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

Best Budget Windbreaker for Women

Let us help you find your perfect  budget-friendly windbreaker.
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Thursday November 19, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Looking to layer up and stay protected? We've spent over 8 years testing the best women's windbreakers around to bring you 9 of the best budget-friendly options on the market today. We've tested jackets across environments, from the breezy Caribbean to the blustery Sierra Nevada and the rainy Pacific Northwest to the gusty Midwest. This lineup has been put through the test on runs, hikes, paddles, and long Saturdays of errand-running. We've taken the guesswork out of buying gear on a budget and have found the highest-performing value windbreakers that won't break the bank.

Looking for something more technical? Check out our full women's windbreaker review.

1

Best Women's Windbreaker


Adidas Essentials Linear - Women's


Editors' Choice Award

$45.00
(25% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 8.2 oz | Pockets: 2 hand
Solid protection from the elements
Lightweight and comfortable
Good, flattering fit and cut
Pockets are small and don't close
Water-resistance is limited

The Adidas Essentials Linear is an ideal lightweight layer for most everyday uses and transitions well to light exercise. This mesh-lined jacket offers just enough warmth for a crisp day without being too warm as the morning warms into the afternoon. It has a long drop hem that provides serious coverage or can be easily cinched up with a simple bungee cord that adjusts on both sides. The cuffs are fully elastic and covered with a soft material that makes them comfortable even pulled up your forearms, while the hood is large enough to accommodate your bun or ponytail. The outer shell shelters you from the wind and even protects you through short showers while the mesh liner wicks sweat away and keeps you comfortable.

However, it's not robust enough to work through any weather. Extreme wind and total downpours will both leave you wanting a more protective jacket, but for most everyday situations, the Essentials Linear is a good fit. Depending on your specific shape, you may find the shoulders a bit on the tight side for certain arm-focused activities like biking or climbing. We're not particularly impressed with the pockets, either, which seem like a bit of an afterthought. They're small, oriented upward to catch the rain, and have no closure system. While totally fine as hand rests, they're not something we like to trust our smartphones to for long. But we love the fit, feel, and functionality of this handy little windbreaker, and think it's a great option for just about every casual activity on a breezy day.

Fit: Athletic
Cuff Style: Elastic

Made of: 100% polyester

We love the length  coverage  fit  and comfort of this versatile and protective jacket from Adidas.
We love the length, coverage, fit, and comfort of this versatile and protective jacket from Adidas.

2

Best Bang for the Buck


Amazon Core 10 Performance Windbreaker


Best Buy Award

$44.17
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 11.5 oz | Pockets: 2 zippered hand
Solid wind protection
Comfortable cuffs and dual-direction zipper
Good for cooler climates and wicking moisture
Not great for overly active endeavors
Bulky and difficult to pack

Coming in at one of the lowest prices of this selection, the Amazon Core 10 Performance Windbreaker is actually a solidly performing jacket and one of the most budget-friendly options in this already budget-friendly lineup. It features a mesh lining that adds a little warmth on a cool day while wicking sweat away when you warm up. This double-layer construction provides decent wind and water protection in mild to moderate conditions. The elastic cuffs are wide and comfortable to slid up your forearm, while the dual-direction zipper allows you to zip it your way. Its pockets are impressively large and zip closed to keep your belongings secure.

As a middle ground between wicking sweat and warming you with mesh, this jacket doesn't do quite so well in either extreme. It's too warm for truly warm winds and not quite warm enough for those late fall mornings with frost on the ground. As it's not a rain jacket, the Core 10 also only keeps you dry for a limited period of time, though the mesh does help extend that a bit. However, the mesh lining is a double-edged sword, making the jacket bulky and challenging to compress into a tote or backpack. And if you need a good range of motion for your arms, you'll find the cut and fit of this loose jacket easily lets both sleeves and torso ride up as you move around. But for more relaxed activities, your wallet is sure to thank you for choosing this decently protective windbreaker.

Fit: Relaxed
Cuff Style: Elastic

Made of: 100% polyester

The Core 10 is a useful jacket for moderate days that comes in under budget  even in this budget-focused lineup.
The Core 10 is a useful jacket for moderate days that comes in under budget, even in this budget-focused lineup.

