The 9 Best Fleece Jackets of 2023

The North Face Women’s Osito Full Zip Fleece Jacket pairs a classic design with ultimate comfort.

In This Article

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Best Fleece Jackets of 2023

Health / Marcus Millan

Nothing beats the warmth and comfort of a fleece jacket. Whether you’re braving cold weather or looking for an extra layer of coziness, fleece jackets provide protection from the elements while also regulating your body temperature. For some, dropping temperatures contribute to aches and pains that can make everyday tasks difficult. And for others, health conditions make even a mild chill feel unbearable.

"Factors such as age, body size, obesity, and gender can all influence a person's ability to regulate their body temperature," explains Kellie K. Middleton, MD, MPH, an Atlanta-based orthopedic surgeon. "Poor circulation due to underlying medical conditions or nutritional deficiencies can also cause people to run cold. Additionally, exposure to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time can have an impact on body temperature regulation," she adds.

Reviewed & Approved

The North Face Women’s Osito 2 Jacket features a relaxed fit and silky soft fabric to keep you warm on cooler days—without making you feel weighed down or bulky. Columbia's Benton Springs Fleece Jacket offers excellent insulation in multiple color options for a budget-friendly pick.

Fleece is lightweight, breathable, and soft—making it an ideal choice for layering. However, choosing one of the thousands of options on the market can be overwhelming. As a healthcare professional who wears fleece year-round, I’ve scoured through hundreds of jackets to find the most durable, warm, and affordable picks.

Best Overall

The North Face Women's Osito Full Zip Fleece Jacket

the-north-face-womens-osito-full-zip-fleece-jacket

Amazon

Why We Like It:  This lightweight pick is versatile enough to layer or wear as a standalone piece. 

It’s Worth Noting: The fit may run small.

This classic favorite is known for its reliable warmth and unbeatable coziness. It features a full-length front zipper, two hand pockets, and an internal draft flap to keep the chill away. The silky fabric is lightweight yet surprisingly warm and comfortable—making it the perfect companion for chilly weather adventures.

“Staying warm with clothing insulates our body just like we do with insulation for our pipes to protect them from the frost,” explains Prashanth Peddi, MD, internal medicine specialist with Memorial Hermann Medical Group. The Osito jacket is a great way to stay warm and look stylish at the same time.

Choose from a range of colors and sizes—all made with The North Face's legendary quality and craftsmanship. And, for added convenience, the jacket is machine washable for easy cleaning. Made from recycled materials, it also supports our environment.

Price at time of publication: $99

Product Details: 

  • Women's Sizes: XXS to 3x
  • Material: 100% recycled polyester
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Number of pockets: 2 exterior hand pockets

Best Budget

Columbia Women's Benton Springs Fleece Jacket

columbia-womens-benton-springs-fleece-jacket

Amazon

Why We Like It: It comes in an array of colors and holds up well for the price.

It’s Worth Noting: This jacket may run slightly large.

Columbia's outerwear is an accessible staple in any wardrobe, and the Women’s Benton Springs Full Zip jacket is a go-to. This lightweight fleece jacket is great for everyday wear, with an active cut that won’t restrict movement. It features a full-length front zipper and two zippered side pockets deep enough to keep your hands toasty. Plus, it’s available in 100+ colors and prints, so you can find one to match your style.

The jacket is made from 100% polyester MTR filament fleece that feels soft and warm. We appreciate the bungee drawcord hem, which tailors the fit to your body and locks in extra warmth. With prices typically falling around the $40 to $50 range, this Columbia fleece jacket provides comfort without breaking the bank.

Price at time of publication: $45

Product Details: 

  • Women's Sizes: XS to 3XL
  • Material: 100% polyester MTR filament fleece
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Number of pockets: 2 exterior hand pockets

Best for Very Cold Weather

Patagonia Women's Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket

patagonia-womens-classic-retro-x-fleece-jacket

Patagonia

Why We Like It: The dense windproof barrier efficiently combats icy temperatures.

It’s Worth Noting: It may run large.

