How to Pick the Best Nike Running Jacket (or Gilet) for Cold Weather

Buying Guide

Find insulated warmth and precipitation protection with these cold-weather running jackets by Nike.

Last updated: 7 December 2023
6 min read
How to Pick the Best Nike Running Jacket for Cold Weather

Winter running can be enjoyable when you have cold-weather gear to withstand the conditions. The right running jacket should provide much-needed warmth while maintaining breathability and protection from the elements.

Pair your jacket with waterproof running shoes and winter gear, like running gloves and a headband, and you'll be prepared to hit the streets or the trail—whatever the weather.

Here is a round-up of the best cold-weather running jackets and gilets by Nike, plus a few important considerations when looking to invest in a new winter running jacket.

(Related: What to Wear for Outdoor Winter Workouts)

The Best Nike Running Jackets for Cold Weather

1. Puffer and Insulated Jackets

Puffer jackets are the most heavily insulated outer layers since they are filled with down or synthetic material. Even with the extra insulation, these running jackets remain lightweight.

Nike puffer jackets for winter running are made with Therma-FIT Technology to enhance breathability while maximising warmth—without adding bulk. Jackets in this collection also feature reflective design details and packable hoods, as well as zip vents. Some offer stretchy thumbholes for extended coverage and a fleece collar for a cosy feel.

Go a step further with jackets that feature Nike Therma-FIT ADV, which includes body-mapped technology that insulates areas of your body where you need it most (like your core) while keeping other areas—like your underarms—breathable.

(Related: 4 Expert-Backed Tips for Running in Cold Weather)

2. Windbreakers

Nike windbreakers are lightweight, non-insulated layers. This kind of outer layer increases warmth by stopping wind from reaching your body and features a relaxed fit to easily add a base layer or mid layer underneath on cold days.

Many include a water-resistant finish, which will keep you dry in a light drizzle. The reflective design details help keep you visible on a dark, winter run. And, in case you get too warm and want to shed a layer, some windbreakers are packable, meaning you can fit them in the pocket of a running belt or gilet.

3. Rain Jackets

For protection during rain or snow storms, choose a Nike rain jacket—which often has thicker fabric than a windbreaker and a fully waterproof exterior. Look for one with Nike Storm-FIT technology or GORE-TEX for maximum waterproofing.

A drawstring adjustable hood allows for a customised fit that can be tightened right up in wet conditions. The strategically placed reflective design tape will help keep you visible in low-light conditions, and zip pockets create safe storage for essentials.

(Related: How To Pick the Best Nike Rain Jacket for Running)

4. Running Gilet

Gilets provide insulation for your core while keeping your arms free, which can be a balanced option if you tend to overheat on runs, even in cold weather. These gilets for winter running are packed with synthetic or down fill in an advanced heat-regulating design.

They are also versatile: Depending on the temperature, you can wear one with a lightweight jacket when it gets below -1 degrees Celsius, or pair it with a base layer for temperatures of between 4 and 10 degrees.

What to Look for in a Cold-Weather Running Jacket

1. Insulation

Insulation is one of the primary considerations for running jackets in the winter. The amount of insulation you choose will depend on your exertion level and the weather conditions. If you're facing below-freezing temperatures, you may want to choose a jacket with more insulation. If you run in milder temperatures, you may forgo insulation for a wind-resistant layer.

Puffer jackets provide the most warmth and are a solid option for cold winter runs or runners who are often cold. You could also opt for an insulated gilet to balance core warmth and breathability.

(Related: The Best Winter Running Gear by Nike to Shop Now)

2. Breathability

As you run and your heart rate climbs, you may work up a sweat. If that sweat doesn't evaporate and the moisture stays on your skin, any exposure to cold air or wind will make you feel cold.

Look for running jackets that feature breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics—like those infused with Nike Dri-FIT technology—that wicks away moisture for faster evaporation. Features like zip vents and mesh panels also allow extra body heat to escape more effectively.

Water-resistant jackets will be more breathable than their waterproof counterparts, but they will provide less protection from wet weather.

3. Waterproofing and Wind Resistance

Running jackets offer different levels of weather protection: most will be water-resistant, meaning they will keep you dry in a drizzle but won't withstand a rain storm. Others are fully waterproof.

If you frequently run in the rain or snow, you might choose a fully waterproof running jacket. Some Nike running jackets feature a GORE-TEX coating to shed water from the surface, while others integrate Nike Storm-FIT technology to create a fully windproof and waterproof fabric.

These outer shells will offer protection from the elements, but they don't have insulating properties. If you're prone to overheating, you may want to stick with one of these non-insulated, waterproof or windproof layers. These lightweight running jackets are versatile, too, because you can layer warm clothes underneath if the temperature drops.

(Related: How to Layer Clothes for Every Season)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do running jackets keep you warm?

The warmth of a winter running jacket is determined by the amount of insulation it provides. A running-specific puffer jacket will be warmer than an outer shell, such as a rain jacket or windbreaker. It's important to balance warmth with breathability to ensure you don't overheat, even in cold conditions. Some runners prefer a thermal base layer and a warm mid layer, with a shell jacket over the top.

Which jacket is good for extreme cold?

For extremely cold weather, opt for an insulated running jacket. Make sure you add warm gloves and a fleece headband or beanie to protect your head and hands from the cold. You can add an unlined waterproof jacket over your puffer if you plan to encounter sleet or snow. A wind-blocking shell would be a good addition on a clear, blustery day.

At what temperature should you wear a running jacket?

Depending on your tolerance for cold weather, you could consider adding an insulated running jacket at -1 degrees Celsius or below. If the temperature is warmer, thermal base layers and an outer shell, such as a waterproof or wind-repellent jacket, may be all you need.

Words by Hannah Singleton

Originally published: 30 March 2023

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