What is a Windbreaker Jacket – All You Need to Know About Windbreakers

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The world of fashion is not always under the lens as a man’s world. If women crowd around a window display or shop online for hours, they most likely won’t get a second look. Their closets are socially acceptable to be full of shoes and colors galore…

So, men who have a passion for fashion are sometimes not as thoroughly accepted and sometimes have to put up a fight to explain why this world is actually one to be welcomed.

And that brings The Highest Fashion to point out that it surely helps when the names of certain clothes have what we call “superhero” names.

Like, for example…


What is a Windbreaker Jacket?

You might hear the term all the time, but let’s start off with a little introduction.

Dictionary Definition of Windbreaker: — What Does Windbreaker Mean?

The Free Dictionary defines a windbreaker as a “light, windresistant outer jacket with closefitting, often elasticized cuffs and waistband.”

Windbreakers can also be called “windcheaters” and are most often seen as light jackets that are perfect for those fall or rainy late November days when there’s wind chills in the air.

Fun fact: The John Rissman Company chose to trademark “Windbreaker” in the 1940s by coining the brand’s gabardine jacket as “the only genuine Windbreaker.”

But, Why is it Called Windbreaker?Where Did the Name Windbreaker Originate?

The term had first originated in 1918 as a way to describe a leather shirt whose purpose was to help keep the wearer warm on windy days.

Dating even farther back, it was the Inuit who fashioned windbreakers out of parkas that had seal or caribou material by combining the two fabrics with the actual skin side facing outward and the hair facing the body.

This way, warm air got trapped and insulated.

Post WWII, windbreakers shed the seal and caribou materials and were replaced with nylon and other artificial-fiber textiles. The result rendered windbreakers to be a less heavy and bulky kind of jacket.

What is a Windbreaker Made of?

According to Vocabulary.com, a windbreaker is usually constructed with “light, synthetic materials” and “has evolved from wool or cotton versions that were popular in the mid-20th century.”

These materials are often “rubberized, oiled, or treated with other waterproofing finishes” even though windbreakers should not be worn in heavy inclement weather.

Latest versions of different windbreakers display cuts that go slightly past the upper thigh and have elasticized cuffs. Pockets are easy to navigate and use, while the hood features a drawstring and can either fit into the collar or be easily detached.

Windbreakers can both be neutral toned or colorful — but the latter is better suited for those who like to do outdoorsy activities at night or when cars or passerby have a lesser chance of seeing you.

What is a Windbreaker Used for? — Will The Windbreaker materials Keep You Warm?

Like the name, a windbreaker is meant to protect its wearer from chilly breezes, light rain or colder air. It’s meant to be a layer of warmth for any day or time spent outdoors, walking in the city, going for a quick jog, etc.

Windbreakers are truly perfect for those who exercise outdoors in fall or spring.

Runners, hikers, bike riders and other outdoorsy gurus especially benefit from the light quality of windbreakers because of easy movement and comfort. Its many colorful options are also perfect for safety reasons — if you’re illuminated in color, more cars and bikers take notice!

Windbreakers, however, should not be worn if the temperature is lower than 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. When it reaches that low, it’s time to wear warmer coats or jackets because windbreakers are a layer, not an end-all, be-all for winter wear.

Rapid Fire Questions— 1, 2, 3 GO!

Let’s just dig right into all the possible questions and concerns you can have about windbreakers!

What is a windbreaker in England? And is it different from a windcheater?

In England, windbreakers are often seen the same way as in the U.S. Any jacket with either glossy material or synthetic material is known as a windbreaker or a windcheater.

Both terms, you’ll find, are used interchangeably.

How much does a windbreaker weigh in oz?

A windbreaker weighs around 1.8 oz, half of what a regular winter jacket ways, according to PARCL.

How much do windbreakers cost?

It all depends where you buy your windbreaker from! On Amazon, windbreakers range anywhere from under $25 to over $200.

This rose flower black windbreaker, for example, is only $17 but has raving reviews for its pop culture aesthetic and double layered warmth protection that still remains light.

If you’re looking for something a little more high-end, this $140 windbreaker from Ralph Lauren holds the classic style of the famous brand, its essence and its richness in texture.

Why are windbreakers so expensive?

