A lot of you already probably know that I run in the off season both trail and road. I know from personally shopping that there has never been anything particularly exciting in the running jacket market. Take a look, its pretty desolate with mainly lower tech Form over Function (ie fashion) items. So when Showers Pass called and asked me to review a new running jacket from a cycling company I was intrigued.
Of course, from a technology standpoint it makes sense, Showers Pass make top shelf cycling jackets that manage water, heat and vapor. But, we know running demands and environments are very different, for one there is much less wind chill to deal with, there is also a totally different body fit and also there is less (almost none) wind speed to assist hot body vapors. So you might say this is still a difficult task, no gimmie. On a dry cold winter day, all you need to go out running is tights, gloves and one mid weight layer. When running, you heat up fast, sweat a lot and its hard to cool. Now throw in the mix some light sprinkles or rain and thats where a well designed, performing jacket comes in.
The Cloudburst jacket rolls together some key technology to actually make a running jacket thats not just a thin polyester fashion shell. BTW – most running jackets are just that a polyester shell.
You heat up and sweat a lot so Breathability is very important – The cloudburst jacket uses a material SP call eliteAIR™. Its has very high breathability, by the testing numbers this jacket breaths at a measured 42,000 g /m2 for comparison my test of the more recent Polartec Neoshell used in the Ornot Magic cycling jacket breathes at approx 30,000 g/m2, and on the bike the OrNot breathes amazingly well.
You are not slumped over a bike so the Fit of the garment is very different. And this jacket is engineered to fit a running body, allowing for motion where needed. – it fits well, athletic but not too snug. Which, also makes it versatile for other applications just as a general outdoor jacket.
Showers Pass have taken the path to making a highly focused product, you wont find built in gloves, hood or a balaclava in this jacket. This speaks true to putting the effort in the technology of breathability and weatherproofing.
Pockets and vents for storage and additional venting – this jacket has two zippered side vents with a mesh internal lining, meaning they can double as pockets. It also has a rear zippered pocket on the low back.
Now lets talk about price, at first I had some sticker shock at $189. I quickly noted that a similarly featured jackets from Nike Running are $140-$150, a regular windbreaker being around $60-100. So your extra $40/50 are paying for breathability and waterproofing. Another way to view this is to think about your $140 running shoes that need replacing every 300miles, really puts the price of versatile jacket in context.
Some features I love.
Of course breathability is massive, no need to labor this, I don’t think you are going to find anything on the market that breathes as well as this. It means that you stay dry (er) when running in a jacket.
The material feel is amazing, very soft to the touch that it feels luxurious when you compare it to other jackets in this group which feel in comparison very basic. Side vents double as pockets. – use as a vent or a pocket , great design thinking.
The design of the cuffs is also very nice. 1/2 of the cuff is elasticated and 1/2 left natural, so it has a nice fit without being overly bunchy.
For safety reasons the Rear Reflective trim is great. Since I often run in an urban environment in morning just before sunrise the reflective shoulder tape and back panel tape is great. A little more on the front wouldn’t go amiss.
Some features I could pass on.
The pocket on the back, sure it doubles as jacket storage but do we really need more pocket? The side vent pockets seem to work well. Personally I’d rather have less weight.
In true Showers Pass form they taped the internal seams for waterproofing, at that point of rain on a run I would be in a coffee shop or calling for a lift home. So i’m not sure they needed to do that.
If you run a lot especially in the Autumn and Winter season in wetter climates like the Pac NW you will appreciate this jacket. It will motivate you to get out when you might have shied away that miserable morning. On a lot of days it will become a go to layer as it tows both lines as a blocker that breathes and an out and out rain item.
One of my real questions is, can I use this on the bike also? That is to be answered :-).
$189 – Men’s and Womens: Mandarin & Titanium
Sizes; Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
Available February 2nd at http://www.showerspass.com