Best windproof cycling jackets 2024 ⁠— lightweight layers to protect you from the windchill while riding |

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Best windproof cycling jackets 2024 ⁠— lightweight layers to protect you from the windchill while riding |

The best windproof jackets will form a protective barrier between you and the wind when out on the bike, while remaining light and breathable. They'll help you get out the door during those chilly early morning starts, and most can be easily stowed when the weather warms up. 

A windproof jacket can be used year-round. A cycling windbreaker will aim to remain breathable for use in moderate temperatures and have room for piling the layers during cold spells.

Windproof jackets are shell-type layers and add no bulk to your ride. They'll keep out windchill and can be paired with cycling base layers to protect the core and bib tights for winter rides.  

On the more budget side, you'll find jackets with tight-woven fabrics with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating that may claim to be 'resistant' to poor weather, but not completely wind and rain-proof. 

Look for names like Gore, Polartec and Pertec on spendier jackets, which have added tech to better protect from the elements. Other features like a high collar, elasticated hems, and dropped rear will help to seal out the chill. 

All of these windbreakers are designed to stop the wind in its tracks, with some doubling up as waterproof cycling jackets, and while most are packable we've also included some heavier duty options with windproof properties that could see you through most of the cooler months with some layering.

For a rounded introduction to all types of cycling jacket see our guide to the best cycling jackets, and if you need something for colder weather head over to our winter cycling jackets guide. If it's windproofing you're after though, read on!

The Assos Mille GT Wind Jacket is super compact in your pocket and more closely fitted than most wind/emergency jackets once on.

The key to a good windproof shell is that it can be easily packed away, and this is where the Mille GT Wind excels. It’s feather light at only 90g, and the foil ultra-ripstop fabric is extremely thin, making it pack down to the tiniest parcel.

This doesn’t take away from the protection is offers when out on the bike though, forming a strong barrier against wind on blustery descents. Hunched down in an aero position, there’s no flapping to be heard, looks like Assos put their money where their mouth is when they coined it an 'acoustically innocuous' design.

Along with impressive wind-proofing, a DWR coating does a good job of fending off road spray and drizzle. Elasticated cuffs and a high collar keep out the chill, while the material on side panels make the Mille GT surprising breathable.  

Tester Jamie writes: “While Assos Mille GT Wind Jacket is pretty expensive for a windstopper, the performance, usability and quality mean it earns the price tag. You can easily buy cheaper, but they just won't be as good.”

While the GrandTour is a slim-fitting windproof jacket with thermal properties as opposed to a windbreaker, but we're including it in our windproof jacket guide as a heavier duty option for cold and windy days, or just about any day where you want warmth and weather protection. 

Galibier says for the coldest and nastiest weather, the GrandTour is best paired with its GrandTour Foul Weather Gilet; and our reviewer said he is "yet to find weather cold and grim enough to outdo the pairing." For any temps above zero, Galibier says you should be golden with just a base layer underneath, and our reviewer concurred. It's also very comfortable against the skin and not at all bulky, so on milder days, anywhere up to the mid-teens, you could just wear it on its own. 

If you want superb, versatile weather protection without the big ticket price, the GrandTour would certainly make a grand old choice. 

For those that can only splurge on one jacket to cover all riding conditions, the Gore Spirit Jacket has to be the top contender. Not only does it protect against wind and showers, it also performs across a range of riding styles and can be used off the bike.

As the name suggests, the Gore Spirit features Gore-Tex Infinium fabric with Windstopper technology. This translates to a durable-feeling garment that offers reliable protection against the wind with some coverage during rainy spells, all the while remaining fairly breathable. The elements are kept at bay with the elasticated Velcro wrists and a cosy, brushed collar. 

Unlike other options, the Gore Spirit provides two zipper pockets for stashing snacks and valuables, yet manages to remain reasonably packable and light. There’s a few small reflective details, but the more commuter-focused can choose from various colour options, including a high-vis yellow/black.