3

Best for Lightweight Needs


Columbia Flash Forward


Top Pick Award

$53.49
(11% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 5.9 oz | Pockets: 2 zippered hand
Exceptionally lightweight and packable
Breathable and dries quickly
Pockets can double as vents
Drawstring hem is awkward
Not protective enough for serious weather

If you're here searching for a lightweight option for your next backpacking trip or adventure abroad, the Columbia Flash Forward is a great choice. It's thin and lightweight without sacrificing quality materials or construction. Weighing less than 6 ounces, it can easily be crammed in just about any pocket or crevice to be brought with you. As a thin jacket, it's exceptionally breathable — aided by pockets made of mesh that double as heat-dumping vents when you need a little extra help. Surprisingly protective from wind and rain, if the jacket does become soaked by precipitation (or sweat), it dries very quickly. It's large and easy to add as a final layer over whatever else you have on, and its hood is a decent size for pulling over your ponytail.

Of course, all this thinness and breathability resigns the Flash Forward as a mild-weather jacket, not well-suited to cold winds or heavy downpours. We can also easily see t-shirt prints through the white section of the coat, and its drawstring hem is more awkward and cumbersome to use than the elastic bungee cord of just about every other competitor. The cuffs are a bit coarse and wrinkly and aren't our favorite to wear pulled up. Though this windbreaker is a bit on the expensive side for this category, it's still a good value for when you need to shave ounces off your pack and save space in your bag.

Like the sound of this jacket, but want something a little warmer? Check out our full review of the fleece-lined version of the Flash Forward.

Fit: Relaxed
Cuff Style: Elastic

Made of: 100% polyester

Though the Flash Forward is so thin you can see through it  it's also so lightweight and so breathable that it makes an excellent lightweight companion on many outdoor adventures.
Though the Flash Forward is so thin you can see through it, it's also so lightweight and so breathable that it makes an excellent lightweight companion on many outdoor adventures.

4

Best for Colder Days


Charles River Apparel Wind and Water Pullover


Top Pick Award

$35.10
(5% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 14.7 oz | Pockets: 1 through-style hand, 1 velcro kangaroo
Great wind and water protection
Relaxed, cozy fit
Warm enough for colder weather
Unisex fit poses challenges for many women
Bulky and too warm for milder days

The Charles River Wind and Water Pullover is a comfortable windbreaker for chilly fall days. This unisex pullover is completely fleece-lined, providing warmth and coziness to whoever is lucky enough to be wearing it. It's almost ridiculously wind resistant and impressively water repellent and quickly became a favorite for breezy days paddling the local watering hole. Its relaxed fit is like wearing a big sweatshirt and can easily accommodate layers underneath if it's really cold. The large, velcro-sealed kangaroo pocket stays closed well enough for a smartphone on a playground and features a loop for keys or to clip the packed jacket to your bag. It's thick and feels durable, with neat seams that offer peace of mind as you snuggle into its welcoming interior.

It's also one of the largest, thickest, heaviest jackets we tested, making it a beast to try to wrangle into a backpack or suitcase. While the fleece lining is much appreciated on chilly days, it adds so much warmth that on mild days over a tank top, we found ourselves sweating. Its unisex fit also poses problems for many women, who often find themselves swimming even upon sizing down. Additionally, the hood wasn't made with our ponytails or buns in mind. The front pocket behind the kangaroo pocket is narrow and goes all the way through, allowing no safe haven for your belongings. But if you're searching for a windbreaker that can handle serious chill and offers protection from light rain and stray splashes at the lake, the Wind and Water Pullover is a great choice.

Fit: Relaxed, unisex
Cuff Style: Elastic

Made of: River Tech Nylon

This unisex pullover from Charles River quickly became a go-to for staying dry during early mornings paddling on peaceful waters.
This unisex pullover from Charles River quickly became a go-to for staying dry during early mornings paddling on peaceful waters.

5

Best for Sweaty Endeavors


AXEN OUTDOOR Packable - Women's


Top Pick Award

$36.09
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 5.9 oz | Pockets: 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered lower back
Extremely breathable
Helpful pockets
Comfortable and high visibility
Not overly protective
No hood

The Axen Outdoor Packable windbreaker is a dream come true for budget-conscious runners and cyclists. It's lightweight and flexible, offering a comfortable fit with sleeves that are soft and pleasant to pull up. Large vents adorn the armpits and top of the back to add even more breathability and allow your sweat to evaporate more easily. This jacket has two zippered hand pockets and an extra zippered pocket on the lower back for easy access to things you need while cycling. It's one of the lightest jackets we tested and can be packed down into its own back pocket when not needed. And it comes in excellent colors to add to your visibility on the road.

