I’ve tried countless running jackets, and most of them I end up taking off within the first 10 minutes because they’re too heavy. But I’ve worn New Balance’s Gazelle Jacket through plenty of outdoor activities, from running to biking to hiking, and I’ve yet to ditch it before the end.
Despite being appropriately breathable and moisture wicking, the polyester jacket is truly lightweight. Its reflective trim on the front and back help others see you in low-visibility conditions, which is always a positive, even if you’re just wearing it out for coffee. The side pockets, which not being as big as I’d like, are enough to get your hands in there to keep warm.
The “music-friendly” chest pocket has an exit port in back through which you can string your earbuds, allowing you to zip the zipper up all the way and not get snagged on the cord. The problem I ran into, however, was that I needed to take my iPhone’s slim protective case off in order for it to even fit into the pocket. A small delay in getting me out on the trail, but I can live with it.
The ICE (in case of emergency) tape sewn into one of the front pockets, however, I have a bit of an issue with. While I think it’s a great idea to have emergency contact information on hand, once you wash the jacket, the tape’s fabric makes it stick out of the pocket like a little yellow flag waving in the breeze. If there were a better way to tuck that in without wanting to tear it out, I’d be all for it.