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REI Airflyte Running Jacket Review

REI Airflyte Running Jacket
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Price:  $150 List
Pros:  Great look and attention to detail, good range of motion, good pockets, durable.
Cons:  Stiff material, expensive, narrow range of ideally suited activities, sticky zippers, not a slim fitting jacket.
Manufacturer:   REI
By Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Sep 19, 2011
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Our Verdict

This jacket has been discontinued.

The REI Airflyte Running Jacket was the most techy and durable wind jacket we tested. Some other wind jackets felt like trash bags compared to this. However, it is also least versatile and we had trouble determining exactly where it fit into our athletic apparel quiver. Many of the other jackets in this review were about as expensive. However, they also worked in a wide range of activities and offered emergency rain protection, wind protection, and even sun protection in warmer temps. The Airflyte on the other hand seems to have a much narrower use: running in 20-50 degree temps in dry conditions to a light drizzle. If those are the conditions you run in, this jacket might be perfect.

We mainly ran, biked, and hiked in this jacket in 40-60 degree temps where we found it less useful. For a running jacket, we lean more toward the Marmot DriClime, which is about half the cost, lighter, and better at managing sweat. Or, if lightweight travel is a top priority, we recommend the Patagonia Houdini or our Editors' Choice, the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody. Both jackets are the about the same cost as the Airflyte but more versatile. They will double as emergency rain and snow jackets and seal you off from high winds.

Our Analysis and Test Results


This was the burliest wind jacket we tested. Many other jackets crinkled up after repeated use but this jacket stayed stiff and fresh looking. It did the best job of repelling rain and snow of all the jackets we tested (on the panels that had eVent fabric). It has a great design with attention to detail. Of all the $125-150 jackets in this review, you could at least see where the money went on this one: different materials in creative panels, top shelf waterproof breatheable eVent fabric, watertight zippers and Velcro cuffs.

The spandex stretch panels in the arms give great range of motion. The rest of the jacket's material is quite stiff, which helps keep the jacket off your base layer and encourages airflow.

It has the most reflective material of any of the other wind jackets we tested. This is another reason why it is our top choice for running in cold early mornings or later after work.

It has nice deep pockets, ideal for holding gloves or a hat. Few other wind shirts had nice pockets.


The zipper is very sticky. When biking, we could not operate it with one hand to zip back up after a big climb when preparing for a downhill. We had to stop the bike to adjust it.

The material is stiff. When you bend over to tie your shoes it really crumples up. It also just bunches up on the stomach. Our main tester was 5' 10" 155 lb. and the jacket seems designed to accommodate a less slim figure.

This was the heaviest wind jacket in our review. It also does not compress very small relative to the other jackets we tested. Again, this is a jacket meant to put on at the car, run in, then return to the car. It is less a layer to take hiking or backpacking.

While the front panels do a great job of blocking water, the spandex side panels will let water in. It does work as a rain jacket in light rain if you are standing still.

Chris McNamara