One of the most interesting subcultures in menswear, and in fashion more generally, is techwear. A kind of mix between a utilitarian version of athleisure and cosplay, fans of techwear look for garments that boast functionality and a kind of sci-fi dystopian aesthetic. This community of designers, artists, and influencers does much more than passively consume what’s being sold to them – they engage with the clothing and one another by sharing carefully curated looks in often highly edited images on forums, and Instagram. One of the most essential pieces post? The technical jacket.
These garments are essentially jackets built for the city, but using all of the technical fabrics you’d find in a serious climber or hiker’s gear bag. These jackets are often wind and waterproof, breathable, stretchy – but with a twist. Technical jackets will often boast unique cuts like a high-neck, asymmetrical zippers, and straps for hanging the jacket off your shoulders among other things. This combination of a utility-first approach matched with a contemporary or even futuristic cut make these jackets ideal for those living in cities that experience tough winters, or just constant rain. Whether you’re just interested in getting a lay of the land in regards to tech wear, or you’re actually looking for a new outer layer – we’re sure our roundup of the best technical jackets will be well worth your time.
Riot Division Stealth 3Gen Dark Blue Jacket
Despite its aggressive look, exposed zippers, and nylon shell, this jacket from Riot Division fits a little like a good blazer would – resting close to the body, but not so tight as to constrict movement. The interior is made from a polyester fabric, and features hidden pockets for storing a phone, wallet, or folding knife. Additionally, the jacket has a hood that can be snapped on or off the jacket’s collar.
Tilak Odin Jacket
For those who love the look and fit of the anorak jacket, this technical jacket from the Czech outdoor brand Tilak is well worth considering. Named after the Norse god, the jacket is cut from a cotton ventile fabric and equipped with watertight zippers, velcro sleeves, side-zippers for ventilation. It’s a unique, attractive anorak perfect for those who want to grab something that not a whole lot of other people in the states will have in their closet.
Coldsmoke Cruiser Jacket Charcoal Black
One of our favorite outerwear brands out there has to be Coldsmoke. They make garments that are at the same time classic, and forward looking. Take this one for example. The Cruiser is made from a special wax-impregnated military cloth sourced from Japan, features waterproof zippers, as well as a pair of oversized chest pockets. For ease of movement, the jacket also has a Polartec power-stretch lining that keeps you warm without getting in the way. A solid, American-made jacket.
There is a lot going on with this pick from Guerrilla Group. Made from a special Eagletex fabric that features both waterproofing and breathability, the jacket manages to both protect wearers from the environment and overheating. In addition to the properties of the material, the jacket has a number of additional features including hidden internal compartments for tech, a removable hood, and velcro backed sections for adding patches.
Nike ACG Pull-Over
Nike’s All Condition’s Gear has grown from a casual hiking sub-brand that started in the 1980s, to an urban-focused techwear label. This pull-over is a perfect example of the kind of garments they produce; functional and a little out there. The anorak-like technical jacket has a big mesh pouch along the chest, an asymmetrical zipper down from the neck, and an overall close-to-the-skin chest.
Triple Aught Design Raptor Hoodie
While this hoody from California’s Triple Aught Design is marketed more toward the hunter and outdoorsmen segment of the men’s market, it most definitely checks all the techwear boxes. Cut from Polartec’s Neoshell fabric, the jacket has a super breathable feel while also managing to keep water out no matter how hard it is raining. The jacket also features a hood that is designed to pull close across head, a pair of velcro patches on both arms, and two large waterproof zippered pockets along the torso. The jacket comes in black, grey, navy, or multicam.
Onu Breathable Rain Shell
So many technical jackets in this space feature a wealth of zippers. There are zippers down the front, zippered pockets, and maybe sometimes zippers where there don’t need to be. This piece from Onu? It has a large main zipper, but what really makes it stand apart is its magnetic flap closure. Combined with the tough nylon shell, Cordura and Merino wool hood lining, and a waterproof build make this an attractive pick for those looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
Isaora 3L Hooded Mac
For those who like to try and mesh more classic styles with contemporary fabrics and technology, this pick is well worth consideration. The jacket has what Isaora describes as a ‘dad look,’ but it is matched with a 3L waterproof stretch cloth with a DWR treatment, welded construction, and ergonomic hood.
Aether Alpine Shell
Another jacket that could just as easily show up on a more outdoorsy list. Made from a special 3-layer fabric that is both waterproof and breathable, this technical jacket boasts a lot of utility. It features pit vents, zippered chest pockets, interior media pocket, a special RECCO locator for being found in avalanches, and much more. It can be picked up in either grey, jet black, or navy.
Descente Allterrain Bore Shell Jacket
This technical jacket from Descente features a special lightweight, breathable, and waterproof DERMIZAX Matte Flex fabric that beats back inclement weather no matter how bad it gets. The most striking part of the jacket, though, is the high neck along the hood. More than just providing a unique look, the high-neck provides cover from wind and rain. The jacket’s cuffs and hem offer similar protection thanks to their velcro and draw string closures.
The North Face Black Series Shelter Mountain Jacket
This anorak technical jacket from The North Face not only has a unique look to it, with a strap fastening neck and asymmetrical zipper, but it features a unique technology, too. This jacket uses what the California-based outdoor brand is calling WindWall technology, a special design that reduces the effects of wind chill while allowing for breathability. That combined with the tough CORDURA fabric makes it an ideal pick for those in cold, windy cities.
Arc’teryx Veilance Conduct Anorak
In our minds, one of the coolest lines of technical apparel hails from Arc’teryx Veilance. The label makes use of its parent company innovations in material design and construction while giving their clothing a more minimalist, city-ready look. This particular technical jacket features micro-seams for a smooth construction, a waterproof build, and a packable build.
Stone Island 70501 Prolong Fishtail Parka
Increased functionality doesn’t always have to mean breathability, media pockets, and waterproofing. Take this jacket from Stone Island for example. The parka, cut from a discharge cotton fabric, features a zipper along the torso that when unzipped, drops the jacket an additional 6 or so inches to lengthen the jacket. We wouldn’t want to take this into a rainstorm, but its a really innovative cold weather technical jacket.
If you had to point to one brand as being the most influential in techwear, it’d without a doubt be Acronym. Run by Errolson Hugh, a veteran technical apparel designer who has worked on projects with some of the biggest brands and names out there, has more or less defined an entire aesthetic with his unique label. This jacket from the brand is a take on the 4 pocket field jacket, but with a technical twist. The zips jacket features Gore-Tex waterproofing, a high neck and hood, and unique features like a magnetic collar for holding headphones near the neck.
Enfin Leve Leioa Asymmetrical Thermaltech Jacket
Not every technical jacket has to be dark and black. Or at least that seems to the thinking behind this piece from Enfin Leve. This technical jacket uses a stainless steel fabric from Thermaltech and a totally unique cut to accomplish something that looks otherworldly. The jacket boasts a high collar that is connected to the oversized hood on the jacket, a pair of asymmetrical zippers, and an out-of-this-world coloring that makes the piece look rusted.
12 Best Packable Travel Jackets
These technical jackets a bit too bulky for what you’re looking for? Take a look at our rundown of the best packable travel jackets on the market.