When you’re preparing for a big race, you don’t have the luxury of taking days off just because Mother Nature isn’t cooperating with your training. You have to stay on schedule. But training in the rain can leave you soaking wet, which can lead to unpleasant chafing. To keep your plans even when it’s pouring rain, you need the best running rain jacket you can find.
Quick Look: Our Top Picks
What Should I Look For in a Running Rain Jacket?
When it comes to selecting the perfect rain jacket, you need to consider all the variables you’re working with. What works for one runner might not work for you because you may have different circumstances than they do.
The following factors will make a big difference in your decision.
The biggest thing you need to consider when looking for a rain jacket is what level of rain protection it offers. After all, you’re not buying a rain jacket so you can still feel drenched at the end of your run.
You need to look at the length of the runs you do. Are you a dedicated 5k maniac? Then you can get by with a weather-resistant rain jacket, which can last for about 30 minutes in a full-on downpour before it starts to leak through.
Are you all about the distance? If you like going for longer runs, you should go with a waterproof jacket that will keep you bone dry mile after mile.
You don’t want to buy just any rain jacket you find. Like all your other gear, your rain jacket should be lightweight. You don’t want to cart around extra weight on your run.
And you especially don’t want a jacket that will get soggy, and therefore heavier, with every drop of rain it takes on. Focus on lightweight materials that won’t have you feeling like you’re running your last miles 10 pounds heavier than you were at the start.
Choosing a lightweight jacket is especially important when you live in a hot climate -- you don’t want to overheat yourself.
If you live in a city that is typically frigid or has harsh winters, you might also want to have a rain jacket that’s a little more substantial for those days when it rains on extremely cold days.
Even in the rain, you’re going to feel hot during your run. You still need the air to circulate through your gear if you want to perform your best. That’s why you need to check out the breathability of the rain jacket you choose for running. Look for vents in the fabric so that you can still stay dry while getting some breathability.
If the rain is pouring down on you, you’re less likely to be worried about style and more likely to be worried about performance. But the appearance of your jacket is still important and here’s why.
You need extra visibility if you’re running on the road in the rain. Motorists often don’t expect to see people running in the rain so they’re not on the lookout for them. For that reason, you’ll need to select a brightly-colored jacket.
But if you’re running on an outdoor track, visibility will be less important to you because vehicles won’t be allowed anyway. In that case, you can choose any color of rain jacket you want.
Don’t forget to look at the little details of the rain jackets you’re considering. Those small things can turn into big things that can give you a serious case of buyer’s regret.
Take elastic around the wrists, for instance. It might not seem like a deal breaker if the jacket doesn’t have elastic around the wrists to keep the water out. But if you’re wearing a running watch that isn’t waterproof, you might end up damaging your watch without that elastic around the wrists.
You also might want a pocket to protect your iPod from water damage too.
If you’re running a marathon that begins with heavy showers but is supposed to turn into sun well before you expect your race to be over, you need a rain jacket with portability. You typically won’t want to be wearing, carrying, or throwing down your rain jacket mid-race if it’s no longer needed. Running gear is too expensive to toss away during a race.
What you need is a rain jacket that compresses well and can be stored in small places or clipped to your shorts.
The fit of the hood is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to selecting which rain jacket will be best for you. If you spend most of your run trying to keep the hood in place, you’re going to be wasting your energy and concentration.
Ideally, you’ll find a hood that has a cinch so you can pull it as tight as you need to when the rain is coming down hard.
The 5 Best Running Rain Jackets
If you’re looking for a slightly more substantial rain jacket for colder weather, check out the Helly Hansen’s Seven J jacket. This 100% polyester jacket might just be impressive enough to make you enjoy those rainy run days.
This jacket is waterproof, not merely water-resistant.
It helps protect you from the high winds that sometimes accompany rainy days.
It has a quick-dry lining, so it will dry rapidly once the sun comes out.
The adjustable hood had a storm flap in the front. It has an anti-chafe chin guard so you won’t get red, irritated skin on your face when the hood is pulled tight.
It comes in 15 different color choices. Some are bright and some are subdued, so there’s a color for every kind of racer.
It has adjustable cuffs on the sleeves so you can keep the rain off your arms and off your performance watch.
There’s a bottom cinch cord to ensure a good fit below your waist.
It uses a front zipper, meaning the water will be entirely blocked from getting through.
It has an inside pocket for storing little lightweight items.
It isn’t the most breathable jacket, but as long as you aren’t running in extreme heat, you’ll be able to tackle shorter periods of time wearing it.
