RW Lightweight Jackets Test

RW tests products from Adidas, Brooks, Gore, Haglöfs, Nike, Patagonia, Ronhill and Saucony


Posted: 6 September 2007

Of course, we love to run come rain or shine. It’s just that we prefer shine, and when the weather starts turning in autumn, we need the psychological boost of a little extra protection from the elements. These light little numbers all offer wind and shower protection, but won’t suffocate you if summer finally decides to turn up three months late – in many cases they’ll squash down enough to be stashed in a bum-bag if necessary. (All weights are for women’s size 12/medium unless otherwise stated.)

adidas Supernova Women’s Wind Jacket, £50
Weight 244g
The sleeves on this jacket zip off to turn it in to a gilet, and the fit is better than most convertible jackets thanks to adidas’s ForMotion 3D design. It feels a little bulky, but has practical features including stretchy mesh inserts under the arms. There’s a secure MP3 pocket on the chest with earphone cord hole, and two more pockets on the front. Though at first it seems a fussy jacket, it’s actually comfortable and practical to run in, and looks good too.
Contact www.adidas.co.uk
Brooks Women’s Nightlife Jacket, £60
Weight 70g
This is a great jacket for changing weather and light conditions. The Shelter Lite fabric (with water resistant coating) is so fine that you can screw the jacket up and run with it in your hand. The colour is great for daylight or fading light, and there are reflective flashes for extra visibility. There’s a small MP3 pocket at the front with hole for your earphones. It has a loose fit, so flaps around a bit, but you can pull it on over already-bulky winter kit.
Contact www.brooksrunning.co.uk
Gore Magnitude Lady Jacket, £120
Weight 156g
The Windstopper material in this jacket has a papery feel but is flexible and breathable on the run. It can withstand prolonged showers and is protective for its weight. The best thing about this jacket is the fit, with pre-shaped elbows and stretch mesh. The women’s version is especially well cut, without the boxy feel of some running jackets, and the sleeves zip out for a looser, cooler fit. It has large reflective strips along the front, back and sleeves.
Contact www.gorerunningwear.com
Haglöfs Oz Pullover, £165
Weight 175g (men's medium)
This shell is made from Gore-Tex Paclite, and has a taped zip and seams, so is completely waterproof. The jacket is made from only two pieces of fabric, reducing seams and bulk. Some runners might find the hood unnecessary (though it can be adjusted three ways so won’t fall down) and, with it up, the movement of the fabric blocks out a lot of sound. Though an expensive choice, Haglöfs says its durability and quality makes it worth the extra.
Contact www.haglofs.se
Nike+ Featherweight Jacket, £85
Weight 336g (men's small)
Though not the lightest jacket, for Nike+ devotees the iPod pocket and cord management system could make all the difference. This system takes getting used to. The iPod is stored in an internal pocket in the sleeve, which is perfectly shaped and has a button built in so you can control the iPod without looking. It doesn’t feel cumbersome, with soft ClimaFit fabric which keeps off wind and rain. The jacket is a little warmer than others on test.
Contact www.nike.com
Patagonia Nine Trails Jacket, £70
Weight 126g (men's medium)
This was one of the lightest and most comfortable jackets on test. The thin but durable fabric is surprisingly soft and flexible, and stretch fabric under the arms and around the wrists gives full freedom of movement. Fleecy mesh inside the collar won’t irritate your face and neck. It’s water repellent rather than waterproof, but is a great jacket for whipping out when the weather changes – it scrunches up in to a built-in pocket so can be carried easily.
Contact www.patagonia.com
Ronhill Aspiration Windlite, £40
Weight 128g
This good-value jacket is made from Ronhill’s Windlite fabric: super-light, breathable and windproof, it should be enough to protect you from light showers. Stretchy Flexlite panels are placed down the sides for ease of movement. Apart from a small key pocket, features are minimal to keep the weight down. The inside of the collar has a fleecy lining and overall it’s a light, comfortable jacket to run in, if less protective than some others on test.
Contact www.ronhill.com
Saucony Free Runner Jacket, £40
Weight 180g
This is a straightforward light running jacket, with a good fit and drop tail for extra protection. There’s a large, secure zip pocket on the front and warm, soft lining in the collar. It feels more like a traditional kagoule than the other jackets, but is comfortable to run in and has a less sporty look – it’s inconspicious enough for general wear. It has a usefully wide reflective stripe at the back as well as back and front reflective logos.
Contact www.saucony.co.uk

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