The difficulty lies in identifying what style of fleece jacket you want, and we think the only way you can know is to consider all the options. So, in our buying guide, we’re putting it all on the table. From there we’ll go on to show you the best men's fleeces on sale at Amazon, ASOS and John Lewis from trusted brands like The North Face, Patagonia and Columbia.
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Table of Contents
In this section, we’ll be looking at the different styles and features available in a fleece, as well as giving you our recommendations about who or what these particular styles are best suited to. Hopefully, this should make your decision that little bit clearer by the end of it!
The first thing you’ll need to consider is the size or weight of the garment, as fleece jackets usually come in one of three formats. We’ll look at each individually here.
Starting off with the thinnest first, micro fleece jackets are suited to anyone who often partakes in high output excursions or activities like running or climbing. They’re sweat-wicking, which also means they dry faster, and they should keep you warm without the weight.
This variety is generally considered as a good mid-layer on a moderately cold day, should you need to beef up between a base and a shell layer. The downside is that while they’re warm, they’re not as warm as the other options.
As the name suggests, these are the medium-weight option between micro and heavy, and although often grouped, they can vary slightly. More often than not they’re used while hiking, but they have enough to them to keep you warm when you’re resting in between the walk, too.
Mid-weight fleeces are considered the best all-rounder as they provide breathability and flexibility alongside a decent amount of warmth. They can also be used as a mid-layer when it’s frosty, or as a top layer during the warmer months if there’s an evening chill.
Heavyweight fleece jackets are your pick if you require tremendous amounts of warmth, as their whole design is based around retaining heat and keeping you toasty. As you can guess, it’s this style that's often used when trekking in near-arctic conditions.
However, there are a couple of sacrifices to be made with this style. Firstly, flexibility and manoeuvrability will not be there as these are chunky. Secondly, you’re unlikely to be as comfortable wearing another layer over the top, so you’ll want to hope the heavens don’t open as fleece isn’t known for being waterproof.
The downside is that the less zip you have, the more laborious it is to get in and out of the jacket, which might be something worth considering if you’re going to be doing so up various mountains or cliff edges. Disclaimer: we would certainly not recommend taking your fleece jacket off on a cliff edge.
While it might seem like an obvious inclusion when it comes to a garment designed to keep us warm, it’s actually pretty uncommon to find fleece jackets with a hood. This is a bit of a shame, because an additional detail that would keep exposed areas covered seems like it would help.
We believe this is because they’re often seen and used as a versatile layer that can be used in-between seasons, and therefore with different temperatures and excursions.
That said, they’re not impossible to find, and some companies have produced hooded fleeces. If you do want a hood and you're looking to take part in particular endeavours like climbing or mountain biking, make sure it is a snug-fitting one that will still allow for a helmet to be worn on top of it.
Another feature that is not all so common in fleece jackets is pockets. Again, their rarity is down to the reason that they’re normally worn as a layer rather than outerwear. However, if you're after a heavy fleece which usually is worn as an outer layer, you will probably want to look for one with good side pockets.
That doesn’t mean you won’t find them on other fleeces, though, they'll just be placed elsewhere. Keep an eye out for pockets on the sleeve and the chest – while not great for keeping your hands warm, they are pretty handy for storing valuable goods that you don’t want to lose, such as keys, phones and bank cards.
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Polartec Fleece Jacket
A Fleece With Enhanced Insulation Technology
A Favourite of Mountain Rescue Teams
The North Face
The Big Name in the Outdoor Game
Thompson Half-Zip Fleece
The Economical Everyman Option
Delta LT Fleece
A Versatile Offering From the Newcomers to the Big League
Retro Pile Jacket
An Ethically and Environmentally Sound Choice
Klamath Range II Fleece
One of the Most Iconic Micro Fleeces Around
Bentu Fleece Jacket
Works Just as Well on Its Own or as a Mid Layer
Glen Country Padded Quilt Lined Fleece
An Extra Warm Fleece That Does Exactly What It Says on the Tin
Pulse Hybrid Hoodie
A Looser Fit for a More Urban Look
This offering from outdoor powerhouses Berghaus provides enhanced insulation thanks to their Polartec thermal fleece technology. This is something the company has been working on for years, and it allows the fabric to simultaneously trap heat whilst still remaining breathable.
Furthermore, it has interactive zips which allow it to be attached to a waterproof outer shell, ensuring that you should be covered no matter what the weather decides. It also comes with drawstring adjustable hems, and a few pockets to store your valuables. Perfectly balancing function and style, it looks pretty nice too!
