A summer of sun? Long nights and dusty trails?
There comes a time where everyone needs to slip on some high tech materials, change your mindset and head out when the weather is typically British. We’ve had storms of late and started to consider drawing out the jacket, only to realise getting soaked is the only option, given temperatures have been too high to not sweat like you’re in a portable steam room.
On Running’s Waterproof Anorak has been in my possession since the end of 2019. I’ve meant to get this review out before but it hasn’t happened. Now things are starting to cool down, precipitation has started to fill the air and we start to think ahead for coming Autumnal months, its about time I reveal to you what I’ve learnt.
There are many jackets out there, much like shoes and other apparel items, however, shoe brands* on the whole tend to stick to entry level apparel and steer clear of the price points many specialist brands operate in.
*I will say that On is more than simply a shoe brand, however, it is the main area they share space with competitors and promote the most.
£320 is a lot of money for a jacket. I know some of you will be retching at the thought of parting with that much cash for something that for many, will have limited use and/or be something you have a mental challenge to utilise when we enter the darker months. From the offset, if you are looking for a jacket for more than running this winter, this may not be the jacket for you. The relaxed cut benefits layering and for those who don’t have the stereotypical running frame. However, with the permanent ventilation, in windy conditions it won’t be the most suitable product for staying warm.
If I haven’t scared you off and On Running have resisted temptation to snap their device in half with this move that may reduce the number reading, lets get down to business.
Unlike a lot of jackets I’ve tested in the past, On’s Anorak is a relatively relaxed fit. It doesn’t do its best to expose your lack of defined abdominals and trapezius muscles, instead providing ample space for a layer underneath or accommodation for a less athletic figure.
For reference, I’m 5ft 6″-7″ (7″ when I’m stood up properly) and 75kg, wearing a size small jacket. As the image above shows, there is ample length in the arms for when running or tackling obstacles and the body isn’t like a liner glove fit.
Hood up, the Anorak starts to take more shape and for me given the half zip, this is a jacket best worn when you intend to head out in rain, as this does limit ventilation opportunities/flexibility on the run. But, the Anorak has a trick up its sleeve. Ok, trick is over generous, as this applies to all anorak styled waterproofs. With less zip, there is less potential for water to leak in during the heaviest storms, along with less zip length to damage over the lifetime of the garment.
Talking of ventilation, despite no full length zip, there is ample ventilation ports/flaps/openings to keep you cool if you run hot or up your effort level.
If you’re able to look beyond my buttocks, you’ll notice on the promo photos/videos, the lower rear of the jacket elegantly hangs loose, casual, unassuming. Not the case with my compressed figure. The rear of the jacket has two large vents over under the shoulder, with a further two vents below the front zip, with black taping (see previous image). A tried and tested method, popular on the road scene and less so trail, given the added protection often required in storms/mountain weather systems.
These truely work. And I didn’t set up a hair dryer on a tripod to see how effective they were. For starters, I don’t have a tripod. Back in February and March, when we had weekly storms battering the UK and despite living near Milton Keynes, we still felt the impact of this force of nature. I took the Anorak out on the road and cooled down very quickly. Extremely quickly in fact. Now, I’ve harked on in the past about being a warm runner and the Anorak certainly worked wonders in bringing my temperature down. On that occasion too well. Such was the effectiveness of the ventilation, that I inflated to a blue impersonator of the Michelin Man and felt like I had a self contained low pressure within the thin walls of the jacket.
Its for that reason that I very much see this as a road running jacket and not one I would take in the mountains. Of course, this is a personal choice and I am in the enviable position of having a wardrobe of waterproof jackets for many occasions and times of year. It’s not to say you couldn’t, but, where possible, I would opt for something else.
Hoods – I don’t have the biggest head in the world, but they can be a real topic of conversation for me. They don’t fit, don’t grip my head, lack coverage, no peak – its the one area that for me, you rely on above all others in terms of fit/function.
On Running’s taken a different approach to the hood. It has an adjustable elastic drawcord on the back, but rather than tighten a piece of elastic around the circumference of your head, it pulls down the rear, utilising more compression than grip. Instead of a spring loaded toggle, a silicon gripper holds the tension on the elastic. Side elasticated hems keeps it secure in all but the worst gale and it has a peak! Whats more, its a wired peak! For me a peak is a no brainer, it aids keeping the elements out of your eyes and the wire gives it strength, preventing it from folding flat or becoming obsolete at the merest sign of wind. The hood breaks with convention but I have to hand it to the design team, it works.
See how the hood works in the below video
Cuffs and the bottom hem once again have elastic elements to provide some purchase and do away with any adjustability. On the back of the hand, a twin layer of fabric is preshaped to give your hand additional protection from the elements.
And if thats not enough features to keep your inner tech spec geekery satisfied, theres an internal pocket the jacket can be stuffed into for storage (see near the end of the above video).
All in all, On Running’s Waterproof Anorak has thoughtful choices and intelligent features which make it a modern take on a classic design. Its strength is its PTFE and PTE free choices of fabric and waterproofing treatments, that cause less harm on the environment and at the forefront of where a lot of competitors are trying to go. It also helps explain the cost. Quality effective fabrics that are free of flurocarbons are not cheap nor readily available on the market, yet. Yes they should and will be in time, but to be in with the pioneering end of the industry comes at a premium. That said, the C0 DWR (durable water repellent) treatment is not the most durable. I found the cuffs starting to wet out early on, so you will need to be mindful in your care of the Anorak, but in doing so it should provides seasons of use. The 20K Hydrostatic head kept all precipitation out and the hydrophilic elements aid breathability (watch the video for full explanation).
The hood, simple yet effective, the cuff/hand protection a superb feature and the ventilation…..
It’s a love/hate.
I don’t love to hate it or hate to love it.
In all but the worst conditions its an ally for me, but when things get serious, for me, theres too much compromise, which, for me at least leaves this for use on the road or less severe conditions.
More over, the Waterproof Anorak shows what can be done with design. There is no excess material, no short cuts and it very much reminds me of Arc’teryx in the finish quality and detail. You don’t need to shout im a runner with every piece of apparel purchased to run in and that is where On Running have excelled, bringing a classic design into the 21st century.
For more on On Running’s Waterproof Anorak – Click HERE
This is not a paid advertisement or sponsored post | Jacket provided by Aspire PR