17 best waterproof jackets for women - stay dry and stylish during a downpour

Our edit of the best waterproof jackets for women features coats tested by our fashion team and expert guidance

a composite image of models wearing the best waterproof jackets for women from finisterre, boden and berghaus
(Image credit: Future/Finisterre/Boden/Berghaus)

The best waterproof jackets for women are a necessity, no matter the season. If you live in a place where rain is always on the horizon, then it pays to be prepared - and as this list shows, you don't need to sacrifice on style to stay dry.

Whether you're after the best waterproof jackets for women for your daily dog walks, a countryside hike, or need to avoid a soggy commute, a waterproof jacket is essential. Though not typically seen as the most stylish outerwear piece, a great waterproof jacket will protect you from the elements whilst also not straying too far from your personal style. 

One of the best winter coats for battling storms, as well as a practical option for rainy warmer weather, a waterproof jacket is a must for a spring capsule wardrobe, there's a lot more to consider than just style when purchasing. From how much water a coat can withstand to the timelessness of the design, we've checked out dozens of waterproof outerwear styles to help you make an informed decision.

All waterproof jackets were tested in the last six months and we will revise this list every six months to keep this round-up updated to ensure that these remain the best waterproof outerwear pieces on the market in 2023.

How we selected the best waterproof jackets for women

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best waterproof jackets chosen by our fashion team

composite of mountain warehouse waterproof parka jacket in khaki green

(Image credit: Mountain Warehouse)

1. Mountain Warehouse Alaskan Womens 3 in 1 Jacket

Best overall waterproof jacket


RRP: $249.99 / £199.99
Sizes: US: 0-24 / UK: 4-28
Material: 100% Polyester

Reasons to buy

Very waterproof
Can be worn in different ways

This three-in-one parka is one of the best parkas around this season and is a real game-changer. With a quilted lining that can be removed for warmer days, it's wearable all year round. The lining can also be worn alone as a quilted jacket, giving extra wearability. It’s 100% waterproof and the adjustable cuffs tapered seams and hood ensure you're fully protected from rain and wind. It's also breathable so you're warm, protected and a comfortable temperature. And, considering its size, it's really easy to pack down. 

What the fashion team said: "It’s a good length for keeping almost all of you dry, covering your bum and some of your thigh (depending on your height). The only downside is it’s not particularly fashion-forward, but if it’s practicality you’re looking for, then look no further."

Waterproof rating: Tested to 10,000mm, it is suitable for heavy rain.

Breathability rating: It has a great breathability rating, measuring 5,000g in testing. This means during the 24 hour period it was measured over the fabric allowed sweat and other moisture to pass through the fabric and keep you cool, not sweaty.

finisterre The Rainbird Waterproof Jacket

(Image credit: Finisterre)

2. Finisterre The Rainbird Waterproof Jacket

Best all-rounder


RRP: $155 / £125
Sizes: US: 4-12 / UK: 8-16
Material: 100% Recycled Waterproof Fabric

Reasons to buy

Super soft fabric
Exceptionally waterproof

Customers absolutely rave about this waterproof jacket. It has a 10,000mm Hydrostatic Head waterproof rating, making it exceptionally waterproof and it has taped seams throughout, guaranteed to keep the water out. It has a little stretch so a strong contender for exercising in too and comes in six colorways: black, khaki, almond (pictured), kingfisher blue, steel blue and vine - rich colors that can easily be worn for any season. Crafted from recycled fabrics, this light jacket is also breathable. 

What the fashion team said: "While waterproof jackets generally have to be made of coated fabric, this does, in general, make them quite noisy, so the first thing to note about The Rainbird is how unexpectedly soft the jacket is with no noisy rustle, making it a joy to wear."

Waterproof rating: Tested to 10,000mm, it is suitable for heavy rain.

Breathability rating: 10,000g breathability rating so you stay dry, not sweaty.

