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Are Windbreakers Waterproof? Water Resistant?

Handsome young athlete man running fast along river in orange windbreaker jacket.

There is a big difference between waterproof and water-resistant. Windbreakers are water-resistant, but they are not waterproof. If you were to take a walk in the rain, your windbreaker would keep you from getting wet, but if you were to take a shower in your windbreaker, that is another story.

Windbreakers are designed to keep you warm on windy days and protect you from gusty winds. However, some people have found comfort in experiencing protection from light showers of rain, especially when it is unexpected. Even though windbreakers have been around for decades, they are still an important piece of clothing for outdoor use.

All windbreakers are not the same, even though they were designed to create the same effect. For the most part, windbreakers are lightweight, comfortable, and easy to care for. Unlike your average raincoat, windbreakers have special features that are simple but effective.

For example, the waists and wristbands are fitted with stretchable elastic to keep the wind from entering inside the jacket. Instead, when the wind is blowing, the jacket becomes puffy, keeping the breezy, chilly wind outside. Nevertheless, windbreakers can keep you dry from short bouts of rain sprouts.

However, when it comes to thunderstorms and heavy rain showers, you will not get the full protection you need. If you are looking for a good windbreaker, there are several options to choose from. If you already have a closet full of windbreakers, then you only need to choose the right one, depending on the occasion.

What is the Difference Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant?

It is not unusual for most people to confuse the meaning of waterproof and water-resistant. At one time, I too was unable to determine the difference between the two. However, there are significant differences.

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There is no such thing as waterproof windbreakers. If you want to avoid getting wet, consider purchasing a raincoat if you do not already have one. if staying dry is not important, and you can stand a little light rain, then you need a windbreaker that is resistant to water.

Water-resistant means that the rain will not penetrate the jacket if you are not exposed to heavy rain conditions.  One final piece of information you need to know is that waterproof items provide an external barrier between you and the elements.

What Materials are Windbreakers Made Of?

Orange windbreaker track jacket full zip.

Windbreakers are made from more than one kind of material. The type of material they are made from depends on what you want your windbreaker to do for you. If you want to keep warm from the wind or stay protected from the rain, you need to carefully choose from windbreakers that offer such features.

However, the materials used to make windbreakers are made from a blend of fabrics.  Nylon and polyester are two great materials that are used for external windbreakers. These materials are favored due to their resistance to environmental elements and weather changes such as wind and rain.

Here is a list of several types of windbreakers and the features they have.

Windbreaker Types

Elderly man in gray windbreaker jacket holding a fishing rod.


Insulated windbreakers have an interior lining that consists of either fleece or cotton. This type of windbreaker is best for colder weather because the lining allows for a significant amount of warmth. If the weather calls for a light breeze with a chance of scattered showers, this may be the best jacket to wear.

Nevertheless, you should always check the weather before going outside. If you live in a state where the weather constantly changes throughout the day, be sure to wear the appropriate attire.

Choosing a windbreaker to protect you from the wind and not the rain is ideal for this windbreaker type. However, if you anticipate a heavy chance of rain, this windbreaker might not be enough to keep you completely dry. However, the insulation will keep you warm.

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Tricot Windbreakers

Tricot windbreakers provide the best protection from the cold, but not from the rain. If you live in a windy city where the chill factors are cold, this is the perfect windbreaker. However, if cold and rain are the norm where you live, you might want to avoid wearing this type of windbreaker on wet, rainy days.

However, you can wear tricot windbreakers during days when there are scattered showers. Other than that, I would not try my luck on those heavy, rainy days. You might not prevent getting a little soaked, because the main function of these types of windbreakers is to keep the wind from chilling your body.

One Layer Windbreakers

The single-layer windbreakers are probably the most popular of all windbreakers. Many athletes and sports fans wear these jackets in mostly cool weather. The fact that one-layer windbreakers are breathable, lightweight, and easy to pack and go, makes them the ideal choice.

Many outdoor sportsmen, like hikers and runners, find the one-layer windbreakers suitable for most, if not all, of their hiking and outdoor recreational needs. During strenuous physical activities, you might get overheated and sweat. So, you need to make sure to take off your jacket for a while if you must.

Getting overly warm can create some physical discomfort, like sweating.

Polyester Windbreakers

Polyester is one of those materials that you can use for making just about any type of clothing. Windbreakers made from polyester are heavier than most windbreakers and they are water-resistant. If you have heard the saying how water runs off the backs of ducks, well, the polyester windbreakers are a reminder of such.

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The polyester exterior makes these windbreakers suitable for almost any type of weather. Another added benefit of polyester windbreakers is their ability to remain quiet while you are moving. With other windbreakers that are made from nylon, that is not so.

Every time you move an inch, you can wear the nylon material scrubbing against the grain. This can be annoying. However, you will not have this problem with windbreakers made from polyester.

You will even forget you have one on.

How Come Windbreakers are not Waterproof?

Windbreakers were not designed to work like a raincoat. They were particularly designed for people who enjoy being outside in the environment. Such people include those that are physically active.

Hikers, bikers, joggers, runners, baseball players, and other athletes fall in this category. One fact remains, that the more well-made windbreakers are, the more you are likely to pay.

Do Windbreakers Have a Wind or Rain Limit?

A woman in black windbreaker jacket standing.

Every piece of clothing, whether it is a jacket, an overcoat, or a windbreaker has its limit. The amount of damage any item can take depends on the toughness or durability of the material or fabric it is made from. Your windbreaker is designed to protect you from specific environmental conditions and elements.

The lightweight design is preferable because it allows the windbreaker to breathe. Imagine running a marathon with a windbreaker on that is made from polyester, and the temperature is 65 degrees. This temperature is cool enough for a light single-layer windbreaker, but not suitable for a heavy-duty polyester windbreaker.

However, since everyone has different levels of metabolic functioning,  it is important to know when hot is too hot and warm is too warm. In freezing, cold, and snowy weather, I would not want to be caught wearing a windbreaker. It may offer some minor protection from ice, hail, sleet, and snow, but it would not keep you warm and cozy.