The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

How We Tested Running Jackets

By Brian Martin ⋅ Review Editor
Wednesday May 22, 2019
The Arc'teryx Incendo made the testing easy. This was a comfortable  breathable  and water resistant jacket.
The Arc'teryx Incendo made the testing easy. This was a comfortable, breathable, and water resistant jacket.

Selection Process


We plucked the highest-rated and favorite jackets from the previous running jacket review and added on some newcomers that were highly rated and showed promise. When it was all said and done, we had spent hundreds of miles of our lives putting these jackets through their paces. Through those miles, we gained intimate knowledge of each contender and how it will perform in a variety of situations.

We exhaustively put each jacket through identical tests to get an idea of which jackets performed best in which areas.
We exhaustively put each jacket through identical tests to get an idea of which jackets performed best in which areas.

Testing Metrics


To test the products for this review, we (not surprisingly) did a lot of running. Over the course of our year-long testing process, we ran in each jacket a minimum of five miles at a time, and we wore each piece at least once a week (we did need a rest day). This allowed us to test all the models in some pretty intense conditions through late winter and into the very rainy spring in Salt Lake City. We ran in conditions that would typically be too intense (for what is normally considered an adequate running jacket) to push each jacket to its limits.

Hands down the best real world test for a jacket's breathability and venting is to put on the jacket and power up hills.
Hands down the best real world test for a jacket's breathability and venting is to put on the jacket and power up hills.

Our goal was to push these jackets beyond what they were made to do and find the point where each would break down. This meant wearing each one in pouring rain, near hurricane force winds, and in absurd temperatures. In each category, the highest performing garment would get a rating of 9 or 10/10, and we would adjust the score accordingly depending upon performance.

In addition to the real world testing, we also put the fleet through several, more objective, tests such as a water resistance test, to see how long it would take standing water to permeate the jacket, as well as weighing each jacket with the same scale, and comparing its packed size. The result is a clear picture of what each model offers and what environments each is best suited for.

While many of the jackets will suffice  few were capable in all of the categories we tested.
While many of the jackets will suffice, few were capable in all of the categories we tested.