3. Columbia Women’s Ampli-Dry Waterproof Shell Walking Jacket

Best for everyday


RRP: $150 / £135
Sizes: XS-XXL
Material: 100% nylon

Reasons to buy

Very waterproof
Lightweight and layerable
Underarm vents

Columbia's range of waterproof jackets is one of the best on the market, not least due to the reasonable price points. Whether you are after long, short, padded, lightweight, patterned or plain jackets, you can find a reliable Columbia waterproof coat that won't break the bank. This particular jacket gets our vote for everyday wear as it is light and breathable - ideal for layering with the best cashmere sweaters on colder days. With four-way stretch and an adjustable hood, hem and cuffs, it offers a range of comfortable fits. 

What the fashion team said: "This is the ultimate throw-on-and-go waterproof jacket. It kept us fully dry during a walk in heavy rain, but didn't feel too heavy or suffocating. The hood worked well to keep hair dry and covered, whilst the spacious pockets kept belongings safe and away from the rain. Ideal for everyday wear, it is light and comfortable."

Waterproof rating: Omni-Tech™ waterproof technology crafted for storm protection.

Breathability rating: Underarm venting to keep you dry and cool, perfect for light exercise.

Berghaus Women's Hinderwick Synthetic Insulated Waterproof Jacket

(Image credit: Berghaus)

4. Berghaus Women’s Hinderwick Waterproof Jacket

Best for warmth


RRP: $266 / £200
Sizes: US: 4-16 / UK: 8-20
Material: Hydroshell 2L fabric

Reasons to buy

Warm and waterproof
Premium quality

Waterproofs tend to be packed full of great tech to stop you from getting soaked but they aren't always so good at keeping you warm. But with Berghaus, you get the best of both worlds. With a layer of insulation underneath a waterproof shell fabric, it keeps you delightfully dry and toasty. You can adjust the hood for a better fit - ideal when you're trying to keep the rain out, and the coat also features inner cuffs, to help you master the chill. 

What the fashion team said: "This coat is certainly more functional than fashionable and only comes in three colorways, but this is the most sensible of choices. It even has two zip closure pockets for your rainy day essentials."

Waterproof rating: No exact stats on-site, but they do mention the inclusion of Hydroshell 2L fabric which is lightweight and highly waterproof.

Breathability rating: No exact stats on-site, but the Hydroshell 2L fabric is breathable and the fashion team found this coat practical and comfortable. The customer reviews also give it a big thumbs up.

5. The North Face Women’s Cropped Quest Jacket

Best cropped waterproof jacket


RRP: $140 / £100
Sizes: XS-XXL
Material: 100% Polyester With Non-PFC Water-Repellent

Reasons to buy

Flattering cropped fit
Very waterproof

A cropped rain jacket may seem like a slightly impractical buy, but this North Face number is undoubtedly one of the best options on the market today. With a relaxed, boxy fit, it is ideal for styling with high-waisted items as well as providing a sporty look if athleisure is your thing. Extremely waterproof and featuring an adjustable hood, it is the ideal on-the-go jacket when you want something extremely reliable but also stylish. 

What the fashion team said: "The North Face is known for its high-quality outerwear pieces that are designed for cold and wet weather, so we were expecting big things from this cropped jacket. It certainly didn't disappoint. With a relaxed, boxy fit it is definitely one of the more trendy waterproof coats we have seen, plus the light but durable waterproof fabric kept us totally dry even in the most vicious of downpours." 

Waterproof rating: The Quest jacket promises an impenetrable barrier to rain and snow for guaranteed dryness, and it really does work. The water-repellent finish works like a charm over the body and on the hood, so your torso and hair will be covered no matter the weather. 

Breathability rating: The outer layer of the jacket is made from a lightweight, two-layer fabric called DryVent™ that works to keep you protected from wind without trapping heat. Plus, the boxy shape allows for airflow even when layered over chunky knits. 

