A great top layer for the springtime, sport gilets for women will keep your core warm without the risk of overheating, says Lucy Miller.

Whether you’re hiking, running or cycling, a gilet is a versatile workout wardrobe staple. And, thankfully, some of our favourite fitness brands are offering this essential outdoor layer to set you up nicely for cold morning runs as well as the warmer days that aren’t quite warm (or dry!) enough to go without a top layer. From lightweight body-warmers, to thicker garments, we’ve tried and tested the most stylish gilets. They’re both functional – in that they’ll keep you warm on your walk to the gym – and minimal, so comfy enough for when you pick up speed on your run. As you’ll discover, gilets aren’t an unnecessary exercise ‘extra’ but a great investment for this time of year, as they leave arms free to sprint or scramble while keeping you warm to the core.

Best sport gilets for women

  1. Lululemon Another Mile Vest (£138; lululemon.co.uk)
  2. Gymshark Sport Gilet (£45; uk.gymshark.com)
  3. Under Armour Storm Session Run Vest (£105; underarmour.co.uk)
  4. MP Women’s Outerwear Lightweight Puffer Gilet (£22; myprotein.com)
  5. Sweaty Betty Accelerate Elite Running Gilet (£150; sweatybetty.com)
  6. Helly Hansen Isjord Don Vest (£160; hellyhansen.com)

Keep reading for our full reviews.

1. Lululemon Another Mile Vest

£138; lululemon.co.uk

This vest is just gorgeous! It was the most flattering gilet I tested, giving an elegant twist to my run.

I also loved the good level of warmth, thanks to the bottom zipped layer that not only kept everything snug but could be removed via dickie zips if I got too hot and just wanted to wear the outside layer. I loved the removable hood, too – a rarity among the vests I tested.

The generous zip-fastened pockets were ideal for keys and storing gloves, and I loved the hidden phone sleeve. It was a great option for running in cold weather – it kept me warm enough without causing me to overheat, and was also handy (and trendy) for taking the kids to school before my run without looking like ‘that running mum’. The peplum shape was ever so flattering on my pear-shaped body, clinching me at the waist and flaring out over my hips.

Safety-wise, you’ll find bright reflective dots around the pockets and at the back of the gilet. And was it waterproof? You bet it was, thanks to the windproof and water-repellent Glyde material – I could literally see the beads of rain sitting (and glistening) on the jacket. The PrimaLoft insulation still felt warm, too, even when wet. There’s no doubt about it, the Another Mile Vest is a super comfy and stylish layer that will see me through until the warm summer days. I don’t want to take it off, and I probably won’t!

Comfort: 5/5

Functionality: 5/5

Style: 5/5

2. Gymshark Sport Gilet

£45; uk.gymshark.com

Available in two colours (our favourite is Currant Pink, pictured), this well-fitting and comfy gilet was the sportiest-looking one I tried, and absolutely ideal for those colder mornings when you need something to hug your torso whilst keeping you toasty warm until you’ve blown away the cobwebs. It was easy to control my temperature, with its full-length zip that sat just below my chin, and the deep yet secure side-pocket kept everything close and in place despite having no zip. The reflective Gymshark logo and lettering were discrete, yet came in handy when running in low light. And it was nice not to be wearing black for a change!

Generally, the gilet felt so comfortable and light to wear that I almost forgot I had it on, and I had no problems wearing another layer underneath on the colder days. I know I’ll get a lot of use out of it on those chilly summer nights, too, when I need ‘something but not too much’. It was also easy to take off mid-run, and light enough to hold or pack away if I got too warm. The spacer fabric didn’t flinch at a bit of light drizzle (or sweat) and the fit meant it didn’t rise up or twist around my body as I exercised.

Overall, I loved the minimalistic feel and comfort of the gilet, and I adored how warm it felt, all without adding any unnecessary bulk.

