Are you curious what the best men’s fleece jacket is? I’ve narrowed it down to 10 fantastic options.
So far, the fleece jacket has stood the test of time. Understandably, it’s long been a choice for folks who wear athletic clothes, but nowadays, pretty much everyone has at least one.
At first, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s so appealing about the fleece jacket. It’s not a particularly fashion-forward piece, at least not compared to something like a polo shirt. And, unlike other garments associated with the outdoors, it’s not all that rugged.
But while the fleece jacket might not be the most stylish piece of outerwear, it’s intensely functional.
Fleece retains heat but is also lightweight and breathable, which makes it a particularly versatile fabric. This means that, depending on the thickness, a fleece jacket can serve as a standalone transitional item or layering piece (often a mid-layer).
And, of course, if you’re an avid outdoorsman, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of a fleece jacket. The garment was originally designed with rock climbers and mountaineers in mind.
In short, unless you live along the equator, I think you need a good fleece jacket in your wardrobe. That’s why I’ve picked out 10 of the best fleece jackets available today.
Here are our recommendations from the list:
Read on for more info and the complete list…
The Best Men’s Fleece Jackets
Here are my top contenders for the best men’s fleece jacket title.
Best Full-Zip Fleece Jacket: Patagonia Men’s Classic Retro-X® Fleece Jacket
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard had a heavy hand in the invention of fleece. Along with textile company Malden Mills, Chouinard and Patagonia developed the fabric in the 1980s as a practical alternative to wool.
Since then, Patagonia has designed many of the most iconic fleece jackets, including the Classic Retro-X® Fleece Jacket. The Retro-X strikes a nice balance between sporty and casual with its regular fit and full-zip design.
The jacket’s contrasting trim and chest pocket add a bit of vintage flair, while the internal wind flap and mesh-lined handwarmer pockets bring the functionality. If you’re looking to dip your toes into the world of fleece, this is arguably the best place to start.
Best Starter Fleece Jacket: The North Face Denali Jacket
If someone asked you to picture a fleece jacket, you’d probably think of the Denali Jacket without knowing it. It’s one of the best-selling fleece jackets of all time, and its popularity means you’ve seen it everywhere, from coffee shops to corporate offices.
Made from 100% recycled polyester fleece, this wind-resistant and water-repellent jacket offers plenty of warmth. It’s on the thicker side as far as fleeces go, which makes it a great solo outer layer for blustery days.
This literal heavyweight is a fantastic jacket for casual wear, but it isn’t the best choice for more intense outdoor adventures. If your trekking consists mainly of walking around the city, then the Denali will serve you well.
Best Budget Fleece Jacket: Everlane the ReNew Fleece Full Zip
This lightweight jacket is made from 100% recycled polyester that’s GRS- and bluesign®-certified. In terms of design, it’s a lot more minimal — and thus more versatile — than many other fleece jackets, which means it’ll fit right into any wardrobe.
Coming in at just under $100, the ReNew Fleece Full Zip is a budget-friendly option that’s also easier on the earth, and that’s pretty much a win-win situation. It’s not meant for heavy-duty activity, but if you all need a casual fleece jacket, you’ll be more than pleased with the ReNew.
Best Retro Fleece Jacket: Cotopaxi Teca Fleece Full-Zip Jacket
Want to embrace the retro vibe of the fleece jacket fully? Check out the Teca Fleece Full-Zip Jacket from Cotopaxi.
The Teca is full zip with two handwarmer pockets and a stand collar, but that’s where the specs end. Although it’s pretty spartan compared to the other jackets on this list, the Teca is an excellent choice for casual wear or less demanding outdoor activities.
And like most Cotopaxi products, the Teca is sustainably made using 100% recycled polyester fleece and taffeta. The jacket is currently available in eight colorways, but I’m partial to the Polaroid-esque striping of the Bodyboard variant.
Best Upgrade Fleece Jacket: Fjällräven Keb Fleece Hoodie
Fjällräven has gained something of a cult following for its elegantly designed and functional products. If you’re wondering what all the hype is about, just take a look at the brand’s Keb Fleece Hoodie.
This unassuming piece is a streamlined take on the fleece jacket that uses Fjällräven’s signature G-1000 fabric. Recycled polyester, traceable wool, and organic cotton make up the total fabric composition, making the Keb another sustainable option.
It’s also undoubtedly stylish in a low-key sort of way — and, of course, it’s built for the outdoors. It’s a bit pricier than most fleece jackets, but it’s worth considering if you’re on the hunt for an understated fleece that can take a beating.