6. Columbia Women's Ballistic Ridge 3-in-1 Waterproof Long Jacket

Best heavy-duty waterproof jacket


RRP: $280 / £315
Sizes: XS-XXL
Material: 100% Polyester

Reasons to buy

3 coats in 1
Very warm and cozy
Neutral color palette

If you like the idea of a cropped silhouette but worry about the practicality of it for your specific needs, a transformative waterproof coat could solve all of your problems. This Columbia rain jacket can be worn long, cropped, with the fleece lining, or without - the options are endless. When it comes to a capsule wardrobe, adaptable outerwear pieces like this are essential. The beige version verges more on the practical side than the trendy, but it is also available in monochromatic black if you want to keep things sleek.

What the fashion team said: "This is a great all year round coat. The pockets are super deep which I loved as I could fit all my essentials in them, while also keeping my hands warm in them as they're fleece-lined. The hood doesn't fall down straight away in the wind and there's a toggle on the hood to tighten it for even bigger winds. 

The coat does however have a super utilitarian style - and in my opinion not practical for day-to-day city wear, but if you live somewhere outdoorsy or need one of the best waterproof jackets for hiking, or dog walking, etc, this coat will do the job well. It can also feel a little bulky when worn with a jumper underneath as it comes with a removable internal fleece. If it's not that cold outside and you're already wearing a jumper, I would take this out."

Waterproof rating: Using Omni-Tech™ waterproof technology, it will keep you fully dry even in a downpour. 

Breathability rating: When the fleece layer is worn it is certainly more cozy than breathable, but this can be easily removed for a lightweight and cool feel.

7. Rains Jacket

Best stylish waterproof jacket


RRP: $110 / £79
Sizes: XS-XL
Material: 100% polyester with polyurethane coating

Reasons to buy

Stylish and trendy
Strong waterproof protection

Rains has exploded onto the fashion scene in recent years, largely thanks to its stylish approach to practical outerwear - and at a reasonable price, too. This short jacket is just the right length to have you feeling covered without being too swamped, making it ideal for everyday wear. With a fishtail hem, adjustable cuffs and concealed vents on the back, it is delightfully practical without being unfashionable.

What the fashion team said: "It's more of a stylish raincoat than a practical one in appearance - although it's as good as my waterproof one that I wear for hiking. I love how it's super lightweight so you can wear a jumper underneath it when it's colder outside or just on its own if you're out and you get warm. This also makes it really easy to pack away in a bag and it doesn't take up too much space while not being one of those specific pack-away coats. It's 100% waterproof - the raindrops just sit on top of the coat and you can brush them off really easily and the coat is basically dry.

"It has buttons that do up the coat in the middle instead of a zipper which felt more premium - these do up the coat equally well though and no rain gets in. The hood is another great part as it has a peak which means you don't get any rain on your face."

Waterproof rating: Fully waterproof and windproof, so will protect in all weathers.

Breathability rating: Engineered ventilation to keep you cool throughout the day. 

hunter Women's Lightweight Waterproof Jacket

(Image credit: Hunter)

8. Hunter Lightweight Waterproof Jacket

Best for everyday


RRP: $195 / £150
Sizes: XXS-XL
Body Lining: 100% Polyester
Lining Material: Material (Face): 100% Polyurethane
Back Material: 100% Polyester

Reasons to buy

Fashionable look that works with different outfits
Very waterproof
Lots of colorways

The ideal waterproof for going about your day-to-day business, this is the perfect combination of practicality and style. Hunter already makes some of the best wellington boots and best work backpacks for women, so it should come as no surprise that they also do great waterproof jackets too.

This yellow waterproof jacket is certified vegan and benefits from welded seams to keep you fully dry. Available in four colors - yellow (for that pop of dopamine dressing, navy, black and khaki) and features the Hunter Tri-coloured zipper with snap storm flap for added protection. The coats hood has a drawcord to allow you to adjust the opening for added wind and rain protection and a second drawcord at the waist means you can adjust the fit according to your style. Your belongings will also stay dry with reverse entry welt pockets. 

What the fashion team said: "They really have thought of everything with this raincoat - and besides from keeping you dry, this coat also looks fantastic, you might even enjoy being out in the rain."

