Women's Trail Jackets

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How to choose the right trail jacket?

The running and trail jacket is an essential piece of equipment for any runner or trail runner, offering effective protection against the elements during a race. Whether it's wind, cold, rain or snow, it's crucial to always have a protective jacket with you to stay warm and dry.

However, it can be difficult to know which trail jacket to choose and for what purpose. Between windproof running jackets, water-repellent jackets and waterproof trail jackets, each model offers its own advantages and levels of protection. So it's vital to know how to make the right choice to select the jacket that's right for you.

Why buy a running jacket?

The running and trail jacket is an essential and versatile piece of running equipment. Whether you're warming up, training, taking part in a short race or a trail/ultra-trail, it offers confidence and comfort whatever the weather conditions: heat, cold, wind, rain, snow, etc., without the risk of catching a chill.

In fact, a windproof running jacket prevents heat loss by maintaining your body temperature. A water-repellent or waterproof jacket protects you from the undesirable effects of cold and rain, such as chafing or the risk of hypothermia.

A running jacket, whether for winter or summer, also allows you to carry all your running and living essentials, such as an energy bar, keys or phone, and store them in practical, easy-access pockets.

It's worth noting that some trail or ultra-trail races require you to wear a running jacket as compulsory equipment to take part. This is particularly true of the UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc), which requires a waterproof, breathable trail jacket of a certain range.

Last but not least, it's a versatile piece of clothing that can be worn not only on the trail, but also in town or when traveling.

Its use

Your choice of trail running jacket will depend on your running style and, above all, the weather conditions in which you'll be running:
  • For running in dry or windy conditions: a lightweight windproof running jacket, worn over a first layer, will be sufficient to protect you from the cold and prevent heat loss. This type of windbreaker is thin and compressible, making it easy to pack in a bag. If it's also treated to be water-repellent, it will come in handy in light rain, while remaining highly breathable.

  • For a race in light rain or a little snowfall: a water-repellent trail jacket will be ideal, as it will protect you from drops of water without the textile becoming waterlogged, while remaining breathable. A water-repellent running jacket can be worn directly over a first layer.

  • For a race in heavy rain: a waterproof trail jacket in Gore-Tex membrane or similar will be needed to protect you from strong wind, water and moisture, while maintaining good breathability.

  • For running in low-visibility conditions (gray skies, night runs): a reflective running jacket with retroreflective elements on the front and back is essential for visibility.

So, the more difficult the weather conditions, the more you'll need to equip yourself with a high-performance jacket to stay perfectly protected.

What are the criteria?

When choosing a running jacket, it's important to consider several criteria to find the one that best suits your needs:
  1. Waterproofing: Make sure the jacket offers effective water protection to keep you dry during your runs in the rain.

  2. Breathability: Choose a jacket that wicks away perspiration to keep you cool and dry during exercise.

  3. Wind protection: Check whether the jacket features windproof technology to protect you from gusts and maintain your body temperature.

  4. Thermoregulation: Choose a jacket that offers good temperature regulation, protecting you from the cold while avoiding excessive overheating.

  5. Weight: Choose a lightweight jacket that won't weigh you down while you're running, and facilitates your freedom of movement.

  6. Size and comfort: Make sure the jacket fits snugly and offers a good level of comfort to avoid chafing or restricted movement.

  7. Finishes and accessories: Check the details of the jacket, such as sealed seams, practical pockets, reflective elements for better visibility, and so on.

By taking these criteria into account, you'll be able to find the running jacket that's best suited to your requirements and your sport.


Waterproofing is the essential criterion when choosing a trail jacket. It corresponds to a jacket's ability to prevent the penetration of rain, snow and moisture inside the garment, thanks to a hydrophilic membrane or coating applied to the textile. It's important to consider the waterproofness of the fabric as well as that of the seams and zips.

The waterproofness of a fabric is measured in Schmerber units, which range from 0 to 30,000. This index represents a fabric's resistance to the pressure exerted by a column of water 1 mm high. The higher the index, the more waterproof the fabric. For example, a trail jacket with a waterproof rating of 10,000 mm, considered waterproof, will withstand a column of water 10 meters high. A running jacket is considered perfectly waterproof from 20,000 Schmerber.