As a super breathable coat, the Axen sacrifices a fair amount of protection. Not that you'll need as much while you're outside sweating it out, but it makes this jacket not a great choice for everyday activities, as the breeze easily cuts through. It also lacks a hood, again punting this windbreaker further into the realm of high output activities rather than everyday endeavors. But if you're on the hunt for a budget-friendly option to wear on your next bike ride or trail run, it's a solid choice.

Looking for a more technical layer to protect you while you run? Check out our full women's running jacket review.

Fit: Athletic
Cuff Style: Elastic

Made of: 100% polyester

It's hard to beat the comfort and breathability of this lightweight layer from Axen.
It's hard to beat the comfort and breathability of this lightweight layer from Axen.

6

Best for Sweatshirt-Like Comfort


Starter Windbreaker - Women's



$31.10
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 13.1 oz | Pockets: 2 zippered hand
Moderate elements protection
Super comfortable
Athletic chic style
Will soak up water after a short time
Not particularly breathable

For hardcore sweatshirt fans, the Starter Windbreaker is the next step up. It combines serious sweatshirt-like comfort with extra protection from wind and light showers. With cuffs and a hem that look like they're pulled from your favorite pullover, it's easy to wear this jacket all day long. It's about as warm as a traditional cotton sweatshirt, though it offers better wind protection when you need it. A brim on the hood adds a bit to its ability to keep you dry through a quick storm. And with all the classic sleekness of a '90s style athletic chic coat, your friends are sure to ask where you got it.

The resemblance of this jacket to a favorite sweatshirt also applies to its breathability. If you wouldn't feel comfortable going for a jog in a sweatshirt, you're unlikely to want to do it wearing the Starter Windbreaker. It also only repels water for a short time, becoming saturated more quickly than most other windbreakers we tested — though the snuggly interior helps keep you drier for longer. And — like a sweatshirt — it's fairly bulky to pack with you. But if comfort is your Queen, this homey jacket is a win for us.

Fit: Athletic
Cuff Style: Sweatshirt-style

Made of: 100% polyester

The Starter Windbreaker is our favorite option for sheer comfort  with its sweatshirt-like cuffs and hem and comfortable fit that's just the right blend of relaxed and chic.
The Starter Windbreaker is our favorite option for sheer comfort, with its sweatshirt-like cuffs and hem and comfortable fit that's just the right blend of relaxed and chic.

7

Great for When You Need Extra Protection


Baleaf Cycling Jacket - Women's



$43 List
List Price
See It

Weight: 10.4 oz | Pockets: 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered lower back
Impressive wind and water protection
Useful pockets
Great hood
Not breathable
Stiff and crinkly

If your numbers 1-8 concerns are being protected from gale-force winds, interspersed with blowing rain showers, the Baleaf Cycling Jacket is right up your alley. This coat is thick and resistant to even intense weather. It has watertight zippers enclosing you and keeping your pocket contents safe — both the two hand pockets and the lower back pocket. The hood is cavernous and offers a protective brim to help shield your eyes. A feminine cut and drop hem help keep you covered without sacrificing every ounce of style.

On the other hand, if you're in search of a windbreaker to wear on a breezy bike ride, the Cycling Jacket is likely to leave you soaked in sweat. It feels much more like a stiff, crinkly rain jacket — and breathes like one too. The line of vents across the top of the shoulders does next to nothing when your arms are extended on your handlebars, and packing the hood away only serves to bulk up the neck. Velcro adjusted cuffs also make it nearly impossible to easily keep them pushed up on your forearms, and the waterproof zippers are predictably challenging to operate. If your idea of wind protection looks more like a hurricane, you might appreciate the extra protection this rain-jacket-like coat provides.

Need to stay dry in the rain? Take a gander at our women's rain jacket review or our budget-friendly rain jacket lineup.

Fit: Feminine cut, athletic
Cuff Style: Velcro

Made of: 100% polyester

The Baleaf takes its duties protecting you from wind and rain to the next level  making it closer to a rain shell than a windbreaker.
The Baleaf takes its duties protecting you from wind and rain to the next level, making it closer to a rain shell than a windbreaker.

