7 of the Best Windbreaker Jacket Brands for Men & Women

by Allie d'Almo  |  Published August 24, 2022

Looking for the ultimate line of defence against chilly winds? Get yourself one of these fashionable and functional windbreaker jackets for men and women. 

A Helly Hansen windbreaker jacket for men (Photo: Helly Hansen)

As the name implies, windbreaker jackets are designed to act as a barrier between the wind and your skin. Just like a windbreak on the beach, a good windbreak jacket can withstand the harshest winds. But the best are ultra-packable, lightweight and breathable too. They’re also affordable but hardwearing, insulating but unrestrictive. And, they’re stylish too. With hundreds of brands to choose from, we’ve scoured the internet for seven of the best windbreaker jacket brands for men and women. We’ve chosen these based on value for money, customer and critic reviews, functionality, style and sustainability.  

Helly Hansen 

Founded in 1877, Norwegian ski specialist Helly Hanson is no stranger to colder climes. In fact, the brand pioneered the first supple waterproof textiles some 145 years ago and has remained at the forefront of fabric development ever since. When it comes to windbreaker jackets, Helly Hanson’s offering is both stylish and functional. Protection ranges from lightweight windproof jackets for blustery autumn days to heavy-duty windbreakers for adventurous hikes. Fabrics are PFC-free, given a water-repellent treatment, and many are made – at least partially – from recycled fabrics. Jackets are more budget-friendly than competitors too. 

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Jack Wolfskin

Jasper Three in One Jacket from Jack Wolfskin (Photo: Jack Wolfskin)

Jack Wolfskin is an excellent option for those looking for a sturdy and reliable windbreaker jacket that won’t break the bank. It was founded 40 years ago in Germany and has become one of Europe’s most popular outdoor brands. Combining utility, performance and accessibility, jackets are both reliable and affordable. There are plenty of options to choose from, but the three-layer Texapore Pro range is a customer favourite. Windproof, waterproof and very breathable, jackets are designed for both men and women and are available in a wide range of colours. 

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The North Face

North Face was one of the first brands to successfully transition from outdoors wear to fashion, and these days you’re just as likely to spot it on the high street as you are up a mountain. That said, there’s more to this Californian brand than good looks; the jackets are seriously sturdy too. For the best protection, look for jackets made from WindWall fabrics. These reduce the effects of wind chill while providing flexibility and breathability to avoid overheating. Softshell jackets are the most protective, while the fleece products are engineered to reduce wind chill, rather than eliminate it. 

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North Sails

North Sails windbreaker jacket (North Sails)

North Sails are masters of wind and water. Founded in 1957 by American sailor and Olympic Gold Medalist Lowell North, it’s one of the few brands that specialized in sailing wear. And where there are sails, winds tend to follow. Jackets are made from materials that are impervious to wind and help prevent heat loss by maintaining body warmth. Items like the North Windbreaker Jacket protect against the harshest conditions too, with waterproof seams and pockets, secure cuff closures and storm flaps. Items are affordably priced too. 

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Those looking for a more sustainable windbreaker jacket should look to Patagonia. The brand sets a high bar when it comes to delivering on eco-credentials. Most jackets are made from recycled fabrics, certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). The brand is part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and promotes a “repair and reuse” program too. There are currently six men’s and seven women’s windbreaker jackets, ranging from the lightweight Houdini Jacket to the Stormbreaker. Prices are considerably more expensive than some of the entries on our list, but products are designed to last a lifetime. 

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Rab windbreaker (Photo: Rab)

Rab describes itself as a brand for “mountain people”, so you can be sure that their windbreaker jackets can withstand the most extreme tests. The brand started life in Sheffield in 1981 with sleeping bags, and quickly gained a reputation for its high-quality outdoors gear. These days you can find Rab’s hardwearing designs across the world, from the Himalayan Peaks to Banff. There’s a wide range of jackets to choose from, including the perennially popular Downpour Eco Waterproof Jacket, which is 100% windproof. Fabrics can withstand the rigours of rugged terrain, handle being stuffed inside a rucksack and are ready to perform when needed. 

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Unlike most windbreakers, Smartwool’s windbreaker jackets are made from an innovative new fabric: merino mesh wool. Thinner and softer than regular wool, it combines the benefits of temperature and breathability of merino wool with the wind and weather resistance of lightweight nylon. Jackets are designed to let you move, thanks to their strategically placed vents too. The brand started life in 1994, founded by ski enthusiasts who wanted to champion the benefits of merino wool will as a performance fabric. Jackets are soft, moisture-wicking, thermoregulating and reliable in the face of wind. 

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