The best women’s running rain jackets – showerproof, waterproof, windproof running layers for autumn runs

best women's running rain jackets

Whether you’re training for your first marathon, or just trying to get out of bed for a Saturday morning parkrun, running in the rain isn’t often appealing. As autumn comes around, having a waterproof layer in your wardrobe can be the difference between staying on the sofa, or staying on plan.

What to look for in a running rain jacket:

Reflective detailing: Autumn often comes with darker mornings and evenings, so having some sort of reflective detailing on your autumn kit is a good idea.  

Hood: Whilst a running cap will probably be a better choice if you’re trying to stop water running onto your face/into your eyes, having the option of the hood is never a bad thing. Look for one that can be rolled away, giving you the option not to have the hood flapping against you as you run.

Weight: If you’re looking for a lightweight layer you can stow away in your running belt, you’ll probably want more of a showerproof pac-a-mac design. If you’re doing an ultra in the Scottish highlands, it’s worth carrying the extra weight that comes with a fully-waterproof jacket.

What’s the difference between showerproof and waterproof?

A showerproof jacket will have been treated with a water-repellent finish, which will allow water to run off the surface of the jacket, keeping you dry. These jackets will keep you dry in a shower, but not in an extended run in heavy rain. Showerproof jackets are likely to be lighter and easier to pack, but they’re normally not fully tape seamed, so some water can still get in through areas like the zip.

As the name suggests, waterproof jackets will completely protect you from the rain, with fully taped seams to stop water getting in. Fully waterproof jackets will also keep you warm and protected from the wind, but are often a lot more expensive.

Our RW contributor and tech guru Kieran Alger explains: “When you're looking for a jacket for wet conditions, the main things to look out for are the hydrostatic head (HH) rating and the breathability. HH ratings range from 0mm right up to 20,000mm and the higher you go the more water your clothes can repel without any leaking through.

Jackets with a HH up to 5,000mm can cope with showers and light to average rain, for anything heavier you'll need to go higher up the scale. It's also really important to look for breathability in a waterproof so all that hard work your gear is doing to keep the rain isn't undone by the sweat you're producing on inside as you run.

It's also worth checking how many layers there are, dual or triple layered tech can help keep the British winter out and also to move moisture away from the body. Not all of waterproof jackets do this well and this can sometimes leave you feeling a bit like you're wearing a condensation soaked tent."

How should you care for a running jacket?

It’s important to read the instructions on how to look after your jacket carefully, as otherwise you can ruin the protective coating.

The best women’s running rain jackets:

To give you a better idea of fit, we’ve tried these jackets on in the videos below. Jane is a size 8 and 5”2.

 

 

Fast Track Run Jacket, £95, sweatybetty.com 

A double layered jacket by Sweaty Betty, this looks great, but more importantly, does the job well. Not as lightweight as other raincoats on this list, you won’t be able to carry this in your running belt, but if you’re heading out in the rain, this is a good choice.

The jacket has a sweat-wicking jersey under-layer to keep you dry, a back vent to keep you cool and a waterproof over-layer. The back-pocket is big enough for an iPhone and all your running essentials, and whilst it doesn’t have fully taped seams, it is covered by the waterproof outer layer. The foldable hood comes in handy if you prefer to run without and the jacket has reflective panels for running in low light. Available in a number of different colourways and machine washable at 40 degrees, this is a good buy.

Jane is wearing a size S in the video.

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Weather Jacket, £190, on-running.com 

On test, in rain showers, this Weather Jacket from On performed well - it’s lightweight and breathable, with a good-sized hood that can easily go up over a cap. With a weighted peak, there’s a clever in-built cord, allowing you to adjust the hood to fit it tighter to your head without obstructing your view. The entire jacket can be folded away into the chest pocket, creating a pouch with a handy arm-strap on making it ultra-portable. With layers, this jacket can keep you warm in the wind and rain.