The Santini Pure Dye Wind Jacket is thicker than your average windproof, and has decent water-resistant too. 

You get a high neckline to keep out the winter chill, and our reviewer praised the quality construction, finding it very comfortable on long rides. A classic fit means it's not super tight and fine for casual riding, and the eye-catching design is also a highlight. 

If you're after a warmer windproof for colder days, the Pure Dye is well worth considering. It's comfortable, stylish and also has large pockets for big days on the bike. 

If you’re after a fully windproof cycling jacket that’s also completely breathable, reviewer Emma was blown away by the extremely light and packable women's Assos UMA GT Wind Jacket.  

The front of the jacket is built with Assos’ light Foil Ultra windproof ripstop woven fabric, which is also effective at warding off light showers thanks to a DWR coating. Fit is improved by the flexible side panels made from a windproof textile, offering enough give to fit a few layers underneath on chilly rides.

The breathability of the UMA GT is second to none, largely thanks to a rear ‘stretch-net’ panel that’s made of a fine mesh and does wonders to keep temperatures down. The dropped tail still fits over packet pockets, with the elasticated hem staying firmly in place.

This jacket is considerably aero without being at all restrictive. The high stretch of the material pairs well with with elasticated cuffs, hem, and collar to keep out drafts and eliminate any drag from flapping materials. The entire jacket has a considered cut, with regular length and a feminine fit. 

The Le Col Womens Hors Categorie Jacket II is more than just a windproof, featuring Polartec's Power Shield fabric that offers supreme protection against wind and rain... and it should do too at this price! 

Though it is a huge investment, this jacket is seriously impressive in terms of its warmth and protection from the elements, while still managing to be exceptionally breathable too. Polartec are also responsible for the fleecy inner material, that is soft against the skin and doesn't make you sweaty. Even though it's quite a thin jacket, you don't need to layer up too much. Our reviewer paired it with just a base layer underneath and was fine in temperatures ranging from 5-8°C. 

While the price is a sticking point, if you were to own one jacket to see you through most of a British autumn and winter, you might feel like this one is worth the investment.

The 7Mesh Cypresss Hybrid Jacket is targeted at cool mornings and windy days where you need lightweight protection, but not a full waterproof.

Like some of its competitors, the Cypress Hybrid features Gore-Tex Infinium on the front; a light and breathable windblocking fabric with DWR coating that protects against light showers, without claiming to be fully waterproof.

The arms and rear are built in four-way stretch material and are highly breathable, impressive for fabric on which water just beads off. Again not waterproof, but good enough to shed a light shower while remaining supremely breathable.

There’s no pockets, but two long side zips allow easy one-handed access to rear jersey pockets and can double as vents when conditions start to warm up. Reviewer Mike praises the taped seams and reinforced stress areas, saying: "The build quality and finish is so good you could wear it inside out and it'd look just as sharp." 

The jacket can be packed into a fist-sized ball and fit our tester’s tall and broad frame like a glove, with hems sitting at the perfect length and stretch at the back making for unrestricted range of movement.  

For early (dry) starts, late finishes or long descents, the dhb Aeron Packable Jacket offers ample protection at a wallet-friendly price, and it folds almost unnoticeably into a back pocket.

Being such a light jacket, the Aeron packs in plenty of features that make it a pleasure to wear: from well-fitting cuffs and a soft back collar, to the double-ended zip for adaptable ventilation and pocket access.

The Aeron is not a jacket with any claims to waterproofing, though the polyester shell will hold up in brief showers. This is largely due to the mesh panel which runs the full length of the back and provides great breathability. Even sprints didn’t cause overheating, though on the flip side, the armpit panels definitely let you know when there’s a crosswind.

The performance fit helps to minimise noise from the rustly fabric, with help from silicone grippers to keep the jacket firmly in place.   

The Galibier Gino Pro Wind is one of the best breathable windbreaker cycling jackets we've reviewed, and even better, it won’t break the bank.

