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Let's face it: Winter is creeping up on us way faster than anticipated. If you're anything like us, you're still holding onto those lightweight jackets and the best fall sweaters from October, dreading the change from sunny, breezy days to dark, extremely cold ones. Well, unless you live in a warm state (lucky you!), you're gonna have to get through the colder months somehow, and there's no better way to prepare than with a warm winter coat.
Don't know where to start on your shopping journey? The editors at Women's Health have taken it upon ourselves to personally test out a variety of different coats from the season's most popular brands to narrow down the 12 best picks to shop this year. To find the warmest winter coats for women, we looked for three things: style, fit, and warmth level. We also evaluated a bunch of other factors when choosing the best winter coats for women like materials, length, insulation, color options, and size options.
In the end, we narrowed it down to four top-notch coats that stood out for tackling super cold weather: the Lululemon Wunder Puff claimed the title of the best all-around winter coat, the Canada Goose Lorette Parka Heritage earned the crown for the best luxury winter coat, the Marmot Gore-Tex Oslo Jacket is the go-to winter coat for urban settings, and the Outdoor Research Coze Down Parka took the lead as the most versatile winter coat.
Keep reading to discover why these, along with the other eight coats, earned our wholehearted stamps of approval. Below see the warmest winter coats for women, tested and reviewed by Women's Health editors.
Wunder Puff Long Jacket
WH lifestyle director Lindsay Geller is a new dog owner, which means she's out early in the morning and late at night to get her pup some exercise. But, since the weather has dropped, she's been on the hunt for a coat she can wear at the chilliest times of the day to keep her warm all walk long. Lucky for her, she got to test this puffer from Lululemon, which she says she's "obsessed" with.
Style: This jacket is super sleek and basically covers your entire outfit with its calf-length design, so it's easy to throw it on over any outfit and call it a day. "I wouldn't wear this coat to a formal winter event like a wedding party, but I would pretty much wear it everywhere else like running errands or on a cold vacation," says Geller. "I wish I'd had this coat when I went to Norway in October—it would have been perfect for that."
Geller chose the black color, which she told me she's happy about as it's super easy to style and it goes with pretty much everything.
Fit: Because this is one of Lululemon's warmest jackets, you would think it would be too hot and too bulky to run in, but Geller said that she was surprised at how easily it moved with her body during a morning run with her pup. "I'm used to long puffers feeling super bulky, but this one doesn't," she says, adding that it's still snug and insulated enough to keep her warm. Geller opted for a size medium, and she notes that it fits "just right."
Warmth level: Geller told me that she's worn this coat on freezing cold winter mornings, and it feels like she's wrapped in an "insanely warm, yet still remarkably lightweight blanket" the entire time. "Safe to say, I'll be living in this coat until spring (at least)," she says.
Cons: "My main con is the zipper can be tricky to maneuver at the bottom, but once you hear it click, it works," says Geller. "But it can get frustrating just trying to get the bottom part of the zipper to work."
Ribbed Velour Gold Rush Puffer
WH editorial assistant Addison Aloian has had this coat on her wishlist for over a year, and now that she has it, she can confidently say it lives up to the hype. And not only is it super stylish and chic, it's also great for the colder months.
Style: "This ribbed puffer isn't just cute and stylish; it's also incredibly practical," says Aloian. She adds that the fabric exterior brings a touch of flair to any outfit, and that it gives her the comforting feel of a giant warm hug.
Fit: Aloian says this jacket has a cropped, oversized fit, but that you don't get lost in it. She opted for a size medium, and she says she chose right. "I have just enough room to layer clothes underneath it if it's an extra chilly day."
Other details: This jacket has a synched bottom, so it locks heat in from the waist-up. As an added bonus, it features a bunch of interior pockets to keep all your things secure.
Warmth level: She recently tested this coat on a 40-degree day in NYC, and said it passed the test. However, the brand notes that it's on the lower side of their warmth scale as it doesn't have insulation, so it's not the warmest coat they offer. This one is definitely more for style, but it keeps you warm if you're in and out of stores or heading out for a short while.
Cons: Aloian didn't have any cons to note about this jacket.
When WH commerce editor Jasmine Gomez was shopping for a winter coat, she wanted something warm but not suffocating, long but not heavy, and stylish but not flashy, and that's exactly what she got with the Nobis Belted Parka.
