best in class

The 13 Best Raincoats for Women

Photo: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Alongside a windproof umbrella and your favorite pair of rain boots, a great raincoat will help you brave the elements and look good doing it. It’s an essential item to own, whether you’re encountering the occasional drizzly day or jumping over puddles for half of the year. Below, find the best women’s raincoats for every occasion and budget, from stylish minimalist coats to utilitarian ponchos.

Best overall | Best A-line | Best less-expensive | Best less-expensive A-line | Best soft shell | Best hard shell | Best poncho | Best less-expensive poncho | Best anorak | Best smock | Best luxury

What we’re looking for

Water resistance: In order to be 100 percent waterproof, a raincoat must be constructed from an impenetrable material like vinyl, plastic, or rubber. This style of raincoat is perfectly appropriate for city commutes, but not so much hiking or other athletic activities. For those, we looked for lightweight and packable jackets treated with a durable water-resistant (DWR) coating. Some of our favorites are also made from technical fabrics like Gore Tex. A water-resistant jacket should keep you dry in all but the most extreme cases, and it will also pack down and breathe much better than a traditional rubber coat. For extra protection against the elements, we also favored raincoats featuring reinforced seams, elasticized or velcro wrist cuffs, and covered zippers.

Comfort: Because your raincoat should keep you comfortable as well as dry, we looked for options with lots of (preferably zippered) pockets, underarm ventilation, and adjustable hoods.

Weight and length: We sought out a range of coats, jackets, anoraks and ponchos in varying lengths and weights, from classy trench coats to three-layer Gore Tex hard shells with stormproof hoods. The raincoat you choose will depend on its intended use: A mid-length, mid-weight jacket is ideal for dashing between subway stations, but when hiking, you probably just want something lightweight that protects your core.

Best overall raincoat

Waterproof shell, welded seams | Two pockets, underarm ventilation, drawstring hood | Mid-length, mid-weight 

The Stutterheim Stockholm is a worthy investment piece for anyone regularly commuting in a rainy climate. It’s constructed from cotton that has been coated in a layer of synthetic rubber; when buttoned up, it’ll keep your clothes completely dry. This pleasingly minimalist coat becomes part of your outfit, yet due to its sleek lines and muted colorways, never distracts from the rest of it. “The Scandinavian design will make you feel stylish, even in an unglamorous downpour,” travel blogger and photographer Renee Hahnel assures us. The rubber coating is easy to wipe down, and writer and performer Jess Latowicki says that even the dangerously bone-white colorway will retain its sheen after multiple seasons. Go a couple sizes down for a closer fit — the relative stiffness of the rubber doesn’t make for a flattering baggy look.

Best A-line raincoat

Waterproof shell, welded seams | Two pockets, underarm ventilation, drawstring hood | Mid-length, mid-weight 

Speaking of baggier looks, we also love Stutterheim’s Moseback raincoat, which is similarly waterproof and durable to the Stockholm above, but with a less streamlined silhouette. Strategist writer Dominique Pariso authentically purchased hers on a trip to Sweden, where a store attendant charmingly described it as flattering for “women of shape.” Pariso would tend to agree: “The slight A-line flare leaves some much-appreciated wiggle room around my hips and lets me comfortably button the coat all the way down.”

Best less-expensive raincoat

$110

Waterproof shell, welded seams | Two pockets, underarm ventilation, drawstring hood | Short length, mid-weight 

Cheaper than Stutterheim, Danish brand Rains has also become ubiquitous on water-slicked city streets in recent years, and for good reason. Some subtle design differences to the Stockholm include a shorter length, hidden snap buttons, and colored drawstrings. Rains makes its jacket from completely synthetic materials, whereas Stutterheims are constructed from waterproofed cotton. This makes the Rains coat a little lighter and drapier, though less durable.