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Even in the summer the British weather can be unpredictable so having a good waterproof running jacket at your disposal can be invaluable. The last thing you want is to use the rain as an excuse for not getting your miles in, particularly if you have a race coming up. Of course, the flip side of this that the British weather has a habit of changing quickly so being light and packable are also good qualities when looking for a new jacket. So what else should you be looking for? Here is our guide to the best women’s waterproof running jacket available in the UK.
What will you use it for?
Different runners will have different needs and you need to consider why you are buying. For someone who is at the very start of their running journey and maybe only covering a few km at a time there is seems little reason to spend of £100 on one of the more advanced waterproofs. If you’re a regular parkrun attendee then different between smashing your PB and staying on the sofa watching Netflix box sets could be the jacket you’re now considering buying! One of the best things about parkrun is the weekly consistency so don’t let the rain put a damper on things, at this level you will want to consider something more durable, waterproof and breathable.
For those training for. Longer distances like half marathons, marathons or ultras you will want to ensure the jacket keeps you as dry for as long as possible while also being extremely breathable to allow sweat and moisture out. For the hours you will spend training (many of course through the winter months) you should spend wisely and invest in a top line jacket that will protect you from the elements.
Everything these days seems to have test, of course they aren’t always easy to understand. From your point of view ‘waterproof’ means you don’t get wet while out on your run. Things are that simple of course there are varying degrees of ‘waterproof’ available. Add into this mix how breathable garments can be and the water becomes slightly murkier! Some coats will use the term ‘water repellent’ which maybe ok for shorter runs, but if you’re training for longer distances you may want to consider something more waterproof.
Hydrostatic Head (HH) is the common way the garments are measured for how waterproof the fabric is. Essentially it is a measure of how many millimetres high a column of water would need to be before water penetrates the fabric.
|Waterproof Rating (mm)||Water Resistance Provided||Conditions|
|0-5,000 mm||No resistance to some resistance to moisture.||Light rain, dry snow, no pressure.|
|6,000-10,000 mm||Rainproof and waterproof under light pressure.||Light rain, average snow, light pressure.|
|11,000-15,000 mm||Rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure.||Moderate rain, average snow, light pressure.|
|16,000-20,000 mm||Rainproof and waterproof under high pressure.||Heavy rain, wet snow, some pressure.|
|20,000 mm+||Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressure.||Heavy rain, wet snow, high pressure|
Across the world there is no universal or standardised measure for breathability. There are three common and different test in available to measure how much water valour is able to pass through a piece of fabric in any given time. For running you will need to have a higher level of breathability given your expelling more water vapour through sweat. One common measure for breathability is Resistance of Evaporation of a Textile or RET. The RET scale goes from 0 to 30 with a lower number being more breathable. The scores do go over 30, but at that point there really isn’t an breathable qualities that will help you while running.
|RET Score||Breathability Notes|
|0-6||Extremely breathable. Comfortable at higher activity rate.|
|6-13||Good to very good breathability. Comfortable at moderate activity rate.|
|13-20||Satisfactory to acceptable breathability. Uncomfortable at high activity rate.|
|20-30||Unsatisfactory or slightly breathable. Moderate comfort at low activity rate.|
|30+||Unsatisfactory or not breathable. Uncomfortable and short tolerance time.|
Fixed Hood or roll-away
For us this comes down to personal preference, but consider that there may be times that you just use the waterproof jacket to protect from the wind and low temperature so a hood flapping around unnecessarily will cause addition drag and wind resistance as you run. Not to say it would also a little annoying. The flip-side to this is that hoods that fold away do tend to offer let resistance to water in our opinion.
Pockets, pockets, pockets!! This is definitely a ‘how long is a piece of string’ type of question. Really only YOU know what you like to carry when running. Many people favour taking phones, ID and money and there are definitely pocket options for you on that front. For those training to run longer distances may be supplementing your equipment with a hydration vest and so have less need for many pockets in a waterproof jacket. Consider the placement of the pockets as modern mobile phones can cause an awfully annoying swing in any baggy areas of the coat. Often a rear zipped compartment that is pressed close to you might be best.