evaluated each jacket on various factors, including fit, durability, style, warmth, and breathability. We understand the importance of having a warm and trusted jacket, whether running in your neighborhood or on a remote mountain ridgeline in the winter, so we took the jackets through as many conditions, from cool to downright frigid, to see how they would perform. Whether we were going out for a chilly morning run or for a multi-day fastpacking trip through the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, we had an insulated jacket in tow.

Best Insulated Jackets for Running - Packing up fastpacking camp in The North Face Thermoball Eco Hoodie 2.0

iRunFar’s Meghan Hicks wears a synthetic insulated jacket while packing up camp on a fastpacking trip. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Frequently Asked Questions about Insulated Jackets for Running

What are the differences between synthetic and down insulation?

Down insulation is made out of the feathers of geese and ducks. This is the more traditional option for creating insulating layers and has a very high warmth-to-weight ratio, higher than synthetic insulation options. The feathers create air gaps between them that trap heat and prevent energy exchange between your warm body and the cold outside air. Down also compresses smaller than synthetic options and has a longer lifespan if properly cared for. Unfortunately, down doesn’t play well with moisture, and when the feathers get wet and clump up, it loses most of its insulating properties. You can tell the warmth of a down jacket by its fill power and fill weight. Higher-quality down has a higher fill weight and a better warmth-to-weight ratio. Fill weight will tell you how much down is in the jacket. Higher numbers of both will indicate a warmer jacket. If purchasing a down jacket, you’ll want to ensure you get one with Responsible Down Standard (RDS)-certified down.

Synthetic insulation, generally made from polyester that mimics the same heat-capturing properties of down feathers, tends to be bulkier with a lower warmth-to-weight ratio. Since it stays warm when wet, it makes it a superior option for running jackets. While synthetic insulation isn’t made of animal products, which is important to many people, it is made of plastic. Companies have been reducing the environmental impact of their synthetic insulated jackets by using recycled materials, and nearly every jacket in this guide, including the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody, La Sportiva Koro Jkt, The North Face ThermoBall Eco Hoodie 2.0, and the Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket are made using some recycled materials.

Is synthetic insulation or down better for running?

Runners tend to sweat because of the activity they’re doing. Unless you’re careful not to sweat into a down jacket, a synthetic insulated jacket is a better option. It’ll maintain its insulating properties even if damp, and it’ll also provide more warmth if you get caught out in an unexpected rainstorm. After extensive testing of insulated jackets of all weights and styles, the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody was our top choice for the best insulated jacket for running.

Best Insulated Jackets for Running - running trails in Dahlie Jacket Run

Meghan Hicks of iRunFar tests the Dahlie Jacket Run on a cold desert day. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

How should I layer while running with an insulated jacket?

Insulated jackets are generally only used for runs in fairly cold temperatures. The outside temperature, the type of running you’re doing, and how hot your body naturally runs all factor into the layering system underneath a down jacket.

Having layers on underneath a jacket makes it easier to control body temperature. You can add and remove layers as effort levels and temperatures vary throughout a run. A hybrid insulated jacket like the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody allows flexible layering options.

A good starting point for layering is a quality base layer that breathes well and won’t get clammy and wet. Any additional layers on top of that are a matter of personal preference. You can learn more about choosing gear for cold-weather running at our Best Cold Weather Running Gear guide.

Are there warmth ratings for jackets?

Down jacket warmth is measured in both fill weight and fill power. Fill power measures the quality of the down. Higher fill power means the down will have more loft and a higher warmth-to-weight ratio. Fill weight is the amount of down that is put into a jacket. A higher fill weight also leads to a warmer jacket. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody is an 800-fill power jacket with down on the higher end of the quality spectrum.

The warmth of synthetic insulation is measured in grams per square meter (gsm). As with down insulation measurements, the higher the number, the warmer the jacket will be.

Call for Comments

  • Do you frequently run in weather that requires an insulated jacket?
  • Do you have a favorite insulated jacket that didn’t make our list?
Back to Our Top Insulated Jackets for Running Picks
Best Insulated Jackets for Running - testing the Decathlon Forclaz Insulated Trek 100

When temperatures drop, an insulated jacket can keep you running outside. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Eszter Horanyi

Eszter Horanyi identifies as a Runner Under Duress, in that she’ll run if it gets her deep into the mountains or canyons faster than walking would, but she’ll most likely complain about it. A retired long-distance bike racer, she gave ultra foot racing a go and finished the Ouray 100 in 2017, but ultimately decided that she prefers a slower pace of life of taking photos during long days in the mountains and smelling the flowers while being outside for as many hours of the day as possible. Eszter will take any opportunity to go adventuring in the mountains or desert by foot, bike, or boat, and has lived the digital nomad lifestyle throughout the west for the past seven years.