The chest pocket is also big enough for an iPhone and fully water-resistant. With a double-layered design to protect your upper body as you run, this jacket also does a good job of letting you run un-restricted. It might be one of the more expensive jackets on this list, but it’s one you’ll hang on to. Machine washable at 30 degrees and available in two different colourways.

Jane is wearing a size XS in the video.

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Kalenji Women’s Running Rain Jacket, £24.99, decathlon.co.uk 

An affordable outer-layer, this showerproof jacket is a bit more plastic-bag like than others on the list, but if you’re new to running and don’t want to spend a lot, it will do the job. With vents under the arms and at the back of the jacket to keep you cool, a high collar and hood and a ruched hem to keep water out, you’ll stay dry in a shower.

That said, the pockets are not zipped, so aren’t too practical when you’re actually running and the hood (which has been designed so it doesn’t pull your hair down as you run) doesn’t fold away, which means it will bounce against your back as you move. The zip isn’t watertight either, so in a heavy shower, you can expect to get a little wet. Machine washable at 30 degrees, the jacket has a two-year guarantee which is always handy.

Jane is wearing a size 8 in the video.

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Response Wind Jacket, £42.95, adidas.co.uk 

A slim cut, water-repellent, breathable jacket that fits well and does a good job of keeping rain showers out. There’s no hood on this jacket, (adidas does make a version with a hood but it can’t be folded away), but with a good running gap, this doesn’t make too much of a difference.

The jacket is lightweight and packable, with reflective details on the sleeves for autumn running. There’s a handy zipped pocket, with a sweat-guard compartment to keep your phone dry as you run, the zips and seams are not taped however, so we’d be careful relying on it in a heavy downpour. An affordable, stylish option, the jacket is machine washable at 40 degrees.

Jane is wearing a size S in the video.

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Packable Jacket, £70, asics.com 

The lightest jacket on test, this asics layer can easily be carried in the bottom of your bag when you’re run-commuting, without any worry about the extra weight. With a draw-cord hem and an adjustable hood to keep you dry, this slim fitting jacket can be pulled tight to keep you dry. Although the hood isn’t packable, it’s not really heavy enough to be annoying when you’re moving.

The zips and seams aren’t taped, and this probably wouldn’t keep you very warm on a cold, rainy morning, but if worn with enough layers, this would do the job nicely in a rain shower. There’s two, large pockets for all your essentials, but again these aren’t taped, so don’t rely on them keeping your items completely dry. The entire jacket folds away into the pocket, forming a slim, light pouch. Available in a number of different colour ways, the jacket is machine washable at 30 degrees.

Jane is wearing a size S in the video.

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Hooded Long Sleeve Windbreaker Jacket, £29.50, marksandspencer.com 

M&S surprised us with this lightweight, yet flattering windproof and water resistant jacket. With toggle cords on the hem and the hood, you can pull the jacket tight against your body to keep you dry. There’s plenty of breathable mesh panels to keep you cool as you move, and a tighter elasticated back panel to keep the jacket tight against your body.

It won’t be fully waterproof in heavy rain and the seams aren’t taped, but it’s light enough to pack away and it does the job at a fraction of the price of others on this list. Machine washable at 40 degrees.

Jane is wearing a size 10 in the video.

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Raceshell Waterproof Jacket, £150, inov-8.com 

The best of the best, this jacket from invo-8 is fully waterproof, with taped seams and 13,000 HH. You’ll stay super dry and warm, this breathable jacket is built for the worst of British weather. With reflective details, a foldable hood and made from a stretchable fabric, this running jacket allows you to move freely as you run.

Made by inov-8 – a brand favoured by fell and trail runners alike, the double-layer waterproof fabric has been built for adventures. The taped pockets, big enough for your phone and other running essentials, have been positioned away from where your pack straps would sit. The cuffs have a Velcro strap, allowing you to pull them tight to avoid water coming in and there’s a draw-cord on the hem for the same reason. It might seem expensive, but if you’re heading off for some rainy running in the great outdoors, this ticks all the boxes. Machine washable at 40 degrees.

Jane is wearing a size 8 in the video.

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