Lululemon Fast and Free Windbreaker - Women's Review
Cons: Pricey, no hood
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Lululemon Fast and Free Windbreaker - Women's
|Price||$198 List||Check Price at REI|
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|$129.00 at Amazon||$130 List||Check Price at REI|
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|Pros||Water-repellent, sleek, well-featured||Breathable, comfortable, great features||Incredibly lightweight, breathable||Super comfortable, breathable||Lightweight, comfortable, flattering, breathable, semi water-resistant|
|Cons||Pricey, no hood||Not the warmest||Few features, no hood||Less weather protection, no pockets||Not very warm|
|Bottom Line||This pricey running jacket is comfortably stretchy and well-featured, and is sure to keep you moving as quickly and freely as possible||A comfortable, breathable jacket that is well-equipped with great features for any runner||An incredibly light and breathable jacket ideal for fast and light alpine missions||This is a wildly comfortable and breathable jacket that's simple and effective||An affordable and surprisingly functional running jacket that is loaded with unexpected features|
|Rating Categories||Fast and Free Windbreaker||Merino Sport Ultra Light Hoody||Arc'teryx Cita SL - Women's||Airshed Pro Pullover||Agile Full-Zip Hoodie|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort And Mobility (20%)|
|Specs||Fast and Free...||Merino Sport Ultra...||Arc'teryx Cita SL...||Airshed Pro Pullover||Agile Full-Zip...|
|Measured Weight (ounces, size Small)||6.0 oz||5.1 oz||2.3 oz||4.1 oz||5.2 oz|
|Number of Pockets||3||2||1||0||2|
|Main Material||84% Recycled nylon, 16% Elastane||Main body: 100% recycled nylon
Trim/lining: 54% Merino Wool, 46% Polyester
|50% nylon, 50% polyester||Capilene Cool polyester in sleeves and hood, nylon stretch taffeta shell||88% polyester, 12% elastane, DWR finish|
|Unique Features||Svelte, back vent, extremely water proof||Merino wool panels, reflective material, media port||Two materials, sturdy collar||Two-way zipper||Lightweight|
|Vent Type||Back||Back and underarms||Back and underarms||Under arms||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Lululemon Fast and Free running jacket has some unique and surprising features that work really well. Despite these fancy features and its excellent water repellency, this running-specific piece leaves us wanting a bit more in terms of outdoor-oriented protection.
As we've found in the past, breathability often comes at the expense of weather protection. This is, unfortunately, the case with then Lululemon Fast and Free. It offers some breathability, but ultimately, we shed this jacket every time our body temps started to climb. In part because of its body material, and in part because of its tight-fitted style, the Fast and Free doesn't allow for much air transfer, thus decreasing our bodies' abilities to regulate our temperatures.
The Fast and Free by Lululemon doesn't have any special breathability features. It does offer good moisture-wicking properties and a full-length zippered closure. Your best bet for increasing airflow while running in this jacket is to run with it half-zipped. Because of its lack of breathability, we recommend the Fast and Free as a warm-up jacket. It is a great choice for track days. Once you warm up, you can toss it to the side and let the real work begin.
As mentioned, the Lululemon Fast and Free running jacket is wonderfully waterproof. Water slides right off of it, never even getting a chance to come into contact with your skin. One of our reviewers was wearing this jacket after a run and went out to water her garden. She accidentally sprayed water into her own sleeve. Not only did the sleeve repel the water from the inside, the water simply ran back out the way it went in. The fabric on the jacket didn't absorb a single drop. We find this jacket to be moderately windproof. It can definitely cut the intensity of icy gusts, but it won't be your first choice if you're in the market for a burly windbreaker.
Unfortunately, this is where our words of praise for the Fast and Free end for the weather resistance metric. It is a shame that Lululemon didn't take it a step further when tricking out this jacket. Water repellence aside, the jacket doesn't have any outdoor-specific features. There isn't a hood, so while your body might stay dry if a rainstorm hits while you're on the run, your head will get saturated immediately. The sleeves are long and well-fitting, but they don't offer any type of cuff for keeping the weather out or for securing them at your elbows if you like to have them pushed up.
Comfort and Mobility
The Lululemon Fast and Free is certainly comfortable. It is made of nylon and elastane, two textiles that are commonly used in running jackets. This combination of materials makes for added stretch, which definitely aids in the overall comfort of the piece. Be warned, if you do not like a fitted, femininely-tapered jacket, you won't enjoy the fit of this one. Furthermore, this jacket runs a bit smaller than we anticipated. Our small testers ran in a size 4, but we recommend sizing up one from your usual size for increased space and mobility. Or, there is always the opinion to stick with the small size for aerodynamic purposes.
The stretchy elastane of the Fast and Free makes it a pretty mobile choice. We never feel restricted while running in this jacket. But we also have tried many other jackets with more mobility options. To summarize this jacket's comfort and mobility rating; high in comfort, moderate on mobility. The stretchy fabric does add to the mobility, but the snug fit counteracts that a bit.
This is yet another metric in which the Lululemon Fast and Free is almost a high scorer. It weighs in at a standard 6.0 ounces for a women's size 4. This is heavier than some but lighter than others. It's heavy enough to skip if the weight of your pack is going to make or break your run, but we never feel like the weight of this jacket is burdensome.
The Fast and Free packs into its own pocket pretty well. It could be smaller, but it packs down to a small, manageable size. Similar to how this jacket's weight is just average, its packability is also average. We have tested jackets that are better suited for backcountry packing, but the Fast and Free is perfectly adequate for style-minded runners, weekend warriors, and urban runners.
Though the Fast and Free lacks a few key features that could propel it to the top echelon of outdoor gear, it boasts quite a few features that we are excited to tell you about. This jacket has great reflectivity via subtle, silver dots on both the front and back panels. This adds character and style, and visibility if you happen to be running in lowlight conditions.
The back panel has a low-set pocket for stashing nutrition, pepper spray, or whatever items you choose to run with. It is similar to the back pockets built into cycling kits. This pocket is split into three sections, which aids in organization, especially since you'll be reaching behind your back to grab your gear. The top of the pocket doesn't have a secure closure, but it has a light elastic banding across the top to provide a bit of stabilization of your belongings. We love utilizing these pockets since they sit so close to the body. The front pockets, explained in detail below, allow for a lot of bouncing when loaded with gear. The back pockets keep your items close so you can focus on your pace.
The front pockets of the Lululemon Fast and Free are standard in their low placement and size. They both have zippered closures and can hold a car key or credit card seamlessly. We love that we have the option to carry our gear dispersed throughout this jacket. That always aids in the general comfort a jacket can provide. There is even a mesh phone-specific pocket inside the right pocket for keeping your smartphone safe and snug.
The Fast and Free is one of the pricier jackets we tested. Ultimately, we do think the high price tag is worth it, but if you are looking for a budget buy, this probably isn't it. Furthermore, if you want a jacket that does it all, there are better options. This is a sleek, style-oriented running jacket, and we love it for what it is. If you want a rugged, outdoorsy running jacket to carry you through an ultramarathon, there are better options.
Overall, we have a lot of praise to sing about the Lululemon Fast and Free running jacket. It truly repels water, moves as you do, and looks great. Its high price tag and lack of a hood are both negatives, but as we've said, our praise is high. We love wearing the Fast and Free jacket to our morning track workouts. It keeps us warm and can be easily shed. If you are looking to impress someone in your running club, we recommend you roll up looking fly in the Fast and Free jacket.
— Ally Meller