Hands-on Gear Review

Saucony Sonic Review

Saucony Sonic
Best Buy Award
Price:  $100 List
Pros:  Breathable, Good water resistance, High visibility
Cons:  Heavy
Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
OGL Weight:  9 oz
Main material:  Primary 100% Polyester, Secondary Legacy Knit 56% Polyester, 44% Sorona
Unique Features:  USB LED Rechargable Clip on Light
Manufacturer:   Saucony

Our Verdict

Discontinued: As of June 2017, the Sonic is No Longer Available
Our Best Buy Award winner, the Saucony Sonic offers a welcome relief from the elements. It's an awesome full-zip running jacket that features great breathability, and it can hold its own in both wind and water resistance. Additionally, this piece comes with enough pockets to store anything you could want to bring with you on a run. And if that wasn't enough, Saucony included a USB LED rechargeable light perfect for maximizing low-light visibility. It's almost unbelievable that such a high-performing product would only set you back $100, which is why we've given it our Best Buy award.

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.


RELATED REVIEW: Best Running Jackets for Men

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jared Dean

Last Updated:
Wednesday
February 5, 2014

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The Saucony Sonic is one of the heavier jackets we tested  but it's not a serious drawback if you're not running a marathon.
The Saucony Sonic is one of the heavier jackets we tested, but it's not a serious drawback if you're not running a marathon.

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!

Performance Comparison



Breathability


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.

The vent flap on the back of the Sonic offers great ventilation and air circulation. This is what lets the Sonic breathe so well. Without it  moisture would condense on the interior if the jacket.
The vent flap on the back of the Sonic offers great ventilation and air circulation. This is what lets the Sonic breathe so well. Without it, moisture would condense on the interior if the jacket.

Wind Resistance


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.

The Saucony Sonic stands up to the wind well enough to retain some heat on breezy days. With the help of the vent flap  it breathes well enough that we were comfortable through the entire run.
The Saucony Sonic stands up to the wind well enough to retain some heat on breezy days. With the help of the vent flap, it breathes well enough that we were comfortable through the entire run.

Water Resistance


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.

Here the Sonic's water repellency is at work. Using a DWR finish  water rolls right off the jacket  whether it's a light or heavy rain.
Here the Sonic's water repellency is at work. Using a DWR finish, water rolls right off the jacket, whether it's a light or heavy rain.

Features


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.

The USB LED Rechargeable light is getting charged through a laptop. Twenty minutes of charging yields more than an hours' worth of charge.  Right: The quarter was added for scale.
The USB LED Rechargeable light is getting charged through a laptop. Twenty minutes of charging yields more than an hours' worth of charge. Right: The quarter was added for scale.

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.

This is one of the interior pockets  which is constructed of a mesh material. It's a very loose compartment  and unfortunately isn't a very secure spot during a run.
This is one of the interior pockets, which is constructed of a mesh material. It's a very loose compartment, and unfortunately isn't a very secure spot during a run.

Weight


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.

Here is the Sonic being tested on a winter day in central New York.
Here is the Sonic being tested on a winter day in central New York.

Fit


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.

The Saucony Sonic has a great fit. It's slim  but the fabric has enough elasticity that our range of motions isn't hindered. The LED light is attached on the pocket.
The Saucony Sonic has a great fit. It's slim, but the fabric has enough elasticity that our range of motions isn't hindered. The LED light is attached on the pocket.

Best Applications


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 USB LED rechargeable light can clip on any zipper or even the collar of the jacket. It's held in place by a small clip on the backside of the light. We recommend cinching it in a zipper to fully secure it in place.
The USB LED rechargeable light can clip on any zipper or even the collar of the jacket. It's held in place by a small clip on the backside of the light. We recommend cinching it in a zipper to fully secure it in place.

Value


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!

The Saucony Sonic is our Best Buy award winner for how well it performed in all of our tests and how inexpensive it is.
The Saucony Sonic is our Best Buy award winner for how well it performed in all of our tests and how inexpensive it is.

Conclusion


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.

The LED light and reflective material on the Saucony adds some safety to your run. The reflective material is found lining the zipper  as a strip on the outside of both arms  and reflective logo on the front and back of the jacket.
The LED light and reflective material on the Saucony adds some safety to your run. The reflective material is found lining the zipper, as a strip on the outside of both arms, and reflective logo on the front and back of the jacket.
Jared Dean

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Most recent review: February 5, 2014
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
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