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Gear and Technology

A Brooks gear nerd chats versatile run jackets

Brooks gear nerd wearing Canopy Jacket
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Learn how these essential pieces of gear can help keep you on the move, no matter the forecast.

Spring weather could be excellent with that perfect mix of cool air and bright sunshine. Or you might find yourself in something miserable like April showers turning into torrential downpour. We love it all, right? Maybe you’ll get lucky and encounter both on your run or walk.

Whatever the weather, it’s crucial to have the right gear to help keep you moving, distraction free. Enter the Canopy Jacket — this essential piece of gear features on-the-go versatility and is made from lightweight, breathable fabric.

We chatted with Brooks product line manager and certified gear nerd Mike Orton about the research that goes into the Canopy Jacket, what runners look for in a weather-fighting workhorse, and the philosophy of pocket depth.

Backside of Brooks Canopy Jacket

Brooks Running: The world of running jackets is ... crowded. There are lots of options for fabric, cut, and color. What do you hear as runners’ main concerns when they are searching for a jacket?

Mike Orton: In outerwear the major concerns we hear are the about the weight of fabric soaking up rain or holding sweat. We often hear how they don’t want their jacket to “weigh me down.” Extra fabric that can flop or move around is a big concern. We want to avoid having runners feel like the jacket will be a ‘parachute’ when in movement. Related to this is noisy fabrics — that’s a big no-no for runners. That’s one of those things they don’t realize is a deal breaker until they’ve bought the jacket, are on a run, and all they can hear is the jacket swishing and flapping in the wind.

We often hear how they don't want their jacket to "weigh me down."

Mike Orton Brooks apparel product line manager

BR: What are some things runners love about a good running jacket? 

Mike Orton: “Less is more” is a common compliment we hear from runners when they talk to us about their favorite outerwear. More features can be more opportunities for something to go wrong. The fit and function of the hood of the jacket can be a huge reason for a runner to cherish a good outerwear piece — how it drapes and stores when not in use and how close it fits to keep air and drag out when in use. Lastly, intuitive features for runners go a long way whenever you have stash pockets to reduce bouncing, stay-down zipper pulls, and packability or snaps to anchor the jacket when in motion to aid in ventilation.

Lower half of Brooks Canopy Jacket
Runner running in Brooks Canopy Jacket and shoes

BR: What’s the user feedback and product development process about jacket design like at Brooks?

Mike Orton: It’s the same for everything we build for the runner — we talk to runners to understand better what they love and hate about their outerwear. We ideate on those conversations to find common threads and insights. We then brief our design and development team to produce the solutions for the runner. They do so by selecting the fabrics, features, and fit to deliver the best experience for the runner.

BR: In terms of best or unique features, where do you think Brooks is winning in the field of run jackets?

Mike Orton: I believe we’re delivering on the insight that runners don’t want to compromise when it comes to their outerwear. They need it to protect from the elements, but not trap heat. They need a balance of warmth to lightweight. We’ve been building our outerwear collection with an emphasis on hybrid function with clear differences in fabrics that communicate their function without being distracting. The best of both worlds: soft against the skin with stretch for movement and protection where you need it.

They need it to protect from the elements, but not trap heat. They need a balance of warmth to lightweight.

Mike Orton Brooks apparel product line manager

BR: How is pocket depth decided? We love a good place to store snacks.

MO: It starts with understanding what the purpose of the pocket is — why is it there, where is it positioned and what is the runner storing or using the pocket for. We break that down to ensure pocket depth is functional but also familiar to the consumer.

Head out into the elements

The Canopy Jacket is one of several key items that will help you keep moving, distraction free. Its main features include:

  • Water protection: Breathable and durable rip-stop DriLayer® Seal fabric shields against the rain without keeping excess heat in.
  • Packable and wearable: Updated packability allows you to stuff the jacket into a new built-in backpack that integrates with the back of the jacket for packability that doesn't add weight or obstruct movement.
  • Recycled materials: Now made with 100 percent recycled materials.

Build your full rain-or-shine fit with the items below, and get more gear tips at the Run Happy Blog.

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