Many winter running jackets are designed to give some degree of protection from the rain.
But it takes a special piece of kit to keep you dry through a real downpour and most jackets simply aren’t up to the job.
Instead, you need one made from a fully waterproof fabric, with specific features designed to keep out leaks.
Finding the best running rain jackets for very wet weather can be challenging. Whilst many are marketed as being ‘waterproof’, this term is often used loosely and most are only suitable for protection from passing showers.
So we’ve brought together this list of our top 7 running jackets for heavy rain, all of which deliver on their promises and keep you dry throughout the worst downpours.
Before we get to them, though, let’s run through the main features to look for in a good rain jacket so you can pick the ideal one for your next run!
Features to Look For in a Running Rain Jacket
Waterproofing is – of course – your number one priority. But it’s important to be clear on the terminology used in product descriptions so that you choose a jacket offering the degree of protection you need.
The terms ‘water resistant’, ‘water repellent’, and ‘waterproof’ may sound similar. But water resistance will only protect you from a quick shower. A water-repellent jacket is a step up, but still offers only medium protection and won’t stand prolonged use in a real deluge.
Ideally, then, you need a waterproof jacket – one designed for the very wettest conditions.
A good running rain jacket should also be:
- Breathable – waterproof clothing can feel uncomfortably warm during high-intensity training. Look for a jacket that uses moisture-wicking fabrics and offers a high degree of breathability.
- Adjustable – ideally, you should be able to cinch in the jacket in areas like the hood, cuffs, and hem. This will stop water from seeping in and keep out any chilly wind.
- Packable – the weather is unpredictable, so you need to choose a lightweight jacket that you can easily stow away when the showers turn to sunshine.
Think, too, about whether or not you want a hood. Most rain jackets come with them as they help keep the water off your face. But some people don’t like running with a hood up, or would simply rather do without the excess fabric.
The Best Running Rain Jackets
#1. GORE WEAR Running Jacket, R5, Gore-TEX INFINIUM
– Form Fit for mobility, windproof, and with 2 side zippered pockets
– Our top choice for cold weather
Designed to protect you on wintry days and specifically cut for runners, this jacket uses WINDSTOPPER technology and a high, adjustable textured collar to keep out the chill.
It’s not the most waterproof jacket in our guide and isn’t ideal for persistent rain over a longer period, but it does cope well with short heavy showers.
The lining is soft, so it feels warm and comfortable against your skin.
You can adjust the hem using a drawstring, which helps cinch it in and keep you snug. We also like the hood, which fits closely.
The reflective detailing on the seam tape and zippers on the front pockets help with your visibility when running at night.
And despite how well this jacket protects you from the elements, it’s still very lightweight and breathable.
#2. Inov-8 Stormshell Waterproof Jacket
– Adjustable hood, integrated thumb loops, and a full-length zipper
– Great for long distances in wet conditions
Inov-8’s Stormshell is made from a Pertex Shield fabric, developed specifically to provide lightweight protection from the elements.
Although it is durably waterproof and will keep you dry throughout the strongest downpours, it’s also breathable and incredibly soft.
This means that it moves freely when you do, providing both speed and comfort.
This softness also makes it very easy to pack away into its own small pocket, so it won’t take up much space in your gear.
Reflective accents are included for safety when running in low-light conditions and there is a popper to keep the jacket fastened when unzipped.
The hood fits well, too, and you can easily adjust it to protect your face and ears on chilly days.
#3. Inov-8 Raceshell HZ Unisex Jacket
– Unisex, with fully taped seams, a half-zipper, and a high breathability rating
– The best running rain jackets for speed
Another great rain jacket from Inov-8, the Raceshell is incredibly lightweight at just 100g.
It’s ideal for race day, made from a semi-transparent fabric that ensures your race number is visible at all times.
Highly waterproof, it can withstand over 15,000 mm of rain in a 24-hour period and copes well with heavy snow, too.
Yet this jacket breathes exceptionally well, so you won’t need to worry about overheating no matter how fast your pace is.
It’s also quiet, with none of the annoying rustling you get with some budget brands.
