Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall/Winter Running Jackets

It's still balls-hot here in NJ, as we are expecting temps in the upper 80s temps today and tomorrow.  However, I thought that maybe I had a glimpse of fall last week so I started thinking of fall running.  It's been getting into the 60s and maybe even the upper 50s at night, so it's time to start planning my fall running gear. 

I have a Columbia rain jacket from about 7 years ago that I realized this summer is no longer very good at repelling water.  I ran in that a little last fall on rainy days, and it was doing its job at the time.  Not such a good option any more, so I am in the market for a new water-repellent jacket for running, rainy dog walking, and maybe even some camping if we get our act together before it gets too cold.

Here are some jackets I am considering:

Brooks Infiniti Jacket 
I kinda like it in this shade, Winter Plum.
Check it out [here].

Picture from RoadRunner Sports

What I like:
-Wind and water proof w/DWR
-360 reflectivity
-Cozy cuff w/thumbhole
-Internal Moisture proof media pocket (good for mp3 player or small camera)
-side pockets

-No hood (does it matter?)

Columbia Pave the Way Jacket
I'm leaning towards black.
You can find it [here].

  Picture from                                 

What I like about the Pave the Way jacket:
-waterproof-breathable (so it shouldn't matter that there is no venting, I think)
-fully seam-sealed
-zip-closed security pocket on lower back (click on link above to see back view)
-reflective detailing
-waterproof pockets
-drawcord adjustable bottom hem
-high stand-up collar
-side pockets

-Only color options are black and lemongrass.  Lemongrass, while highly visible, might be bright for my tastes and less versatile?
-No thumbholes. I don't know that they're necessary though.
-No hood, not sure if I care yet though

Columbia Turn n' Go Softshell
check it out [here]
Columbia has it available in Corange, Mud (below), and Black; Altrec has it in Black, Mud, and Greenscape (dark ivy green).  I must say, I do like earthtones!
Picture of Turn n' Go Softshell in Mud, from
What I like:
-internal media pocket with way to thread headphones through inside of jacket
-"reflective details" (though I'm not sure where besides on back pocket, maybe arm logo)
-zip-closed security pocket on back right (I like this!)
-chest pocket and side pockets
-pocket security tab for keys
-"advanced repellency technology" to protect you from water and dirt
-Wind resistant
-no hood
-is it reflective enough? (Does it matter since I have a clip-on light?)
Columbia Trail Twist Jacket
Available in several colors: Corange/Grill, Tidewater/Deep Teal and below in Black Cherry/Grill and Black.

Photos of Trail Twist Jacket from

What I like:
-front and sleeve panels are wind-and water resistant
-back is "advanced evaporation technology"
-front pockets w/key tab inside
-stand up collar

-no reflective detail?
-no hood, thumbholes
-not entirely waterproof 

Lululemon Inspire Jacket
Available in black, senorita pink, and lolo purple.  Leaning toward black for versatility.  This is the only real-life picture in black that I've come across so far.

L: Picture from Lulu website; R: Picture from Lululemon Dallas Galleria Facebook page

What I like:
-Protection from light wind and rain
-Perforation at underarm and collar for air flow
-Stowable hood
-Thumbholes & cuffins for warmth (no need to run with gloves)
-My FAVORITE feature: a watch window, so I can see my GPS watch without pushing my sleeve up, and without needing to wear my watch on TOP of the jacket sleeve
-side pockets, zip pocket at back left
-internal music pocket, and place for headphones wire
-360 reflectivity

- Price.  Is it really worth $158 when there are other jackets out there?

Final Thoughts.

Important features to me:
  •  Reflectivity is great since daylight hours are rapidly disappearing. I do have a clip-on blinking light though.
  • Water/wind-resistance because fall can be wet and cold.  And it's not going to stop me from running.
  • A Pocket somewhere on the jacket.  Preferably the zipping kind so things don't fall out. 
Nice features:
  • Stand up collars are great for keeping your neck warm, plus you have the ability to unzip as you warm up.
  • Comfort cuffs are nice; snugger fabric around the jacket's arm opening keeps the wind from getting up there. 
  • Fitted. I don't like lots of baggy clothing for running.  All of the above options seem to have a somewhat shaped or active fit. 
Not sure if I need them:
  • Thumbholes/Cuffins are great for running without gloves, but I own thin SmartWool running gloves.
  • Internal media pocket is nice to have, but in a downpour, I will not likely be running with music.
  • Hood is nice, but depends on my visibility with the hood up.  Do I have any peripheral vision left?  Does the fabric make a loud noise whenever I turn my head?  I have moisture wicking baseball caps and a Lululemon Brisk headback to keep my ears warm.
  • Any additional warmth/thickness.  I am planning to use the jacket as a layering piece, so I can adjust what I wear underneath according to the weather.  Anything from the Lululemon Swiftly Tech L/S to something a little warmer like the Lululemon Run:Energy Pullover or Brisk Pullover (running luon) or my heavier Marmot Powerstretch half-zip fleece (All of these items have thumbholes, actually...)
 - - -

