Outstanding jacket for mountain running
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
- Fit: True to size
- Size Bought: Small
I bought this jacket in November, and I have used it extensively to run in the Colorado Rockies through the winter. This jacket has performed amazingly well so far, especially in terms of breathability and windproofing.
I needed a robust shell to protect me against the elements when I run above treeline in the winter. The Optimizer breathes really well, I've never had an issue with feeling sweaty underneath it, even when running sustained uphills. But mostly, wind does NOT go through this jacket!!! I was once on the Niwot Ridge at 12k on a super windy day, I could barely stand up (see photo), but my core didn't even feel the wind thanks to the jacket. So that definitely made it for me.
I have never been under heavy rain with it, so I can't speak about the waterproofing, but I have been in snowy weather and didn't feel like any water was getting in.
Now for some details. I like the 'burnt orange' color, it is not too flashy and allows you to be seen from far away in the mountains. The material seems very strong; I once slipped on ice and crashed my arms on some rocks and it barely scratched the fabric. I am a very small build (5'7, 130), so even the 'small' size is a little too wide, but that's good for exercising in the cold because it lets you stack up some layers underneath. There are three pockets; I would prefer the side pockets to be lower, but I understand the jacket can be worn with a harness so that's why the pockets are so high. Also, the inside of the pockets are made of mesh, so that you can leave the pockets open for extra ventilation... I am a bit worried the mesh might wear out after a while, but so far I have had no problem with it. Finally, the hood holds really well, even in the windiest conditions.
So overall, if you need a solid shell for exercising in cold and windy conditions, I would very much recommend the OR Optimizer jacket!
Thanks for the fantastic review and insight on sizing. Glad the jacket has worked well for you!