Style: "This jacket is the perfect balance of style and function," says Gomez. "It's sleek, as if it was just pulled off a fashion show runway, but it also doesn't skimp on warmth." That is, in part, due to the fact that it's made with two zippers. "One runs down below the knee and cuts off right above the breast, and the other starts at the waist and ends above the neck," Gomez tells me. "It feels like you’re wearing a comfy light jacket under a bigger, warmer coat." These zippers, along with the waistband buckles, allow for the coat to be styled in several ways, making it appropriate for everything from work to brunch, she adds.
Fit: This jacket runs a bit small, so Gomez says it's better to go for a larger size. "You can even go up two sizes without it looking too big," she adds. "It really just depends on how chunky your clothes are underneath and how many layers you typically wear in the winter."
Other details: Gomez swears by the subtle treasures tucked into this jacket, such as the concealed zippered inside pocket, the drawstring near the hoodie lending a tailored touch, and the magnet/velcro closures along the coat's skirt, ensuring an extra shield against the elements.
Warmth level: Gomez deems this coat as "super warm" with its down-filled interior. According to the brand, the fabric, which is made from Canadian origin white duck down and their signature breathable membranes, uses the body's own heat to offer the perfect insulating environment against the elements.
Cons: The sizing of this jacket was a bit off, notes Gomez. Typically a medium, she had to size up to a large. She even told me she would probably be even more comfortable in an extra large.
Nuptse Short Jacket
WH editorial assistant Sabrina Talbert usually isn't the biggest fan of cropped jackets, but this one from The North Face made her an official convert.
Style: Talbert, who tested the white color, says you can totes dress this jacket up or down. "Although there are a few fun colors to choose from, I love how much the white really pops."
Fit: Talbert recommends staying true to your normal size when shopping for this relaxed-fit coat. "I opted for a size medium, and I think I picked the right one," she notes. "It is a puffer jacket, so it's slightly bulkier in terms of size, but it's still super lightweight and doesn't weigh you down."
Other Details: Talbert loved that the velcro cuffs around the wrists of this jacket are suuuper easy to adjust. "These cuffs also make styling the coat with anything much easier, because you can make them looser or tighter depending on what you're wearing underneath."
Warmth Level: "I was honestly surprised by how warm this jacket kept me on my morning walks," Talbert says, who gives it a solid 8 out of 10 on a warmth scale (thanks, goose down!). "As someone who literally can't stand the cold, I'll definitely be using this throughout the winter."
Cons: "If it's freezing outside, I don't think this jacket would keep you as warm as a parka would, but that's to be expected with a cropped style like this one," Talbert says. "You'll definitely be cold from the waist-down on chillier days, so just make sure to bundle up."
Another con Talbert noted was that because it's so poofy, it can sometimes feel like it's in the way.
Gore-Tex Oslo Jacket
While NYC doesn't get as much snow as, say, Colorado, us city dwellers still need an amazing coat in the winter, and WH managing editor Laura McLaughlin says the Marmot Oslo Jacket is just that.
"The streets of Gotham create wind tunnels of intense, wintry weather," she says. "Moving from the windy, wet sidewalk to the subway platform is an exercise in climate adjustment—let alone finding a coat that allows you to quickly throw on your backpack or tote straps and reach above your head to hold onto the subway pole." Basically, city winters require agility, strength, and resilience—this coat has it all.
Style: "First of all, this coat is sharp," says McLaughlin. "It has clean lines, a tailored fit, and a subtle and flattering slight A-line, all which add up to a modern, sleek workhorse just perfect for a busy city dweller like me." She tells me she's confident this "classic beauty" will last her for years to come without going out of style.
Fit: This coat fits McLaughlin perfectly, but what she loves most about the fit is the cut of the arms. "It allows me to be nimble—no struggling to fit my backpack on and no straining to reach around that guy who just won’t make room when the train lurches out of the station."
Other details: "The Gore-Tex outer shell is incredible both for weathering a sudden downpour or cleaning anything off your jacket," McLaughlin says. But that's not the only addition this jacket has. "It also features gorgeous lined pockets for all your winter commute needs. After shoving in all my things (tissues, lip balm, hand sanitizer), I still have room for my hands, and they are oh-so warm." She also likes how well the hood sits. "It doesn't tug on my 'do between home and office," she says.
