Behold: the crème de la crème of running outerwear designed to keep you comfortable in all conditions while you’re out pounding the pavement or slogging your way up a muddy hill. The only possible problem you’ll encounter if you get yourself any of these is that bad weather will no longer be an excuse to skip a training session.

What To Look For In A Running Jacket

Breathability

“For British summers you need a jacket that’s lightweight and breathable yet resilient to wind, rain and drops in temperature,” says Andy Rayner of Runners Need. “Check that the jacket has mesh panels or vents under the arms and on the back for ventilation. These allow heat to escape to help regulate your body temperature so you don’t overheat. Cheaper jackets use polythene material that acts like a bin liner. Great if you’re trying to make weight as a boxer, but you’ll feel like a rotisserie chicken when the sun’s out.”

Fit

“Try the jacket on in the store. Make sure you have mobility around your arms and check that it doesn’t ride up your body too far when you raise your arms overhead. Some jackets prevent this by including quick-drying, stretchy material, especially down the middle of the back and under the arms, to help it retain its shape. A hood and waistband with drawstrings and wrist cuffs are good additions to keep a jacket in place and prevent wind and rain getting in.”

Weather protection

“The jacket’s materials should pull sweat away from your body and also be quick-drying if you’re caught in a downpour. Ideally it should be rain-resistant – check it in store by pouring a little water on it. Beads of water should run off rather than be absorbed. You don’t, however, want it to be fully waterproof because this makes it heavy and stifling.”

Extras

“On longer runs it’s useful to have zip pockets to stow energy gels, and most high-end tops should include a waterproof pocket for an MP3 player with a slit for an earphone cord to run through. Jackets with reflective markings offer an effective way of making sure you’re visible at night, and some jackets even scrunch down into small sealable packets so you can stick them in a pocket when you don’t need them.”

Our Favourite Running Jackets

Saucony Vitarun

When you slip on the Vitarun, your first thought will be that Saucony must have made a mistake – the fleecy lining of the jacket is far too plush and will surely overheat the moment you start running. But when you actually get going you’ll quickly realise that Saucony has managed to pull off the tricky combo of keeping you snug without the sweat (well, with minimal sweat – you are still running). The Vitarun will see you through the British winter in style, with the many reflective details on on the jacket perfect for night running. £90, buy on saucony.com

Odlo Whirl

Most runners are prepared to take a packable waterproof to combat rain, but wind is just as capable of ruining a run, especially the icy gusts that cut through you during winter. This lightweight jacket packs into its own sleeve so you can carry it with you, ready to throw on for some extra protection the moment it gets unpleasantly breezy. £105 (reduced to £52.50 at time of publication), buy on odlo.com

Lululemon Surge

The loose fit of this jacket means it can be worn with a couple of layers underneath, and it’s styled so you can use it as an everyday staple as well as for running. Zipped vents under the armpits help keep you cool and, while the Surge is not waterproof, there’s a stowable hood that will stop showers from spoiling your run. £118, buy on lululemon.co.uk

The North Face HyperAir

When conditions really turn nasty this is the jacket you want in your rucksack. The Gore-Tex tech in the fabric will repel all wind and rain, and you can adjust the hood, hem and cuffs to ensure there are no cracks for the elements to exploit. The HyperAir has a waterproof pocket to put your valuables in, and packs into the same pocket when it’s not required. It’s certainly pricy, but you’ll be grateful for every penny spent if you get caught in a storm up on the fells. £270, buy on thenorthface.co.uk

Iffley Road Richmond Storm

Iffley Road Richmond Storm running jacket

Some running jackets have the sartorial appeal of a lollipop lady’s weatherbeater, but the Storm is different. It boasts the slim-fit cut and subtle look of something we could probably get away with wearing on a date. Then again, we wouldn’t expect anything less from Italian-inspired British boutique brand Iffley Road. It’s practical too, with a three-layer soft shell that’s waterproof, windproof and breathable. We’ve tested it in the depths of winter and on chilly summer days, and found ourselves neither cold nor sweaty at any point. What’s more, we looked pretty good wearing it, if we do say so ourselves. £185, buy on iffleyroad.com

Ashmei Nightrunner

Ashmei Nightrunner running jacket

We’re not sold on the asymmetric zip look, but performance-wise this is the best winter (or British summer, eh?) jacket we’ve tested. A fit that feels tailored and an ergonomic design – the arms are even articulated to mirror the bent elbow position naturally adopted while running – make it feel like a second skin. Its temperature-regulating qualities are down to Merino wool. This natural wonder warms you when it’s cold and cools you down when it’s hot, wicks moisture away and dries fast. £225, buy on ashmei.com

Brooks LSD

Brooks LSD running jacket

The trippily named LSD is so dedicated to the windproof cause it even has a neck-saving chin guard. We scoffed at its inclusion at first, but when the gales started blowing on our very first test run, we tucked our jaw under it and were glad for the extra protection. It’s only water-resistant, but keeps out wetness well enough to use the zippered pocket and its headphone cable port without worrying about having to explain to our insurer why our phone’s drowned. Again. £80 (some styles reduced to £45.50 at time of publication), buy on brooksrunning.com