Galibier has long had a reputation of creating affordable garments that consistently perform, and the Gino is no exception. Galibier has used UPF200 Windstop fabric by Miti for the front panels. It’s a high thread-count material which is then laminated to create the windproofing.

Reviewer Stu put the Gino Pro's windstopping claims well and truly to the test, saying: 'I went out on a night ride with the temperature just half a degree below freezing and a cold north-easterly wind. Underneath, all I had on was a mesh short-sleeved base layer that I normally wear in the warmth of summer. My temperature was very comfortable, even on my arms, where under the sleeves of the Gino, my skin was exposed."

The jacket can be worn on its own as a winter jersey, or with extra layers for those sub-zero morning starts. Breathability is not issue as Galibier uses a thinner fabric for the rear and side panels, which lets body heat escape.

Three slim rear pockets offer some room for snacks, without making it too bulky to fold up small into a pocket or seatpack. Comfort is king with the Gino, the material’s pleasantly soft and the offset zip’s a nice touch to avoid neck rub. Its latest update also now comes with refelctive detailing, and the price has dropped even more. 

The Endura FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Cape 2 is a top-performing packable shell for protection against the elements. Ticking the Holy Trinity of breathable, comfortable and affordable, the cape also stands out in conditions of low visibility.

Endura claims that breathability is rated at ’20,000g’, which means that during say a four-hour ride, you can expect a square metre of the fabric to shift six kilograms of sweaty moisture. In practice, this functions excellently.

Alongside this, the Adrenaline boasts 15,000mm of waterproofness. It wouldn’t replace a dedicated rain jacket, but keeps the rain off during heavy showers impressively well - a big plus for the changeable UK weather.

Key features that support the wind- and rain- proofing are taped seams and tight hems, with the newest model sporting a 'minimalist cuff finish' for a snug fit. The translucent fluro colourway with reflective detailing does allow for a race number to be seen underneath though, and it easily compresses into a pocket for storage.

The Bontrager Circuit Cycling Wind Jacket is a lightweight, packable shell with impressive windblocking prowess. It's a good option for the sort of chilly, showery conditions commonly experienced on early and late season rides.

Given that the semi-fitted jacket is made from thin-feeling polyester, tester Shaun was genuinely impressed by its ability to completely stop the wind in its tracks and ward off particularly icy blasts. Temperature’s sufficient in mild conditions, but you’ll need to add some insulating layers for colder outings.

The Circuit is showerproof rather than waterproof, but the DWR coating allows it to withstand heavy downpours for half an hour or so. It dries off quickly between showers too, making it practical for riding in changeable weather with intermittent rain.

The jacket manages to prevent that clammy feeling thanks to vents under the arms, on the shoulders, and across the back. The zipper’s easy to use and has a two-way function, which gives easy access to jersey pockets on the fly (there’s also one in-built side pocket).

Meanwhile, the elasticated sleeves block out any drafts and two pull cords mean you can opt for a relaxed hem, or to draw it tighter against the elements.

The Pearl Izumi Men’s Pro Barrier Jacket is a windproof performance cycling jacket that protects from adverse weather without adding any drag to your ensemble. Don’t let the price deter you either, as you can pick it up for around £60-£70 at the time of writing. 

The Pro offers a body-hugging performance fit for aero riding, with no extra flappy material in sight. Despite this, the high stretch means you can still fit thin layers underneath if needed for colder rides, though where it excels most is blustery summer days.

Though the cut is slim, you do get a dropped tail for rear coverage in the rain, along with ample reach in the arms. Fabric used is Pearl Izumi’s PI Dry, a hydrophobic technology which makes the shell both water-repellent and at the same time, highly breathable and sweat-wicking. It won’t wash off like some DWR coatings either.

This translates to the jacket being able to withstand light showers for around an hour, but water will eventually seep in through the untaped seams. The Pro’s small size means it can be easily packed away into a pocket when the weather brightens, though it’s worth noting that the jacket has no pockets itself.

It may be on the pricey side, but the Sigr Nackrosleden Transparent Pro Cycling Wind/Rain Jacket is an impressive piece of kit for fast road rides and racing in poor weather conditions.

