Hooded Version vs. Jacket Version
See a comparison between the new hoodie version of the Agile and the jacket version we tested. The new hoodie retails for the same $90 MSRP as the jacket. We link to that hooded version above.
However, as we haven't yet tested the Agile Hoodie, the following review is in reference to the jacket version only.
Hands-On Review of the Agile Jacket
Though a decent wind layer, the Salomon lags behind the competitors on the necessary features of a running-specific jacket.
Getting ready to hit the trail with the Agile from Salomon.
Breathability is one of the most important qualities of a running jacket because, unlike some of our other favorite outdoor activities, running always includes working up a sweat. Our testing team looked to venting and material construction to directly compare all the jackets in this review.
The Agile has a moderate amount of breathability, but the lack of venting and a thicker material make it a bit stuffier than some of its competitors. There are tiny vents in the shoulders, but we found this to be essentially ineffective. It would have been great to see a change in materials in the back or underarms to both lighten the jacket and provide more breathability.
This less breathable jacket was not one of our top scorers.
Compared to the light material of the Patagonia Airshed, the Agile is much heavier and therefore less prone to easy airflow. There are many jackets in this review, like The North Face Flight RKT that find a nicer balance between weight and breathability.
If you're anything like us, you want to get out no matter how bad the weather is, so you need a running jacket that can keep up with you. Weather resistance includes the ability to protect us from wind, cold weather, and precipitation.
After months of hands-on testing, our review team found the Agile to have average weather resistance. It performed well in the wind, similar to the lighter wind jackets in this review, like the Outdoor Research Tantrum, but its rain protection was sub-par. Additionally, despite lousy breathability, this jacket provided little insulation, making it a poor choice for particularly cold days.
Comfort is a bit different for everyone, so we gave these jackets to our friends and colleagues to get feedback and reach a consensus. We asked our testing team to look at materials, fit, and mobility to provide a final score on each product's overall feel.
The Agile is tight and stiff through the shoulders and back.
The Agile has a slim fit, but we wish there were more room and stretch. We felt fairly constricted in the back, shoulders, and arms, especially when the jacket was zipped. We did really like the smooth material, despite its lack of breathability, though it was nothing special compared to the other contenders in this review.
Unlike many of our favorite outdoor activities, running often involves venturing out sans backpack. Without a place to store our gear, we have to great creative when trying to make running jackets more portable. For this metric, we evaluated the weight and packability of each product to see how easily we could bring them along with us.
The Agile was above average in weight, but still far behind its many competitors who ran in around three ounces. At 4.65 ounces, this jacket was noticeably heavier than some of our favorite lightweight layers, like the Patagonia Airshed. While we wouldn't classify this jacket as heavy, per se, it quickly became difficult to choose this jacket over some of its lighter competitors.
Zipping up the heavier Agile during our breathability test.
The second reason the Agile received a lower score in this category, despite its not-that-heavy weight, was its lack of packability. Without a pocket to fold into, it was increasingly difficult to be motivated to bring this jacket with us on outings. If we had a running pack, we could stuff it away, but if we were out for shorter missions and didn't need a pack, we had no way to stow the Agile if we warmed up and wanted to shed layers. We realize that runners have been tying their jackets around their waists for decades now, but with so many packable options to choose from, why bother?
To separate windbreakers and rain jackets from running layers, our testing team looked at all the little details. We wanted to know what features the manufacturers had included appealing directly to runners, and there were a few things we started to expect in a good running jacket.
The Agile has one small reflective stripe.
One of these necessities is visibility. We loved jackets, like the Brooks LSD, which included abundant reflectivity, particularly on the back. The Agile has a strip of reflective striping on the back shoulder and a small logo on the front. We wish the stripe on the back was more centrally located, as this shoulder stripe can be easily covered by long hair or pack straps.
This jacket does have two zippered front pockets which are useful, but we prefer having the pocket located on the chest or side where things are less likely to bounce around. We also liked jackets that had thumb loops to keep the sleeves down, like those found on the Arc'teryx Gaea. In the end, it seems like the Agile is just a windbreaker, not particularly suited for running.
The best application for the Agile is, truthfully, not running. It is fairly comfortable with decent weather protection, but its lack of portability, snug fit, and few features make it a tough choice for running.
At $90, the Agile is one of the most affordable jackets in this review. However, with the more packable, more breathable Brooks LSD priced at $85, we see few reasons to think this layer is a good value.
The Salomon Agile Wind Jacket is a decently comfortable layer better suited to casual wear than running. Without ample breathability or packability, this jacket was not designed with runners in mind like many of its competitors.