8

Good Value Emergency Layer


Spmor Cheering Jacket - Women's



$19.99
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 5.4 oz (5.6 oz with bag) | Pockets: 2 zippered hand
Lightweight
Comes with storage bag
Fairly breathable
Not a great fit for most humans
Not particularly protective

The Spmor Cheering Jacket is an alright layer to keep around for emergencies or when you're really in a bind. It's inexpensive and comes with a small bag that lets you pack it down smaller than a 12 ounce can of soda. It's thin and reasonably breathable and fits over just about anything else you might be wearing.

However, it doesn't do a ton when blocking the wind on a blustery autumn afternoon and is one of the least protective wind shells we tested. It's also very boxy but with short sleeves, providing a fit that's pretty universally unflattering. Ours also has seams sticking out all over and doesn't seem to be the most durable option available. But if you're looking for something you'll wear infrequently but can take everywhere, this jacket is well-suited to lying in wait at the bottom of your purse or in your car's emergency kit.

Fit: Relaxed
Cuff Style: Elastic

Made of: 100% polyester

The Spmor isn't our favorite performance piece  but it'll do in a pinch and packs up so small that it's easy to always have with you  just in case.
The Spmor isn't our favorite performance piece, but it'll do in a pinch and packs up so small that it's easy to always have with you, just in case.

9

Good for Lightweight Fashion


SweatyRocks Causal Windbreaker



$24.99
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 6.0 oz | Pockets: 2 hand
Lightweight and thin
Relaxed throwback style
Lots of color options
Not very wind resistant
Lacking in key details

The SweatyRocks Casual Windbreaker offers a blocky, laidback style reminiscent of kids growing up in the '90s. It comes in a ton of color variations and is thin and loose enough to be worn over just about anything to create that visual appeal. It's lightweight and decently breathable and does okay holding off a brief rain shower. It's also pretty inexpensive.

If you're after actual protection from the elements, though, the SweatyRocks isn't the right choice. It's so thin that it offers about the same wind resistance as a t-shirt. Its pockets don't close at all, and the hood is too small to comfortably wear over most ponytails and is cinched by an awkwardly long drawstring. It's easy to see right through lighter colors, and the sleeves and torso manage to be a bit too small while the overall jacket is loose and boxy. The bottom hem is completely elastic, offering no adjustability. If you're really set on this look, you'll save some cash with this coat, but if you want something that's meant to perform in the elements, this one is likely to disappoint.

Fit: Relaxed
Cuff Style: Elastic

Made of: 100% polyester

The lightweight SweatyRocks Casual offers funky fun for less.
The lightweight SweatyRocks Casual offers funky fun for less.

Why You Should Trust Us


This review is lead by Senior Review Editor and wind protection extraordinaire, Maggie Brandenburg. Maggie has spent 15 years as a backcountry guide in some of the windiest places around, leading kayakers on Caribbean adventures and hikers through mountaintops in Lesotho. She grew up in the flat Midwest where seasonal winds cut across the landscape and force unwilling tears from the eyes of anyone caught in it. Now living and adventuring in the mountainous West, Maggie understands what it takes to make a great windbreaker, also heading up our technical windbreakers, sun shirts, and rain jacket reviews. She has been testing and reviewing technical gear and home goods for GearLab since 2017.

After testing windbreakers for the past 8 years, we still spent hours choosing the right jackets for this budget-conscious lineup. After purchasing all the jackets for side-by-side comparison, we got to work putting them to the test. We put them through laboratory and field tests by measuring them and directly comparing them to scrutinize every detail. We stood in front of fans and on windy hilltops. We sprayed them with water and stood in the rain. We hiked, ran, walked, and relaxed in these coats. We scoured over every detail, noting pockets, testing zippers, checking hoods, and adjusting bungees. Whether you need a windbreaker to run errands on a Saturday afternoon or one to go for an early morning jog, we've identified the best bargain coat for your lifestyle.

Comparing jackets side by side.
Getting ready to head out on the water in the Charles River Wind and Water Pullover.
Testing water resistance.

Analysis and Test Results


Finding the right windbreaker depends primarily on what type of environment you plan to use it in and what you plan to be doing while wearing it. Some offer mild protection and a stylish look that's ideal for grabbing coffee with the gals. Others provide intense protection for trying environments. Still, others prioritize breathability for intense activities to keep you from drowning in sweat while staying protected from the wind. We tested five different, mutually exclusive metrics that comprise the abilities of each jacket. Keep your intended use of your future windbreaker in mind as you read through the next sections to find the perfect fit for you.

Comparing every jacket side-by-side to see where they differ.
Comparing every jacket side-by-side to see where they differ.