Patagonia’s Women's Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket is the ultimate winter companion for those living in colder climates. This jacket has a full-length windproof fabric that keeps out cold and snow, while the interior fleece traps in heat. The moisture-wicking properties ensure your skin stays dry and comfortable, and the deep hand pockets protect your fingers from frosty winds.

The jacket is both sporty and stylish—perfect for layering over clothes. You won't feel constricted when you're ready to get active, as the design allows easy movement. An added collar protects your neck, while a third external chest pocket stores your essentials. Plus, it’s made with 85% recycled polyester that supports a sustainable future. 

Price at time of publication: $229

Product Details: 

  • Women's Sizes: XXS to XL
  • Material: 100% polyester (85% recycled)
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Number of pockets: 3 exterior

Best for Working Out

Icebreaker RealFleece Merino Descender Zip Jacket

Icebreaker RealFleece Merino Descender Zip Jacket

Icebreaker

Why We Like It: The breathable fabric and anti-friction design prevent chafing. 

It’s Worth Noting: It’s not suitable for extreme temperatures.

There's a happy medium between lightweight and warm and the RealFleece Merino Descender Zip Jacket meets it well. This mid-weight jacket is designed specifically for outdoor activities and intense workouts, with an anti-friction interior that prevents chafing. The fabric is breathable and sweat-wicking, so you don't feel like you're roasting in a sauna while exercising.

What sets this jacket apart is the premium fabric blend and lined pockets that hit every comfort point. We love the added thumb loops that keep your sleeves in place and the drop tail hem for extra coverage. Ultimately, this jacket is the perfect combination of warmth and comfort without sacrificing movement. Keep in mind this is a slim-fit style, so you may want to size up if tight fits aren’t your thing.

Price at time of publication: $220

Product Details: 

  • Women's Sizes: XS to XL
  • Material: Premium RealFleece™ blend
  • Windproof: Partially
  • Number of pockets: 2 exterior hand pockets

Most Sustainable

Topo Designs Mountain Fleece Pullover

Topo Designs Mountain Fleece Pullover

Topo Designs

Why We Like It: The polyester fabric blend is made from recycled materials, keeping plastic waste out of landfills and oceans.

It's Worth Noting: This jacket is cut a bit short in the body.

Topo Designs built its Mountain Fleece Pullover with sustainability in mind. The brand's core mission is to create timeless, functional products with minimal environmental impact. And this quarter-zip jacket proudly meets that goal with its 100% recycled polyester fabric blend.

The design is just as impressive, with an athletic fit that moves with you and a thick collar to retain heat. We appreciate the secure chest pocket that keeps small items safe (think debit cards and keys). The ribbed cuffs and drawcord cinch hem are a nice touch, too. Durable elbow patches complete the look and make it clear this jacket is constructed to last. 

Price at time of publication: $129

Product Details: 

  • Women's Sizes: XS to XL
  • Material: 100% recycled polyester, 100% nylon
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Number of pockets: 2 external hand pockets, 1 chest pocket

Best with a Hood

Lululemon Scuba Hoodie

Lululemon Scuba Hoodie

Amazon

Why We Like It: The large, cozy hood wicks moisture away from your skin. 

It’s Worth Noting: This jacket runs small, so consider ordering one size up.

Known for its activewear line, Lululemon created the Scuba Hoodie for performance and comfort. This lightweight jacket features breathable fabric that quickly wicks moisture away from your body while keeping you warm on chilly days. It also offers an extra layer of protection with its full-zip closure that runs from the hood to the hip.

The hood makes this jacket stand out—it's large enough to fit other headwear and cozy enough to keep you warm. There are even ten color options ranging from classic black to pomegranate. For added convenience, the elastic zipper pull doubles as a hair tie when you're in a pinch. 