Comfort: 5/5

Functionality: 4/5

Style: 4/5

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3. Under Armour Storm Session Run Vest

£105; underarmour.co.uk

This exceptionally warm-to-weight gilet was flattering and snug, thanks to the cut that hugged around the waist and sat just above my hips. Despite being slightly cropped, it still felt great on my 5ft 2in frame. The dropped, shaped hem sat neatly on the top of my bottom, making sure my complete core area was warm and toasty. Along with being warm, it was also one of the lightest gilets we tested, yet still packed with an array of features, including a strategic 60g synthetic insulation that sits on your front body for lightweight warmth, and a very roomy back pocket that comfortably fits your phone and other essentials, such as cash and a neck scarf. It also has an inside pocket in the big pocket which is ideal for stashing cash and a door key, and a subtle but welcome collar that sat around the neck (but doesn’t chafe or feel restrictive). With its excellent insulation and design, the material is soft, comfy and rustle-free, and its water repellency proved its weight in gold, too; raindrops simply rolled off the gilet, keeping me dry and warm. The generous reflective panel at the back also kept me well-seen in darker conditions.

It comes in two colours – black or white – but sensibly, I stuck to the black knowing how muddy off-road runs can get and how easy it is to attract jumping dogs mid-run. This is a gilet for the serious runner, and extra washing is something I’d rather avoid, no matter how lovely the white version looks.

Comfort: 5/5

Functionality: 5/5

Style: 4/5

4. MP Women’s Outerwear Lightweight Puffer Gilet

£22; myprotein.com

This was the cheapest gilet on test, but that didn’t stand out or affect its quality. In fact, I loved how warm it was and how this lightweight puffer gilet came with a foldaway bag, meaning I could roll up the gilet mid-hike or workout and either pop it in my bag or hold it. Despite its packable design, the gilet came back out well spread and puffy, even after I’d packed it right down a few times. I liked the generous zippered hand pockets and how warm and dry it felt (thanks to its durable water-repellent finish that didn’t allow the rain to soak through). Made from 100 per cent polyester, the layer was also breathable and flexible, and its sleek silhouette made it perfect for layering.

A steady run felt warm and comfortable, yet a hike and bike ride felt better as it’s a bit bulkier and longer on the body than some of the more technical vests on test. I would certainly choose this gilet on colder days – I warmed up quickly when wearing it, yet didn’t overheat.

Comfort: 4/5

Functionality: 3/5

Style: 3/5

5. Sweaty Betty Accelerate Elite Running Gilet

£150; sweatybetty.com

One of my favourite brands is also the most sustainable on test, being made with recycled polyamide, a fantastic eco-friendly fabric that is soft, sustainable and vegan. Generally, the gilet did a sterling job of keeping me warm, thanks to its insulation at the front and deep shell panelling on the sides that moved with my body as I exercised. And I adored the elegant details, like the gathering at the back which nipped me in at the waist perfectly whilst keeping the jacket in place and preventing any flapping around.

I also liked how the gilet sat nicely on my shoulders and the subtle logo stood out on the right side of the chest. The gilet is neither too long nor short, and sat nicely at the top of my hips.

Combined with the higher-end material, and the feminine design of Sweaty Betty, this gilet is perfect for when the temperature dips on colder days. It fits nicely under a waterproof rain jacket and also works brilliantly under a coat on really chilly days when you aren’t running but are feeling the cold. There’s room for a long-sleeved top or sweater underneath, too, if you need one.

Layer over or layer under? You can wear this gilet however you like and still feel very comfortable and, most importantly, warm.

You’ll feel feminine and sporty in it, and it’s a joy to wear.

Comfort: 4/5

Functionality: 4/5

Style: 4/5

6. Helly Hansen Isjord Don Vest

£160; hellyhansen.com

If snug warmth is what you require, then this Helly Hansen vest has it in abundance. The PrimaLoft Black Eco insulation keeps the body warm, while the water-resistant coating shields from any rain showers. It has also been made with 80 per cent duck down and 20 per cent duck feather, making it the puffiest and thickest on test. The side zipped pockets are especially handy for safely keeping hold of your phone and keys, and I love the storm flap located at the front of the jacket to help block out the wind whilst keeping my face warm.

This is also a certified bluesign product (a certification that ensures that no dangerous chemicals have been used in the production process) with a two-year warranty, making this gilet good value for money and one to hold onto for the long haul.

Comfort: 4/5

Functionality: 5/5

Style: 3/5