Warmth level: McLaughlin says this coat is extremely warm for even the harshest of winters. However, it's also amazingly lightweight. "I don't overheat on the train even though I feel completely swaddled out in the blustery streets," she says.
Cons: The only con McLaughlin noted was that on warmer winter days, this coat can get a bit hot. But that's how you know it'll keep you super warm during freezing temps.
WH assistant social media editor Isabel McMahon was looking for a lightweight winter coat that had a super relaxed fit, and this option from Arcteryx was a total win in her eyes. She wears it so much, she told me she's already stained it in a few different locations (but DW, it's totes washable!).
Style: "I was initially drawn to this coat because of its cute collar, and I’ll definitely keep wearing it because of its versatility," notes McMahon. "I feel super fashionable in it, and I love the addition of the breast pocket to throw my cards into or some cash if I'm quickly running out." Plus, who doesn't love a good mustard yellow color for the fall/winter season?
Fit: McMahon was also drawn to this jacket because of its relaxed fit. "It's definitely a bit roomy, but it felt true-to-size. I didn't feel like I needed to size down." Its oversized fit is also perfect for days where you need to layer up underneath the coat.
Other Details: She notes that while this jacket is more of a shell-like texture on the outside, the inside is buttery soft. And that's all thanks to its insulation—the brand calls it Coreloft—a synthetic fabric made with 80 percent recycled content. Although the insulation fabric feels super soft, it's also weather-resistant and even retains warmth when damp (yup, you read that right!).
Another pro? This jacket folds super easily, so it's packable for a long trip or a quick weekend getaway.
Warmth Level: "I wore it on some cold errand days in town and even on a chilly morning run—it held up well," McMahon says. To her, it's more of a casual outer layer than a heavy winter puffer. But she notes that she was looking for a coat that could handle winter outdoor activities without sweating under a bulky jacket.
Cons: "My only downside is that I thought this jacket would be a bit thicker. I would recommend this to someone who has a milder winter or is looking for a stackable mid-layer for activities."
Coze Down Parka
WH deputy editor of content strategy Amanda Lucci has a 15-minute walk to the subway every morning where she's usually carrying multiple giant bags. So, she was in need of an all-purpose parka that would keep her feeling cozy without totally weighing her down. "This is everything I could ask for and more," she says.
Style: "I personally would wear this coat to any event from dinner to work," says Lucci, who got the coat in black. "While big puffer coats like these are not necessarily the most fashionable thing in the world, they're versatile enough to go with everything."
Fit: As far as fit goes, the length of this coat was perfect for Lucci. "It definitely helps block out the elements," she notes. "Plus, the oversized hood stays up and on my head even in the wind and rain." Although it's super durable, Lucci notes that it's also unbelievably lightweight for its size. "Even though it’s giving luxury-sleeping-bag structure, I can throw it on as easily as a trench coat and can move around with ease. I am very happy to report that I do not feel even remotely like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, an unfortunate quality of most other long puffer jackets." She deems this coat "the most nimble" winter coat she's ever tried, and that's saying a lot.
Other Details: One aspect of this coat that stood out to Lucci was that it has super soft fabric and thumbholes at the wrists. "Even the pocket lining is soft to the touch," she says. On super cold days, the lined chin guard will also come in handy when you forgot to grab a scarf.
Warmth Level: "This jacket is incredibly warm and cozy," Lucci notes. She says she'll def be wearing it through the entirety of winter, and she's already sported it on a few cold fall days.
Cons: Lucci had no cons to note about this coat. However, this coat is not waterproof, so it may not be the best option for the snow or the rain.
WH copy and research chief Marli Higa is super active, so she was looking for a winter coat that she could wear around town and also during an outdoor workout if need be. In sum, she says that this coat is super light on the body and easy to move around in for a puffer, but it's also heavyweight against the elements. And that's saying a lot from someone who lives in upstate New York (ICYDK, it gets super cold there).
Style: "This coat is billed as a loose puffer, so I was prepared for it to be voluminous and oversized on my small-ish frame," she says. "Not sure how they did it, but it’s both generously cut—you can wear your winter layers underneath—and it's also shaped cozily to the contours of your body so there's no heaviness or hanging." Higa also loves the angled stitching, which she says gives the coat a sporty look (perfect for her!).
