The first breeze of autumn probably gave you a tough-love reminder that rocking a shirt and shorts at all hours of the day is sadly coming to an end. So, what’s the solution? Windbreakers or a lightweight jacket.
These usually waterproof jackets are made from a combination of synthetic and natural fibres, with weather-resistant properties derived from nylon, polyamide, and wool. They’re normally worn as part of an athletic ensemble, but that’s not to say they’re limited to the running track.
Lightweight outerwear is a big net to cast, and there’s something to accommodate every bloke inside.
This list of the finest windbreakers will throw you an important lifeline for that weird not-cold-but-not-hot interval between summer and real autumn.
We’re giving you essentials for those days where the heavy-duty outerwear is too much firepower, but risking an afternoon shower in your favourite button-down doesn’t tickle your fancy.
Adidas also offer retro-inspired lightweight jackets to complement their spectacular kicks and streetwear. This Originals adventure windbreaker is made from a lightweight polyester, for those days when the sky is threatening to open up on you.
In a vibrant yellow, this jacket suits an understated ensemble with a plain or navy tee, jeans, and your Stan Smiths (gotta commit to the branding).
The Torrentshell 3L jacket is easily one of the best windbreakers currently available as it combines the company's own H2No technology to repel water effectively yet remain totally breathable. The 3-layer construction means it will be able to withstand a little more than a light rain shower, and best of all, it can be packed up into its own pocket.
Available in a range of colours, the Torrentshell jacket is an easy layer to wear over the top of your existing wardrobe insulation.
With this option, Patagonia has got you covered for seedy, reluctant Sunday hikes with the missus or bush doofs, without making you look like a loopy survivalist.
This reversible parka for example is a lightweight jacket that will protect you from light rain showers, and given the product name, is effectively two jackets in one.
The company's extensive range includes windbreakers, such as this Windrunner. A reincarnation of the original Windrunner released in 1978, this modern-day version rocks a mesh lining to encourage breathability, along with soft ribbed cuffs for added comfort. It's suitable for slightly colder days worn over a t-shirt or first thing on your morning run and can be had in a range of colours.
The range includes the Warp Lite Jacket, which benefits from a breathable mesh fabric on the back to keep you cool when working up a sweat, while a water-repellent treatment will help keep you high and dry.
New Balance is also a king of retro-style (just take a look at its sneakers) such as this Optiks Windbreaker, which while it can be had in black, we're loving the neo violet colour. It makes no mention of being water-resistant, but for a lightweight layer during summer, you'll be looking hotter than the sun.
For a suitably stylish lightweight nylon jacket, look no further than the Joakim. Simple in its approach, this jacket rocks a marble print that helps it to work as both a casual and a formal piece. Pair with dark denim or sweats and you're onto a winner.
Battenwear isn't just committed to the rear-view mirror, though. The clothing company has fun with new, original concepts for the contemporary outdoorsman. Designer Shinya Hasegawa believes that winter kit shouldn’t necessarily be confined to drab browns or greys - even if the weather sucks and you miss getting sunburnt at the beach, you can still have some fun with the dress code.
Take this packable anorak as an example. Unashamedly retro in its design, this eye-catching jacket is made in the USA and boasts both wind and water-resistant properties. The front pocket acts as both a pocket to store essentials close by, as well being the pocket you can fold the jacket up into.
This navy hooded jacket is made from polyester, making it lightweight enough to wear as a top layer whenever there's a chill in the air. Paul Smith's unmistakable striped logo adorns the front, letting other people know you're ever so slightly better than them.
Aside from that, Moncler makes some killer lightweight autumn gear for urban explorers that haven’t quite mastered the art of skiing and looking cool at the same time. The Abbe jacket is the very epitome of that. It's light as silk, is available in black or eye-popping orange (our choice) and rocks subtle splashes of Moncler branding throughout including on the chest pockets. Elasticated cuffs and hem will keep the fit slim and the comfort level high, while a hood will help protect your noggin from a light shower. Pair with a pair of jeans and white kicks. A solid option even if a winter trip to the Austrian snow isn’t on the cards (this year).
This jacket is minimalistic, with single colouring and next to no detailing. The polyamide fabric ensures stress-free winter wearing, making it indispensable for cold days on the run. As mentioned, it’s luxury on steroids, so anticipate a price tag to correspond.