Price at time of publication: $118

Product Details: 

  • Women's Sizes: 0 to 20
  • Material: 100% recycled polyester, 100% nylon
  • Windproof: Partially
  • Number of pockets: 2 external hand pockets, 1 hidden media pocket

Best Lightweight

Backcountry Goat Fleece Zip Front Jacket

Backcountry Goat Fleece Zip Front Jacket

Backcountry

Why We Like It: It's lightweight yet offers surprising warmth. 

It’s Worth Noting: The hand pockets don't zip, so essential items may not be secure.

Backcountry's Goat Fleece Zip Front Jacket is the perfect classic fit for everyday wear. This lightweight jacket is designed to be cozy yet breathable, with a super soft exterior and polar fleece lining. The fabric is also enough to keep the wind out, so you can brave the elements in style. 

We love a classic zip-up look that offers versatility. The design has thoughtful details that elevate the look, like a dipped hemline for extra coverage and a secure zipper. The two hand pockets are a bonus for warming your hands or storing small items. Add the high collar to the mix, and you have a timeless piece to keep you snug without sacrificing style. 

Price at time of publication: $112

Product Details: 

  • Women's Sizes: XS to XL
  • Material: 100% polyester fleece
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Number of pockets: 2 external hand pockets, 1 zippered chest

Best for Kids

Lands' End Sherpa Lined Zip Hoodie

lands-end-sherpa-lined-zip-hoodie

Amazon

Why We Like It: The flexible fit provides warmth without sacrificing movement.

It’s Worth Noting: The fabric may be too warm to wear during rigorous active play.

Lands End designed this jacket as a wardrobe staple for chilly days. Crafted from a polyester and cotton blend, the outer layer is soft and maintains its shape—even after countless washes. The inside fleece lining traps heat, providing quiet comfort and added protection from harsh weather.

This jacket is designed to withstand the rigors of playtime with a ribbed hem and cuffs to hinder cold air from sneaking in. As a midweight option, it's versatile enough to wear on its own or under a winter coat for extreme weather. We love the playful patterns, too, which make it a hit with the younger crowd.

Price at time of publication: $25

Product Details: 

  • Sizes: SM to 18/20
  • Material: Cotton-blend, poly-blend, fleece sherpa
  • Windproof: No
  • Number of pockets: 2 external

Best Men’s

Outerknown Skyline Shirt Jacket

Outerknown Skyline Shirt Jacket

Outerknown

Why We Like It: This versatile shirt jacket can be worn on its own or layered for extra warmth. 

It’s Worth Noting: The jacket requires tumble dry on low heat.

Outerknown's Skyline Shirt Jacket is a stylish way to stay warm during the colder months. This button-down jacket looks like a classic shirt with two flap pockets and durable snap buttons. However, its plush fleece fabric makes it more than just a fashionable item of clothing. 

With two color options and sustainable construction, this jacket is a worthwhile addition to any wardrobe. The lightweight and breathable material allows you to move freely without feeling constricted or overheated. The best part is its versatility—it looks great with jeans and a t-shirt or as an extra layer of warmth over hoodies and sweaters.

Price at time of publication: $178

Product Details: 

  • Sizes: SM and XXL
  • Material: 74% recycled polyester and 26% polyester
  • Windproof: No
  • Number of pockets: 2 external chest pockets

How We Selected

We considered numerous factors to determine the best fleece jackets, including design, fabric quality, insulation, comfortability, and breathability. After speaking with experts on how cold weather affects the body, we took their advice into consideration. Our selection process consisted of researching reputable outdoor brands that specialize in creating durable and stylish fleece jackets for all weather conditions. 

We prioritized jackets that are versatile enough to be worn throughout the seasons. Most of these jackets are made from either synthetic or natural fibers, and they feature wind-resistant fabric technology that ensures you stay warm while outside. After reviewing hundreds of options, we narrowed our selection to the products with the highest ratings and best features.

What to Know About Fleece Jackets

Material

Fleece jackets come in two types of material: synthetic and natural. Synthetic fleece is made with polyester and offers superior warmth, breathability, and water resistance. Natural fleece is typically made with wool or cotton and provides warmth without sacrificing comfort.

