Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell jacket


When you want to stay dry while running in the rain pop on Inov-8’s Race Elite Raceshell.

Inov-8 make clothing specifically to suit runners. They listen to what customers say they want and they try to create products to suit.

The Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell HZ jacket came about after runners said they wanted a lightweight jacket that would offer great breathability and waterproofing. They also asked for a jacket that was “rustle-free”.

If you are not sure about the benefits of a rustle-free jacket you should go for a run in one of the many other waterproof running jackets on the market. These jackets rustle and crinkle as you run along.

To start with this noise might seem bearable but after an hour or more of running it can become very annoying. That’s why many runners these days look for softer fabrics that do not make a noise in the wind.

Yet, a rustle free jacket is difficult to create because many waterproof fabrics are necessarily stiffer and noisier – and softer fabrics are not normally highly waterproof.

What Inov-8 has created in the Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell HZ jacket is innovative and impressive.

The jacket weighs 9oz/262g and that’s with a hood and zipped pocket. That is the same for the men and women’s jackets.

The main fabric is 55% Pu/45% Polyester with a 2.5-layer design. It is waterproof to 10,000 HH and 10,000 (hydrostatic head) and with excellent breathability ratings. Extra waterproofing comes from taped seams.

To offer comfort when running the fabric has a four-way stretch and is very soft to touch. You can comfortably wear this jacket on bare skin without it feeling clammy and sticky.

Other features include:

  • Full length YKK Aquaguard front zip with internal storm flap and locking zip heads.
  • Roll-away hood with wired peak and single-hand adjustment
  • YKK Aquaguard chest zip pocket with fully taped seams
  • Lycra bound cuffs with integrated stretch cuff and thumbhole
  • Single hand adjustment hem
  • Multi-angle reflective detailing
  • Packs away into pocket.

Race Elite Raceshell

Running in heavy rain in Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell jacket

The recent bad weather, including heavy rain, wind, more rain and sleet, has been ideal for testing this jacket.

The jacket immediately feels comfortable when you put it on. The soft fabric gives it the feel of a windproof jacket, rather than a fully fledged waterproof.

The athletic-fit is welcome. I do not like a running jacket to be too baggy and blowy in the wind. Be warned, though, that the fit is slim and if in doubt buy a bigger size.

The jacket is also lightweight and the stretch of the material means you feel completely free to run. Many other stiffer waterproof jackets restrict around the shoulders, arms or hood.

On cold days, I wore my hands inside the extra long cuffs with thumb holes. This added protection in the wrist area and between gloves and jacket sleeves.

I confess I was doubtful about the waterproof qualities of such a soft and pliable fabric. I could tell it would be breathable but I wasn’t convinced it would be waterproof.

Out on the wet and rainy trails, the jacket proved to be a superb product. It is perfectly rustle-free (it is like wearing a soft windshell jacket) and offers great freedom of movement. It also keeps the wind off your body and, amazingly, is really waterproof.

After a run in very heavy rain I pulled off the jacket expecting to see leaks on my baselayer but there was very little wet. It was only where I had undone the zip top to take down the hood during the run that I cold see any wet.

I was also expecting to see rain balling up and rolling off the shell but this didn’t happen. I thought the waterproofing would come from a DWR coating but this is not the case. I don’t expect Inov-8 to reveal the secrets of their soft, waterproof fabric but I can tell you it is great.

I have only two minor complaints about the jacket. When the hood is up it’s neat fitting and the wired peak keeps the hood structure so the rain stays off your face. But when I tried to roll up the hood using the basic Velcro loop it was annoyingly heavy at the neck. I ended up leaving the hood loose and dealing with the bit of flapping at the back.

The one zipped pocket is also too big in my opinion. I would prefer a smaller pocket that holds a few small items more neatly and securely. When I put my car key and mobile phone into the pocket they banged around inside the large pocket.

However, since this is a race-focused jacket the size of pocket might be useful for items such as a map.

Aside form this, the Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell HZ jacket is excellent and does what it says it will. It also looks really good and comes in great colourways.

Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell HZ jacket RRPs at £130 but I have seen it cheaper online. See Men’s and women’s.

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