Irish weather has been fairly atrocious for the past couple of months, featuring no less than six named storms, mass flooding and forecast warnings such as “Don’t take unnecessary journeys!” It even prompted a youtube sensation when remix videos were made of a certain conscientious weather forecaster and her stern warnings to the nice Irish people.
On the grand scale of things, Irish weather is actually probably quite mild compared to other parts of the world so I’m not complaining, but it did prompt me to look at my running gear. Think that last sentence says it all 😉 Having been drowned in torrents of rain and whirled around in gale force winds for going on 6 weeks, I was curious to find out if there was perhaps a better way to dress that might make some small difference to my rain running.
For the last few years, I’ve been using a light Adidas running jacket as my extra layer of protection on windier, wetter or colder days. It served me well but it’s a dark pink colour, with visibility not being its strong point. It has worn well considering how much wear I’ve gotten out of it but a replacement model has been on the cards for a fair while now. So I bought a new one.
This is a Saucony Sonic Reflex running jacket. It’s very light and makes claims to be wind and water resistant. I’ve worn it quite a lot since I got it 3 weeks ago so I have some thoughts to share.
It is ridiculously light and comfortable. I abhor running in excess clothing. In fact, if I could run in nothing but a sports bra and shorts all year round, I would, but (a) that would not be pretty and (b) seasons. Bottom line: I can’t stand any unnecessary material flapping about me when I’m running no more than I can tolerate being too hot when out on a run. This jacket is a lovely fit and you can feel the quality of the material and design on your skin. It is quite expensive, but this is what you’re paying for – good quality and comfort – and if it means years of not being driven demented on my wet runs, then I’m sold.
The sleeves are cuffed at the wrists which I like because it prevents rain running down/up your sleeve but neither are the cuffs too tight to be uncomfortable, cut off blood circulation or most importantly….prevent you from being able to pull the cuff back over your Garmin to keep an eye on your pace 😉
Reflective material in abundance. As a runner, you cannot have enough reflective material on your body, not just at nighttime but it’s also incredibly important on dark days or days when there is poor visibility on the roads. Rain, storms or just winter. Better to be safe than sorry. This jacket takes this very seriously.
Pockets. You got two pockets on the front and one larger panel pocket at the back (just to one side). Roomy, not just showy. I’m a runner, I deal firstly and foremost in practical so I appreciate a pocket that is actually useful and not just there because it looks nice in the design.
Water and Wind Resistant. Hmm… Here’s where I have a little criticism. I get that if a person spends an hour (maybe more) outside running about on exposed roads, whilst it’s pouring water out of the sky, said person is going to get wet. So it would be unfair to expect a little running jacket to fully shield that person from all moisture. However, Saucony tell me that this jacket has DWR coating (Durable Weather Repellant) to make it waterproof. It’s fair to say that I’ve given the DWR a solid testing in the last few weeks and I’ve two clear observations I can make:
(1) My torso was well protected and it did a remarkable job at shielding my body (from neck to hip) from most of the rain and wet. (2) My arms were sodden. I noticed that in rainy weather, my lower arms, turned upwards because of the running motion and consequently taking a lot of rain, got very wet and cold. Either it’s the material or the coating on the material (or a combination of both) but whatever the reason – the sleeves proved unable to block the rain effectively. The optimist in me hoped that the rain would simply run off as with an effective softshell jacket. It’s not a showstopper because like I said, I accept that a certain amount of wet is unavoidable but I nonetheless believe this could be better and is an area that should be worked on.
Extra length. The jacket comes down just over your backside, bringing with it slightly extra coverage to keep you dry. I like this feature. It’s not annoyingly long and you don’t really notice it because of the shape of the jacket and the way it flares ever so slightly out. Good design.
The Neck. This tends to be another bug bear of mine. Don’t want something too tight or too clingy that’s gonna choke me, chafe my neck or just irritate me. At the same time, you want something you can zip right up on a cold day or stop the rain getting in when it starts coming down. Saucony have got this bang on. It zips right up and the design has got the balance just right to manage a nice neat, close fit without it feeling tight or uncomfortable. I also found it effective against rain seeping down my neck. I like this part.
The Price. It is expensive. There’s no way of getting around this. Saucony price the jacket at $135 or 130 euro. I purchase mine from the nice people over at Running Warehouse for 109.19 and if you spend over 100 euro, you get free shipping. Either way, it’s pricey for a jacket, but I do think it’s always worth spending money on something if you’re going to wear it to death, day in, day out for years.
The Verdict: I love it. I’ve worn it a lot in the last few weeks and have been happy to put it back on time and time again, even if slightly miffed by seemingly unending rain! It does a good job on the whole, is a very nice design, fits very nicely and feels very light and comfortable. Reflective ability is top notch. The drawbacks are the wet arms and the price. I like it despite these things and would buy it again.
What running jacket do you wear or have worn in the past?
Have you also worn the Saucony Sonic Reflex jacket and if so what do you think of it?