Active Clothing

An Olympian Says *This* Is What To Look for in a Good Running Vest—Plus 10 Weather-Proof Picks To Shop

Photo: Getty Images / Vasily Pindyurin
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Running in cold temperatures calls for a well thought-out outfit. In addition to suiting up your snow-proof running kickscozy gloves, and wind-proof hats, there's one staple piece you need not forget: a running vest. This essential layer provides a dose of warmth to your core, retains heat, and shields you from environmental elements like snow, wind, and rain. Unlike regular vests, the best running vests were designed to be lightweight while offering optimal heat retention, so you don't have to sacrifice comfort or warmth.

The best running vests, at a glance:

What to look for in a running vest

According to Colleen Quigley, Olympian and professional runner based in Flagstaff, Arizona, the best running vests will be padded but not too puffy, so it doesn't get in the way when you're swinging your arms. Another feature to look out for is the breathability factor, "because you will likely start warming up during the run and if you start sweating, you're gonna want that ventilation so that you don't get overheated or wet," Quigley says. Breathable materials to look for: nylon, polyester, merino wool, and cotton.

We rounded up the best running vests based on breathability, wind-resistance, water-repellent, and comfort. Below, you'll find running vests of every style, color, and budget.

Best Overall

lululemon down for it vest
Lululemon, Down For It All Vest — $148.00

Sizes available: 0-20

The Lululemon Down For It All vest will have you ready to hit the pavement. “I love this one because it provides the perfect amount of warmth and that extra layer without being too much—it’s not too bulky or too thick,” says Quigley. This vest features a water-repellent shell and 700-fill goose down, keeping you toasty and dry when the temperatures dip.

Colors: 7

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Windproof
  • 700-fill goose down

Cons

  • Expensive

Best Stretch

athleta inlet vest
Athleta, Inlet Vest — $149.00

Sizes available: 0-20

Runs or jogs, Athleta’s Inlet vest will make training more bearable when wintry weather hits. It’s lightweight, breathable, warm, and stretchy, making it ideal for outdoor runs or sprints. Plus, it holds onto your phone, keys, and/or credit cards, since the vest is pocket-friendly.

Colors: 7

Pros

  • Stretchy
  • Water-repellent
  • Contains pockets

Cons

  • Expensive

Best Style

lululemon storage insulated running vest
Lululemon, Storage Insulated Running Vest — $198.00

Sizes available: 0-14

Lululemon’s Storage Insulated Running vest will have you prepared to tack on the miles. It boasts a built-in fanny pack—ideal for storing running fuel, keys, and other essentials—marrying functionality and style. What’s more, the integrated bag has a sleeve that fits a one liter water bag, so you can quench your thirst on long-distance jogs. It’s no wonder why Quigley swears by it.

Colors: 2

Pros

  • Built-in bag for extra storage
  • Water-resistant
  • Stretchy

Cons

  • Expensive

Best Reflective

free people run this puffer vest
Free People Movement, Run This Puffer Vest — $98.00

Sizes available: XS-XL

Rain, snow, or mist, Free People Movement’s vest will get you to running no matter the condition. The highlighter yellow color and reflective accents will render you visible to cars and bikers, making it an ideal vest for night-time running. The vest is insulated with a down-alternative and a water-resistant outer to keep you dry and comfy.

Colors: 4

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Reflective details
  • Water-resistant

Cons

  • May run small for some

Best Windproof

brooks shield hybrid vest
Brooks, Shield Hybrid Vest 2.0 — $81.00

Sizes available: XS-XXL

If you live in a windy city, Brooks Shield Hybrid vest is here to help you power through. The vest features wind-resistant panelling, repelling cold air away from your core. In addition to being ultra warm, it features a total of five pockets, two side pockets, two hand pockets, and a chest pocket to secure your valuables.

Colors: 2

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Features pockets
  • Windproof

Cons

  • No color variability

Best Sport

nike thermafit vest
Nike, Therma-Fit Vest — $115.00

Sizes available: XS-XXL

Built with a fleece collar and polyester-filled panels, Nike’s Therma-Fit vest will keep you warm and dry even when things gets wet. The front pull-zip allows you to control the airflow. Even more, it has easy-access pockets, which means you can bring your phone or keys along for the ride.

Colors: 2

Pros

  • Features pockets
  • Full-zip design
  • Reflective elements

Cons

  • No color variability

Best Lightweight

sweaty betty vest
Sweaty Betty, Fast Track Thermal Quilted Running Vest — $76.00

Sizes available: XXS-XL

In-between cold and warmer days, consider Sweaty Betty’s Fast Track running vest. Made of a polyester and elastane blend, the vest is lightweight, breathable, and restores body heat for chillier days. The vest cinches at the waist, giving the vest some shape, and features two pockets for hand warming.

Colors: 2

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Features pockets
  • Cinches at the waist

Cons

  • Hang dry only

Best Breathable

under armour reactor run vest
Under Armour, Cold Gear Reactor Run Vest — $120.00

Sizes available: XS-XL

This vest combines function and style. Featuring honeycomb-like panels and stretch-woven sides, the Reactor is a stylish coat that’s both stretchy and warm. Constructed from 100 percent polyester, the vest is airy and breathable. Plus, it repels water, has a dropped hem for additional coverage, and features a pocket for storage.

Colors: black

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Water-repellent
  • Features pockets

Cons

  • No color variability

Best Eco-Friendly

girlfriend collective thorn everyone puffer vest
Girlfriend Collective, Thorn Everyone Puffer Vest — $60.00

Sizes available: 1-12

Girlfriend Collective’s Thorn Everyone Puffer vest is the environmentally-friendly layer you need when a gust of wind comes through. Constructed out of recycled plastic bottles and fleece-lined pockets, the Thorn Vest will keep you and the environment happy. Plus, it’s water-resistant, windproof, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s stylish.

Colors: 3

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Eco-friendly
  • Windproof

Cons

  • May be too thick for some

Best Odor Control

eddie bauer hybrid vest
Eddie Bauer, Hybrid Vest — $98.00

Sizes available: 1-12

Layers is the name of the game when it comes to outdoor running, and Eddie Bauer’s Hybrid vest is packed with a 650-fill of responsible down. Made of a polyester blend, this vest repels water, wind, and odors. Thanks to the stretchy exterior, the vest moves with you as you hit the trails.

Colors: 3

Pros

  • 650-fill
  • Odor-resistant
  • Water-resistant

Cons

  • May not fit petite

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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