Salomon Agile Review
Cons: Uncomfortable, breathability
Our Analysis and Test Results
We put this jacket through the wringer. We took it on runs around town in both cold and downright frigid temperatures. We ran in rain, sun, and high winds. Running around town, we felt like there was adequate protection from the occasional light rain shower and we never started out running feeling like we were too cold.
Breathability and Venting
The Agile is one solid piece of ripstop nylon. It has vents along the shoulders and upper back to allow for airflow. Unless you are getting a strong headwind, the vents don't perform as well as we would like. Wearing the Agile you get the sense that if you don't titrate your output, you will be overwhelmed with moisture inside the jacket.
In the end, the Agile had less than adequate venting for aerobic activity but more than adequate for walking, or even walking fast. If breathability and venting are a top priority, which they should be, the Agile will need some tweaks to the design before it can be a contender with breathable jackets such as the Arc'teryx Incendo.
The Agile, earning 5/10 for weather resistance, had a similar DWR infused nylon that most of the jackets we tested utilized. Within the first mile of running in moderate rainfall, we stayed dry inside the jacket. Once we hit mile three things started to go downhill for the Agile and for us, since we were inside the Agile. Water started to permeate the nylon and the resulting two miles were difficult. The jacket continued to take on water and we went from a pleasant dry run to a cold and wet remaining few miles home.
On days when the rain was intermittent and the Agile had time to dry, its performance was adequate. When we compare the Agile to a jacket such as the Arc'teryx Incendo the weather proofing inadequacies are more apparent. The Incendo does a fantastic job and shedding water and keeping the runner dry. With its chunky seams, the Agile allows water in quicker and dries slower.
Comfort and Mobility
The Agile is a good looking and functional jacket and again if you are taking this garment on runs up to 3 miles there really isn't anything wrong with it. In that amount of time, the bigger abrasive seams won't have time to bug you and the lack of movement in the shoulders and arms probably won't be an issue.
When we went on longer more involved outings, the Agile felt restrictive and uncomfortable to take off and put on. The seams on the insides of the shoulders and arms are on the abrasive side. This jacket is best suited for those who want to throw something on, run their couple miles, and be done with it.
The Agile is the only jacket from our reviewing field that didn't have a small stuff pouch to transport the jacket. This furthers our recommendation that this jacket is best suited for donning at home, doing your run, and putting the jacket back on the coat rack. It does stuff down quite small but you would need to find a stuff sack to contain it. The Agile tipped our scale at about 5.8oz which is fairly light and certainly far from being a burden if you stuff it in a backpack. Though it wasn't a burden in the pack, there are much lighter jackets which provide the same or better performance.
Day and Night Visibility
Supposing you get one of the brighter versions of the Agile, it does have pretty good visibility. At night we found the reflective tags on the chest and arms to be adequate, and none of the colors are dull earth-tones which we would avoid for a running jacket.
The Agile is best suited for rainy climates in which you might only run a few miles at a time. Because of the comfort issues, wearing this jacket for marathon distances would be unbearable. The weather resistance was adequate and could potentially make this jacket decent for bike commuting or another activity where you could easily control your heart rate. For high output running, this jacket lacks the necessary venting and breathability.
For $90, the Agile isn't bad value for money. You get a decently water resistant jacket with good reflective markings for safety. There are other jacket options such as Top Pick winner The North Face Run Crew Wind Anorak that offer some superior features for a similar price. When we take into consideration that you can get a jacket like the Outdoor Research Tantrum II for a few dollars more the value does drop.
The Salomon Agile running jacket is best suited for short runs around town when the only times you are going to put on and take off the jacket are at your house. It offers DWR treated nylon to keep the light rain and mist off your back while maintaining a semblance of breathability. We wouldn't necessarily take this jacket on long excursions or on runs where you know there will be hills involved as the breathability and venting just isn't made to handle that much extra heat and moisture. Overall, the jacket is solidly made and looks good.
— Brian Martin