The North Face Winter Warm Insulated Pullover - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Winter Warm jacket from The North Face is great for chilly morning runs but lacks the breathability and weather resistance to be one of our top choices for overall performance.
As far as thicker jackets go, this one is pretty breathable. However, the North Face Winter Warm pullover is not as breathable as most of the running jackets we tested, though it is far warmer. As we have mentioned time and time again, breathability often comes at the cost of warmth and weather protection, as we found to partially be in the case here.
The Winter Warm pullover is much thicker than most other jackets we've tested in this review and includes insulated torso panels. This insulation makes it good for running on colder days or when there is a bit of snow in the forecast. There are mesh panels sewn into the underarm area of this jacket that provide some much-needed ventilation, and there is a half-zip option, so you can add a bit more airflow as needed. Besides these two features, however, this jacket does not offer much breathability. The insulated core panels ultimately make for a warm and steamy run.
Unfortunately, the North Face Winter Warm Insulated Pullover left us wanting a bit more in terms of weather resistance. The core panels are slightly water repellent, but that is all. The sleeves absorb even the lightest sprinkle, which can ultimately make this already heavy layer even heavier. Not only that, there is not a hood, so if you happen to get caught in wet weather, you won't have any head protection. Furthermore, cold winds cut right through the sleeves of this jacket, securing its position as a less-than-stellar windbreaker.
There are a few lovable qualities about the Winter Warm jacket, though. Because it is so warm, it makes a great middle layer on cold days. It might not be the most weather resistant, but its sleek fit makes it a great option to wear under a waterproof shell. The thumbhole feature also helps keep the sleeves in place so the wintery air can stay out.
Comfort and Mobility
The Winter Warm jacket is soft and cozy to the touch. Its polyester and elastane, single jersey knit with FlashDry technology feel comfortable to the touch and on your body. We never have any trouble with comfort or chafing while running in this jacket. The addition of elastane in running jackets has opening up a whole new world of mobility for runners. We used to think we had to run in baggy clothes to have full ranges of motion. But thanks to elastane, nearly every running jacket offers good mobility and a comfortable fit.
The Winter Warm is comfortable and doesn't inhibit movement while you run. However, this pullover runs a bit small through the shoulders, so we recommend sizing up if you don't like a svelte fit. Out narrow-shouldered tester had to peel this layer off inside out to remove it comfortably. This is by no means a deal-breaker but something to keep in mind as you shop. If you have wider shoulders, we definitely recommend sizing up. Aside from the shoulders, the rest of the fit is standard and true to size. We like that it doesn't have any elastic cuffing around the base. Because of its weight, it doesn't ride up like some of the lightweight options we've tested.
The Winter Warm absolutely left us hanging in the portability metric. This jacket doesn't have many options for efficient packing, minus stuffing it into its own kangaroo pocket. Since it is a kangaroo pocket, though, the bundle does not get very compact. In addition to its lack of packability, it weighs in at a whopping 8.9 ounces for a women's size small, which is quadruple some of the lightest running jackets available today. If you are headed out and don't plan to remove any layers, the Winter Warm jacket will work well. But if you want a layer to neatly and compactly stash on the go, this one isn't going to be it.
The North Face added quite a few thoughtful features when engineering the Winter Warm jacket. We like to look at every nitty-gritty detail, and in this metric, this pullover totally impressed us. Our favorite feature of this jacket is its thumb holes. We love having thumb holes to secure the sleeves in place and aid in keeping our wrists warm. We once heard that if your wrists and ankles are warm, the rest of your body will be too. We don't know if that is true, but there is something so cozy about being able to snuggle your thumbs into their own little spaces that warms us from the inside out.
The Winter Warm has mild amounts of added reflectivity. While these properties aren't as obvious as on other jackets, we love that this safety feature is becoming standard on running jackets. There is a long, reflective logo running vertically down the back of the jacket and a reflective heat transfer logo on the front left breast panel. If you are running in lowlight environments, we recommend adding some visibility of your own accord. However, the addition of these two reflective logos will help keep you visible in a pinch.
This cozy pullover is one of the least expensive in our test group. Because of this, we think it is a good value. It definitely isn't going to be your daily running jacket, as weather conditions change constantly. But if you are looking for a well-fitted middle layer to insulate your core as you tackle chilly outdoor adventures, the Winter Warm is a great choice.
Though the Winter Warm Insulated Pullover is unlike most of the jackets in our review, we think there is a time and a place for wearing it. It is best used beneath a light, weatherproof layer for insulation on frigid runs. It won't protect you from the elements, but it will keep you toasty while allowing other layers to do the dirty work. If you are in the market for a do-it-all style jacket, this one by The North Face will leave you wanting more. But if you want a sleek layer that is warm and attractive, this jacket is a great choice.
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