Fit: Another thing to love about this jacket? "It hugs you in the gentlest way possible the moment you put it on," Higa says. She opted for a size XS. "From the high collar (which is lined—thank you! No uncomfy nylon against the neck or cheeks) all the way down to the adjustable hem, it feels as if it’s embracing you in a cloud of protective warmth."
Other details: Because gloves are not always top of mind, this jacket has lined pockets (!!), which feel amazing against bare fingers. "The pockets are also roomy, which means you can also easily stick your gloved hands in there if you like," she says.
Warmth level: Higa initially thought this jacket might let cold air in because it's more of a loose puffer, but she was proven wrong. Its adjustable hem locks heat in. "Plus, the sleeves really keep you warm in this coat because they keep warm air inside (some coats skimp on the sleeve insulation, so this is huge!). Promise, your arms will be just as warm as your torso."
Cons: Higa had no cons about this jacket.
Hooded Puffer Jacket
As a style editor, I own a lot of coats, and in order to earn a spot in my not-so-spacious closet, a new addition had to be a winter staple, not just a space occupier. Although it's still fall, I can totes see myself throwing this on those super chilly winter days, especially because it has a huge hood that keeps me extra warm.
Style: One thing about me: You'll never see me wearing super tight clothing—it's just not my style. I always go for something oversized. When I spotted this style on the model, it was exactly what I'd been hunting for all season: something effortlessly roomy and puffy. Although I had to size down a bit, I can confirm that if you're after a cozy, oversized look this winter, this coat is the way to go.
Fit: As I noted, this coat is definitely oversized. I originally opted for a size large to get that super chunky fit I was going for, but, as co-workers jokingly told me, I looked like a marshmallow (this wasn't quite the vibe I was going for). So, I sized down to a medium. While it still has that oversized fit, it's a bit less chunky. I think I could have even went down to a small and been happy.
Unlike many super-insulated coats, this one gives you plenty of room inside, making it perfect for layering with chunky sweaters. That said, it still keeps you very warm.
Other details: I absolutely love the hood on this coat. It covers my entire head (and then some), so I feel super locked-in and protected when I'm heading out in the cold. This style also features an interior drawstring at the hem and an exterior one at the hood, so you can tighten it when you need a bit more insulation on those super cold days.
Warmth level: This jacket is definitely warm. If you're not into those extra-long parkas and prefer a shorter, cropped style that sits at the waist, this is the top choice on the list. As I noted earlier, be mindful that it doesn't have much insulation (it's just made out of polyester), so it may be perfect for boppin' around the city, but it's definitely not as weather-proof as some of the other, more durable options on this list.
Cons: The sizing of this jacket was my biggest issue I encountered during testing. Because it's oversized, it definitely runs big. Instead of opting for a larger size, go with your normal size or size down if you want it to fit a bit more snug. I had to size down to a medium and would have even taken a small if I could.
Lorette Parka Heritage
WH fitness editor Jennifer Nied spends the colder months in Colorado, and while the NYC cold is definitely bone-chilling, the snow-capped mountains of Colorado are on a whole different level. And, as an avid hiker, Nied really got to put her coat to the test. Her overall consensus: The Canada Goose Lorette Parka can withstand super cold temps without slacking on style.
Style: "This coat is really stylish for a warm puffer/parka style jacket," she says. "The color options are awesome, too—there's more than just the black and brown if you’re like me and want a pop of vivid color in the cold months."
Fit: Nied also likes this coat because she doesn't feel like the "Michelin man" in it, but still has ample room in her usual size (she went for a small) for layering underneath. "I think I could have sized down and still been comfortable, too," she notes.
Other details: What really sets this coat apart from others she has tried are the interior shoulder straps, she notes."This little inside feature lets me easily slip my arms out of the sleeves without removing the whole jacket," she says. "It's handy for turning it into a makeshift backpack when I need to cool off on a crowded subway or in a store." With other coats, she usually ends up awkwardly carrying them in a big bundle whenever she's indoors, she says. So this is an upgrade.