Best Investment Fleece Jacket: Norrøna Falketind Warmwool2 Stretch Zip Hood
After a premium fleece that will last you for years to come? Check out the falketind warmwool2 stretch Zip Hood by Norrøna, a Norwegian outdoor company getting more stateside attention (and rightfully so).
The Falketind jacket uses Norrøna’s warmwool2 fabric, which combines polyester, wool, and elastane for durability, warmth, and flexibility. The snug collar and diving-style hood offer protection from everything from chilly winds to heavy snow.
Like all Norrøna products, it’s sustainably made in Lithuania, and over half of the fibers used are recycled. The Falketind is a formidable choice for a breathable, moisture-wicking, and functional endgame fleece jacket.
Best Weather-Resistant Fleece Jacket: Patagonia Men’s R1® Air Full-Zip Hoody
We rarely include two items from the same brand in a roundup, but Patagonia just does fleece so well. While the Retro-X from earlier is a good all-around choice, the R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody is ideal if you need a performance jacket.
The R1 uses a 100% recycled polyester jacquard fleece that’s lightweight, quick-drying, and moisture wicking. (It’s also a lot cozier than other performance fleece fabrics.)
Since it’s designed for high-exertion activities, the R1 keeps you warm while still being breathable, so you won’t overheat if the temperature drops. It just might be the best mid layer fleece you can buy.
Best Multipurpose Fleece Jacket: Arc’teryx Kyanite Jacket
For a fleece that can hold its own around town and on a climb, look no further than the Kyanite Jacket from outdoor giant Arc’teryx.
The Kyanite boasts a well-rounded list of specs, including a four-way stretch fabric, a brushed interior, and an abrasion-resistant nylon face. Weighing in at 13.8 oz, the jacket provides ample warmth to keep you cozy — but it’s not the best choice for intense activity.
Depending on the weather, you can easily wear the Kyanite as a midlayer or standalone outer layer. This is a jacket of all trades (pardon the pun), so the Kyanite is tough to beat unless you have specific needs.
Best Fashionable Fleece Jacket: Universal Works Field Jacket in Orange Wool Fleece
If you like the idea of a fleece jacket but prefer a workwear-inspired look, the Field Jacket from Universal Works may be your new favorite layering piece.
Cut in a relaxed fit that resembles a chore jacket, the Field Jacket in fleece features a wool/polyester blend for maximum warmth. It has three outer patch pockets and a simple five-button placket, and it’s loose enough to layer over a button down or even a sweater.
Even though the Field Jacket isn’t your typical fleece jacket, it has a lot to offer, especially for guys who don’t have an especially athletic personal style. As of this writing, it’s available in six colors.
Best Lightweight Fleece Jacket: Black Diamond Men’s Coefficient LT Hybrid Hoody
If you find most fleece jackets too thick and bulky, consider the featherweight Coefficient LT Hybrid Hoody from Black Diamond. At just 7.2oz (205g), this jacket weighs half as much as the average fleece.
Since it’s so light, the Coefficient LT Hybrid compresses easily and takes up barely any space in a pack. And with performance features like thumb loops and underarm gussets, it’s sure to hold up to rigorous activity.
The Coefficient’s lightness means it’s best used as a layering piece in milder conditions. The Coefficient should be on your shortlist if you need a technical fleece to wear while running, climbing, or generally tackling the outdoors.
Fleece Jacket FAQ
Need some quick answers about fleece jackets? Here you go:
Are fleece jackets good for winter?
Typically, fleece jackets are most effective during winter as a mid layer that’s worn under a thicker shell or coat. Of course, this depends on where you live. Fleece jackets can also be worn solo during milder weather.
Keep in mind that material composition and fabric weight will determine how warm a fleece jacket is. Generally, the heavier the jacket, the warmer it will be.
What are fleece jackets made of?
Fleece is generally made from polyester (virgin or recycled). Some fleece jackets use other materials like wool and cotton, but most fleece jackets are almost all polyester.
Is fleece vegan?
If the fleece is made completely from polyester, it’s 100% vegan. Some fleece blends do include wool, which isn’t vegan — so make sure to check the material composition before you buy.
Is fleece waterproof?
By itself, fleece is not waterproof. However, many fleece jackets feature waterproof or water-resistant finish. A non-waterproof fleece jacket can also be supplemented with a waterproof or water-resistant outer layer.
Conclusion: Be Ready for Anything With a Fleece Jacket
Even if you’re not a mountaineer, a fleece jacket is one of the most practical layering pieces you can buy.
If you live in a relatively chilly climate, you’ll benefit from having a warm, comfy fleece to pull out when things get brisk.
Pair a fleece with a good winter parka, and you’ll be able to withstand all but the most arctic of temperatures.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!