Waterproof Running Gear: 13 Runner-Tested Picks to Stay Dry

Looking for waterproof running gear to help you stay dry in teh rain?
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If you live in a climate where rain, snow, and inclement weather can turn an ordinary run into a slosh-fest, some waterproof running gear can help you stare Mother Nature in the face and head out into the storm.
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Wondering what waterproof running gear to add to your inclement-weather arsenal of shoes and clothing?
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Check out these 13 runner-tested picks by WeeViews Ambassador Brynn Cunningham.

When it comes to getting outside year round, waterproof running gear can:

  • Keep you warm and dry
  • Keep you safe (hypothermia is real)
  • Motivate you to get outside in the first place
  • Make all the difference in a long endurance session or event and keep you literally outside on your feet, nixing the urge to quit because of rain, snow, or the “wintry mix”
The right waterproof running gear can make the miles a little more comfortable when the weather might be cold and wet.

One thing to consider when purchasing waterproof running is just how wet your hometown is.

For instance, many years ago in February 2011, I spent a few days in the Chihuahuan desert in southwestern Texas near Fort Davis.

  • This place hadn’t received any rain in six months. 
  • It seemed unfathomable to me, a rain lover through and through. 
  • If I lived there, I’m sure I’d daydream of running through puddles and getting thoroughly soaked on runs, an invigorating feeling if I do say so myself. 

The takeaway: If I lived in southwest Texas year round, I wouldn’t need to read this article, as I wouldn't require much waterproof gear.
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On the contrary, according to worldclimate.com, my hometown of Ohiopyle, located in southwestern Pennsylvania along the Youghiogheny River, averages:

  • 54.2 inches of rain and
  • 89 inches of snow per year 

In fact, it’s raining right now as I type. Even more, the 10-day forecast shows rain, snow, and a wintry mix of both.

Do you really need waterproof running gear?

The scale of necessity for waterproof running gear depends largely upon where you live...
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Unless you’re taking a trip to a rainy locale and need some gear, in which case I would highly advise buying discounted and/or used pieces or borrowing a friend’s as truly waterproof gear can get pricey.

If you live and train in a rainy area, and like doing stuff like me year-round:

  • Run and bike
  • Kayak
  • Fastpack
  • Camp
  • Backpack

Your waterproof running gear collection is key to making those experiences doable and enjoyable.
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To keep those often expensive pieces of apparel in excellent condition for a long time, follow the care instructions on the tag, or read this: 

Let’s take a look at what keeps me outside, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to curate your own waterproof running gear. 

For assistance in determining your own size, here are the female wear tester’s measurements:

  • Height: 5’ 3 ¾”
  • Weight: 120-125 pounds
  • Waist: 27.75 inches
  • Chest/bust: 34 inches
  • Hips: 34 inches
  • Thigh circumference: 18.5 inches
  • Inseam: 28 inches
  • Head circumference: 21 inches
  • Typical shirt size: XS
  • Typical pant size: 2, sometimes 0 if the brand runs large

Waterproof Running Gear reviewed in this story:

  • Jacket
  • Pants
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Gloves and mittens 
  • Hats 

Jacket

My first waterproof jacket was one by Mountain Hardwear, which I wore from 2009 to 2015, until it fell apart and lost its waterproofing.
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Then, rather than replace it with another waterproof jacket...

  • I suffered on long runs in water resistant jackets
  • Sometimes running for five hours, like I did during my solo, unsupported 24-mile North Fork Mountain Trail Fastest Known Time, in cold rain wearing a windbreaker
  • A "jacket" that eventually soaked through, when what I really needed was bomb proof waterproofness.

In fact, it was the 2021 North Fork FKT that spurred me to finally invest in a fully waterproof running jacket once again.
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After all, I had enough windbreakers, including two favorites:

Both of which do well in light, short rains but do not withstand either downpours over a short period of time or steady rain over a long period of time.
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In addition to the two windbreakers, before I went all-out waterproof, I opted for the:

  • Outdoor Research Women’s Helium Hybrid Jacket for partial waterproofness 
  • The hood and shoulders are made of Gore-Tex material, while the rest of the jacket is not. 
  • It works in many situations, but not the wettest of conditions, and not for more than two hours.

