Running jackets are complex creatures, ranging from lightweight shells to insulated layers in a wide variety of prices, but after months of testing, we couldn't find a better value than the Brooks LSD. It's light without compromising great features and breathable without sacrificing weather resistance. We loved the fit and feel of this jacket and came away with the sense that Brooks truly designed this piece for runners. It's the most portable product in this review, and at a staggering $85, we couldn't be more excited to recommend it as the winner of our prestigious Best Buy Award.
Brooks LSD - Women's ReviewPrice: $85 List | $59.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight, easily packable, affordable
Cons: Not as breathable, fewer features
Bottom line: The LSD is an impressively affordable, super packable jacket.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
It's light, it's comfortable, and it's full of great features for runners. The LSD is an incredible value with high scores across the board.
A lot of factors go into making a garment breathable, from the materials and fit to the vents and panels. Because running is a high-intensity sport, no matter how fast or slow you're going, you're almost guaranteed to work up a sweat. Even on the coldest days, our testers quickly found themselves sweating through their less breathable clothing. We chose this to be the first metric we reviewed because of how crucial it was to our overall comfort and success, whether we were lapping the track or trekking deep into the backcountry.
The LSD has average breathability, and we really would have appreciated some more venting from this otherwise favorite jacket. The nylon jacket is made out of one cohesive fabric, and we found it to have a bit of that "trash bag effect" we found in a few of the other contenders.
For really sweaty workouts, the jacket started to cling to our skin, and we were disappointed in the lack of airflow. This piece has no venting, and our testers thought that pit and back panels of a more breathable material would have been an excellent addition to this product.
We tested these products for months on end, and one of the things we found was that weather resistance often comes at the price of breathability. A jacket that can effectively keep wind out also usually keeps sweat in, as it's meant to essentially prevent airflow.
We found this theory to be true with the LSD, as it was a little bit stuffy but great in windy conditions. We thought this jacket performed similarly in wind protection to the North Face Flight RKT and some of the other lightweight shell-style coats in this review.
Cold conditions are not the LSD's strong suit, as this jacket has minimal insulation. While it does lock in the body heat needed to warm you on a cold morning, we'd rather have a breathable insulating layer than a stuffy shell. This jacket isn't meant for serious precipitation, but it does surprisingly well in light rain. While we might not don the LSD when we know we're heading out into the storm, it does have ample protection to make us confident in its role as our contingency plans for when those summer rains come in out of nowhere.
We're often grappling with how important comfort is to a product's overall performance score. While some argue that technical characteristics are more important, others are quick to point out that uncomfortable garments tend to make our stoke nose-drive, thus affecting performance. No matter where you stand on the spectrum, you don't want your running jacket to hold you back.
The LSD's nylon construction was one of our favorites, especially out of the other lightweight competitors. We liked the smooth, soft touch, though we missed the stretchy properties of the Airshed.
The fit was great; an equal blend of athletic and form-fitting. Not too loose and not too tight, the LSD hugged our bodies without constricting them. We enjoyed a full range of motion, and we especially appreciated how the collar stood up easily without suffocating us. This jacket lacks the luxurious finish of the Airshed and Icebreaker Cool-Lite Rush, but for a jacket this light, we were incredibly impressed.
Running jackets are made to be used on the go, so what use would they be if they slowed us down? Our testers wanted to know how easy it was to bring each of these products along on any adventure, from quick races in bad weather to long backcountry missions. We evaluated two qualities for this metric, weight, and packability, to get an overall sense of each jacket's ease of transport.
The LSD was undeniably the most portable of any jacket we tested in this review. First, it was one of only a few products that weighed in at under three ounces. This weight is unbelievable, and it means you have no excuse to not bring this jacket along on your next adventure.
We have to admit: Brooks is nailing it by making these jackets truly running-specific. Along with the Brooks Canopy, the LSD features an elastic armband instead of a clip loop. While the clip loop featured on many of the other contenders is excellent for clipping to a harness or backpack, the armband is uniquely created with running in mind. Now, we don't have to bring along our running vest or pack just to stuff a jacket into. We loved being able to use these two Brooks layers on short runs where a pack was unnecessary but a jacket was essential. The armband plus a ridiculously lightweight design? We were sold, and these features were significant reasons why the LSD so easily took home the Best Buy Award.
Like we said, running jackets come in all shapes and sizes. Many of these jackets seemed to work in a variety of environments, but our testers wanted to know how well they were constructed for running specifically. We evaluated all their little details to see how well the manufacturer knows their audience.
The LSD has a few tremendous running-specific features that really sealed the deal. First, we thought the visibility was outstanding. With a small logo on the front and a long reflective stripe on the back, we thought the visibility was ample without going overboard.
The second feature we adored, which we discussed more above, was the elastic armband for easy transport. Genius. These two factors were featured in the Brooks Canopy as well. The last little detail we appreciated was that the singular pocket was located on the lower back. We thought this was deliberately placed, helping drive home our conclusion that Brooks really did make this jacket for runners. This pocket is large enough to easily hold a large phone, like the iPhone 6, another bonus.
Where could you not use this jacket? As the most portable jacket in this review, the LSD is a great companion for any workout where a jacket is necessary, but a backpack is not. The solid weather resistance and comfort make this a great choice for nearly any occasion, except for super hot or super cold temperatures.
Ah, we were excited to get to this part of the review. The LSD is, bluntly, an outrageously good value. At only $85, you get the weather resistance and comfort of the twice-as-expensive Flight RKT (for example), with even more features. Unless you're really looking for top-of-the-line weather resistance (see: Ultimate Direction Ultra Jacket) or stellar breathability (see: Airshed), the LSD and its price are pretty unbeatable.
We often gloat, here at OutdoorGearLab, that we spend months and months testing every product. And we do. But, sometimes you know that something is going to rock the moment you take it out of the box. That was the case with the LSD. We instantly loved its comfortable design and knew its features were top-notch. Yes, it could be more breathable, but as the least expensive jacket in this review, we were blown away.
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Most recent review: August 8, 2018
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