Winter Running Jacket Review: Mountain Hardware Effusion

Winter Running Jacket Review: Mountain Hardware Effusion

I am in desperate need of cold weather running gear since I live in Minneapolis and run outside. I need cold weather running gear that works well. It is rare that the weather in Minneapolis, which can range from 100 degrees to -30 degree, forces me to choose to stay inside and not run. So, what does that mean? During this time of year, when we are firmly in the winter running season, I need equipment that can perform in a variety of conditions.

Winter Running Jackets

For a number of years I used different shells that were either North Face or Nike cold weather running gear. They were some level of water-resistant and wind-resistant. Then, depending on the temperature I would layer underneath those jackets with other dri-fit winter layers. These jackets served me well and I was able to run outside in a wide band of temperatures and precipitation levels. When it became really cold, below 10 or 15 degrees outside, those jackets were getting pushed to their limits.

Often times during the run my own perspiration would start freezing on the inside of those jackets because they simply did not breathe well enough to let my body heat out of the jacket before it froze. What to do?

Winter Running Research

In the search of the perfect winter running jacket, I began to do some research. I spent an enormous amount of time on websites reading reviews from other runners and tried to find something that would up my winter running game. Winter running apparel should not be taken lightly!

What did I settle on?

Mountain Hardware Effusion Jacket

The Effusion Jacket is windproof and waterproof. It also has a hood, which is fantastic for quickly warming up on a cold winter day. There is one pocket in the back, which can hold a key or an iPod. On warmer winter days, I can have a simple short sleeve dri-fit shirt underneath it and it does quite well. On colder days I can layer up underneath it, and it still performs very well. The Effusion fits very tightly, so if you normally wear a medium, expect the medium to feel very snug.

There are lots of jackets that can be serviceable for running at 32 degrees and sunny. The Mountain Hardware Effusion can handle much worse than that. Last year I pushed out into what I knew would be tough conditions. It was about 28 degrees and during the run the precipitation changed from rain, to ice, to sleet, to some sort of pellet, to snow. During the 5 mile run I was able to stay dry and happy while winter running inside my Effusion jacket with the hood up.

What is your all-time favorite winter running jacket?

This jacket is also a great casual jacket to wear around when it is 45-65 degrees outside. I highly recommend this jacket for surviving winter running in Minneapolis.

Joseph Dworak

Senior Consultant at Leadership Vision Consulting
Joseph has completed two full marathons, numerous halfs and countless 10k's and 5k's. You'll often see him running around Arden Hills on his lunch break, or around the chain of lakes on the weekend.
Traveling a lot for work, Joseph always finds interesting places to run while on the road. He once got lost running in a cemetery in London
  • David @ Captain Speedypants

    I love my Southern California weather. So I don’t have a winter running jacket. But i will definitely keep this post in mind if I travel back east. Thanks for the tips.

  • Anita

    This is my first winter running and I haven’t really looked into a winter running jacket yet. Our weather here in Southern Ontario can be on the warmer side in the winter so I have been lucky enough to get away with a simple base layer and my Saucony Artic pullover along with my Under Armour ColdGear tights.

    I’ll be keeping your post in mind when the weather hits the negatives and I’m on the hunt for something to keep my cozy.

    • frenat

      You’re lucky if it doesn’t get that cold where you are! Good luck with your winter running.

  • Jeremy Norton

    Based on this glowing review, I took advantage of a sale at Mpls’ Thrifty Outfitters for the Effusion. Finally got a chance to wear it, although the snow had ended by the time we hit the roads. In dry conditions & temps up to sub-20 but sharp, cutting wind, the jacket was, if anything, too warm–which implies not breathable enough. I’ve been incredibly happy with the Craft jacket I got at Mill City Running, and have been using it more than any other. Craft won’t battle wet the way the Effusion will, but otherwise it’s the bomb. (And we’ve had perhaps three runs above ten this January; rest have been ten above to fifteen+ below.)

    • frenat

      Maybe you’re just too hot Jeremy?! :-) What were you wearing as a base under it?

      • Jeremy Norton

        Oh, that’s generally the alpha & omega of causes for me overheating, but I was well-layered yesterday. All good but for the sweat pooled at my wrists… I am a sweaty beast.

        • frenat


  • Joseph Dworak

    As an update: I ran in this jacket all winter here in Minneapolis – it did get pushed to it’s limits on sub zero days. But, I don’t know what else can do much better with the winter we had. Now I am glad to switch to a much lighter North Face jacket with our newly mild weather.