I think the Trail Twist is at the bottom of my list of the jackets I summarized in this post because it doesn't seem as well-equipped for a soggy run.  I really like the Brooks Infiniti Jacket and the Columbia Pave the Way Jacket.  The Columbia Turn n' Go Softshell isn't bad.  I like many features on the Lululemon Inspire Jacket.  But $158 is a lot!! 
The Brooks Infiniti Jacket I can get through RoadRunner Sports (I'm a VIP) for $100 $90 + an additional 10% through Friday evening (special promotion due to a website glitch the other day?)  That brings it down to $81.  I can also get 5% cashback if I launch my order through Ebates (that's $4.05 back to me in about a month or so).

The Columbia Pave the Way would be $140 + free shipping at Columbia (Free Greater Rewards program gets you free shipping), + $7 cashback through Ebates.  Which is actually not that much less than the Lulu Inspire Jacket.  The Turn n' Go would be $68 with $3.40 cash back.  Lululemon gives you nothing.  That jacket will be $158. period.  

To get free shipping and 10% off all orders at Road Runner Sports-- online and in-store-- for one year (at a cost of $1.99), click here.

To join Ebates, for occasional coupons + cash back, click here.
Currently you can get:
-5% cash back on orders from,,
-4% at
-3% at

When shopping, I always make sure to check and see what kind of cashback percentage is available through Bank of America's Add It Up program.  If I use my BOA debit or credit card that is linked to this program, there are a number of stores that give you cash back.  You can look at discounts by store, or search for a specific item.  I.e. If I search for the Brooks Infiniti Jacket, I see it is available for $100 through +13% cash back, or through +10% cashback and free shipping.

Not sure what I want to do.

What do you like to wear for cool/wet fall and winter running?  Any experience with these jackets, or are there other great jackets out there I'm overlooking (I'm sure there are!)


  1. I have an $80 Running Room Jacket thats schlumpy and every runner in the city has the identical jacket in hundreds of different colors. No lulu jacket has been as simply designed yet perfectly suited to running as this one. Big reflective stripes, long enough in the back to cover the bum, no hood, good pockets, ventilation zippers on the sides, and cuff straps to tighten around your wrists. I wish Lulu would just replicate this one and lulufy it a bit.

  2. Totally biased, but I vote for the inspire, because I really like mine and I love my garmin so being able to wear it not on the outside is a great perk for me.

  3. I just got the inspire jacket today; I really think it's worth the price. People have been complaining about it being tight in the shoulders, but it's not at all for me and I'm not super tiny or anything (size 6).

  4. Thanks guys for the feedback!

    @Lululmum- I haven't heard of Running Room before. Looks like it's mostly in Canada? I think I found the jacket you're talking about online here: It looks like it could be cute, but hard to tell how fitted it is.

    @Ojodeazul- Thanks for the vote! I'm glad to hear you think it's worth the price! So many people are balking about the price on facebook (and it is a lot) but if it's functional and I'll get a lot of wear out of it, it's worth it. The watch window is big for me, too...Is this the first item with this feature by Lululemon?

    @Anon- Yours and ojodeazul's vote led me to order the Inspire this morning :) Now it'll be a week before I get the jacket... (I tried calling my store yesterday and they only have the Inspire Pullover, so I can't try it on first).

    I was concerned by all the comments about it being tight in the shoulders too. I am a true 6 in Lululemon sizing (based on measurements for their size charts), but I usually size down in tops/dresses from other brands like Ann Taylor/Loft, Banana Republic, WHBM etc. because the shoulder seams are too wide for me. I am hoping that bodes well for me with this jacket.

    I did also order the Brooks jacket last Friday while I had the double percentage off from RRS. So I will have those two to decide between, and I'll go from there!

    Today's a rainy day here, perfect for one of these jackets! (Though maybe not cold enough yet).

  5. Posted pictures and my thoughts on the Lululemon Run: Inspire Jacket here:

    Ordered the Brooks too, but still waiting for it to come (probably tomorrow).

  6. It will be good to use the reflective fabric to make the clothing.


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