Which lightweight jackets are best for commuting?


If there’s one piece of outerwear that every commuter needs, it’s a lightweight jacket. Not only do these styles offer modest protection and warmth, but they’re often the most comfortable options for walking, standing and sitting during your journey.

Although comfort and level of protection are key considerations, there are a few more features you should examine in lightweight jackets. Color, fit and whether the style complements your work wardrobe also come into play as you narrow your options. 

What you need to know about lightweight jackets for commuting 

How to choose the right lightweight jacket for commuting

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of lightweight jackets. If you’re wondering how to choose the right one, begin by focusing on essential features.

Above all else, choose a well-fitting jacket. As much as you might like a particular style, if it’s snug or you can’t close it completely, it won’t give you a put-together appearance. Instead, opt for jackets with enough room to accommodate base layers, such as sweaters or blazers.

Commuting jackets should be comfortable during every leg of your journey. Generally speaking, well-fitting jackets let you sit, stand and walk without limiting your range of motion. Depending on the jacket’s cut, material or style, you may need to size up for a more comfortable fit. 

Lastly, a commuting jacket should complement your work wardrobe. To some extent, it should also align with your workplace’s dress code. Laid-back styles, such as twill and knit jackets, are suitable for casual offices. Professionals in more formal environments typically wear structured styles, including walking coats or leather jackets. 

Best colors for lightweight commuting jackets

Black is a tried-and-true color for outerwear, but it’s not the only option you should consider for commuting jackets. Other versatile colors, including brown, gray and beige, coordinate well with most outfits and accessories. On the other hand, if you’re like a splash of color, opt for a jacket with vibrant colors or busy prints. 

Top features for lightweight commuting jackets

Some of the most desirable features for lightweight commuting jackets include pockets, water protection, hoods and adjustable details. 

  • Pockets: Most commuting jackets have outer pockets, and a few high-end styles include inner pockets. They come in handy for keeping essentials close by instead of rummaging through your bag for them. 
  • Water protection: Some jackets are water-resistant and repel light rain and moisture. Other styles, including many rain jackets, are waterproof and prevent water from penetrating the jacket.
  • Hoods: Certain jackets have attached hoods, whereas others have removable hoods. A few jackets have hood compartments, in which the hood tucks inside zipper or button compartments when it’s not in use. 
  • Adjustable details: Hook-and-loop, drawstring and elastic details are often found on sleeves and waistbands. Not only do they provide a custom fit, but they also minimize draft exposure. 

How much are lightweight jackets for commuting?

Entry-level lightweight jackets, including inline styles, typically range between $40 to $80. Jackets in the $90 to $175 range are well made and offer more warmth and protection. Designer jackets, including styles made with premium materials, usually cost $200 to $750.

Top 10 lightweight jackets for commuting

Best lightweight commuting jackets for women

Columbia Heavenly Hooded Jacket

Columbia Heavenly Hooded Jacket

This lightweight puffer jacket keeps you warm and dry on chilly, windy days. Unlike most puffer styles, it has a flattering A-line cut and sleek, low-profile design. The jacket comes in over a dozen solid colors. 

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Best Cole Haan Wing Collar Leather Coat

Cole Haan Wing Collar Leather Coat

Made with buttery-soft leather, this contemporary moto jacket coordinates dress pants and skirts alike. The vertical stitch pattern gives it a trim, chic appearance. Because it’s a thinner jacket, you can also wear it as a blazer. 

Sold by Macy’s

Gallery Hooded Long Rain Jacket

Gallery Hooded Long Rain Jacket

This mid-weight raincoat has a water-resistant shell and spacious hood to protect hair, headphones and collars. The easy-care style is machine washable and dries quickly when it’s hung.

Sold by Kohl’s

Calvin Klein Plaid Shirt Jacket

Calvin Klein Plaid Shirt Jacket

Although it’s technically a shirt jacket, this Calvin Klein style has a dressy vibe with a textured polyester shell and jumbo plaid design. The oversized fit leaves plenty of room for base layers, particularly bulky sweaters or blazers.

Sold by Amazon

Best Style Co Twill Jacket

Style & Co Twill Jacket

Light and airy, this simple twill jacket is a soft finishing touch to any work outfit. It has button-up sleeves, so you can wear them rolled up or down. Because the jacket is soft and thin, it’s easily packed inside commuting bags or luggage.

Sold by Macy’s

Best lightweight commuting jackets for men

Best Michael Kors 3-In-1 Jacket

Michael Kors 3-In-1 Jacket

This versatile 3-in-1 style has a removable quilted vest that holds onto body heat on chilly days. The sleek jacket has a streamlined silhouette that coordinates well with casual and formal workwear alike. 

Sold by Macy’s

Columbia Glennaker Lake Rain Jacket

Columbia Glennaker Lake Rain Jacket

It’s easy to stay dry and comfortable in rainy weather with this lightweight Columbia jacket. It has a waterproof nylon shell and many handy features, including a stow-away hood and adjustable hem.

Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Best Polo Ralph Lauren Cafe Racer Leather Jacket

Polo Ralph Lauren Cafe Racer Leather Jacket

The slim-fit moto jacket is made with supple, full-grain leather that looks as luxurious as it feels. It has classic zipper details, including at the sleeves and side pockets, that give the style an edgy, contemporary appearance. 

Sold by Macy’s

Best Levis Field Jacket

Levi’s Field Jacket

This Levi’s utility jacket, available in five neutral colors, is a casual yet structured style. Several pockets hold essentials, including spacious side pockets that hold smartphones and wallets.

Sold by Macy’s

Tower By London Fog Microfiber Golf Jacket

Tower by London Fog Microfiber Golf Jacket

Sporty yet professional, this microfiber jacket transitions easily from the golf course to the office. The jacket has windproof features, such as adjustable snap cuffs and a side-elastic waistband, to keep drafts at bay. 

Sold by Kohl’s

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