The jacket tends to run a bit small, which you should be aware of if you plan to order it.
Women looking for a rain jacket that isn’t made for men will appreciate this Nike Rain Runner jacket. It’s made for the contours of a woman’s body.
It has a water-repellent finish to keep out rain and light wind.
It has an adjustable hood to help you keep the hood from blowing off every few steps that you take.
The hood packs into the collar, so it’s not there bouncing up and down when you don’t need it.
Made of Dri-Fit fabric, this jacket is a solid sweat-wicking choice. It’ll keep you dry from both the rain and your sweat.
The sleeves aren’t overly tight, which can be a problem with running rain jackets.
It zips up high, if needed, to cover your chin and block the rain there as well.
There are vents on the chest and back areas to let even more air circulate to prevent you from overheating while trying to stay dry.
It has a zippered pocket for a little bit of storage.
This is an expensive rain jacket.
It isn’t unisex -- men will have to look elsewhere for a jacket.
This 100-percent nylon jacket may look simple and non-flashy, but it’s loaded with features that add up to a great performance.
If you’re looking for color choices, you’ve found the right jacket. There are almost 30 different colors for you to choose from.
This jacket fits a large assortment of sizes, from small to triple XXX. That means runners of all sizes can have rain protection.
It has a zipper closure.
It is waterproof and breathable, so you’ll stay dry and cool mile after mile.
It has a lined chin guard that will keep your chin comfortable while you’re keeping it dry.
Once the rain disappears, your jacket can too -- it stuffs into its own pocket and can be carried easily after that.
It features a drawstring hem so you can cinch this jacket as tight as you want.
The adjustable hood rolls into its own collar.
It’s breathable enough to use even in the hottest of weather.
It has underarm zippers that you can unzip to let in some air if you start getting too hot.
It doesn’t have interior pockets -- only two side pockets.
The pockets aren’t a good choice for storing your keys. Any sharp item would tear up or compromise the condition of this thin fabric over time.
If both you and your bank account are tired of buying expensive running gear, this 100-percent nylon jacket might be just what you’re looking for. It only costs a fraction of what other running jackets do.
This jacket has 11 colors to choose from, including several bright ones which will give you greater visibility.
This lightweight jacket is waterproof, holding up well in tough rains for about 30 minutes.
It also offers UV protection, so if you’re tired of slathering on the sunscreen before your runs, you could wear this jacket instead and save the sunscreen only for your legs and face.
Even in hot weather, this jacket doesn’t overheat you.
This breathable jacket won’t feel restrictive, even when you’re pumping your arms full speed.
It’s a good jacket for protection from the wind.
It has a drawstring waist and two fairly large zipper pockets.
The jacket has elastic cuffs to protect your arms from the rain.
It’s a good unisex option.
This jacket can be folded up in no time flat and carried easily for the remainder of your run.
Although this jacket comes in several sizes, it won’t be big enough for larger runners.
The jacket runs small -- you might want to order one or two sizes bigger.
This 100-percent polyester ASICS jacket will have you riding out the bad weather in comfort and style.
This jacket has a water-repellent finish.
It’s great for added visibility -- it has a 360-degree reflective thread woven in so that you’ll be safe, even when running in the dark.
It’s mesh-lined, so it’ll dry quickly once the rain stops.
It has zippered vents and hand pockets, plus you can keep your iPod dry by using the zippered pocket on the chest, which was made for the safety of electronics.
There’s a media loop on the inside collar and a removable hood for days when you’re running in wind instead of rain.
This jacket has adjustable cuffs with thumbholes. That’s nice if you get tired of the sleeves riding up when you use your arms to propel your run.
It’s a good jacket to wear in colder weather as well as warmer days if you layer it with a good base.
It only goes up to extra large in size. That isn’t big enough to fit larger-sized women runners.
There are only three colors to choose from.
The cut tends to run on the smaller size because it’s so form fitting.
And the Winner Is …
While it won’t work for all sizes, when it comes to the price and quality, it’s hard to beat the Kuer unisex jacket. The fact that this lightweight jacket offers protection from both rain and the sun makes it an appealing option. You can continue to wear it until your run is over because it won’t overheat you, or if you want to ditch it, you can fold it up and forget you’re even carrying it.
It helps with visibility if you order it in one of the bright colors it comes in. If you love running while wearing a watch, the elastic cuffs will make sure that expensive piece of equipment is protected from the rain.