Your parents might have told you this when you were a kid, and, well, they were right: Layer up during the winter and you’ll always be able to achieve the perfect temperature, no matter what’s happening with the weather.
From winter hikes, to hitting the slopes, to simply strolling around town, the logic holds true—a few solid layers means you’ll stay insulated against cold weather, or have the ability to peel off a layer or two so you don’t overheat during strenuous activity.
In some climates, a lightweight vest might be all the winterizing your wardrobe requires, while in colder environments, a vest can be your go-to for transitional dressing when spring is upon you but it’s still a little chilly.
There are different types of winter vests for men to fit different purposes in their life, from wool vests to hiking vests.
A down vest will be your best friend for cold weather hikes or truly freezing temperatures. A fleece vest is a closet essential for layering under other gear on the coldest days, but the versatile style might also be all you need to throw on over a long sleeve T-shirt when grabbing drinks with the guys from late fall to early spring.
Try a lightweight performance style with stretch if you’re the type of guy who needs to get in his morning outdoor run even when it’s frigid out, or opt for a classic wool version if you’re hanging out around town, or going out for a date.
All of the winter vests on our list, whether worn for sports or pleasure, are extremely easy to style with the clothes you already own. Try them with a plain or flannel button-down shirt and jeans or corduroys to keep your look casual, or with slacks and a dress shirt for the office. For a hike, wear a men's outdoor vest over a long-sleeve, sweat-wicking tee, plus some shorts over tights. Then, add a jacket, hat, and gloves, taking off any layers you don’t need along the way.
Just like your mom said, layering right really does allow you to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Check out the 15 best winter vests you’ll turn to for years to come.
Perfect for looking stylish in this city, this vest from Arc’teryx is classic and fashionable, but also puts in work. It’s filled with responsibly-sourced European grey-goose down to keep you warm on cold days and has a water-repellent finish.
From The North Face’s “Heritage” collection, this recycled down winter vest has old-school charm that never goes out of style. Made of a recycled ripstop fabric, it features a drawstring for a snug fit, and a snap placket to cover the front zipper, keeping cold air at bay.
The key to finding the best fleece vest for men is to consider the conditions you’ll be facing this winter and spring. If rain or snow is likely in the forecast, consider a winter vest with a water-repellent outer, like this one from Patagonia, and a warm fleece inner lining. That way, you get all the benefits of a soft fleece layer while keeping dry on outdoor adventures.
Try a men’s outdoor vest from Carhartt to see what all the fuss is about. Legions of duck-vest devotees aren’t wrong when they say it’s one of the hardiest items you’ll ever own. Known to last for decades, the rugged warm style is perfect for heavy-duty winter yard work.
An attractive quilting pattern means this hiking vest can double as an outer layer to wear on nights out when it’s still cold, but not enough for a full-on jacket. The streamlined design is minimal enough to pair with your loudest flannel.
This rugged design takes its inspiration from traditional, hardy workwear. It’s waxed to ward off snow and rain, and insulated to add a layer of warmth to your outdoor fit. Large outer pockets hold all your gear.
One of the best fleece vests out there, this version from Lululemon is nothing like the workout vests you’re used to. It features a slim fleece fabric insulation for warmth, coupled with two-way stretch so your outdoor runs aren’t weighed down with any extra bulk. Plus, the fabric is specially treated to stop the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
Consider this the best fleece-vest for all your day-to-day activities in colder months. A sleek design means this easily layers over your button-downs and under your winter jackets on the coldest days. Let it take you from the office to the gym to the bar. That’s true versatility.
Consider this the ideal throw-on-at-the-office vest. It’s ultra-lightweight (because who wants to look like a marshmallow at work) and super-stretchy so you stay comfortable. An ideal layer come spring when mornings are still chilly.
As far as outerwear goes, it doesn’t get much more iconic than Pendleton’s brightly-patterned wool wardrobe staples. An ode to Westernwear, this winter vest will spice up any jeans and sweatshirt combo. Plus, made of 100 percent virgin wool in American mills, just as Pendleton always has been, it’s built to last.
Consider this the gold standard of hiking vests for men. It’s slim enough to fit under other layers when you need all the warm you can get, but also provides just the right amount of protection in that pesky in-between time when it’s starting to heat up, but sometimes deceivingly cold out, sometimes all in the span of a day. It’s windproof, moisture-shedding, and insulated, because getting out in nature is a must year-round.
So, you’re more of a gym guy than a winter sports guy, and the only performance you need from a vest is to keep you warm and looking stylish on your way from the gym to your car—this is the men’s outdoor vest for you. It hearkens back to the era of early twentieth century fighter pilots with its rugged look, and its pockets, interior and exterior, make it practical, too, so you can stow your phone, car keys, and ear buds.
Take it back to the basics with the best fleece vest for that morning sanity-saving hike, a midday kayak break, or evening drinks by the fireside. It’s made of a knit fabric with a micro-fleece interior in a classic not-too-tight and not-too-baggy silhouette. Ideal for gifting to all the men in your life.
A fantastic budget buy, snap up a couple of these fleece vests if you’re low on layers. It’s ideal for wearing over a sweat-wicking long-sleeve tee on long walks outdoors. A stand-up collar keeps your neck from being exposed to cool temps.
Mountain man, but make it chic. Heavy-duty materials make this vest a solid investment to hold up for all the in-between seasons in years to come. It’s fashionable enough for cool weather date nights, too.