It might look like the everyday fleece jacket that hangs on your Grandad's coat rack, but this offering from Keela has a hidden superpower. It's waterproof. Using cutting-edge tech, the lining of the jacket is infused with an extraordinary film that will keep you sog-free and warm.
In fact, this design is so practical it's a known favourite of many mountain rescue teams up and down the country, which goes to show its durability. Alongside all of this, the garment has some handy deep side pockets which are ideal for those wanting to keep their mitts warm.
We couldn't write a fleece article without the almighty The North Face getting a mention. It just wouldn't feel right. Luckily, they have a bunch of excellent options to choose from, and we've opted for the super functional 100 Glacier.
Although it's also available as a half-zip, this is the full-zip version crafted using the company's DryVent technology. This means that the fabric has been treated to make it more water-repellent to help you survive a bit longer if you get caught out in the rain. Another thing we like is the adjustable hems, which help to maintain the warmth inside the jacket.
While we've classified this as a mid fleece, the weight suggests that it sits somewhere in between a mid and a micro, making it a little more lightweight than the other similar options around.
The company use top-quality polyester that is both anti-pill and long-lasting, plus it comes in a wide array of different sizes from small to 6XL, so there should be something to fit everyone. Our favourite part though? It's an absolute bargain!
Arc'Teryx has blown up somewhat over the past couple of years, and the Canadian-based brand have made their way from the wardrobes of explorers to the everyday man. And this principally comes down to the following – they make reliable, sturdy and stylish clothes.
This is one of the most versatile fleece jackets that they have ever whipped up, as it provides warmth with very little weight. It has a high collar to help maintain a toasty temperature, as well as a quick-drying and air-permeable fabric that should see you staying comfortable even if the sun does decide to pop his hat on.
This is certainly the most aesthetically-pleasing fleece we have in our ranking, and perhaps it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to concede that Patagonia are the poster boys for all things fleece. After all, they're the choice of many celebrities from Shia LaBeouf to Prince Harry.
The garment is produced to very high environmental and ethical standards too, with more than half the material coming from recycled plastics and a Fairtrade certification under its belt. If you know anything about the company this won't come as much of a surprise, but for those who don't, they can do no wrong in our eyes.
It feels like this micro fleece has been around since the dawn of time – there's even a rumour that children in the Lake District are born wearing one. We can't confirm whether that's true or not, but what we can say is that it's a great choice if it is accurate.
The jacket is lightweight and breathable, while still having UV protection just in case any of those sneaky sun rays make their way through. On top of that, it has a high collar for extra protection and comes in a plethora of different colourways, so there is bound to be one to fit your wardrobe.
This offering from Paramo is a brilliant mid-layer jacket, probably because it was designed specifically for that reason! The fleece has interactive zips which allow it to seamlessly attach to other Bentu windproof jackets in order to create a supreme weatherproof combination.
That said, its qualities as a stand-alone fleece can't be ignored either, as the garment is a distinct blend of fleece that boasts water-repellent qualities. Aside from the cost, our only qualm is that there is no kind of lining, so expect fleece to get stuck to your underneath layers.
This simple and straightforward heavy fleeced jacket is all about performance. It has a soft and luxurious quilt-lined inner which is encased in 100% polyester outer. The outer is also anti-pill, so you should never have to worry about any dreaded bobbles forming.
Not only is it completely practical, but it's also very affordable at around £20. It isn't the most stylish or adaptable piece of clothing, but if you want something ultra-warm that does exactly what it says on the tin, then Champion have you covered.
This highlight of this jacket is 100% its hybrid qualities, as it manages to deliver more warmth with less weight, and more importantly, less bulk. It also has a looser fit than most other fleeces, which allows it to tread the line between functional and streetwear with ease.
The double-edged sword of that looser fit is that the jacket probably isn't as suitable when taking on the great outdoors, which because of the price, you would expect it to accomplish both.
It's the time of the year to bundle up, layer up, and generally do everything in our power to stay as toasty as possible! If you're wondering what other winter warmers for men you should be adding to your cart, stick around. From waterproof boots to down puffers, find our top picks below.
So, that is how you choose a fleece jacket in the UK! Whether you're looking for something to keep you toasty on your chilly morning jogs or at the top of Scafell Pike (or simply on your sofa), we hope that with our buying guide you've managed to identify what will work for you. Here's to being that little bit cosier this winter.
Author: Lewis Clark
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