Winter Running Jackets
Even though temperatures are dropping, you don't have give up on exercising outdoors and head to the gym until spring. As long as you wear appropriate gear, you can skip the treadmill and continue running comfortably outdoors all throughout the winter. Specific men's and women's running jackets are designed for use in lower temperatures and have a variety of specific features to ensure you stay comfortable in the cold no matter how long you're outside running.
A quality winter running jacket will:
Keep you dry. Most cold weather running jackets feature fast-drying waterproof and windproof material that provides warmth, breathability, and protection the elements. They are made using fabrics that wick moisture from sweat away from the body, preventing you from getting too chilly. Jackets with fabric that drops lower in the back (called a "drop tail") protect the lower back and hips from splashing and mud that gets flicked off the back of the shoes.
Keep you warm. Technical, softshell, and thermal are a few general types of fabric used in men's and women's winter running jackets to lock in heat. These fabrics are strategically combined using panels that simultaneously allow for insulation and breathability. Even in low temperatures, a quality winter running jacket will take advantage of the body heat from your core, making it so that you only need to wear a base layer underneath. Extra features like thumbholes, a zipper garage with a draft flap, a drawcord hem, a high collar, and adjustable cuffs are added in some models to help seal in warmth.
Offer ventilation. Mesh vents on the back and sides of a jacket provide increased ventilation and air flow, keeping you warm but preventing overheating. Zippered underarm holes allow you to increase air flow at your convenience during those parts of a run when you feel warmer than normal; for example, while running up a hill.
Increase your visibility. If you're running in low-light conditions, it's essential to wear a reflective running jacket with detailed piping to make yourself more visible. Bright colors also aid in visibility, encouraging safety and ensuring you're seen from all angles.
Be comfortable. All in all, winter running gear should feel comfortable, making it easier to step outside into the cold. Different models often offer a variety of extra features that, in addition to keeping you warm and dry, increase convenience. Occasionally you will see detachable hoods and SPF protection listed as features of a winter running jacket. Additionally, front, side, chest, and back pockets can be included not only to keep your hands warm, but to provide maximum storage for securely stowing necessities on the run. Some jackets even have a headphone cord portal so you can run with music while still protecting the device. As with all clothing, the fit is important as well; women's running jackets typically have a more feminine, contoured fit, while men's running jackets have a more relaxed, athletic fit.