The transparent, 100% Nylon material allows you to see a race number or team kit through the jacket. Though the fabric can feel sticky on bare skin, it does a good job of regulating temperature thanks to underarm mesh sections and a high breathability level of 20,000gsm/24hr.

The jacket can withstand most prolonged downpours thanks to a hydrostatic head rating of 15,000mm. Only a ride of four hours in torrential rain saw some water seeping through (seams are taped), but few jackets could withstand that.

As for the fit, the Sigr sports a performance cut suitable for racing, with decent tail drop to protect against road spray and long sleeves to cover reaching the drops. Four-way stretch material keeps it comfy, and a double zip means you can reach rear pockets easily for re-fuelling on the go.

The Altura Icon Rocket Men’s Packable Jacket is a handy, lightweight cycling shell that protects against changeable weather. As the name suggests, the Icon packs down easily and very small for minimalist riding.

The Icon is made using windproof Pertex Quantum fabric. Quantum is typically used in insulation, but is repurposed highly effectively in this outer layer as an excellent wind-blocker.

It performs on the breathability front too, being able to cope with fast-paced riding without becoming overly clammy. The DWR coating works very well in light rain and drizzle and even for short bursts of heavy downpours. The semi-fitted cut gives plenty of length in the arms, with elasticated cuffs stopping any draughts from slipping in, though they’re not roomy enough to fit over gloves. Up top there’s a very tall collar which does wonders for blocking the wind. 

Where the Icon excels is its visibility. Subtle reflectives woven into the front and rear panels are barely perceptible in daylight, but reflect approaching headlights like a beacon in low-light conditions.

While it's not windproof throughout the whole garment, the Everyday jacket from Gorewear has Windstopper material on the front and sleeves to keep you toasty enough in most conditions for casual riding or commuting. 

The jacket's fabric includes some recycled materials in its construction, and the claim is that it will protect you from wind and light rain. Our reviewer found this to be the case, with the material doing a good job of keeping the wind out, particularly when descending. It also successfully shrugged off light rain and drizzle.

If you're after something casual that'll look good on or off the bike, then the Everyday jacket is well-made, partially windproof and breathable, and will fit the bill for all types of riding and other outdoor activities. There's also a men's version that our reviewer also rated highly. 

Aside from picking a jacket with excellent windproof material, a good windproof jacket should also be highly practical, with features designed to keep the wind out. 

All lightweight windproofs will have a full-length zip, and some might have ventilation ports around the arms or in the side panels to boost ventilation. You don't normally get pockets, but some options will and it all depends on the type of cycling you do and your requirements.

High collars are useful additions for ensuring the wind doesn't sneak in around your neck. A dropped tail and raised front will give a better on-the-bike fit, and elasticated cuffs and waist bands can stop the jacket riding up and wind seeping in. 

Lightweight windproofs are made from thin fabrics so they pack away very small, meaning they will easily disappear inside a jersey or backpack pocket when not in use.

Windproof jackets are made from specific materials designed to trap air between inner layers. They do this by using tightly woven fabrics with gaps so small that it's difficult for much air to penetrate and steal body heat.

While there's no industry standard for measuring the wind resistance of fabric, one simple way to do this is to place your mouth on a garment and blow hard against it. Use your hand to feel how much air gets through to the other side. Roughly, the more difficult it is to blow air through the fabric, the more wind-resistant it is. 

Generally, the more windproof a fabric, the less breathable it is; but the two don't always have to be mutually exclusive. Features can be added to jackets to make them more breathable, while retaining a good level of windproofing. For instance, look out for details like a mesh back and underarm panels, side ventilation zips, a double-ended zip, and use of lightweight materials. 

Choice of fabric is key in a windproof jacket. While some materials will offer some wind resistance with a bit of chill seeping through, others will form an almost impenetrable barrier between you and the wind. There are quite a few options on the market and in general, how much you pay will dictate the quality of the fabric. 

