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The Best Technical Jackets for Urban Environments

Best Technical Jackets 0 Hero

With an ever-changing market, it can be tough to figure out which technical jackets — that is, those that fuse performance materials with a futuristic streetwear aesthetic — are worth purchasing for yourself. Luckily for you, we’ve deciphered the ins and outs behind this particular scene in the garment industry to deliver this guide to the best technical jackets for urban environments.

Best Technical Jackets

What is techwear?

Techwear’s roots are deeply embedded in the history of Italian fashion, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the nation’s various artisans tend to excel at crafting just about everything — from cars to wine — to an impeccable standard. One of the renowned labels that brought the branch of fashion to life was the Ravarino-based Stone Island, which was founded by a pioneer of the movement in the late, great Massimo Osti. Fusing high-quality technical materials with everyday wear just makes too much sense, and when Stone Island started doing it in outerwear, it was difficult to imagine why most brands hadn’t attempted to do the same — until just about every single one decided to do exactly that.

Technical jacket history

From designer labels to department store brands and just about everything in between — including on the outskirts of high fashion — technical jackets are most certainly not the dying breed many people insisted they were becoming in the early 2010s. On the contrary, they only seem to be increasing in popularity, and it’s now safer than ever to say that techwear isn’t going anywhere, as each high-end brand that decides to provide its own tailored take on the genre just goes to show that this branch of fashion is far from just another fad. Technical jackets can come in a variety of styles, whether it be parkas or windbreakers, and they all share one thing in common: a futuristic design that embraces streetwear style, while still delivering protection from the elements.

what to look for

Material: More often than not, techwear jackets will be made with some kind of water-resistant outer material. Stuff like GORE-TEX and eVent are great performance fabrics that keep water out, and give techwear jackets that iconic sleek look. These jackets come in a variety of styles, and for those in cold climates, you should strongly consider one that’s insulated. This could be a down jacket, which offers great warmth without the weight, or synthetic insulation, which is better at repelling water.

Fit: This will largely depend on the style of the jacket. Something like a parka is naturally supposed to be long, while rain jackets can vary in both size and function. Also, as a general rule of thumb, tighter jackets will be better at reducing air movement, and more relaxed jackets will be easier to move in.

Weather Resistance: Depending on the climate you reside in, you may have some conditions you want to be prepared for. For those living in snow, you’re probably more interested in a snow jacket or a parka. And the people living in rainy areas may want something that’s a bit more lightweight, but still water-resistant.

Pockets: Not only do pockets provide utility (with many modern designs that can be super helpful), but they also add to the style of the jacket. More minimalist designs may hide the pockets to streamline the silhouette, while other labels may want to highlight them in a more stylish way.

Nike ACG Devastation Trail Dri-FIT UV Shirt

Nike ACG Devastation Trail Dri FIT UV Shirt
Why It Made the Cut
  • This shirt-jacket has a ton of utility (note the caribener), but also a modern look backed by Nike ACG’s decades of experience in the techwear scene.

Best Shirt Jacket: Nike ACG has always managed to deliver on putting a lifestyle-level touch on each of the techwear legends’ designs, but this particular piece looks to steal the spotlight with immense capabilities and advanced technical properties. Their shirt jacket boasts the brand’s patented Dri-Fit technology, making way for a stretchy, moisture-wicking shell that helps keep you moving through the city or the trails. On top of that, it’s made with foldable sleeves that can be secured with a sleeve button if you get hot, along with a bit of mesh on the back for added breathability.

Material: 100% polyester
Fit: Standard
Resistance: Moisture-wicking
Pockets: 3 chest pockets

Riot Division RD-CMNJ

Riot Division RD CMNJ
Why It Made the Cut
  • This lightweight waterproof jacket features a characteristically minimalist design from the experts at Riot Division.

Best Lightweight Jacket: Riot Division’s RD-CMNJ jacket serves as an incredibly valuable garment that’s built to take on the most frigid temperatures. Composed of a waterproof 6000/6000 three-layer membrane, the Ukrainian brand’s offering features four pockets (two hand and two inner pockets), and adjustable velcro cuffs. Finished off with an adjustable hood and a pair of water-resistant zippers with a storm flap, the intricacies that go into this black-on-black piece are more than meets the eye.

Material: 100% nylon
Insulation: 6000/6000 two-layer membrane
Fit: Not listed
Resistance: Water-resistant
Pockets: 2 zipped hand pockets, 2 inner zipped pockets on the chest

Descente Allterrain Gore Infinium Down Jacket

Descente Allterrain Gore Infinium Down Jacket
Why It Made the Cut
  • As on of the OG ski brands, you truly cannot go wrong with any of Descente ALLTERRAIN’s winter gear, especially when there’s GORE-TEX involved.

Best Down Jacket: Descente ALLTERRAIN’s GORE Infinium Down Jacket is a prime example of GORE-TEX living up to its reputation, as it is guaranteed to keep you dry while remaining totally breathable. Utilizing the company’s GORE-TEX Infinium Windstopper technology, the ultra-functional fashion house is extra breathable and dually rugged, all the while being as warm as they come, boasting 750 fill power down. Topped off with adjustable cuffs and a DWR finish, the esteemed Japanese brand’s high-tech garment is practically tailored to your liking.

