Waterproof jackets are one of your most important pieces of kit. Not only do they keep your head dry, you generally need to keep one handy when entering some races. But there's more to think about than just how well they keep out the rain. Do you need a coat that's well ventilated? Is this coat suitable for daily use? And what exactly is a 'smock' any way? Fortunately, Sim Benson has tested the best jackets available to make sure you stay dry on the trails.
INOV-8 AT/C ULTRASHELL HZ U
WEIGHT: 145G An affordable smock designed purely for racing. The fabric is light rather than durable, and itu2019s translucent; handy for seeing a race number through. The fit is good but small, so try before you buy. Itu2019s minimal, with no pockets, but it has reflective details and the hood and cuffs are well designed, so it offers good protection. VERDICT BEST VALUE Well-designed but not the lightest or most durable.
MONTANE MINIMUS SMOCK
WEIGHT: 150G We really like this smock design which, although slightly less convenient to put on, is lighter, more durable and more protective than a full zip. It allows Montane to add a huge zipped pocket, which fits a map and acts as a large vent. Made from Pertex Shield+, with reflective details and a well-cut hood that rolls away. VERDICT Simple but excellent design, great for bad weather running.
BERGHAUS HYPER 100
WEIGHT: 110G Extremely light, well cut, surprisingly tough, and offering a good level of protection u2013 this is a great race jacket. Itu2019s expensive, though, and feels too special for daily training. Despite the weight it manages to feature an inside zipped pocket and reflective detail. The fit is slim but the cut is good, and the arms donu2019t ride up when running. VERDICT BEST RACE JACKET Expensive but awesome u2013 good protection and super-light.
WEIGHT: 170G The Gravitas is a simple looking but well featured jacket, with a zipped chest pocket. The three-layered fabric is very weather-proof and the hood is well designed, with a good peak so you can really batten down the hatches in horrible weather. Itu2019s not ultra-light but it feels tough and is well-priced, so you can happily use it every day. VERDICT A protective everyday training jacket thatu2019s fine for racing, too
SALEWA PEDROC GTX
WEIGHT: 315G Designed for long days in the mountains, the Pedroc uses three-layer Gore-Tex Active fabric to offer excellent protection. Tough face fabric, a great hood and two large vented front pockets mean that itu2019s at the heavy end of the test, but youu2019ll be thankful of that in really bad weather. Bluesign and Fair Wear awards win it Best for Ethics. VERDICT BEST FOR ETHICS A great multi-sport jacket, but exceeds running requirements.
ULTIMATE DIRECTION ULTRA
WEIGHT: 155G Ultimate Direction have clearly asked their athletes what makes a great running waterproofu2026 and then built it. Itu2019s great value and light enough to race in, but tough enough to train in too. The peaked hood is excellent, it has underarm vents, a zipped inside pocket, reflective detail and clever mitts. Itu2019s stylish, with a slim fit and good cut. VERDICT BEST IN TEST A brilliant lightweight jacket with an exceptional hood.
GORE ONE GORE-TEX ACTIVE RUN
WEIGHT: 115G The Gore One is groundbreaking, offering excellent weather protection at a super-low weight. Gore has achieved this by using the membrane as the outer; this design sacrifices durability somewhat, so itu2019s best for racing or training without a rucksack. The fit is small but the cut is excellent, and the fabric feels soft and nice to run in. VERDICT MOST INNOVATIVE Revolutionising lightweight and protective running jackets.
THE NORTH FACE FLIGHT SERIES FUSE
WEIGHT: 155G The Fuse uses the brand's own lightweight 2.5-layer waterproof fabric, and adds ventilation by perforating the membrane up the back and under the arms. Itu2019s hard to tell how much this helps, but it didnu2019t appear to leak. Itu2019s a good-looking jacket, well cut, and features a zipped chest pocket, reflective detail and adjustable hood. VERDICT A stylish yet technical racing and training jacket.
OMM KAMLEIKA RACE II
WEIGHT: 270G Tough and protective, this isnu2019t light but it will keep you as dry as you can be when running in horrible weather. Itu2019s designed for mountain marathons, so the two chest pockets work with a rucksack, and the adjustable hood offers good protection. The fabric feels soft, so it isnu2019t rustly, and itu2019s genuinely a joy to run in. VERDICT Not the lightest but good value; great for bad weather.
WEIGHT: 215G The Norvan marries Gore-Tex Active fabric with a beautiful cut, to create a really excellent jacket. Itu2019s clean looking, with underarm vents, subtle reflective details and an inside zipped pocket. The materials, cut, finish and build-quality may justify the price, but it is expensive. To make it perfect the hood could adjust, to offer more protection. VERDICT A pricey but very high-quality four-season running jacket.
WEIGHT: 155G A stylish running jacket that also looks great with jeans or shorts. It has two small vented chest pockets and subtle branding. It's let down slightly by the basic hood, which lifts the shoulders when up u2013 it could also be improved with longer arms. Good as a commuting jacket, but youu2019d want something offering more protection in serious weather. VERDICT Stylish and good-value for commuting or road running.