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  • Writer's picturePeter

Waterproof Vs Windproof

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

As runners ourselves, we know how important it is to get out for your run – regardless of whether it’s blowing a gale or the rain’s coming down sideways. When it comes to choosing a running jacket though, it gets a little confusing - there's just so much choice and loads of different technology - where does one even start? VeloRu nner are here to help.


Lets start by deciding what the main purpose of the jacket is, which is primarily to help regulate your temperature while protecting you from the elements on your run. When we run we generate heat internally which the body needs to regulate. Sweating is one of the primary methods your body uses to control its temperature. Sweat, as it evaporates, helps cool the skin. Blood vessels feeding the skin also dilate, which allows warm blood to flow to the skin's surface. This helps remove heat from the body's core. Both of these can will create moisture on the inside of the fabric covering the skin the less breathable the fabric, the more moisture will collect on the inside of the fabric.

In terms of breathability windproof wins every time. Windproof fabrics breathe so much better than the waterproof equivalents especially once you take into account the need to tape (or weld which is like glueing the seams together as well as sewing them) every single seam on any waterproof item. This results in you staying drier on the inside of the jacket as any moisture you create through your heat moisture in the air around you or sweat escapes better through the jacket.

So your Jacket needs to do three things well.

  1. Protection: they need to shield you from the cold, wind or rain.

  2. Comfort: they need to offer a comfortable fit that allows freedom of movement.

  3. Breathable: so that they allow moisture vapour (sweat) to escape, ensuring you don’t get too hot and sticky inside.

If its raining lightly and your run is pretty urban a windproof should probably be the jacket you turn to most. I've completed 2 hours plus training runs in the Puma seasons windproof jacket, in some pretty heavy snow showers and felt comfortable where I knew the waterproof would have left pretty warm and sweaty.

However if its lashing it down or your heading into more remote countryside or the mountains, then you should be packing full waterproof, even when its not raining


When choosing a running jacket, the type of running you do and the conditions you train in, will define what type of running jacket you'll need.

  1. Windproof Running Jackets: lightweight shell jackets with a windproof, water-resistant outer – your go-to jacket for year-round running.

  2. Waterproof Running Jackets: these jackets feature a waterproof outer fabric – perfect for longer runs in unpredictable weather, winter training and when required as compulsory race kit.


When to use: For all runs in windy conditions. Dry day or light rain showers.

In most cases, this will be your ‘go-to’ running jacket. Windproof jackets are normally ultra-light and boast exceptional breathability, ensuring you won’t overheat even when training in summer. They have a single layer of windproof fabric, with a water-resistant finish that will keep you dry in light rain and drizzle.

Our suggestions: - the lightest of all our jackets. Made from a Pertex Quantum fabric, they provide excellent windproof protection and breathability. They pack away small into their own pocket, meaning you can pop it in your race vest or waistpack for easy carrying.


When to use: For all runs in persistent heavy rain, strong winds and storms.

A reliable waterproof running jacket is a must for any serious runner who wants to train consistently throughout the year in all conditions. They come in a variety of different types – from stripped-back racing shells designed for lightweight speed to versatile waterproof jackets packed with features. For those looking to partake in trail races and ultra-marathons, look for waterproof jackets with fully-taped seams, as they are a mandatory kit requirement for most races.

Our suggestion: the super-versatile (stretchy) lightweight Compressport Hurricane 25/75 Waterproof Jacket (View Mens | Womens) - the perfect choice if you’re looking for a high performing lightweight Jacket which will fulfil mandatory kit requirements and keep you dry in all weather.

When shopping for a running jacket, all the lingo and technical terminology can be highly confusing. Here are the key terms you need know.

  • Breathability – The fabric of running jackets is given a breathability rating or MVTR (Moisture Vapour Transfer Rating), it is a measure of the amount of water vapour that can pass through a square meter of the fabric from the inside to the outside in 24 hours. So a 20,000g rated fabric (like that on the STORMSHELL waterproof running jacket) allows 20,000 grams of vapour out. The higher the figure the more breathable the fabric. Why is this important? Well, when you're running you're likely to get hot and sweaty - the more breathable the jacket, the more heat will escape and the more comfortable you'll be. We'd recommend looking at a minimum rating of 15,000 for a running jacket.

  • Hydrostatic Head – Sounds fancy but it's really just a measure of how 'waterproof' a fabric is. For any fabric to be considered waterproof it must be able to withstand the pressure of a column of water 1,000mm high without leaking. The more waterproof a fabric is, the higher the column of water it can withstand. The ultra-light RACESHELL Waterproof Jacket has been tested to withstand the pressure of a column of water 15,000mm high.

  • Taped or fully-taped seams – To be considered 'fully' waterproof, the tiny holes in a jacket's seams need to be covered. This is done by taping over them. Fully-taped seams means that all a jacket's seams are taped over - it's a common requirement for most trail and ultra race kit lists.

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