Wind Resistance


Testing wind resistance combined both laboratory tests and field tests, standing in front of high powered fans and hair dryers as well as on mountaintops and unprotected parks. We considered and examined features that add to wind protection, like chin guards, hems and hoods that cinch shut, and sleeve and torso lengths. If you need to stay protected against serious wind and chilly breezes, this metric is the most important one for you.

The Charles River Wind and Water Pullover is exceptionally wind resistant and is fully lined with fuzzy fleece to keep you warm even as temperatures dip.
The Charles River Wind and Water Pullover is exceptionally wind resistant and is fully lined with fuzzy fleece to keep you warm even as temperatures dip.

The Charles River Wind and Water Pullover is one of the most windproof jackets we tested. Made of tightly woven nylon and fully lined with fuzzy fleece, this oversized jacket is comfortable to wear even as the gusts threaten to blow you over. The Baleaf Cycling Jacket is also exceptionally wind resistant and feels very much like wearing a rain jacket rather than a windbreaker. The Adidas Essentials Linear is our favorite option for balancing wind resistance with weight and comfort. It's thick enough to offer good protection, mesh-lined for a bit of added warmth, but still soft, supple, and flexible, making it very comfortable to wear. A few other windbreakers we tested are bolstered in this regard by additional linings, including the Amazon Core 10 and Starter Windbreaker.

Some jackets have a mesh lining that adds an extra layer between you and the wind.
Some jackets have a mesh lining that adds an extra layer between you and the wind.

Breathability


Breathability is critical if you need to be able to run, bike, hike, or generally get sweaty while wearing your windbreaker. None of us want to be panting inside a jacket that feels like a plastic poncho, but some of these jackets felt very much like it during our testing. We went for runs, uphill hikes, bike rides, and brisk walks on warm days to test each one's ability to keep our temperature regulated. We also considered features like vents, dual-direction zippers, and cuffs that can be pushed up your arms. In general, thinner windbreakers offer better breathability, though some mesh-lined models are more breathable than you might expect, as the mesh can add a wicking layer. It's important to note that breathability and wind protection are often traded off with one another — jackets that are more protective tend to be less breathable and vice versa. In some of the more technical (and more expensive) models we tested in our main review, there are many exceptions to this trend. But in this budget-friendly lineup, we found a clear inverse relationship between wind resistance and breathability.

One of the few jackets with vents  the Axen puts mesh where you need it most to keep you cooler when it counts.
One of the few jackets with vents, the Axen puts mesh where you need it most to keep you cooler when it counts.

The most breathable jacket we tested is the Axen Outdoor Packable. This thin, soft coat is made of a more breathable weave laced with venting mesh panels in key areas — like underarms and across the top of your back. Its supple cuffs are pleasant to wear pushed up your arms, and when it came to choosing a jacket for a long run or ride, we chose this one every time. The Columbia Flash Forward is also pleasantly breathable. Its thin fabric lets body heat dissipate out more easily, and it's the only jacket in this review that has venting pockets. Made of mesh, the hand pockets can be opened to provide a pass-through for air. The Adidas Essentials Linear is one of just a few models with full mesh lining that manages to be more breathable than we expected, as the mesh acts as a wicking layer under a thin exterior.

The Columbia Flash Forward has pockets made of mesh  letting you vent a warm core more easily.
The Columbia Flash Forward has pockets made of mesh, letting you vent a warm core more easily.

Weight and Packability


If your windbreaker is destined to spend most of its existence hanging in your closet, this metric probably means very little to you. On the other hand, if you want a jacket that can travel, that can go camping, backpacking, or be there in the bottom of your purse when you really need it, finding a coat that can pack up small and weighs very little is critical. We weighed every model (reported weights are from size Smalls, except for the Charles River Wind and Water Pullover, which we tested in XS because of its oversized unisex fit). We packed them into their pockets if we could, their hoods if we couldn't, and an array of daypacks, tote bags, and luggage.

The Spmor Cheering Jacket comes with a small stuff sack that helps you take this lightweight jacket just about anywhere.
The Spmor Cheering Jacket comes with a small stuff sack that helps you take this lightweight jacket just about anywhere.