The only feature this jacket lacks is adjustability, so you can’t customize the fit of the cuffs, hood, or hem. Nevertheless, it remains an ideal racing jacket and even has some room for a hydration pack underneath.
#4. Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
– Tear-resistant, with lightweight storm protection and Pertex Shield Diamond Fuse Technology
– Best trail running rain jacket
Available in a wide range of colors and sizes, this jacket has a 2.5-layer construction that combines a lightweight nylon face fabric with windproof, waterproof, and breathable membranes.
The result is a great piece of running kit that will keep you both dry and comfortably cool.
Featuring fully taped seams, it is adjustable at the hood, cuffs, and hem.
This means you get a great fit and don’t have to worry about water seeping in anywhere.
There are no hand pockets, just the chest pocket into which the jacket will fit when you roll it up at the end of your session.
It also comes with a carabiner loop and key clip to make it easy to carry, plus a couple of small reflective details – the logo on the front and the overlay on the forearm.
#5. Marmot Precip Eco Jacket
– A versatile fit, stowable hood, and full zip closure with internal draft flap
– Best eco-friendly jacket, made from 100% recycled nylon fabric
This is one of the best jackets in our guide in terms of value for money.
Considering how well it stacks up against some of the more premium brands, we think it’s very reasonably priced.
It was originally designed as a hiking jacket, but its minimal weight and flexibility have made it a big hit with runners, too.
On the downside, it does tend to rustle a little with movement, but to compensate for that you get exceptional durability and great protection from the elements.
100% seam-taped to totally block precipitation, the jacket also adjusts at the hood and hem. The cuffs seal comfortably with Velcro straps.
It’s a little less breathable than the other jackets we’ve included here, but the armpit zippers make it easy to vent excess heat if you need to.
#6. Showers Pass Cloudburst Jacket
– 4-way stretch fabric, 3-layer construction, and reflective accents
– Most breathable running rain jacket
The Showers Pass company was founded by an outdoor enthusiast who began creating gear that would allow him to enjoy his pursuits no matter the weather.
Its products are now used by everyone from cross-country skiers to endurance athletes because they deliver both high performance and durability.
The Showers Pass running rain jacket is a superb example, with an excellent 10.2K waterproof rating and exceptional breathability.
This is thanks to the eliteAIR material used in its construction, which has a waterproof membrane bonded between a face fabric and a moisture-wicking liner.
This prevents overheating and makes the jacket ideal for anyone who runs long distances in wet conditions.
The fabric is quiet and moves with you smoothly, whilst the double cinch cord at the waist ensures a custom fit.
The dealbreaker for some, though, might be that this jacket doesn’t have a hood.
#7. Arc’teryx Norvan LT Hoody
– Durable and windproof, with a zippered closure
– Delivers excellent freedom of movement
With a run-specific shell, this packable hoody has a minimalist design and trim fit to limit bulk.
The result is one of the best running rain jackets for long distances in difficult terrains, helping you run faster whilst staying well protected from the rain.
Made with GORE-TEX, a highly waterproof fabric that moves smoothly and quietly, it breathes well and weighs just 6.7 ounces.
We particularly like the hood which fits closely and has a brim. This helps keeps the rain out of your face and ensures good visibility.
The hem is elasticized for a personalized fit, with a draw cord that effectively keeps out drafts.
The articulated sleeves and gusseted underarms, meanwhile, mean that you can move freely and comfortably at all times.
This is the most expensive jacket we reviewed, but it’s versatile enough for a range of outdoor pursuits and ideal for committed athletes looking for reliable but lightweight protection.
The Best Running Rain Jackets: Key Takeaways
Bad weather can be a real motivation killer, so finding the right gear to protect you from the elements will go a long way toward keeping your training on track
Waterproof, breathable, and designed to last the distance, these high-quality jackets will keep you dry and comfortable, no matter what mother nature has to throw at you.
What Causes Chafing and How Can You Stop It?
Chafing is caused by friction, whether it’s coming from your clothing or from skin-on-skin. It’s a common problem and a painful one that can distract you from your runs!
Learn how to stop it from happening and heal any existing rashes in our article: How To Help Chafing: The Complete Guide