It's important to note, however, that the more waterproof a running jacket is, the heavier it can be and the less breathable it will be. A running jacket that manages to combine optimum waterproofing and breathability will therefore generally be more expensive. It's also important to distinguish between a waterproof running jacket and a waterproof trail jacket, the latter offering little or no breathability.


Breathability is often a neglected criterion, but it's essential to avoid the accumulation of perspiration during exercise. A breathable running jacket wicks away moisture, i.e. the runner's perspiration, to keep him or her dry and avoid any build-up of water vapor inside the jacket that could cause wetness.

The breathability of a running jacket can be measured in two ways: the RET (Thermal Evaporative Resistance) system and the MVTR (Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate) system.

The RET system, used by American brands, evaluates a fabric's resistance to moisture wicking by means of a coefficient. The lower the coefficient, the more breathable the fabric. A trail jacket is considered breathable when its RET coefficient is below 12, and ultra-breathable when the coefficient is below 6.

The MVTR (Water Vapor Transmission Rate) system, used by French brands, measures the quantity of water vapor that can pass through the fabric in 24 hours. This rate is expressed in grams per square meter per day (g/m²/24h) and offers a breathability range from 0 to 30,000 MVTR, with 30,000 indicating an extremely breathable trail jacket. A running jacket is considered sufficiently breathable from 10,000 MVTR upwards.

These breathability measurements help you to choose a trail jacket that will efficiently wick away perspiration, keeping you dry and comfortable during your effort.


While most running and trail jackets are designed to be windproof, this is not always the case, and not all are equipped with specific protective membranes. However, it's important to make sure you have good wind protection. A windproof running jacket preserves body heat, so you don't have to expend extra calories fighting the cold.

Thermal regulation

Thermoregulation is another important criterion when choosing a trail running jacket. During a race, temperature variations can be sudden and drastic, which can cause great discomfort and have undesirable effects on the body. Good thermal insulation can therefore be essential.

A trail or ultra-trail jacket with thermoregulatory capacity can keep your body in a comfortable temperature zone, whatever the conditions outside. However, as with a waterproof jacket, it's important to ensure that the fabric is sufficiently breathable to wick away perspiration.


For optimum comfort and practicality, a running jacket should be lightweight, ideally weighing 200 grams or less. A compact, compressible jacket that can be folded in on itself will not only be comfortable to wear, but can also be easily stowed in a trail bag or worn on the hand or arm without discomfort.

Its comfort

To ensure the effectiveness of your running and trail jacket, it's important that it fits snugly and is comfortable to wear. Your jacket should be adapted to your morphology, whether you're a man or a woman, without being too tight or too wide. You should be able to wear it over your other layers of clothing without discomfort or feeling cramped.

Most trail jacket brands offer both fitted and loose-fitting models. It's up to you to choose the fit that suits you best. They often feature drawstrings at the wrists to adjust the sleeves and allow the passage of a connected watch, for example, as well as at the waist to prevent air infiltration.

When you wear your jacket on your shoulders, you should enjoy total freedom of movement, without any discomfort caused by the garment. What's more, your running jacket should be light enough to be comfortable to wear and not weigh you down when stowed in your bag.

If you have any doubts, or if you plan to wear your running jacket over a trail bag, it may be a good idea to choose a larger size than the one you usually wear.

Accessories and finish

Before choosing between windproof, water-repellent or Gore-Tex trail jackets, it's important to pay attention to the garment's finish and accessories.

The presence of a hood, whether integrated or removable, is extremely practical, especially for a waterproof trail jacket, as it protects the neck and head from the rain. An integrated visor can also prevent water from running down your face. Make sure, however, that it's adapted to your morphology, easy to put on and adjust with a drawstring, and can be worn over a cap, beanie, headlamp, etc.

Pockets are also important, as are their number, accessibility and watertightness. These pockets allow you to store your phone, keys, cereal bar, flask, etc. They must therefore be well designed, easy to access and waterproof. They must therefore be well designed, easy to access and waterproof to ensure that your belongings stay dry.

Finally, for night runs, it's essential to have reflective strips on your running jacket. They will reflect the light from car headlights and street lights, ensuring your visibility.
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