How to choose the right Waterproof Jacket
Written By: SportsShoes
For many runners, the winter season is our favourite time to run, with comfortably cooler temperatures, beautiful sunrises and exhilarating runs through mud and atmospheric weather conditions. That said, battling through driving rain and wind is tough, and that’s where your winter kit becomes all important to keeping your training going during the winter months. A good waterproof running jacket protects you from the elements and helps you stay dry and comfortable while you enjoy all the benefits winter training has to offer. Here’s how to choose the right one:
- WATERPROOF OR WATER RESISTANT?
- CHECK THE WATERPROOF RATING
- LOOK FOR EXTRA WATERPROOFING FEATURES
- BREATHABILITY IS IMPORTANT TOO
- KEEP IT FUNCTIONAL
- STAY SAFE
1. WATERPROOF OR WATER RESISTANT?
The distinction here is important. A shower proof or water resistant jacket is designed to protect you from light rain and wind only. This type of jacket tends to be very light and breathable and makes a good outer layer for early Autumn or spring training. A water-resistant jacket also tends to be less expensive, however the downside is that it won’t provide much protection in moderate to heavy downpours and more wintery weather conditions.
A waterproof jacket on the other hand is designed to offer a high level of waterproofing to protect you from the elements in the worst weather conditions. So, for a more protective jacket, remember it’s important to opt for jackets that are denoted waterproof over those that are water resistant.
2. CHECK THE WATERPROOF RATING
This refers to what’s known as the Hydrostatic Head test and measures how waterproof your jacket actually is. The test involves placing a one inch-diameter tube of water over the fabric as it is observed for 24 hours to see how many millimetres of water the fabric can withstand. The higher the rating, the more waterproof the jacket. Ratings can range from 5,000mm for jackets suitable for moderate rain, to jackets in the 10,000-20,000mm plus range, which are highly waterproof and reliable.
3. LOOK FOR EXTRA WATERPROOFING FEATURES
Waterproof fabric can only do its job if water isn’t getting into the jacket in other ways. Look for added features to make sure your jacket is watertight including taped seams to help keep water out, storm flaps, drop tails for extra coverage at the back and bear in mind that a hooded jacket works better to stop rain going down the back of your neck.
4. BREATHABILITY IS IMPORTANT TOO
The first rule of all running kit is that it must be breathable - and that goes for your running jacket too! It’s no good keeping water out if moisture can’t evaporate from within, so it’s important to balance waterproofing capabilities with breathability. So make sure to check the breathability rating of your jacket before you buy. Breathability ratings are measured in grams and refer to the amount of water vapour that can pass through a square metre of fabric over 24 hours (MVTR or Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate). The higher the rating, the more breathable the jacket. Ideally, for running you should be looking for a breathability rating of around 20,000 MVTR.
5. KEEP IT FUNCTIONAL
Ultimately, you need to be able to run in your jacket. That means balancing both its waterproofing and breathable capabilities with your ability to run and move freely without being hindered. It’s no good having an ultra-waterproof jacket if it’s too heavy to move in or you can’t run freely. Your jacket should be as light as possible, with an ergonomic fit and articulated sleeves to allow you to move as easily and unhindered as possible.
6. STAY SAFE
If you’re running in poor weather conditions, it’s likely that you’re also running in poor visibility. A good waterproof jacket will have added reflective features to help you stay safe and be seen in low light conditions, while high visibility neon fabrics work particularly well in daytime conditions. Always remember the rule – reflectivity works at night and high vis fabrics work during the day, so think about when you’re more likely to be running before you buy.
Are you feeling inspired to lace up your running shoes and hit the road? For more advice and inspiration then head over to our Running Hub. Need to get kitted up? Our Running Store has everything you need including Running Shoes, Clothes and Equipment.
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