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The North Face Summit FutureFleece LT Hooded Pullover - Women's Review

An excellent lightweight, breathable fleece shirt to level up your winter running wardrobe
the north face summit futurefleece lt hooded pullover for women fleece jacket review
Credit: The North Face
Price:  $129 List
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Maggie Nichols ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 29, 2022
67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 4.5
  • Comfort - 25% 7.5
  • Versatility - 20% 7.0
  • Breathability - 15% 9.5
  • Layering Ability - 15% 5.5

Our Verdict

The North Face Summit FutureFleece LT Pullover is more like a fleece shirt than a fleece jacket and has all the right attributes and features that make it our Top Pick for Running. A checkered fleece pattern leaves plenty of space for excess body heat to vent as you log your miles in this super lightweight shirt. Elastic bands that double as cuffs and thumb loops make it just as easy to hook the ends over your thumbs when it's cold as it does to push them up when you need extra air. A high neck on a fitted hood ensures that it stays up even running directly into the wind and offers neck warmth even when down. Though this ultrathin fleece isn't as versatile as most other models in our lineup, its utility as a running layer is nearly impossible to overstate.
REASONS TO BUY
Exceptionally breathable
Extremely lightweight
Clever thumb loops
Great neck protection
Shirt-like comfort
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as warm
Hard to layer over other things
Lighter colors are somewhat see-through

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Exceptionally breathable, extremely lightweight, clever thumb loops, great neck protection, shirt-like comfortVery stretchy and comfortable, cozy and warm, breathable, comparatively compactSoft interior, pockets are high enough for hip belts, robust wind guards on zippers, easy to layerVery stretchy, comfortable thumbholes, extended coverage, packable, very breathable, great warmth-to-weight ratioInstantly cozy, soft and fluffy, affordable, lots of color options
Cons Not as warm, hard to layer over other things, lighter colors are somewhat see-throughSlim fit doesn't work for everyone, not very windproof, fuzzy exterior collects debrisShorter torso and sleeves, less stretchy, stiff zippers and wind guard make hood awkwardChest pocket looks bad, oddly long cut, light colors are see throughNo pockets, challenging to layer, not breathable, less wind resistant
Bottom Line An excellent lightweight, breathable fleece shirt to level up your winter running wardrobeAn extremely versatile fleece with lightweight breathability and stretchy comfort combined with midweight warmth and protectionA simple and lightweight sweatshirt-like jacket that's comfortable to wear, if lacking in a few detailsThis lightweight fleece features good technical performance and coverage, a great warmth-to-weight ratio, and a reasonable priceA simple pullover with a classic design that's cozy, relaxed, easy to love, and affordable
Rating Categories The North Face Summ... Patagonia R1 Air Fu... The North Face Cany... Outdoor Research Vi... Columbia Benton Spr...
Warmth (25%)
4.5
7.5
7.0
6.0
8.0
Comfort (25%)
7.5
9.0
7.0
6.5
7.5
Versatility (20%)
7.0
8.0
6.5
7.0
6.0
Breathability (15%)
9.5
8.5
7.0
9.0
4.0
Layering Ability (15%)
5.5
7.0
7.5
7.0
4.0
Specs The North Face Summ... Patagonia R1 Air Fu... The North Face Cany... Outdoor Research Vi... Columbia Benton Spr...
Type Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Midweight
Main Material Polyester Recycled polyester 96% recycled polyester, 4% elastane 94% polyester, 6% spandex Polyester
Cuff Construction Elastic band Quick-drying woven binding Elastic cuff Same fabric as jacket Elastic cuff
Weight 4.4 oz 10.7 oz 10.6 oz 8.9 oz 10.4 oz
Hood Option? Yes Yes Yes No No
Number of Pockets None 2 hand, 1 chest 2 hand 1 chest None
Features Off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams, thumb holes, scuba hood, moisture wicking Off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams, moisture wicking Chin guard, elastic hood hem, full length wind guard Thumbholes, flat seam construction, UPF 30, moisture wicking, off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams, chin guard Comfort stretch, extended collar

Our Analysis and Test Results

The North Face Summit FutureFleece LT Pullover is a (very) lightweight fleece that's more akin to a shirt than a jacket. It's made of polyester and has a hood but no pockets. It features thumb loops, seams removed from the shoulders and armpits, and a moisture-wicking interior.

Performance Comparison


the north face summit futurefleece lt hooded pullover for women fleece jacket review - the summit futurefleece lt pullover is an ideal layer for winter...
The Summit FutureFleece LT Pullover is an ideal layer for winter running.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Warmth


If you're after a super warm, thick, fluffy fleece, turn away now. The Summit LT Pullover is much thinner and cooler than any other fleece in this lineup. It's not the layer we'd recommend for cozying up on the couch on a cold winter's day. On the other hand, considering its weight and overall thickness, it still offers a good amount of heat. The Summit Pullover is about as warm as a lightweight sweatshirt or a thick long-sleeved shirt. The outside of the shirt feels smooth, like any other shirt. On the inside is where the FutureFleece can be seen. A checkered pattern alternates the shirt weave with small squares of thin but fluffy fleece.


