Think windbreakers are an overrated item of clothing? Welp, Prada has an entire section of what they think are the best windbreakers for men. Neiman Marcus showcases even more designer windbreakers from the likes of Versace, Dsquared2 and Alexander McQueen. But, the best windbreakers don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Maybe there is room for a windbreaker (or two) already in your closet, but let’s keep it real — is it falling apart? Is it in style? Does it even fit? If you’ve been sweating your ass off in your best rain jacket for the past couple of months, you’re going to need to replenish your closet with a new windbreaker you’ll actually wear. Below, we’ll break down the different styles of this popular light jacket, as well as the best windbreakers for men available right now.
What the Hell Is a Windbreaker Anyway?
Glad you asked. A windbreaker is a lightweight zip-front jacket usually made from nylon and sometimes lined in mesh or net. Made to protect the body against light rain and wind, it’s a shell that can be worn day or night. A windbreaker is also known as a windcheater or a cagoule.
While they’re practical light jackets for those awkward transition months when you don’t want anything too warm, they can actually have some serious benefits for runners and athletes. A 2012 study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine found that wearing a windbreaker when working out in cold weather helps prevent hypothermia.
The best windbreakers are not only great protection against the elements, but they also look damn good.
Type of Windbreakers for Men
The best windbreakers keep you comfortable when it’s windy, rainy or chilly. While you may think there’s only one type of windbreaker, there are a few variations.
The Coach Jacket: made from the same material as a windbreaker, the coach jacket differs in that it has a snap front, and doesn’t have a hood.
Anorak: it’s a pullover jacket with a hood, half-zippered front and kangaroo pockets.
Packable Windbreakers: These jackets come with their own pouch or fanny pack, in which the windbreaker can be stowed. These are great for camping trips and gym bags.
Shopping for the Best Men’s Windbreakers of 2021
What is the best windbreaker for your lifestyle? If you’re a runner, look for jackets that have reflective material (if you run at night) and ones in bright colors (for the day) to ensure visibility. If you’re an avid hiker, bright color combinations or bold prints will keep you visible to fellow hikers on the trail. Since windbreakers are lightweight, they’re easy to fold, relatively weightless and can easily be stowed in a day pack.
While the aforementioned Prada windbreakers might look good on the runway, we would actually recommend you purchase a more affordable jacket instead. Scroll through to find the best windbreakers to wear no matter the season.
1. Champion Packable Quarter-Zip Jacket
One reviewer on Amazon said it best themselves: “this is not wind resistant — this is windproof!”
This affordable quarter-zip is the perfect packable windbreaker for hiking, exercise and any other day-to-day adventure. It’s got a kangaroo pocket to keep all of your valuables safe and is totally lightweight so you won’t sweat too much. It comes with a hood to keep your head covered from the wind as well, but sadly, this quarter-zip isn’t totally waterproof. Nonetheless, this is an excellent windbreaker for travel since it has the ability to pack right into itself.
2. UNIQLO Pocketable UV Protection Parka
This lightweight parka is perfect for the kind of guy that’s constantly taking his jacket on and off throughout the day. It’s so lightweight that you won’t even realize you’re carrying it, which can be a blessing and a curse if you absolutely leave it behind somewhere. It’s built with UV protection to keep you safe from the sun and is even available in a multitude of good-looking colors to choose from. Plus, it’s from UNIQLO, one of the most well-trusted clothing brands in the world.
3. Alpha Industries Windbreaker Utility Jacket
BEST FOR RUNNING
Made from a company that’s been supplying outwear to the military for years, this is a sturdy jacket, especially at the price point. The inner and outer layers are made from 100% polyester, and it features two zippered exterior pockets and a drawstring at the hood, so even your head can stay wind-less. This baby only comes in black, so feel free to match this with just about anything.
4. Eddie Bauer Momentum UPF 50+ Anorak
BEST FOR SUN PROTECTION
If you’re an outdoor lover or someone who loves a good, long walk, this could be the best windbreaker for you. The fabric is imbued with UPF technology and is water repellant. The half-zip front is finished with a hood, and there are two front pockets that can be zipped up. Fold it up when not in use and store it in its own kangaroo pouch. Eddie Bauer isn’t known for making the most stylish men’s clothing, but this color block windbreaker is actually very much on-trend.
5. Lululemon Warp Lite Packable Jacket
This sleek dulled green windbreaker adds a dash of fashion to your classic jeans-and-tee combo, yet at the same time works perfectly when running and exercising. It has a super clean, modern look to it that’s completely breathable. Though air is capable of flowing in and out, it still keeps you totally blocked from the wind no matter how rough it gets out there. Wear it out for brunch with your buds or canoeing down the river on your next solo adventure.
6. TRAILSIDE SUPPLY CO. Mens Windbreaker
BEST FOR UNEXPECTED WEATHER
If you’re not fond of hoods, this is the best windbreaker for you as it has a high funnel neckline, but no hood. Trailside Supply Co.’s windbreaker jacket also has zippered pockets, is wind and dustproof, has adjustable cuffs and an inner pocket. Fold it into a tiny square and stow it in your glove box or backpack. Snag it in black or one of the other various colors available.
7. H&M Nylon Windbreaker
BEST RETRO COOL
This hooded black windbreaker has a semi-vintage vibe to it that’s expressed in the puffy design and striped drawstring pulls. It has a mesh inner liner, elasticated cuffs and also comes in white. To top it all off, not only is this nylon windbreaker completely windproof, but also totally water-resistant. Rain and wind? No problem.
8. Pashko Euphoric Japanese Inspired Tech Travel Jacket
Designer Patrick Robinson, who once helmed The Gap’s creative team, has struck out on his own and created Pashko, an elevated line of everyday wear for men and women. His windbreaker wouldn’t look out of place at a business breakfast or lunch. Made for the inveterate traveler, this is a windproof hooded jacket lined in fleece for extra warmth on brisk days. Layer it over a tee or sweater. It has four roomy zippered pockets and a drawstring waist.
9. adidas Camo Windbreaker
Camo has seen a total revamp in 2020, so we’re bringing it into 2021 with pride. This camo windbreaker from adidas will make you look great from the streets to the basketball court, proving that not only army dudes have to rock the look. It’s a quarter-zip so you’ll have to pull it over the same way you would your favorite sweatshirt and even comes with a hood to keep you extra safe from the wind.
10. ASOS DESIGN Translucent Windbreaker Jacket
Never expect anything less from ASOS. This statement brand has windbreakers out the wazoo ranging from funky patterns to bright colors to designer picks, but we can’t get over this fully clear windbreaker made directly by the brand. You know those days where you’re wearing a super cool outfit that you just need to show off in public but it’s just so windy? Well, this windbreaker lets you show it off no matter how windy it gets. You’re welcome.
11. LL Bean Men’s Mountain Classic Full-Zip Jacket
L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Maine used to be open 24/7, just in case someone needed duck boots or a canoe. One of the oldest outdoor sports outfitters and a preppie’s best friend, anything bought from the company will last until the 3rd generation. The company updated one of their classic anorak designs, gave it a front zipper, angled front patch pockets and made it water-resistant.
12. Nike Hike Windbreaker Jacket
BEST POP OF COLOR
Nike created this bright-hued color block hooded jacket for hikers, runners and anyone who’s looking for a jacket to use when the temps seesaw from warm to slightly chilly. This could be the best windbreaker for hikers, you’ll be spotted through tree branches and brush. It has two front zippered pockets and will look stellar on anybody.