Waterproof rating: Hunter gives this coat a waterproofing level of three, although this isn't fully explained on their site, customer reviews are top-notch, suggesting this will keep you dry and stylish - great for dog walkers and festival-goers alike.

Breathability rating: Testing levels aren't revealed here but the coat has a breathable full mesh lining and underarm eyelets and back vents for added breathability. 


(Image credit: Merrell)

9. Merrell Women’s Whisper Rain Jacket

Best for traveling


RRP: $160 / £200
Sizes: XS-XL
Material: 41% Recycled Polyester, 40% Polyester, 19% Polyurethane

Reasons to buy

Brim on hood
Deep pockets

This one packs down neatly into its own left-hand pocket, making it easy to pop in your bag as you dash out of the house. 100% waterproof, the fabric is lightweight and soft with a four-way stretch for easy movement, making it a good choice for exercise. The pockets are pretty deep, allowing plenty of room for the essentials. 

What the fashion team said: "We loved the slight peak on the hood which helped to keep our face dry too. It can come up quite large so you may want to downsize or stick to your usual size if you want to layer up underneath. Available in 3 different colors in the UK and four in the US, this golden hue is our fave."

Waterproof rating: Durable Water Repellency (DWR) finish for wind and water resistance, they don't give the data on what level of rain it has been tested to, but the fashion team found this coat 100% waterproof. And it's highly recommended by website reviews. 

Breathability rating: There isn't any mention of breathability but when our fashion team tried this jacket, they didn't find that they were overly warm. 

boden Waterproof Longline Raincoat

(Image credit: Boden)

10. Boden Longline Waterproof Mac

Best stylish waterproof


RRP: $220 / £150
Sizes: US 2-22 / UK 6-22
Outer Material: 100% Polyethylene
Backing: 100% Polyester
Filling: 100% Polyester
Lining: 100% Polyester

Reasons to buy

Super stylish design
Bright colors and prints

If it’s a stylish mac you’re after, then this one is a front-runner. We often turn to Boden for our wardrobe essentials, from the best shirts to the best dresses, it's great for eye-catching designs. And we love its modern take on this classic raincoat silhouette. Fully waterproof, this Boden raincoat features a snap-and-zip closure for extra protection against showers. The front pockets feature a flap and popper closure, so you can keep your phone and valuables both safe and dry, with tapered seams for a waterproof finish.

What the fashion team said: "Boden might be a fashion brand, but don't underestimate this lovely spring buy, this waterproof jacket can hold its own."

Waterproof rating: No test stats are given for this particular coat, although previous rainproof pieces from the brand have been tested to withstand 5,000mm of rain, so Boden do understand what is needed to make this coat withstand a downpour. With a more fashionable approach, it's great for daily use during wet weather but is probably not the one to pick for outdoor hikes and camping. 

Breathability rating: There's no specific breathability rating, although given the fabrication and lack of vents, it is not the most breathable of designs. 


(Image credit: Jack Wolfskin)

11. Jack Wolfskin JWP Shell W Rain Jacket

Best lightweight waterproof


RRP: $159.95 / £150
Sizes: XS-XXL
Material: 100% Polyester

Reasons to buy

Packs down easily
Premium-feeling fabric

Crafted from recycled fabrics, this one has some serious eco-credentials. It packs neatly into its pocket, so you can stash it easily, making it a good choice for the daily commute and weekend adventures. Available in seven colorways, it uses lightweight premium-feeling fabric (which is breathable), and while it won’t keep you warm, it is perfect if you want an extra waterproof layer on warmer days - or style under one of the best gilets for added protection.

What the fashion team said: "The design is pretty basic with a simple hood and two hand pockets, but it still delivered on all the technicals, keeping us dry and comfortable during a downpour."

Waterproof rating: This jacket is very waterproof, with a rating of withstanding 20,000 mm of water/rain - making it probably the most waterproof jacket for women in this guide. 

