Winter Running Jacket Review: Pearl Izumi
Getting good cold weather winter running gear can be a bit of a challenge. Not because it is hard to find, but because there is so much of it. It can be difficult to figure out what you should spend your hard earned money on.
Late last fall, Pearl Izumi sent over a few items to test and review. They were kind enough to send both a men’s and women’s item. Below you will find reviews on the Women’s Fly Thermal Run Top (reviewed by Lisa), and the Men’s Fly Softshell Run Hoody (reviewed by myself, and my brother Pete).
If you’re not familiar with Pearl Izumi, you should be. I own a few piece of their gear, (shorts, shirt, shoes, jacket). I’ve always been incredibly impressed with the level of quality in the products.
About Pearl Izumi
Pearl Izumi was started over 50 years ago in Tokyo as a bicycle racing apparel company. The name Pearl Izumi USA, Inc. is derived from the gem “pearl” and an area of Japan known for its clear water “Izumi.” Literally translated, our name means, “fountain of pearls.”
The line has been distributed in the United States since 1981. Pearl Izumi USA, Inc. sponsored the US National Team (the team that won nine gold medals in the 1984 Olympic Games).
In 1989, the company acquired the license for the US market. This allowed product to be developed outside of Japan, combining the best of East and West performance apparel technology.
While still primarily a cycling company, Pearl Izumi develops running gear as well as gear in other major endurance sports.
PEARL IZUMI, Women’s Fly Thermal Run Top
by Lisa Fenske
The Women’s Fly Thermal Run Top by PEARL IZUMI looks like your everyday quarter-zipped jacket. However, once you feel the material and put it on you begin to realize there is something special about it.
The 100% polyester top fits like a shell. Its thick and sturdy material hugs every part of your upper body for warmth and flexibility. Therefore, if you’re looking for a jacket to disguise flaws this jacket won’t do much for you.
I ran with the top as a base layer during a 30 degree day. I was comfortable with an additional light jacket on top. It’s surprisingly warm for being so lightweight.
Other things I noticed during my run include:
- The sleeves were perfect length for my thumbs to comfortably rest in the thumb holes. Another plus is the thumb holes kept my sleeves down which prevented the cold wind from running up my arm.
- I had the center front zipper closed before my run but after my warm-up, I was able to effortlessly un-zip it. The quarter-zip design created easy ventilation and comfort.
- The tall collar on this breathable pullover protected my neck from the brutal wind.
- Reflective logos found on the front and back helped for low-light visibility.
Not only did I wear the Women’s Fly Thermal Run Top running, but I also wore it to casual events. From watching a movie, doing errands, or simply visiting friends, I found it really comfortable and versatile.
Do you lounge in running clothes? If so, what is your favorite piece?
PEARL IZUMI Men’s Fly Softshell Run Hoody
by Pete and Nathan Freeburg
The PEARL IZUMI Men’s Fly Softsheel Run Hoody is so much more than a “hoody.” The first time I (Nathan) ran in this jacket, it was about 28 out. I only had a t-shirt underneath, and was perfectly comfortable.
Some of the distinguishing features of this jacket are;
- Stretch Thermal Windblocking fabric provides optimal wind protection, warmth, and breathability for high aerobic outputs.
- Thermal Fleece fabric strategically paneled to deliver superior breathability, moisture transfer and warmth.
- Form fitting Thermal Windblocking hood offers outstanding protection without inhibiting your field of view.
- Internal fist mitt seals in warmth.
For my part of the review, I thought I would put the jacket through our criteria for finding the best winter running jacket.
- Does it Keep You Warm? Like a down sleeping bag. This jacket has run the gauntlet of temperatures. From 30 all the way down to -6 with a -25 windchill. With the right blase layers, it will keep you warm. Guaranteed.
- Does it Block the Wind? Like a wall. This could be the most wind resistant jacket I have ever worn. We have run in some incredibly windy conditions. I unzipped it once just to see, and it was amazing how much wind it actually blocks. This is great because it requires fewer layers underneath.
- Does it Breathe? Like cheesecloth. It somehow manages to regular temperature all by itself. It doesn’t have that “soaked” feeling when getting back from a long run. It dries incredibly quickly as well. I once wore it twice in one day, without realizing.
- Is it Reflective? Eh, it does the job. There are speckles in front and back of the jacket that provide enough reflection to be safe (along with the logos), but not quite as much as I would like. Runners need to be safe when running in the dark!
- Does it Fit Well? Like a glove! We both thought the same thing. As Lisa mentioned, PEARL IZUMI has done a fantastic job making these two items feel like they disappear on you. They move with you, and don’t hinder any movement. You will feel very streamlined, and probably faster… maybe. I would also wear this as a regular, non-running jacket.
- Has the Necessary Bells & Whistles? Yes, but I wish it had an internal pocket. I have grown very fond of the exterior “napoleon” pocket on the chest of my other jacket. This is a great place for a phone. I also think the hand “mitts” are completely unnecessary. Not only are they hard to put on/take off, but they barely add much warmth. I guess on a run when you forget your gloves, or need an extra layer, they are better than nothing. Just a feature that I never use.
You Winter Running Jacket
What winter running jacket or layer have you found to be the most effective against the elements? Does it meet the above six criteria? Share in the comments below.