👉In-depth reviews on the Agile Wind, Houdini and Helium Hybrid: Running Windbreakers: 4 Fall Weather Jackets + How to Pick One.
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As a result, I did some research and added a Black Diamond lightweight, waterproof jacket with a hood, which fits over my mountain biking helmet, to my quiver of running jackets.

Black Diamond Women’s FineLine Stretch Rainshell Jacket with the hood up and cinched all the way in the back (Photo/ Eric Harder)

The Black Diamond Women’s FineLine Stretch Rainshell Jacket, which I wear in size small, is a dream. 

It has kept me dry on:

  • Long runs
  • Bike rides
  • Backpacking trips

But is so lightweight that it doesn’t bog me down or feel like a mini sauna. 

Black Diamond Women’s FineLine Stretch Rainshell Jacket with hood designed to fit over a climbing helmet; though it fits over my mountain biking helmet, I don’t wear it when riding because it’s too tight (MTB helmets are bigger than climbing ones). (Photo/ Eric Harder)

The large chest pocket easily fits my iPhone, a small beanie, and thin gloves. 
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I love the neck, which zips high to cover the throat, and the hood is designed to fit over a rock climbing helmet. 
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While it does zip over my mountain biking helmet, the tightness restricts movement, because biking helmets are larger than climbing helmets, so I only use it in this way when I’m at the trailhead and not actually riding.

The Black Diamond Women’s FineLine Stretch Rainshell Jacket pairs well with the Smartwool Intraknit Merino 200 Balaclava and the wool Patagonia Brodeo Beanie when it’s single digits with negative 25-degree Fahrenheit windchills!
Black Diamond Women’s FineLine Stretch Rainshell Jacket packs down into a small pocket, making it easy to bring on long excursions (Photo/ author)

If you like hand pockets, note that the Black Diamond Women’s FineLine Stretch Rainshell Jacket does not have them, but that doesn’t bother me. 

Pants

My first attempt at pants designed to manage water was a pair of water repellent pants, the Patagonia Houdini, made of the same material as their best-selling jacket, mentioned and linked above. 
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While the pants did wonders for light rain days and for resisting wind, they didn’t stand a chance against much more than a drizzle, just like the Houdini jacket. 
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So, I decided to get some waterproof pants.

GOREWEAR H5 Windstopper® Hybrid Running Pants, size small (Photo/ Eric Harder)

GOREWEAR is an awesome brand, offering all the clothes you need to waterproof yourself. 

  • The GOREWEAR H5 Windstopper® Hybrid Running Pants are not completely waterproof...
  • But provide protection in just the right places when it comes to running: the front of the quadriceps and knees. 
  • The backside is a water resistant softshell material, making these NOT ideal for biking but PERFECT for running. 
  • The waist has adjustable, velcro features, so I can tighten them when needed and loosen them if layers are thicker
  • The two front pockets run nice and deep.

I grab these pants, which I wear in size small, for the negative zero-degree and single-digit days when I need a roomy bottom to put on top of a thick base layer and for snowshoe running.
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Though GOREWEAR does not make this exact pant anymore, they offer some equally good options.

Outdoor Research Women’s Helium Rain Pants, size XS (Photo/ Eric Harder)

I love the Outdoor Research Women’s Helium Rain Pants, which I wear in an extra small, for:

  • Backpacking
  • Fastpacking
  • Camping
  • Running
  • Even for watching my kids’ soccer games in the rain. 

For running, they work well...

  • With a pair of wool underwear
  • And only in temperatures below 50 degrees
  • Because they can heat up quite quickly, despite the lightweight material

For colder runs in the low 40s to high 30s, I like to pair a thin pair of long underwear made by Mountain Hardwear (which they don’t sell anymore). 
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Furthermore, for even colder weather in heavy wintry mixes of rain and sleet hovering at 33 degrees, I pair warmer base layers like:

The Outdoor Research Women’s Helium Rain Pants have saved me on many occasions...

...when I’ve packed them in my running pack and slipped them on during a sudden downpour.
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They go on easily over shoes with the button-up lower legs and come off easily, too.
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A note about sizing:

  • I tried on the small and extra small. 
  • The smalls were very baggy and too long. 
  • The extra smalls still have rather baggy lower legs, while I wish the hips had a half inch more fabric to make sitting in a buddha squat at the campsite more comfortable. 
  • Still, the smalls were far too sloppy and pant legs covered my heels, so much so that I would walk all over them, so the extra small is what I got.
  • The internal adjustable drawcord with sticky inner waistline seals out the precipitation and allows for a custom fit.
  • Men’s Helium Rain Pants

While the Helium Rain Pants function well for most activities, they don’t work well for biking because of the wide, baggy lower legs. 