Breathability rating: >15,000 g/m²/24h** - looks confusing? Essentially this formula means that this waterproof jacket has been tested for its breathability over a 24hr period and the result is excellent. Anything over 3000 is high performance and usually found in items such as ski clothing. Breathability is measured in grams and counts the speed at which sweat moves through the fabric, per square meter over a 24 hour period. 

thought the ultimate organic cotton waterproof jacket

(Image credit: Thought)

12. Thought Clothing Rachael Waterproof Organic Cotton Chambray Coat

Best for sustainability


RRP: $232 / £170
Sizes: US: 2-14 / UK: 6-18
Main Material: 100% Organic Cotton
Lining and Padding Material: 100% Recycled Polyester

Reasons to buy

Sustainable manufacturing
Flattering shape

If you’ve yet to discover Thought Clothing, now’s your chance. The Australian clothing brand prides itself on considered and contemporary clothing, all designed with sustainability at the forefront, making it one of the best sustainable clothing brands. This chic waterproof mac is made from organic cotton chambray with a fluorocarbon-free water repellent finish - the most sustainable method. Details such as storm cuffs, taped seams, and a double-ended zip make this a stylish and practical choice.

What the fashion team said: "It was by far the most flattering coat with a drawstring elasticated waist to cinch you in."

Waterproof rating: No exact test results are revealed but if you want a waterproof coat that also considers the environment then Thought should be high on your list. With a new fluorocarbon-free repellent, they also heat sealed taped seams to make this totally rainproof. 

Breathability rating: As a general rule, natural fabrics such as cotton (this is 100% cotton) are really breathable. 

The North Face Dryzzle FUTURELIGHT Jacket

(Image credit: The North Face)

13. The North Face Dryzzle FUTURELIGHT Jacket

Best breathable jacket


RRP: $230 / £225
Sizes: XS-XL
Material: Recycled Polyester

Reasons to buy

Regulates body temperature
Uses recycled materials

Made using Futurelight technology, the waterproof fabric provides an excellent moisture barrier, whilst remaining breathable too, regulating body temperature, keeping you comfortable and sweat-free. Not only that, it’s made from recycled materials to reduce landfill waste. 

What the fashion team said: "The North Face has really pulled it out of the bag with this iteration. Plus points include a snap-locking storm flap to keep the wind out, secure zip pockets and adjustable hem and cuffs - oh and it comes in five stylish colors too, including this hot pink design that fits perfectly into the latest fashion color trends."

Waterproof rating: Using seam-sealed FUTURELIGHT™ 3L this coat should give good waterproofing, giving it an own-brand website level rating of three - for waterproofing (higher than repellent and resistant). It is also windproof.

Breathability rating: Although the jacket doesn't specifically discuss breathability, the fashion team found this waterproof jacket did help regulate body temperature and stopped them from feeling sweaty. 

rains long jacket in beige

(Image credit: Rains)

14. Rains Long Jacket

Best for commuting


RRP: $125 / £95
Sizes: XXS-XL
Material : 64% Polyester, 36% Polyurethane

Reasons to buy

Lots of colors
Long length for better protection

Getting caught in the rain has never looked so chic, thanks to Danish brand Rains’ long waterproof coat that provides slightly more coverage than its shorter counterparts. This long jacket is an extended version of their ever-popular classic basic jacket and we love the extra coverage. It has the same unstructured silhouette for a fuss-free finish and the matte texture adds a more luxe appearance. 

What the fashion team said: "Admittedly this coat is not as waterproof as some of the others but can hold its own in a heavy downpour. It's lightweight and extremely elegant, making it a good option for work and smarter occasions. It's also available in ten elegant colors."

Waterproof rating: This waterproof jacket can withstand up to 4000 millimeters of water and features ultrasonically welded seams and a placket with snap fastenings for strong protection.

Breathability rating: To keep you cool, the coat utilizes eyelets at armholes and a back yoke with concealed vents for extra breathability.