The lightest model we tested is the Spmor Cheering Jacket, coming in at just 5.4 ounces — 5.6 ounces including its stuff sack. It's the only one in this review that comes with a storage bag to cram it into and packs up smaller than a standard 12-ounce soda can. The Axen Outdoor Packable isn't far behind, weighing 5.9 ounces and stuffing into its own lower back pocket — though it also lacks a hood. The Columbia Flash Forward weighs the same as the Axen, does have a hood, but doesn't zip into either of its two hand pockets. Interestingly, the Baleaf Cycling Jacket and Charles River Wind and Water Pullover both pack up into their own pockets, but they're also two of the heaviest, bulkiest jackets we tested.

Though it's one of the bulkiest  heaviest windbreakers we tested  the Charles River Wind and Water Pullover does actually pack into its own kangaroo pouch.
Though it's one of the bulkiest, heaviest windbreakers we tested, the Charles River Wind and Water Pullover does actually pack into its own kangaroo pouch.

Versatility


While some folks adore having a specific jacket for every different activity they do, arguably far more of us prefer a coat that can function well across a wide variety of situations and needs. To test versatility, we wore these windbreakers during various outdoor activities, from morning coffee on the patio to exploring a new city to off-grid trail runs. We scrutinized their fit and style, how they move and keep us covered, different ways they can be worn, and how well they layer.

The Adidas Essentials Linear proves itself exceptionally versatile  with a fit that works well across body types  a style that lends itself to diverse situations  and useful features that make it pleasant to wear.
The Adidas Essentials Linear proves itself exceptionally versatile, with a fit that works well across body types, a style that lends itself to diverse situations, and useful features that make it pleasant to wear.

The Adidas Essentials Linear stands out from the crowd here for being a very pleasing intersection of comfort, style, and good fit. It has a long torso with a drop hem that can also be cinched up around the waist, and long lines everywhere that are flattering on many body types. The Amazon Core 10 offers versatile climate use. Its mesh lining and slightly thicker exterior sit right at the middle ground between warm weather and cold weather use that help it adapt to differing degrees with relative ease. The Starter Windbreaker and SweatyRocks Casual both have their own unique style that appeals to some. The Starter is like wearing your favorite sweatshirt-turned-jacket, while the SweatyRocks makes you feel like you've stepped back into the '90s with its big, blocky patterns.

We love the style  fit  and feel of the sweatshirt-like Starter and often found ourselves grabbing it even just for lounging around the patio.
We love the style, fit, and feel of the sweatshirt-like Starter and often found ourselves grabbing it even just for lounging around the patio.

Water Resistance


No windbreaker is meant to take the place of a full rain jacket, but most of them can offer at least a little protection from a brief shower. We tested these jackets under a controlled spray, outdoors in inclement weather, and in the lab holding puddles of water. We considered what they're made of and checked to see if any of them are treated with a water repellent finish (none are in this lineup). While almost all of them claim to be some degree of water-resistant — or even waterproof — we put them to the test and discovered a wide range of actual water repellence.

The Baleaf Cycling Jacket is so waterproof that it's much more akin to a rain jacket than a windbreaker.
The Baleaf Cycling Jacket is so waterproof that it's much more akin to a rain jacket than a windbreaker.

The Baleaf Cycling Jacket takes first place here, by a mile. This polyester jacket is fully seam-sealed and has watertight zippers on all three pockets and the main zip. It's actually so waterproof and windproof that we're not sure that it qualifies as a windbreaker. It is really much more like a rain jacket — with all the classic stiffness and crinkliness that kind of protection often entails. A distant second place goes to the Charles River Wind and Water Pullover. It's actually impressively water (and wind) proof, and isn't a distant second because of its performance but just because of how protective the Baleaf Cycling Jacket it. The Wind and Water Pullover does a great job keeping water beaded and rolling off and quickly became a favorite for paddling on cool days — and not just because of the rower decal on the hem. Options with an inner liner, like the Adidas, Starter, and Core 10, offer an extra layer of protection between you and the eventual soak-through of raindrops. And some of the most breathable jackets, like the Columbia Flash Forward and Axen, may get soaked more quickly, but they also dry out much faster.

Whether you're paddling or putting your feet up  there's a perfect windbreaker out there for you.
Whether you're paddling or putting your feet up, there's a perfect windbreaker out there for you.

Conclusion


Just because you're adhering to a budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice everything when it comes to quality. We've spent years testing the best women's windbreakers out there to curate this selection of promising and expectations-exceeding affordable options. From backpacking to book buying, there's a perfect windbreaker for you and your wallet.

Maggie Brandenburg