- A good winter coat should be stylish and keep you warm in cold weather without weighing you down.
- If you're searching for a winter coat that will keep you warm and dry without any frills, consider picking up The Askov Finlayson Winter Parka.
- If you're looking for men's styles, check out our guide to the best winter coats for men.
- Some of our top picks may be on sale during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, so make sure to bookmark this guide for future savings.
Part of the problem with finding a great winter coat? It's really hard to tell whether a jacket will be warm enough for the dead of winter until you're actually wearing it in the dead of winter. Sure, the coat may seem cozy from the comfort of a dressing room. But is it really going to stand up to subzero temps once you bring it outside?
When shopping for a winter coat, it's essential to keep your lifestyle and location in mind. Are you looking for a heavy-duty parka? Something stylish to keep you warm from the office to the train station? A full-on duffle coat for Arctic temperatures?
Regardless, you won't have to sacrifice style. It's certainly possible to both be warm and look cool at the exact same time. Not every option on this list will appeal to everyone's individual aesthetic, of course, but they will all keep you warm without forgoing fashion. And that's pretty important. We have guidance on the types of insulation and fill power below our picks to help you make a more informed decision.
A note on fit
This guide is specifically focused on coats that were designed with cisgender women in mind. The industry distinguishes between men and women's coats in the details, specifically the fit and style. Coats designed for women tend to be nipped in at the waist, and even the oversized options have slightly shorter hemline and sleeves.
Women's coats also tend to be a little more generously cut in the chest, while men's coats are broader in the shoulders and back. And while zipper placement used to indicate whether a coat was designed for a man or woman, with the rise of more unisex styles, this is no longer a sure bet. If you're looking for coats with longer sleeves or broader shoulders, you may want to shop for winter coats designed for men.
Here are the best women's winter coats:
- Best winter parka: Askov Finlayson Winter Parka
- Best lightweight coat: Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Parka
- Best ankle-length coat: Tna Super Puff Long
- Best down-alternative coat: Everlane ReNew Long Puffer
- Best coat under $150: Orolay Thickened Down Jacket
- Best wool coat: Everlane Italian ReWool Overcoat
Updated by Maria Del Russo on 11/12/2020: Updated prices and links. Added sizing information.
After careful editorial consideration (and debate), our editorial team has decided to discontinue our recommendations for fur products. While some of these brands in this guide still carry fur, we chose to solely test fur-free products. We'll continue to test more fur- and down-free parkas throughout the winter in our ongoing search for the perfect winter coats.
The best winter parka
The Askov Finlayson Winter Parka is expedition-grade, climate-positive, made out of recycled materials, and totally worth the hype.
Pros: Waterproof, carbon positive brand
Cons: One color option
Sizing options: S-XL
When looking for a great winter parka, we're looking for pieces that are more practical than pretty. After all, when the temperatures drop below zero you're going to want a coat that keeps you seriously warm and dry. The Askov Finlayson Winter Parka does that and even more.
Askov Finlayson is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a city known for its cold climate, so you already know that this jacket is going to be the real deal. To make the coat, Eric Dayton, co-founder of Askov Finlayson, studied the personal outerwear collection of famed Arctic explorer Will Steger. He used these learnings to develop the expedition-grade Winter Parka.
The Winter Parka is water-resistant and rated as comfortable all the way to 20-degrees below. It's made from 3M's proprietary Thinsulate material (a 100% recycled featherless insulation), a 100% recycled polyester shell, and an ultra-soft 100% bluesign certified micro ripstop taffeta lining. It's got a scuba-fit hood to protect you from the elements, an insulated interior collar, and adjustable exterior cuffs.
There are plenty of pockets, both internal and external, to keep your valuables within arm's reach. The Afield Pocket is probably one of the most unique additions — it features Present Mode technology, which blocks all cell and WiFi signals to help wearers stay present. One of the best parts is the whole entire jacket is machine-washable.
Insider Reviews senior reporter Mara Leighton has worn the jacket in freezing temperatures in New York and Minnesota and loves that it's warm and substantial without being bulky.
All of this, along with Askov Finlayson's commitment to being carbon positive, will cost you $495. While this is certainly a big expense, it's about half the price of some of the other popular parkas out there like Canada Goose.
Since this is a pricier piece, we appreciate that Askov Finlayson gives shoppers a whole winter to try out the parka. Don't like it? You can return it with no questions asked. After that, there's a limited lifetime warranty.
