We took this piece out on multiple five-mile runs and tested it in the rain, snow, and on windy days. The only downside to this running jacket is that it turns out to be one of the heaviest pieces we tested, which makes it less than ideal for long distance running. If you're looking for something for those long runs, check out the Arc'teryx Incendo, or Montane Featherlite 7. And despite the plethora of pockets, it doesn't have a specifically designed pouch for your media device, like the Brooks Infiniti Jacket.
Saucony Sonic Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Saucony Sonic is an affordable running jacket that offers plenty of protection from rain and wind. If you're looking for the perfect layer for those short runs before work, or leisurely jogs, the Sonic will allow you to brave the elements without a second thought. Plus, at a mere $100, our Best Buy Winner won't break the bank either!
We thought that the Saucony Sonic breathed remarkably well. During all of our runs, no matter how much we sweat, the Sonic was able to vent out the moisture that we generated as we ran. The large vent flap that spans the width of the upper back/shoulders kept air circulation constant, without feeling as though it let out too much heat. Even during runs in freezing temperatures (while wearing multiple layers), we were impressed with how well it breathed. In warmer weather, around 40 degrees, we thought this running jacket excelled at keeping us dry. In both cases, there was almost no condensation on the inside of this layer after a five-mile run. Of all the products we tested, we think that only the Incendo and Marmot DriClime Windshirt compare to this piece in breathability.
When we tested the Sonic on windy days, we were impressed with how well it resisted stray gusts. Our first impression of this piece was that its thin material wouldn't stand up to even a mild breeze, but it blew our expectations out of the water. We found that the added material behind the zipper really beefed up the jacket's weakest point of wind resistance. Besides the vent flap on the back of the torso, there is no other opening for the wind to enter — no mesh panels, or vents. And because the vent on the back overlaps the fabric beneath it, it really doesn't let in the wind unless there's a very strong tailwind. If you need something more stout against the wind, check out the Marmot DriClime Windshirt.
Like most of the running jackets we tested, the Sonic uses a DWR chemical finish to repel water. There's nothing more satisfying than watching droplets of water bead up and roll off every inch of fabric. After running with the Sonic in the rain, we were also impressed by its resistance to absorbing water. In both light and heavy rains this piece repels water effectively. Even the vent on the back of this product overlaps so water can't find its way inside. Other options for great water resistance are the Sugoi HydroLite or Montane Featherlite.
The Saucony Sonic has a few features that made it really stand out, one being its USB LED rechargeable light. The light clips on easily enough, but we found that we were a little worried that it could easily pop off. Before we went out for a jog, we tested its staying power by shaking it vigorously. Unfortunately, the light came off pretty easily. On our runs, we cinched it down in the zipper of a pocket and it did fine. Designed solely to make you more visible to others (not to be used as a headlamp), this light has two settings: strobe and a continuous beam; after a few runs, simply plug it into the USB port on your computer for a recharge. The Sonic also features a decent amount of reflective material along the zippers, and the seams on the back. Additionally, two drawstrings, accessed through the pockets, can be pulled to cinch down the bottom of the piece. We thought the drawstrings helped significantly in keeping out the wind on those particularly breezy days.
If all that wasn't enough, our Best Buy winner comes fully decked out with five pockets, including two side pockets, one breast pocket, and two open interior pockets. Sadly, if you're running, those open interior pockets are a little too loose to really keep items in place, we found that soft goods like hat or gloves typically fell out during our run. Otherwise, this piece has more pockets than we knew what to do with. Our only complaint in the pocket department was that the Sonic lacks a waterproof media pocket specially designed to carry electronic devices.
Weighing in at 9 ounces, the Sonic is one of the heavier pieces we tested. However, if you aren't running a marathon and are just getting in a quick jog before work, you won't notice the four-ounce difference between the Sonic and some of the lightweight pieces we tested. And if the added pockets are an absolute necessity, the weight is something that you'll have to give some ground on anyway. However, if you are going to be doing some long distance running and need to shed as much extra weight as you can, be sure to consider the Arc'Teryx Incendo.
We loved that this piece had enough extra fabric to allow great freedom of movement. The sleeves reach to about the middle of our hands when our arms are fully straightened. The length of the material is also great, hanging a few inches below our waist. There's enough room and stretch in the shoulder area that we didn't feel restricted at all.
We think that this product a great option if you are looking for a layer to withstand anything the weather could throw at you during your run. Assuming, of course, that you aren't trying to best your splits in hurricane conditions! It is a thin piece, which means that it's ideal for mild to warm conditions from 40 to 60 degrees, but not for sub-freezing temperatures. Thanks to its reflective tape and integrated LED light, this piece is also ideal for your early morning or dusk workouts, especially if you're an urban runner.
The Saucony Sonic performed well across an array of our metrics and it only costs $100 - which is exactly what we look for in a Best Buy Award winner. It can handle the rain and wind, and it breathes! Though its weight is a drawback, it does come loaded with some cool features, like a plethora of pockets and a USB LED rechargeable light. This running jacket offers some serious bang for your buck!
Overall, the Saucony Sonic is a great choice if you need something to protect you from harsh weather. It repels water well and it breathes great. On top of its performance in these areas, this product has copious amounts of pockets, and a nifty USB LED rechargeable light perfect for the safety-conscious runner. Despite its heavy weight, it only costs $100, so who can complain? That's why we've given the Sonic the Best Buy award. If cost isn't a concern, be sure to check out the Editors' Choice winner, the Arc'Teryx Incendo, which will run you about $15 more.
— Jared Dean