Gear Review : Nike Aeroloft 800
Brrrr! It’s cold outside. Well, in the UK it is. If you’re living in North America this ’13/14 winter, the word ‘cold’ hardly does justice to the epic snow storms you’ve been having…
Just in time for the properly cold weather I was lucky enough to receive a Nike Aeroloft 800 running jacket for Christmas (Thanks Lovely Girlfriend!). Designed as a ‘cool-weather’ layer, the jacket gets its name from the 800-fill goose down that gives the jacket it’s distinctive baffle look.
Nike Aeroloft 800 : general info
Sure, it’s baffled but it’s not ordinary ‘puffy jacket’. For starters, it has no sleeves. It is designed to be worn over base layers to keep your core warm, without restricting your movement. Or looking like the Michelin man. Added to the down-filled baffles are perforated ventilation zones that allow some air in, and moisture out, to help regulate your body temperature. To allow full freedom of movement the jacket has stretchy mesh in key areas ensuring both good fit and free movement, and the tailored shape ensures it stays close to your body.
The stretch fabrics are wicking for moisture management, and the jacket is machine washable. Reflective elements have been added so it can still be used as an outer layer when it’s dark out. My version is the hi-vis yellow (Nike aptly call the colour ‘Volt Yellow’) so there is no chance of being missed when I’m out and about in low light! In sunlight it almost burns your eyes it is so bright! The other available colourways are black, orange and brown but they are the fashion choice (not the safety choice) as the reflective strips on the back are not overly generous.
Nike Aeroloft 800 : on the road
On the road I found the fit of the jacket very good, and the stretchy panels on the sides and shoulders worked as designed to keep the jacket tight and allow shedding of heat and moisture. Coupled with the light weight you really don’t notice this jacket when running. The pocket at the back is reasonably well sized, able to carry a phone and keys without much jumping about. If you’re on a long run, you could squeeze four energy gels in there if you kept your phone in an arm-band. The jacket has two zipper sliders which allow you to open the zipper from the top and the bottom for extra ventilation when you warm up. Often doing this causes jackets to become loose and jump all over the place but when I unzipped the Nike Aeroloft 800 jacket from top and bottom, even right to the centre, I was really surprised how little the jacket jumped around. If the warmth gets a bit much, you can turn the jacket inside out and pack it into the back pocket, which features a neat hand strap so you can carry it in your hand.
Warmth wise it does what it says on the box – the goose down really works and the rip-stop nylon outer is very good at stopping the wind. Wearing a full length base-layer top and a lightweight t-shirt under the Aeroloft vest I find it comfortable up to a max of about 10C/50F. Warmer than that and you’ll end up taking if off as soon as you’ve warmed up and carrying it for the rest of the run. I’ve run in it as low as 3C/38F with just a thicker t-shirt. Add a hat or a snood and you’ll be fine to 0C/32F without a problem. Add a shell jacket over the top and you’ll be comfortable below freezing and your problem will be more about traction than cold!
In terms of rain protection I think the best description would be ’resistant’. The rip-stop nylon outer is pretty impervious however the stretchy mesh panels allow water in. Considering it doesn’t have sleeves, watertightness isn’t really that much of a consideration in my books! In light rain it works well, and picks up very little water. In snow the jacket would probably be fine, as the flakes would just bead on the surface and evaporate, but I’m yet to try this out. If it looks like heavy rain, opt for your usual shell jacket because, lets face it, cold exposed arms and a wet vest isn’t the nicest feeling when running!
Nike Aeroloft 800 : Bernie’s Verdict – 8/10
Technology and usability wise it is fantastic. It looks good, though the Volt Yellow is eye scorching in bright light, and it seems pretty robust. Really the only reason I’ve marked it down from 10/10 is the price. At £125/$180 it is a very pricey garment for what is really just a cool-weather layer. However, if you don’t mind stumping up this sort of cash for a running vest I can really recommend the Nike Aeroloft 800 running jacket as a great addition to your arsenal of clothing designed to keep you running over the bleak winter months.
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Happy running everyone!
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