Most men hate spending too much money on clothes — let’s face it, it’s the shoes that thin out our wallets. That is why when men with high taste find that the one windbreaker they like is on the $200 end, they can’t help but ask, “Why so much dough?”

If you’re buying a windbreaker from a well-known, high-end brand like Ralph Lauren, Nike, Adidas or The North Face, then there’s a lot of backend customers don’t always see upfront.

“It’s tough to talk only about profit margins, because you don’t get the whole picture of what goes into that product or that feature,” Pamela Ajello, senior communications manager at The North Face, said to Outside Outline. “The cost of doing business, the cost of fair labor practices, the process of innovation, how a company gives back to the community—to only look at that profit margin for a specific product is too narrow of a picture.”

So, in essence, wanting to buy from the big boys means a little bit of a bigger price tag!

Can a windbreaker be tailored?

Tailors are magical and mythic creatures in the world of men’s fashion. They can take anything on a hanger and change it to fit like a glove even a jacket that is too large or too snug. Tailors can shorten or lengthen sleeves, replace the lining, take or remove the sides or even add some shoulder pads.

If you want to know a little more about the tailoring process, be sure to check out our 411 on tailoring for men!

Can a windbreaker be washed?

Most windbreakers can be washed with warm water and detergent, on a regular wash cycle. If it’s nylon or polyester, make that cold water. Always, be sure to stay away from bleach!

To be extra sure, however, check the label on your windbreaker — all details about washing practices for that particular jacket will all be right there.

Can you put a windbreaker in a dryer?

If you’re wondering how to wash a windbreaker, you are probably also wondering if you can dry one. So, here are the rules:

If your windbreaker is made of nylon, polyester or something that is a heady combination of both, washing the jacket in hot water and drying it can shrink the material. If the jacket is too large, this can actually be a solution for you! Otherwise, air drying your jacket is the way to go.

Again, your actual best bet is to check the label— all instructions for care should be right there!

Is a windbreaker the same as a raincoat? — Windbreaker vs Raincoat

Imagine the windbreaker and rain jacket in parallel boxing matches.

If their opponent is the rain, the windbreaker will be able to put up a fight, but ultimately, the rain will win. The rain jacket in the ring over, however, will take home the gold.

If their opponent is the wind, the situation is completely flipped — and that’s because these two jackets are essentially not one in the same.

Ultimately, a windbreaker is perfect for those who run, hike or walk in drier weather and like to have the comfort and breathability along with the compactness in their jacket. A rain jacket should be worn if you often have to run, hike or walk in rainy weather or in areas where forecasts never predict a rainy day well — but both are great to have in your wardrobe as a cohesive set!

Pro tip: Some brands do sell windbreakers with specific water-resistant material (scroll further down to check one out we found for you, if you’re interested!)

Are windbreakers waterproof?

So, this all brings us to the question if windbreakers are actually waterproof. Although windbreakers can handle a little rain, many  are not 100% water-resistant.

Windbreakers are too thin and breathable to have the durable material that can protect you from the heavy rains that feed the plants but soak us up! 

Can you wear windbreakers in the summer?

Windbreakers are not the best summer layer to own. Light cardigans or cotton t-shirts or even jean vests are most likely a better choice for the hotter months; however, if you hike at high altitudes in the summer, live near water that likes to deliver large gusts of wind come evening time or you easily feel chills when hanging out on your porch… who are we to stop you from investing in a windbreaker?

Do you need a windbreaker?

It’s actually funny you ask because The Highest Fashion just recently covered the different kinds of coats and jackets you should be on the lookout this winter!

We did not cover windbreakers, but that is because they are not the proper winter attire. If you are looking for a coat or jacket during a winter season, windbreakers may sound like the right catch but names — even superhero names like these — can be deceiving. Windbreakers are perfect for the fall, spring and early winter when the weather is windy but still in the fifties and sixties degrees Fahrenheit.

They are especially useful for the outdoorsy type who, as we mentioned before, like to have easy arm movement while hiking, biking, running, camping, climbing – you name it. The easy lightweight feature allows it to be easily stowed away while also keeping you warm when worn, rather than heavy and hot.