Material: GORE-TEX Infinium Windstopper
Insulation: 750 fill power down
Fit: Not listed
Resistance: Wind and waterproof
Pockets: Two zippered side pockets, two internal pockets

Snow Peak Thermal Insulated Rain Jacket

Snow Peak Thermal Insulated Rain Jacket
Why It Made the Cut
  • Another legendary Japanese brand, Snow Peak has been perfecting the blend of style and function for 60 years.

Best Rain Jacket: Snow Peak has been doing things the right way for over 60 years now, and while the Japanese brand’s history in the States may not run that long, they continue to prove just how tenured they deserve to be with each addition to their impressive catalog. The Thermal Insulated Rain Jacket does no less, boasting a wind and waterproof membrane and serving as an impeccably breathable garment that would go perfectly with, you guessed it, Snow Peak’s 3 Layer Rain Pants.

Shell: 100% recycled polyester
Filling: 100% polyester
Lining: 100% polyester
Fit: Standard
Resistance: Wind and waterproof
Pockets: Not listed

Arc’Teryx Euler Insulated Jacket

ArcTeryx Euler Insulated Jacket
Why It Made the Cut
  • Arc’Teryx has played a huge role in spearheading the rise of streetwear, and the label continues to deliver durable and style-focused gear through the Veilance sub-label.

Best Insulated Jacket: As one of the brand’s most quality pieces, this down-insulated parka is sure to max out warmth and style. While this is another piece boasting a refined GORE-TEX makeup, it is filled and lined with Coreloft insulation, so it keeps cozy without any additional, unwanted puffiness. This high-end piece from Veilance is finished with a high collar, providing no less than optimized insulation in the areas where you need it the very most. Coming from up north, there’s no question that the trendy Canadian brand knows which locations to focus on.

Material: 40d 100% nylon face
Insulation: Coreloft 100% polyester 140gsm
Fit: Regular
Resistance: Water-resistant and windproof
Pockets: Two hand pockets, internal pockets

Mission Workshop Bremen: Wool

Mission Workshop Bremen Wool
Why It Made the Cut
  • This is a great year-round jacket from this SF-born and bred label that’s perfected futuristic basics.

Best Wool Jacket: Mission Workshop is a brand from the heart of San Francisco that’s been bringing their A-game for several decades, and that craftsmanship is fully exuded through the Bremen. In collaboration with Olmetex, the revered Italian fabric mill, the two provide their take on the timeless Mackintosh raincoat — and the result is immaculate. Staying true to its classic silhouette, the Bremen boasts a 3-layer construction entirely crafted from refined, Italian-made fabrics and a Merino wool shell. As you can see, this is far from your average trench coat.

Material: Schoeller c_change with Merino wool outer shell
Fit: Not listed
Resistance: Waterproof
Pockets: Two hand-warmer pockets, two internal pockets, one chest pocket

Seven Layer L7. Resurgence Parka

Seven Layer L7 Resurgence Parka
Why It Made the Cut
  • This parka is made with a water and windproof membrane that can open up to allow heat to escape.

Best Parka: While the last listing’s inspiration hails from the UK, this particular one was legitimately crafted in the British Isles. Seven Layer’s sleek parka was built for the snow and will help camouflage you in it, too. Thanks to the use of Schoeller’s innovative C-Change membrane, you stay dry and cozy no matter where you find yourself, with a dynamic material that reacts to the environment you’re in (once you start sweating, the fabric opens up to let heat escape). Plus, it’s hard to resist a stylish parka, especially when it comes equipped with top-notch specs.

Material: C_Change Memrane
Insulation: 90/10 +800 fill power DOWNTEK ZEROPFC
Fit: See size chart
Resistance: Water and windproof
Pockets: Not listed

Stone Island Stellina_3L Nylon

Stone Island Stellina 3L Nylon
Why It Made the Cut
  • Stone Island stands alongside Arc’Teryx on the Mount Rushmore of techwear brands, and this refined jacket demonstrates why.

Best Long Jacket: While Stone Island has been crafting excellent products since the early eighties, their popularity has surely peaked over the past few years — and it doesn’t look to fall off any time soon. Here, the brand delivers a polyamide-crafted parka that doesn’t let its lightweight makeup dictate just how comfortable it is. Thanks to super-soft fleece insulation, this Stone Island coat is endlessly warm and is even finished off with vents on the underarms just in case things get too toasty.

Outer: 100% polyamide, nylon, polyurethane
Inner: 100% polyester fleece
Fit: Not listed
Resistance: Wind and waterproof
Pockets: Two side pockets

A-COLD-WALL Foiled Short Jacket

A COLD WALL Foiled Short Jacket
Why It Made the Cut
  • If you’re not afraid to embrace chrome, this unique jacket from street and techwear giant A-COLD-WALL* may be right up your alley.

Best Premium Jacket: A-COLD-WALL* is one of the many remnants that stem from the late Virgil Abloh’s stamp of approval, with former protegé and brand founder Samuel Ross proving that the brand’s take on innovative outerwear comes in just about every form one could imagine. With that being said, the Foiled Short Jacket stands out among the rest of the label’s catalog for this category, thanks to its space-man aesthetic and super unique look. It’s made with a majority cotton/nylon construction, but the twist is a silver foiled finish to give it that bright chrome look.

Material: 54% nylon, 41% cotton, 5% metal
Fit: Regular
Resistance: Water and wind-resistant
Pockets: Two side pockets

The Best Techwear Brands You Should Know

Best Techwear Brands 0 Hero
Photo: C.P. Company

If you’re interested in more techwear, we’ve highlighted some of the best techwear brands in the game.