A longer torso helps keep you covered, even without any drop hem to extend over the top of your bum. The elastic bands that form the shirt's lightweight cuffs are left unattached on the sides directly over your thumbs. When the thumbholes are in use, the sleeves cover roughly half of the backs of our hands. A very fitted, scuba-style hood easily stays up even when worn over a ponytail and running directly into a stiff breeze. When the hood is down, its tall front offers neck warmth. We like wearing this fleece on early fall days when it's just chilly rather than cold, and we love wearing it over a next-to-skin baselayer on cold winter morning runs.

the north face summit futurefleece lt hooded pullover for women fleece jacket review - the tight-fitting scuba-style hood easily stays up no matter how the...
The tight-fitting scuba-style hood easily stays up no matter how the wind may howl.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Comfort


The small checkers of fuzziness on the inside of the FutureFleece Pullover add to this garment's softness and coziness. It's also extremely lightweight and stretchier than average, further adding to its comfort. The cuffs are rimmed with a thin, flexible, soft elastic band about an inch wide. This super soft elastic is comfortable to wear on our arms and stretches and folds easily to maintain exceptional comfort when looped over our thumbs. The high neck adds comfort with the hood both up and down.


There are no pockets anywhere on the Summit LT Pullover, but since it feels more like a shirt than a jacket, we oddly didn't find ourselves missing that option. This fleece is a slim fit with a slightly tapered waist, meant to lay close to the body rather than provide extra room inside. It is stretchy, but not enough to be overly accommodating to diverse body types. There's more room for wider hips in this top than for a large bust.

the north face summit futurefleece lt hooded pullover for women fleece jacket review - the elastic band cuffs double as thumbloops in a clever and...
The elastic band cuffs double as thumbloops in a clever and comfortable system that's easy to wear or ignore as you so desire.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Versatility


Like several of the other lightweight fleeces we tested, the FutureFleece LT does not protect the wearer from precipitation or wind. Even a light mist soaks into this fleece and quickly transfers through to your skin or baselayer. With that said, it also dries exceptionally quickly. Since the checkered fleece pattern means you're only half covered in fuzzy fleece, all the non-fleece squares easily let the wind through this shirt as well.


We tested the size Small, and it weighs just 4.4 ounces, making the Summit Pullover by far the lightest fleece in our lineup. It's light to wear, light to pack, and easy to compress. Cramming this into a daypack for a late summer hike that might get cold as the sun sets is easy to justify. It's a great emergency layer for a little extra warmth in warmer months and is so small that we found no excuse to travel or hike without it.

the north face summit futurefleece lt hooded pullover for women fleece jacket review - the summit pullover is a great active layer.
The Summit Pullover is a great active layer.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Breathability


This is where the Summit LT Pullover really makes its mark. Expelling excess body heat through the non-fleece squares of the checkered fabric works like a charm. Where this is a detriment to the shirt's overall warmth, it is exceptional for breathability. A few other lightweight fleeces have pretty solid breathability, but this is the one we reach for when we know we're going to be extra sweaty the whole time we're outside — like on a run. And it's still warm enough that we wore it happily over a long-sleeved baselayer on pre-dawn runs with temperatures in the teens (F).


For those shoulder season activities where the temperature may continue to climb while you pound out the miles, pushing up the sleeves of the Summit Pullover is also comfortable and easy. Because the thumb loops are integrated so well into the cuff design of the shirt, it doesn't look weird to pull them up your forearms. Even without any other venting features, the FutureFleece of this shirt makes it the most breathable of any fleece we've ever tried.

the north face summit futurefleece lt hooded pullover for women fleece jacket review - with alternating checkers of fleece backing and just plain fabric...
With alternating checkers of fleece backing and just plain fabric, the Summit LT Pullover is the most breathable fleece we've ever tested.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Layering Ability


It's easiest to think about layering the FutureFleece LT Pullover like a slim long-sleeved t-shirt. It's possible to put another layer on underneath — even a slightly loose-fitting one (provided it's not looser than the Pullover itself) — but works best over a next-to-skin layer. It's also worth noting that the checkered FutureFleece pattern is clearly visible in certain colors, particularly when worn over a drastically different colored layer.


On the flip side, layering anything over the top of the Summit LT is a breeze. It's so thin that it adds almost no bulk to your overall outfit. Its slim fit also helps it to easily layer under even small jackets. This makes it a great addition to a summer backcountry kit that includes a fitted windbreaker or even a comfortable layer of warmth inside a bulky ski jacket.

the north face summit futurefleece lt hooded pullover for women fleece jacket review - the thinness of the material allows you to easily see contrasting...
The thinness of the material allows you to easily see contrasting colors worn underneath this fleece.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Should You Buy The North Face Summit LT Pullover?


The Summit FutureFleece Pullover is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive fleece we tested. If you want that classic fleece feel and thick, cozy warmth, this Pullover is not going to give you good value for your money. However, if you've been searching for a lightweight, highly technical layer that's warm yet breathable and great for warmer climates or high-output activities like running, the exceptional performance that this fleece shirt provides is well worth the investment.

What Other Fleece Jacket Should You Consider?


If your adventures are high octane and typically full of sweat, The North Face FutureFleece LT Pullover is the optimal layer for regulating body temperature. But if your adventures go back and forth from sweating to relaxing — like cold weather hiking or climbing — you may want to consider the warmer, still very breathable Outdoor Research Vigor. Or, if you tend to run cold in an already cold environment, the Patagonia R1 Air is a great option that's thicker and warmer while still reasonably breathable.

the north face summit futurefleece lt hooded pullover for women fleece jacket review - we adore the futurefleece lt pullover when breathability in cold...
We adore the FutureFleece LT Pullover when breathability in cold weather is paramount.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Maggie Nichols
 
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