When it comes to cool-weather running, it can be challenging finding just the right layers. Sometimes, you’re fine going summer-mode with a short-sleeve shirt and shorts, but other times you’re better off with a long-sleeved top or jacket. Patagonia’s Thermal Speedwork Jacket does a fantastic job of providing warmth on a cool morning, as insulation on a colder day or as a casual piece for around town adventures.

Patagonia Thermal Speedwork Jacket Features:

  • Speedwork fabric is soft, smooth and durable
  • Brushed lining enhances breathability
  • Features Polygene permanent odor control
  • Knit lining on collar for extra comfort
  • Bonded-on and stretchy hand pockets
  • Single bonded-on pocket on left sleeve
  • Thumb ports for extended hand coverage
  • Reflective logos
  • Contents: 85% polyester/15% spandex brushed back
  • Weight: 11.8 oz (size medium, actual)
  • MSRP: $129
The Thermal Speedwork is a great cool-weather running jacket.

The Thermal Speedwork is a great cool-weather running jacket.

Perfect for travel, lounging and morning runs

I stuffed the Thermal Speedwork into my carry-on luggage on multiple occasions — knowing full-well just how awesome it was as a travel piece. On one trip to San Diego, this jacket offered the perfect warmth for morning runs and evenings on the town. On another trip to New York City, the Thermal Speedwork served as an essential mid-layer, providing insulation underneath my Westcomb Focus LT shell. In both cases, the Thermal Speedwork knocked it out of the park.

A little closer to home, this jacket has quickly become my around-town staple. It is buttery-soft and provides just the right amount of warmth and comfort in cool, dry conditions. Yup, dry conditions. Patagonia has optimized this jacket for optimal breathability, but if you want weather protection, you’ll have to shell up. And, when you do slip on a shell, the smooth face fabric slides underneath like a champ and delivers just right right amount of warmth with oodles of next-to-skin comfort.

On several trail runs, this jacket has been equally fantastic. It drapes well and stretches with my every move. I will say that the “Slim Fit” of this jacket is a little bit misleading. Typically, that means “size up” if you don’t want to feel like a sausage. So, I did just that and ended up with a size large that fit as well as my father’s jacket did when I was 8 yrs old. After swapping for the medium, I experienced the “just right” fit that this jacket should offer for someone my size (5’11” and 170 lb.).

It's also equally-awesome for travel. (Oceanside Pier, CA)

It’s also equally-awesome for travel. (Oceanside Pier, CA)

Attempting to extend the working temperature of the Thermal Speedwork, I went for a trail run in the low-40’s. Mid-run, I really appreciated the thumb loops and the extended hand coverage they provide. Any jacket of this type that doesn’t feature thumb loops is simply missing the mark. What’s even better is that Patagonia’s designers made these sleeves long enough to actually use the thumb loops. I know, crazy right? But, I’ve had too many poor experiences with other jackets that didn’t appropriately extend the sleeve length — thank you for getting it right, Patagonia!

All this breathability does make you exposed in the wind if you’re not working up a sweat. You’ll want a vest on top or a shell if you’re doing more sedentary activities in the cold. The wind (and your sweat) just flows right through this jacket.

When the temperatures get into the 60’s, this jacket can become a little warm, but it still breathes extremely well. I did get a little more moisture buildup in the sleeves, but that’s to be expected. Perhaps a little mesh material would be nice, but that might reduce the overall comfort level of this piece. On one run, I fully-unzipped the jacket to see how it would carry itself. Take my advice and don’t unzip it fully if you want to run in it (I didn’t last long that way).

Above all, this jacket is so soft and so comfortable it will quickly become the one you keep as your “go-to” jacket for both everyday adventures and athletic pursuits.

The Good

  • Seriously comfortable — all day long
  • Smooth outer fabric slides under a shell or not
  • Thumb loops with extra sleeve length — nailed it
  • Collar height/diameter is spot-on
  • Stretchy fabric moves with you
  • Remains stink-free even after multiple trail runs
  • Hooray for breathability
  • Flatlock seams disappear

The Bad

  • Hem can curl up a bit
  • Sleeves can get a little sweaty on trail runs
  • Slim fit doesn’t mean size up this time

The Bottom Line: Patagonia Thermal Speedwork

Serious comfort and amazing breathability are the calling cards of the Thermal Speedwork Jacket. Without question, this thing is buttery-smooth to wear and is also stylish enough for everyday use. Run with it in the morning and head out for a night on the town in the evening.

Buy Now: Available at Patagonia.com


In Summary

8.3 A "Must Wear"

It hasn't taken long for the Thermal Speedwork Jacket to become my jacket of choice for travel and cool trail running. I love how soft the fabric is and the brushed lining makes quick work of moisture. Add on top of that a jacket that features extra sleeve length so you can actually use the thumb loops (go figure) and you've got an instant classic.

  • Comfort 10
  • Breathability 9
  • Weather Protection 5
  • Fit 9
  • Durability 9
  • Value 8

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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