Typically the more you pay, the lighter and thinner the fabric - but how does that translate to windproofing ability? Gore Windstopper is a very popular choice. This is manufactured by laminating a lightweight PTFE microporous polyurethane membrane to a fabric. Unlike Gore-Tex, which is waterproof, Windstopper is designed to just keep the wind out, and is very good at it. That said, it does a fine job at keeping quite a bit of lighter rain out too.

Other choices include fabrics made by Polartec, which usually have a polyurethane membrane bonded onto the face of the fabric, and Pertex, which combines a moisture-moving inner layer with a tight weave outer layer that stops wind getting through.

While some windproof cycling jackets will offer thermal capabilities, like the windproof winter options in our selections above, most are not designed to keep you warm in cold temperatures. Windproof jackets form a protective barrier from wind and the windchill. You can add extra warmth by wearing insulating layers underneath in colder conditions. 

A windproof cycling shell is lightweight and thin, so it can be easily stowed away in a jersey pocket when not in use. If you commute by bike, it's worth having a windproof in your backpack/pannier at all times, so it's there if you need it.

Fit is very important when it comes to cycling jackets, especially if you're using it for focussed training rides and not just commuting. Jackets range from generously sized, to race fit, and the right one for you will depend on the type of riding you do. If you’re commuting and cycling in a more upright position, you probably want a relaxed cut that can go over a couple of other layers easily.

If you’re racing or training, you want to minimise any excess material flapping in the wind, so choose a close and slim cut that covers the extremities when in more aero positions, like on the drops. 

It’s always worth trying a jacket on before buying if possible. Sizing can vary so much between manufacturers, and details like the length of the arms, how much the tail drops down, and the fit around the shoulders and waist, can change from one brand to another.

A good windproof jacket that blocks against windchill is priceless when out in cold and stormy weather. It will act as a barrier against the elements, keeping you comfortable and your core protected.

Without windproof protection, the body is exposed to cold air which can cause discomfort and chills, and can be dangerous for those susceptible to catching colds. 

Many windproof jackets will also have some level of water resistance, and tend to be more breathable than fully waterproof coats. A windproof layer should be a staple in every cyclist's winter kit wardrobe, especially those living in colder climates where wind and low temperatures can prove to be a pretty miserable combination. 

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Kate delved into the cycling world when racing triathlon at university, where she studied English Literature and French. Keen for some two-wheeled adventures, she made the most of the long holidays by bikepacking across France and Europe solo. Kate's now a full-time specialist journalist and cycling gear tester, she's written for various titles including, 220Triathlon, and Trail Running Magazine. 

Been very satisfied with my Band Of Climbers windproof jacket for a couple of years. Works well in winter with a long sleeve winter jersey to prevent the wind getting through (so keeping the warming air within the insulated part)  and aslo in spring or on descents with a lighter jersey. mesh type back helps with not overheating. 

Wind chill isn't prevented by wind proof clothing. Wind chill is prevented by insulation.

My wind jacket is ideal for rides where I just want to stop the air blowing through onto the front of me. Keeps the chill out when you're moving.

That's not what wind chill is.

And insulation is the installation of a layer or layers in order to prevent cold air reaching the body, and clearly a material designed to deflect cold winds is going to be the most effective way of doing that. Do you have to be contrarian on every single post?

A surface loses heat through conduction, evaporation, convection, and radiation. The rate of convection depends on both the difference in temperature between the surface and the fluid surrounding it and the velocity of that fluid with respect to the surface. As convection from a warm surface heats the air around it, an insulating boundary layer of warm air forms against the surface. Moving air disrupts this boundary layer, or epiclimate, allowing for cooler air to replace the warm air against the surface. The faster the wind speed, the more readily the surface cools.

I mean technically wind chill isn't prevented by insulation either, since it's simply a number, a function of temperature and wind speed. but feel free to think that putting on a windproof jacket doesn't help you stay warmer, if that's your thing.

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Best windproof cycling jackets 2024 ⁠— lightweight layers to protect you from the windchill while riding |

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