There is a specific sort of guy who thinks he can “get away with” not wearing a jacket in the transition months in the Fall and the Spring. He’s the one who’s wearing a t-shirt in March when it’s still only 45 degrees out, pretending he’s not freezing as he leaves the office to get his afternoon coffee.
Don’t be this guy. No one admires the guy who’s inappropriately dressed. Instead, invest in the perfect transition-weather jacket— a windbreaker. Yes, you read that right. The windbreaker has taken a lot of flak, mainly because when you hear the word “windbreaker,” your mind automatically goes to the cheap, brightly-colored, structure-less jacket that 1990s dads wore, cheerfully making a shitload of noise as they moved throughout their day. But if you choose wisely, you’ll be able to find a windbreaker that looks good, protects you from the elements without making you sweat, and doesn’t make a ton of noise. Check out 12 of our favorites.
Adidas S1 3D Windbreaker
Windbreakers are popular among runners, mainly because they’re lightweight and weatherproof, so it’s no surprise that a legendary athletic brand like Adidas has one on offer. Available in maroon or black, it’s crafted out of waterproof ripstop nylon, has reflective stripes on the shoulder to keep you safe if you’re running at night (or before dawn, if you’re ambitious like that).
Mountain Standard Packable Wind Jacket
Colorado-based Mountain Standard has been crafting quality outdoor gear for over 20 years, and this Packable Wind Jacket is one of their best offerings. Made with premium ripstop fabric, the jacket is made for people on-the-move—the jacket compresses down into its own small pocket, making it the perfect jacket to throw in your carry-on or backpack.
Windbreakers are supposed to protect you from the wind (duh), but the nature of their material makes them naturally water-resistant, which means they can stand-in for a rain jacket. Of course, it only seems appropriate to buy one from the company that named itself RAINS, presumably after the weather it deals with in its home of rainy Copenhagen. This classic slim-fit jacket has an adjustable hood, air vents throughout to ensure circulation, waterproof zippers and multiple pockets.
Patagonia Houdini Jacket
Available in a variety of colors, Patagonia’s Houdini Jacket is the most lightweight jacket you’ll ever own. But just because it’s lightweight doesn’t mean it won’t get the job done—the DWR fabric repels water (or sweater) and the whole jacket compresses down into it’s own zippered pouch, complete with a carabiner to clip to your backpack.
Roark Revival Annapurna Windbreaker
Los Angeles-based Roark Revival seeks to make men’s apparel that’s fit for travel and a rugged outdoor lifestyle, and this Annapurna Windbreaker fits squarely in the middle of that intersection. Available in black, gray, and burgundy, the rugged coated windbreaker is named for the famed Annapurna mountain range in Nepal.
Nike Tech Windrunner Hooded Shell Jacket
Of course Nike has an endless array of running jackets and windbreakers on offer, but we like the Windrunner the best. Crafted out of 100% nylon, the simple black jacket sports white athletic stripes throughout as well as an adjustable hood and zipped exterior pockets to keep your valuables secure while in motion.
San Francisco-based Mollusk is committed to creating quality swimwear, but they also have other apparel on offer that’s appropriate for less balmy weather, as evidenced by this windbreaker. It’s different from others on this list because it’s made out of brushed canvas instead of nylon, meaning you won’t be swishing around town in this thing. Throw in an adjustable hood and roomy open pockets, and you’ll have the perfect jacket to throw on when the sea breeze gets a little too aggressive.
Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody
Arc’teryx is a go-to brand for extreme cold weather gear, but they also have less extreme things on offer, one of them being the Squamish Hoody. Clocking in at just a little over 5 ounces, the jacket (available in a rainbow of colors) is crafted to provide a great range of motion, meaning you can run, hike, bike, and climb in it without feeling constrained. The jacket also features Arc’teryx’s patented StormHood, which can be adjusted with one-handed drawcords and is designed to maximize peripheral vision.
Marmot Vapor Trail Hoody
Marmot has been a trusted name in outdoor gear for nearly 50 years, so anything you buy from them is going to stand up to the elements and last a long time. The Vapor Trail Hoody is low-profile but has a ton of features, like vented side panels, wicking fabric in the back to prevent sweat build-up, zippered pockets to keep your stuff stashed, and a headphone port.
Fjallraven High Coast Wind Anorak Jacket
Fjallraven was founded in Sweden in 1960, and since then, its been making durable, functional products like the High Coast Wind Anorak Jacket, which is made from a blend of waxed polyamide and organic cotton. Lightweight and water and wind-repellant, this simple jacket will be your new favorite chilly weather coat.
Tracksmith Charles Cheater
Massachusetts-based Tracksmith is dedicated to creating high-performance, lightweight gear for runners, and with the Charles Cheater (“cheater” is what they call windbreakers in the UK), they don’t disappoint. Crafted out of a nylon blend fabric (and available in navy blue or yellow) that is both breathable and water-repellant, it’s made with runners in mind, but if you wear it to run to the store for snacks, we’re not gonna judge.
Outerknown Evolution Breaker
Outerknown—a new brand created by World Surf League Champion Kelly Slater—creates quality menswear pieces while using sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices, and the Evolution Breaker is one of their best offerings. The jacket is crafted out of innovative ECONYL nylon fabric that uses reclaimed fishing nets and other upcycled materials. Available in subdued black or a bold pattern that apes a coral reef.
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