Ilse Jacobsen Long Raincoat

(Image credit: Ilse Jacobsen)

15. Ilse Jacobsen Long Raincoat

Best long waterproof jacket


RRP: $270 / £230
Sizes: 34-48
Material: Shell: 94% Polyester, 6% Elastane
Bonding : 100% Polyester

Reasons to buy

Lightly tailored shape
Number of colorways

This long raincoat is made from a breathable and stretchable softshell material, with a lightly tailored silhouette to give a feminine finish. The coat features a YKK AquaGuard 2-way zipper and the surface is treated with an Ecorepel dirt and water-repellent coating that creates an invisible shield. This bold red hue plays into current fashion trends, favoring bright colors to liven up the dull mornings ahead.

What the fashion team said: "Functional and stylish, Ilse Jacobsen is minimalist Scandinavian design at its finest. With a huge array of raincoats, it was hard to pick our standout style. There are lots to choose from, so it's well worth a browse and they also have 14 colorways available, depending on if you want something sleek and subtle or an iteration that will feel cheery on a rainy day." 

Waterproof rating: The coat has been tested to withstand up to 5000milimeters of rain, making it a high-quality rainwear item.

Breathability rating: With a test result of 3000 G/M2, this jacket has medium breathability, so it should stop you from getting too warm too - anything over 3000 is considered highly breathable, so really this one is right on the cusp.

Joules Loxley Longline Waterproof Jacket

(Image credit: Joules)

16. Joules Loxley Longline Waterproof Jacket

Best for playful waterproof jackets


RRP: $179.95 / £129
Sizes: UK: 6-26
Material: Main: 65% polyester, 35% cotton
Lining 1: 100% cotton
Lining 2: 100% polyester

Reasons to buy

Attractive lining
Fashion-forward shape

Fashion brand Joules makes great wellies, so it stands to reason they would know how to make standout waterproofs too. The hood also features a toggle system so you can adjust your protection. For an added touch of Joules magic, the lining features a hand-drawn print and the dark floral print inside the hood certainly adds extra luxe to the look. Available in three colorways, classic khaki and then a punchy blue or cherry red, for those who want a pop of brightness, this coat is selling fast.

What the fashion team said: "Rainwear can be quite bulky, but Joules' use of toggles and adjustable waist channels allows you to adjust your fit. The parka silhouette also keeps this design on trend"

Waterproof rating: No test results have been released, although the coat is made from 100% waterproof fabric and reviews from shoppers on the site are positive. the coat has fully taped seams, zip and popper fastening, and hood with storm peak to ensure no droplets make it through.

Breathability rating: The coat uses underarm eyelets for ventilation and breathability - style, and practicality together, effortlessly.

17. Proviz Reflect 360 Women's Outdoor Fleece-Lined Jacket

Best reflective waterproof jacket


RRP: $175 / £119
Sizes: US: 2-16, UK: 6-20
Material: Main: R360 fabric, made from tiny glass beads
Lining : Fleece

Reasons to buy

Unique reflective material
100% waterproof and windproof
Warm and cozy 

Proviz makes a range of impressive outerwear and exercise clothing, so we were expecting big things from this jacket - and it lived up to expectations. The fleece lining is extremely cozy without being too oppressive or warm, whilst the reflective outer layer wowed us in the rain. When it comes in contact with water, the shell develops splatters of a holographic rainbow, making for an extremely eye-catching waterproof jacket that will stand out during both the day and night. Featuring an adjustable waist, cuffs, and sturdy zip pockets, this jacket has everything you need to keep yourself and your essentials fully weather-proofed. 

What the fashion team said: This rain jacket really has it all. The cool reflective outer material keeps things trendy, whilst the fleece lining adds that element of comfort without being too restrictive. It lives up to its claims of being windproof and waterproof; we felt extremely protected when wearing this outside. The hood is spacious - ideal for wearing hats or hoodies underneath - and the adjustable waist toggles give a custom fit that can be changed depending on what you're wearing. 

Waterproof rating: It is 100% waterproof (5,000ml), meaning you will stay totally dry and protected no matter the weather. 