  • Additionally, they are so light that I was skeptical whether the material could withstand the bumps and bruises, dirt and grime, and sometimes hard crashes that go along with mountain and gravel biking. 

Thus, I invested in the Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm Pants (up next in the review). 

Patagonia Women’s Dirt Roamer Storm Pants, size S (Photo/ Eric Harder)

The Patagonia Women’s Dirt Roamer Storm Pants, which I wear in size small, are an absolute game changer when it comes to:

  • Mountain biking
  • Biking of any kind in wet, cold weather

They are very comfortable, with ...

  • Tapered legs
  • An adjustable waist
  • A relaxed fit in all the right areas (hips and thighs)

Not only do they perform well on the trails, they provide the right comfort and weather proofness for rail trail and gravel rides. 

  • On 50-degree blustery days, they go well with a short chamois underneath.
  • While in the 40s, a long, thermal chamois provides the right amount of warmth. 
  • Even when it’s cold and not raining, I wear these for wind protection and warmth. 
  • The fabric does not stick to the body if sweating with a short chamois.
  • The zippered legs make them easy to take on and off on the fly over shoes. 

I’ve even worn them during a torrential downpour while working at a trail race aid station and remained completely dry after hours of cheering on participants and handing out fuel to hungry, cold racers.

Socks

SealSkinz Waterproof Warm Weather Mid Length Sock with Hydrostop, size small (Photo/ author)

Originally, I purchased waterproof socks:

  • To wear under my kayaking shoes, so that my feet stay warm and dry when stepping into and out of my kayak at the put-in and take-out
  • For cold, wet mountain biking 
  • To avoid having to buy Gore-Tex mountain biking shoes

The SealSkinz Waterproof Warm Weather Mid Length Socks with Hydrostop, which I wear in size small, keep my feet dry during:

  • White water kayaking days
  • Mountain biking
  • I haven’t worn them for running, but they are a must for water sports and cycling.

Interested in waterproof running socks?

Shoes

La Sportiva Lycan Women’s GTX Trail Running Shoes, size 39 (Photo/ Eric Harder)

Gone are the days of wearing plastic grocery bags between your socks and shoes thanks to waterproof kicks! 

  • To sum up, Gore-Tex trail running shoes are AMAZING, an absolute game changer. 
  • About half the year, the tails are wet here in southwestern Pennsylvania with either rain or snow, or both, or ice or mud, or all of those things.

The La Sportiva Lycan Women’s GTX Trail Running Shoes, which I wear in size 39, protect my feet from getting cold and water-logged when the weather is both wet and frigid. 

  • I absolutely LOVE running straight through a puddle with complete confidence, knowing that my toes are protected and warm, as long as I don’t submerge my feet, or course.

Keeping the feet dry and warm (Gore-Tex adds warmth to the foot factor) can transform a miserably cold and wet run into a comfortable, possibly longer-lasting adventure. 

Gloves & Mittens

Mountain Hardwear Cloud Shadow Gore-tex Gloves, size S (Photo/ author)

Waterproof gloves are a lifesaver, or at least a hand and finger saver, when it comes to trail running in the snow and below freezing conditions.

The Mountain Hardwear Cloud Shadow Gore-tex Gloves, which I wear in size small, are my go-to. 

  • While they are too warm for running in the low 30s, they have a permanent place in my running pack throughout the winter.
  • I can slip them on for crawling under or over downed trees, or even when I’m using my handsaw to cut out trees across the trail (which I do often). 

Beyond running, the Cloud Shadows are excellent for:

  • Backpacking
  • Snowshoe running
  • Cross and backcountry skiing in 30-degree or colder temperatures. 

A hand warmer fits nicely on top of the hand, and the velcro wrist adjustment provides a tight fit when desired or a looser one to allow for more airflow. 

Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Convertible Mitten, size S/XS (Photo/ author)

A coverall mitten? Yes, please!
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Any runner running and living in a heavy precipitation area could benefit from the Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Convertible Mitten, which I wear in size small/ extra small. 
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Why?