Once the weather starts getting lower, windbreakers should be hung up on a hanger and replaced with coats that have warmer material like wool or leather.

How do you style a windbreaker?

Windbreakers are often worn as an athletic look, so if you’re sporting sweatpants, joggers or casual jeans, those will all match the energy of a windbreaker perfectly.

For shoes, sneakers, rain boots or hiking boots are all great options as well.

If you’d like a little break from just hearing The Highest Fashion’s advice, be sure to check out this cool video on how to style a windbreaker jacket:

What makes a good windbreaker?

A good windbreaker is able to keep you warm even when the weather is brisk and blistery — and you are able to move your body and arms around freely without restriction.  Windbreakers should also be easy to travel with, fitting into your backpack without taking up too much room.

Wide pockets, hoods and elastic around the waist of the jacket are also important in a windbreaker along with its ability to stand a little bit of rain.

Are windbreakers in Style 2024?

2024 is a comeback year for all things quirky, kitschy, nostalgic, colorful or eighties while also has brought back the neutral tones from those years — navy blue, black, teal.

The windbreaker style of 2024 therefore has two sides. One side is very pop, hip — vibrant, while the other takes on the mellow tone approach.

You can see these two elements blend together even in videos that talk about the year’s best windbreakers:

What are The Different Types of Windbreakers?

When it comes to the different types of windbreakers you got:

  • Insulated/ventilated windbreakers
  • Water-proof windbreakers
  • Nylon windbreakers
  • Double-breasted windbreakers (which means they have one extra layer for wind protection!)
  • Polyester windbreakers
  • Tricot windbreakers (these are the heaviest kind of windbreakers)
  • Outer shell windbreakers (these often are meant to be bigger than your body size so you have room for sweaters and layers)

Check out the different windbreakers available that you can invest in for yourself — best part? They are only a mere click away!

Classic Adidas Black and White Windbreaker

This Adidas bad boy is a windbreaker meant for men who want to make a statement just as much as an investment in something comfortable.

Often, windbreakers are a practical purchase, but this prize-winner is not only perfect for cold weather but also is meant to show prominence, brand and style.

The All-American Windbreaker

Red, white and blue, this Tommy Hilfiger retro hooded windbreaker can find a home in any closet that needs a little sprucing, a little patriotic color. 

Windbreaker vs Raincoat

If you like to stand out from the crowd, have a splash of color in your vibe and let everyone know your affinity to high-end brands and fashion houses, this is definitely the windbreaker for you.

The Black Beauty

Sometimes, the best part about windbreakers are the shine that come with nylon or polyester material. Even though windbreakers are made for harsher fall, spring or early winter weather, their gloss adds a certain confident, glistening feel.

This particular classy black beauty of a windbreaker looks way more expensive than it is because of its sophisticated shimmer — rendering the jacket a steal and deal all around!

The Water-resistant Windbreaker

Although most windbreakers are not 100% water resistant — and rain coats are the way to go when the forecast shows rain clouds on the way, some brands have stepped outside the box to offer a water-resistant windbreaker.

Take this windbreaker, for example. White and waterproof, this windbreaker was made with specific water-resistant flaps that can handle heavier rain. Still breathable and compact for travel, this kind of windbreaker pretty much has the best of both worlds.

The Neon Wonder

Feel like your clothes should reflect the fun, joy and outgoing guy that you are? Do you have a passion for style and flair while the wind’s in your hair? Check out this neon wonder of a windbreaker.

Not only are the colors able to keep you safe should you choose to run or head for a walk late at night but also, they put a smile on everyone’s face including the wearer. Dreary weather may be the call for windbreakers but who says the receiving line can’t have some light? 

The Treasure Trove

This windbreaker has it all. It’s reflective — which means this jacket has stripes and a logo that keep you outlined even in a low-light or dim environment (like mist, rain or fog)— waterproof, equipped with six different pockets and comes with a small bag that you can keep the jacket in for easy, efficient use.

Moreover, this jacket has hem anti-ski material so that it doesn’t ride up while you bike, hike or move outdoors, along with a ventilation system that keeps the coolness and dryness available. Talk about not sweating it!

Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @thehighestfashioncom with your windbreaker, being the superhero you are out in the mountains, running, climbing, biking or just taking a stroll outside.