Breathability rating: The fleece lining means that it is more cozy than breathable, however it doesn't feel restrictive or suffocating. This is definitely built for cold weather, rather than warmer climates. 

How to choose the best waterproof jacket for women

There are some key things to look out for when choosing the best waterproof jacket. The lingo can be confusing and sites use a lot of abbreviations for technical terms that can make you think a product has higher specifications than it actually does. 

It's important to establish what level of waterproof coat you need. Many brands offer coats that give a level of 'shower protection' which is fine for most daily occurrences, light rain between home and the car or nipping to the shops. However if you like to get out and get off-road, go for long walks etc, then beside from the best hiking boots, you'll need to invest in a raincoat that can really withstand a downpour.

Sometimes the most practical and functional rainwear isn't the most stylish, so again you need to consider if you're happy to compromise on fashion credentials to get the maximum level of protection. 

We've added a handy guide to some terminology to look out for when you're shopping for the best waterproof jackets for women.

Why does breathability matter, what to look out for and how is it measured?

The breathability of a coat or jacket ensures you don't get too hot and sweaty while wearing it. This is particularly important in waterproof jackets, as they are often coated in finishes or made from non-breathable fabrics, so they can be quite warm and make you feel sweaty. 

Look out for...

  • Eyelets under armholes to increase breathability and ventilation
  • Conceal vents in the back of a jacket - same great protection from rain but again with added ventilation.
  • This formula g/m2/d represents the level of breathability of a fabric. It is sometimes found in the product specification, take note of the number preceding it. Anything below 800 doesn't have huge amounts of breathability. Between 800-3000 has a medium level of breathability - the most common level for good quality, water-resistant coats as it gives breathability and still protects from the rain. Anything over 3000 is high-end and most common in high-performance weather wear and offers the highest level of breathability. The breathability test is done by measuring how much sweat or moisture the fabric allows through over a 24hr period, as letting it out through the fabric stops you from getting too warm.

A number of brands we looked at did not list breathability test results, but if coats have vents and underarm eyelets, these are also good indicators for good breathability. 

How can you tell if a coat is really waterproof, what to look out for and how is it measured?

When picking the best waterproof jacket for women, it's important to learn the right keyphrases to look out for. For starters, remember that there is a difference between water-repellent, water-resistant and waterproof.

Water-repellent: You'll have seen water-repellent fabric, this is where the beads of water sit and roll off the top of the fabric. It repels water, however it is not impervious to water like waterproofing. 

Water-resistant: This means it is made from fabric that resists water, meaning it is super hard for water to penetrate the fabric's top layer. But it is not necessarily a complete, hard, barrier.

Waterproof: No water should be making it through a waterproof jacket, but you also need to take note of just how waterproof a jacket is, what level of rain or water they have measured its waterproof-ability to. 

When you look at the specification for a waterproof jacket, look out for test results of their waterproof abilities. This is measured in millimeters and is regarding the amount of water pressure the coat can take before it starts to let water in. 

  • Anything from 1000mm-3000mm has a low resistance to water, probably only appropriate for light showers.
  • 3000mm-5000mm gives a strong resistance. This is probably the most likely level you will see both from coats in this guide and from waterproof jackets on the main market.
  • 5000mm is high resistance and what you should look for from high-quality rainwear specialists.
  • 10,000mm excellent level of rain protection, most likely from activewear/outdoor clothing labels or highly specialized brands.

Other things to look out for include:

  • Taped, sealed or bonded seams - usually a seam is where two pieces of fabric are stitched together and if you see seams on your regular clothes, they would leave you open to the elements. For rainwear look for covered seams or those bonded with glue to help with water resistance. 
Amelia Yeomans
Staff writer

Amelia joined woman&home after graduating with an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University in 2022. She specialises in lifestyle journalism and throughout her undergraduate degree she wrote for a variety of student publications, where she developed a love for all things style, beauty and sustainable fashion. She has previously written for titles including OK! Magazine, New! Magazine and Notion before she started her career as a lifestyle journalist with woman&home after completing an internship with the brand. 

With contributions from