Nied also points out some additional features that make this coat stand out: The hood is just the right size—big enough to keep her head warm without causing a hair disaster. It has multiple closures, like buttons and zippers down the front. The sleeves come with a snug, sweater-like fabric at the end that she can pull over her hands to keep them warm, and the sleeves are also long enough to cover her arms comfortably.
Warmth level: "As for warmth, this coat delivers," Nied says. "It keeps me super warm without even zipping it up in near-freezing temps and wind." She says it’s definitely the coat she'll wear when the temps plunge to zero for holiday festivities.
Cons: Nied's only con on this jacket were the main pockets. "They are lined with fleece and so cozy for hands, but they don’t have zippers, so I can’t securely stash a phone or wallet here for easy reach."
Vegan Leather Ultra Mini Puffer
As a Chicago native, WH editorial assistant Olivia Evans knows cold (and windy!!) when she sees it, so when it came to testing a winter coat, she had standards. While she notes that this coat probs isn't the warmest on this entire list, she says there are some special features that make it perfect for chillier nights when you still want to look super cute and a tad bit elevated.
Style: Evans loves the overall look of this slightly shiny faux leather coat. "It's so cute, and it's super rare to find a winter coat that actually elevates your outfit instead of taking away from it." It also has both button up and zip closures, so you can close it in many different ways to match your look.
Fit: "I love the way this coat looks on me—I got a small but it still has a slightly oversized fit," says Evans. "Even though it's a bit shorter than a full-sized winter coat or parka, it's the perfect length for my lifestyle."
Other details: Evans' favorite feature of all is the faux fur-lined pockets. "While the weather hasn’t gotten unbearably cold yet, my hands welcome the warmth of using the cozy pockets," she notes.
Warmth level: Evans says that although it's super stylish, it's actually pretty warm, too. "It's especially great for places where it doesn't get unbearably cold like NYC. If you live somewhere like Chicago, though, you might want something longer and more insulated to help you stay super warm."
Cons: "I really like the look and style of this short coat, but if I had to mark it down for anything it would be because it won't keep you the warmest out of all the options on this list," says Evans. If you live somewhere super cold and want to stay fully protected from the elements, opt for something a bit longer and more weather-resistant.
Suttle Mountain Long Insulated Jacket
"I absolutely adore my new Columbia down jacket," says WH news and features editor Currie Engel. The why behind her A-plus review? It's the perfect jacket for any and all occasions—she can literally wear it every day and never get sick of it, she says.
Style: As mentioned, this jacket is a go-to for any occasion, and Engel is living proof. "Lately, I've been rocking it everywhere—from the gym to dates and even at work," she shares. The beauty of it? It strikes a perfect balance, with no over-the-top designs that lean too casual or too fancy—except maybe the fur-lined hood. This makes it a versatile match for literally anything in your wardrobe.
Fit: Engel opted for a size medium, and she notes that it fits perfectly. "I love the length because it’s not so long that it feels like a dress, but it's long enough to keep my whole body warm," she notes.
Other details: "I’m a huge fan of how big the pockets are," Engel says. "I was able to fit my wallet, phone, keys, and more in there with absolute ease (and no bulges!)." She adds that the fabric, which is made out of polyester, is another unexpected pro, noting that it feels *super* luxurious without the crazy price tag.
Warmth level: "The insulated lining on the inside—it's made of the brand's patented Omni-Heat Reflective lining and 100 percent polyester—actually serves more than just a fun flash of metallic color. It also makes sure I stay super warm even on the chilliest winter days in NYC."
Cons: While there weren't many cons, Engel told me she wishes the fur on the hood could zip off. "Sometimes I don't want the fur accent, so I wish it was removable," she notes.
How we tested the warmest winter coats for women
To begin our testing for the warmest winter coats for women, I made a list of 20-plus brands that sell winter coats. Drawing from WH deputy commerce editor Christian Gollayan's recommendations and leveraging our team's expertise in outdoor apparel, we researched and refined the selection process. After some deliberating, we narrowed down our list of brands to just 12 choices, incorporating feedback from editors who shared insights into some of their fave brands and preferred styles.
After each editor chose their coat and received it, we had a month to test out the different styles. Timed perfectly with the start of cooler weather, editors took their jackets home to experience real-life trials in New York City. Some even traveled to colder climates like Colorado and upstate New York, which gave us some diversity in our testing.
