The outdated version of the North Face Flight Better Than Naked Jacket was a fantastic running layer. It had venting panels similar to what we see with the 2017 Outdoor Research Boost which we love. Another layer with similar breathability is the Arc'teryx Incendo which also provides excellent weather resistance like the North Face Better Than Naked. In our original test of the Better Than Naked we were focused primarily on wind resistance as it was one of the competitors in the past wind jacket review. We felt like it was more of a running specialist than it was a wind protection layer as it was highly breathable and vented. The most recent version is a completely different story.
After getting to know this new jacket, our verdict is that North Face has done a 180 from the previous version. While there are vents sewn into the jacket along the ribs and back, the giant venting panels have been removed and replaced with a very slick and quiet 100% Nylon fabric. The entire jacket has taken on more of a wind jacket form with intermittent vents placed around the torso and we found the performance of the jacket to follow. It performed well in wind and weather resistance but poor in breathability. On our heart pumping uphill runs, the jacket would collect moisture and cling to our arms, whereas the previous version offered superior breathability. We did, however, find superior protection from the elements with this new version.
The North Face has replaced the Better Than Naked jacket with the Flight Better Than Naked jacket, shown in the photo above. Scroll on down to find out what's changed with the new version!