The insulation of a fleece jacket is an essential factor in determining how warm you will be in cold weather. Fleece jackets are designed with multiple layers of insulation to retain heat and regulate body temperature in frigid environments. The heavier the insulation, the greater protection against cold temperatures. However, those with active lifestyles may prefer a lighter option that offers more breathability and flexibility.

Breathable jackets allow air to flow through them while offering protection from the elements. These jackets are great for outdoor activities like running, allowing you to move around without getting too hot or cold. Reflecting on your routine and lifestyle will help you pick the right jacket material for your needs.

Warmth

Dr. Middleton advises that having the right gear for any outdoor activity in cold weather is imperative. “Being too cold can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration, fatigue, and other serious medical conditions," she explains. "Hypothermia can be dangerous and even fatal if left untreated. Frostbite can cause tissue damage, loss of sensation, and permanent scarring in extreme cases."

Fleece jackets come in different thicknesses and weights, which means they can provide varying levels of warmth—depending on the weather and your activity level. Generally, fleece jackets are light to mid-weight and provide excellent insulation in cold temperatures. They are also great for layering with other pieces of clothing, allowing you to adjust your level of warmth depending on the environment. 

Thicker fleece jackets are marketed as “heavyweight” or “expedition weight,” offering superior warmth in frigid temperatures. If you plan on engaging in activities in freezing climates, you should consider a heavyweight fleece jacket made with densely woven fabrics and multiple layers of insulation.

Cost

Fleece jackets can range in price from $25 to $250 or more, depending on the fabric quality and features. Higher-quality jackets will feature better insulation, breathability, and weather-resistant fabrics. Those looking for lightweight options can find one for less than $100—with plenty of styles in the $40 to $50 range.

Your Questions, Answered

What is a fleece jacket? 

A fleece jacket is a lightweight outerwear piece that keeps you warm in cold temperatures. Fleece jackets are typically made with synthetic or natural fibers and feature wind-resistant fabrics for added protection against the elements.

While most options are lightweight, heavier fleece jackets are also available for colder climates—including heavy-duty and expedition-weight varieties. Fleece jackets offer superior insulation, breathability, and protection from the wind, making them ideal for outdoor activities or everyday errands. 

Do fleece jackets keep you warm?

Yes, fleece jackets can keep you warm in cold weather conditions. The insulation of a fleece jacket is an essential factor when determining how much warmth it will provide, as heavier jackets with multiple layers of insulation offer more protection against the elements. Fleece jackets also come with wind-resistant fabrics to help block the chill and maximize warmth. 

"Staying warm with proper clothing and avoiding prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can reduce the risk of getting sick, as it helps the body maintain a relatively constant temperature and can limit the amount of stress placed on the immune system," notes Dr. Middleton.

Dr. Peddi also notes that layering your clothes is essential for outdoor activities. "Wearing in layers and appropriate winter wear to prevent escaping of the heat from the body, staying indoors, ensuring heaters are on, drinking warm fluids, and taking off any wet clothes are all helpful."

What type of fleece is warmest? 

Polar fleece is one of the warmest types and is often used in heavy-duty coats and jackets. Polar fleece is made with densely woven fabrics, which helps trap heat close to your body while blocking the cold air.

Bonded fleece is another type of high-quality fleece that offers superior insulation and weather protection. Bonded fleeces feature multiple layers, which can provide extra warmth. The inner layer of bonded fleece is usually a synthetic or natural fleece fabric, while the outer layer is usually a windproof and water-resistant fabric. This type of fleece offers more protection against harsh weather conditions and is often used in winter jackets.  

Who We Are

As a nurse and public health professional, Lindsay Modglin is an experienced journalist who covers the rapidly evolving health and medical field. Her byline has been featured in global publications like Forbes, Insider, Verywell, Healthline, and more. Lindsay’s cold-weather expertise comes from years of traveling and camping in frigid climates. As a chronically chilled person, her wardrobe consists of the best winter-weather gear, including a range of fleece styles. She aims to help readers make actionable and informed decisions about the products they buy.

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