During the evaluation process, we considered factors like style, fit, warmth, pocket depth, zipper count, ease of movement, breathability, hood design, and overall comfort around the arms and armpits. Our team explored a diverse array of jackets, spanning from down parkas to cropped lightweight puffers.
While all editors loved their coats (and some had some cons to note, too), there were a few solid winners for the warmest winter coats based on rigorous testing and long hours chatting in person and via Slack: the Lululemon Wunder Puff, the Canada Goose Lorette Parka Heritage, the Marmot Gore-Tex Oslo Jacket and the Outdoor Research Coze Down Parka.
How to pick the best winter coat
Before buying a winter coat, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, you'll want to check out the weather in your area—does it get crazy cold or more temperate in the winter? Are you living in a big city or a rural area? How active are you? Once you've got a handle on your lifestyle and what you need, you can get into the nitty-gritty of actually shopping for a coat.
Insulation: The key to a warm winter coat? Insulation. But, there are two main types to consider: down and synthetic. Learning a bit about them can guide you in choosing the right coat for your lifestyle.
Down is basically that soft layer of feathers stuffed inside the coat, and it's usually made from duck or goose feathers. It offers excellent warmth, and the key factor is the "fill power," which is how densely the coat is packed with down. Higher fill power generally means the jacket will be warmer. Brands usually specify the fill power in their down coats. For example, the Canada Goose jacket boasts 625 fill power, while the Marmot jacket boasts 700 fill power. So, if you're after something super warm, the Marmot jacket might be a better bet.
Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is typically made of polyester. This kind of insulation is typically bulkier and heavier (like something you'd see in a puffer jacket), but it's better at keeping you warm when it's wet outside because it dries so quickly. Pro tip: Coats that are made with polyester are typically less expensive than those made with down. Two coats on this list that have synthetic insulation are the Arcteryx jacket and the Columbia option (two of the least expensive options on this list!).
The bottom line: If you live in a wet environment and want to spend less money, go with synthetic insulation. If you live in a drier, colder place and are willing to splurge a bit more, opt for a coat that has down insulation.
Length: A rule of thumb for winter coats is that longer jackets are meant for colder temps and shorter jackets are good for days where it's a bit warmer. But, shorter jackets are also a better option if you plan on being active or moving around a lot, as longer coats can be a bit more constricting. The shortest coat on this list is a hip-length style from The North Face and the longest option is the calf-length coat from Lululemon.
Features: When shopping for a winter coat, make sure to look out for those extra bells and whistles that make your coat suitable for winter. Some options on this list, like the Marmot coat, have extra large, fur-lined pockets so you can fit both your belongings and your hands in them without struggling to find warmth.
The Canada Goose option also has some essential features, like shoulder straps so you don't have to sling the coat over your arms and an oversized hood to keep your neck and head warm. Other features to look for in a warm winter jacket are multiple closure options, longer sleeve length, interior pockets for extra storage, and an insulated hood.
Weather resistance: You want to make sure your winter jacket is warm enough to last through many seasons. While the most weather-resistant jackets on this list, which protect against rain, wind, and snow, are going to have a heftier price tag, you can rest assured knowing they'll last you longer, too.
Material is a key factor in weather resistance, especially if you're in an area with harsh conditions and need extra warmth. In such cases, it's a good idea to choose materials like polyester, Gore-tex, or nylon, all of which are known for their ability to provide warmth and withstand severe weather.
What's the difference between a winter jacket and a winter coat?
Winter jackets often offer less insulation and are shorter in length, whereas coats are made to withstand colder, harsher temperatures, and are made out of heavier materials. The Arcteryx jacket on this list falls into the jacket category, whereas the Outdoor Research coat falls more into the coat category.
Why trust us
Lily Wohlner is the Associate E-Commerce Editor at Women’s Health. An expert in recommending the best style and beauty products to add-to-cart, she knows what it takes for a product to receive a solid five stars. Lily has been a writer for four years, and since starting at WH has written about fashion topics such as the best leggings for women, the best winter wedding guest dresses, and the best sweatpants for women. During her writing process, she has also tested hundreds of products and interviewed several experts in the fashion industry. This hands-on experience equips her with a practical understanding of what makes a product worthwhile.
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