Running jacket guide

Why do I need a jacket?

Keeping your body at the optimum temperature is vital if you're to enjoy winter running. When you get outside your body temperature will rise by about 10 degrees but that doesn't mean you won't need protection from chilling winds and rain.

Jackets should provide protection from both these elements, without leaving you overheated.

Keeping warm is all about layering, so choose a jacket that sits comfortably as your top layer.

How much should I spend?

Prices vary starting at around £30, and rising all the way up to £180. What you pay will depend on the features it has and the material used.

The most important element of your jacket is the outer shell. Is it lightweight? Heavy? Made from special water-resistant and windproof material? Material such as GORE-TEX has revolutionized outdoor clothing. GORE-TEX fabrics are created by laminating a membrane to high-performance textiles, then sealing them with an innovative solution for guaranteed waterproof protection.

Ventilation and breathability are the next big issues. Jackets will have mesh panels and insets and the latest high-tech methods such as Body Mapping 360° by Ashmei, ensures that the right muscles get the right coverage and ventilation with the combination of merino wool and softshell.

What else should I look for?

When it comes to the finish, the places to look are the zips, hems, cuffs and neck. Extra protection from the elements can be provided by draw cords in the hem and Velcro straps in the cuffs; and soft fleece lining in the neck adds comfort. Zips are a potential cold zone, so check for extra layers of material and security around the neck to keep it in place.

Pockets are essential for some, not so vital for others. Jackets will offer varying sizes. Zipped pockets are great for keeping keys and mobile phones secure and little pockets made for Nano iPods or little items can also be handy. Some people prefer the minimalist approach and there are also jackets with no pockets. And of course lots of brands now incorporate multi-media pockets with built in holes to thread headphones for music on the go.

Other extras include hoods, detachable or not, and jackets that convert to vests by removing the sleeves like Adidas's Convertible jacket. Hoods need to be secure in wind and rain, check if the pull cord can hold it in place (for example the Nike Element Shield Max range). Others are detachable or can be hidden away (for example Zoca's women's only jacket).

See below for a list of our latest or click here to check out all the Running Bug Jacket reviews

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