  • They slide over gloves or mittens
  • You can adjust the level of warmth desired by the liner you choose. 
  • They even flip up, so you can peel back the waterproof layer during intermittent rain showers or wintry mixes, without having to remove them altogether. 
  • They are roomy enough to put a thick pair of gloves underneath
  • And they can accommodate hand warmers between the liner and the shell

Like the Mountain Hardwear gloves listed here, the Salomon Bonatti mittens also live in my pack during cold, rainy seasons as a “just in case” item.
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They are not too hot when worn with the Salomon MTN Wool Base Gloves during cloudy, wet and blustery 50-degree days.
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They also work well with the Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Ultra Grip Knitted Gloves (next on the list). 

Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Ultra Grip Knitted Gloves, size S (Photo/ author)

The Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Ultra Grip Knitted Gloves, which I wear in size small, are a cyclist’s and runner’s dream come true. 

  • They're knitted and form fitting
  • They feel almost like a second hand, albeit a thick one
  • The extra-long cuff does double to keep out the rain and cover exposed wrists or arms. 

Originally I purchased these for mountain biking and gravel riding, but they see more action trail running than anything else. 

  • I’ve even used them underneath my pogies when white water kayaking, and they keep hands super dry, unless water splashes in from the cuffs!
Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Cycle Gloves, size S (Photo/ author)

The Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Cycle Gloves, which I wear in size small, are a step up from the knitted versions reviewed above as far as warmth is concerned. 

  • They are too warm for most runs above 30 degrees, and even into the 20s
  • But they are perfect for biking in the 30s, 40s and 50s. 
  • Think about it: super dry hands! 

Additionally, I stash these in my running pack when I’m on trails in case I encounter downed trees that I can cut out with my handsaw (which happens about once a week, quite often). 
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Thus, they double as excellent trail work gloves.

Hats

Outdoor Research Storm AscentShell Rain Cap, OS (Photo/ Eric Harder)

For cross training activities, like backpacking and fastpacking, when I might be out in the elements all day and night, I prefer a 100% waterproof cap like the Outdoor Research Storm AscentShell Rain Cap, which comes in One Size. 

  • It repels water like no other, though I wish it came in more specific sizes.
  • I have to tighten the adjustable strap on the back almost all the way so that the sides don’t rest on the tops of my ears. 

For most types of running, I find that a waterproof cap isn’t necessary and prefer the ones reviewed here: 

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Full Brim Hat

For casual cross training activities like hiking, backpacking, or kayaking on Class I water that doesn’t require a helmet, I like the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Full Brim Hat, which I wear in size small/medium.

  • It is packable
  • Lightweight 
  • Provides full-circle coverage
  • It even doubles as a beach hat, camp hat, and overall-versatile summer staple that goes just about everywhere I go.
Outdoor Research Whitefish Hat

For cold-weather activities like snowshoe running and cross country skiing, I like the Outdoor Research Whitefish Hat, which I wear in size medium.
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Some things I like about this hat:

  • The brim for blocking snow
  • Waterproof shell
  • Fur-lined interior
  • Collapsible brim
  • Easy to pack
  • Chin clasp as well as hidden face-mask (see link for pics) all combine to form the ideal winter hat. 

More on cross training

More gear reviews

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Brynn Cunningham
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Trail runner, ultrarunner, white water boater, cyclist (mostly MTB), swimmer, triathlete, cross country and backcountry skier...

Comments

Evan Jensen I've always ran in crappy rain jackets. Upgraded to a Columbia with a mesh liner for breathability that I got at Costco. It was better than the others, but still overheat at 40 degrees or higher.

Decided to try the Black Diamond FineLine Stretch Rainshell Jacket. It's definitely better than any rain jacket I've ever owned. But I still got too hot wearing on a drizzle run around 45 degrees.

I just got the Brooks Canopy jacket. It worked good for a drizzle marathon to keep me dry. More lightweight/breathable than the FineLine. But I'm not sure it would hold up in heavy rain for hours.

Thanks for sharing your waterproof running gear picks. 🏃‍♂️👊

Brynn Cunningham Evan, thank you for the info and feedback! I’m so excited you got the FineLine! It has held up for many hours in heavy rains and has changed my running and biking life lol. Good to know about the Canopy, too. 😃

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