The best lightweight coat
The Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Parka is small but mighty — it can roll up into a little ball that fits in your pocket while still providing substantial warmth.
Pros: Packable, affordable, great for travel
Cons: Not the warmest on this list, not waterproof
Sizing options: XXS-XXL
Warm coats don't always have to be super heavy. The Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Parka is my favorite option for a lightweight coat that also keeps you warm. When you're not wearing the coat, you can roll it up and put it in the accompanying storage pouch. The fact that it's so packable makes it pretty much a no-brainer for travel.
The Ultra Light Down Parka is surprisingly warm for how thin it looks and how airy it feels. Still, I wouldn't rely on it as my only option for extreme cold. But, because it's not bulky, you can easily throw it under a heavier coat for an added layer of warmth. You could also size up in order to squeeze a few extra layers under this coat.
In terms of the construction, the Ultra Light Down Parka has a down fill and a nylon shell. The exterior is water-repellent, but not fully waterproof. While it's pretty durable for flurries, if you get caught in a serious snowstorm or rain shower you can expect the coat to get wet. I like the hooded option as it feels most practical for cold weather, but Uniqlo offers ones without hoods too.
Because it can be squished down and becomes so small, I find myself wearing it all the time. Whether it's layered under a heavier jacket, over a t-shirt and sweater, or just worn on its own, I wear this coat pretty much every season — except summer, of course.
The best ankle-length coat
The Super Puff Long keeps your legs covered for warmth while also giving you the freedom to move comfortably.
Pros: Stylish, lots of color options, freedom to move
Cons: Not waterproof
Sizing options: 3XS-XL
On really cold days, the more covered you are the better. That's when an ankle-length coat, like the Tna Super Puff, comes in. It's a puffy down jacket that comes in multiple colors and lengths, but we're partial to the long version.
The Super Puff Long is made with 100% responsibly-sourced goose down that's meant to keep you warm to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The nylon exterior is wind-resistant and water-repellent, but not fully waterproof. It boasts a hood and cozy lined pockets that add some extra comfort and style, too. There's also a small interior pocket made to hold your iPhone securely. And while it will surely keep you warm, the coat itself isn't too heavy.
One of the usual pain points with ankle-length coats is that they can make it hard to walk if they're zipped all the way down. The Super Puff Long solves that problem with a smart design — the zipper only goes to your knees. There are also buttons on the front and side of the coat that can be left open, allowing for more mobility.
Insider Reviews senior editor Sally Kaplan says it's the warmest winter coat out there that isn't a true parka. We also love the range of chic colors and finishes.
The best down-alternative coat
The Everlane ReNew Long Puffer is made from recycled materials, but you can still expect the same warmth as a classic down coat.
Pros: Sustainably made, good price, very warm
Cons: Limited color options, exterior pockets don't zip
Sizing options: XXS-XL
If you're not a fan of down, opt for Everlane's ReNew Long Puffer. The entire coat, aside from the zipper and the trim, is made from recycled material — specifically recycled bottles. The only reason the zipper and trim aren't recycled? They currently can't be sourced from these materials — although the brand says it's working on it.
Don't think that the plastic makes this coat stiff, though. It's as puffy, soft, and warm as traditional down. Everlane says the coat is recommended for temperatures between 15 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The ReNew Long Puffer hits about mid-thigh to the knee, depending on your height, so you get a good amount of leg coverage. And while it isn't bulky, this coat has enough weight to it to keep you nice and toasty.
I really appreciate the thoughtful design, too. While the jacket went all the way down to just above my knees, the zipper doesn't zip to the bottom, so you can walk without your legs feeling constrained. The hood has drawstrings so you can keep your head warm on windy, chilly days. There are also two large, convenient pockets lined with cozy fleece that make it easy to store essentials in the jacket — all while keeping your hands nice and warm.
And if you don't love this silhouette, Everlane has a whole collection of outerwear made from recycled plastic bottles.
The best coat under $150
The Orolay Thickened Down Jacket lives up to its internet buzz, providing warmth and style at a budget-friendly price.
Pros: Stylish, affordable, warm
Cons: Not waterproof
Sizing options: XXS-5XL. Fits true to size, and the coat is roomy enough for you to wear a sweater under.
It's likely that you've heard of the Orolay Thickened Down Jacket. Dubbed "the Amazon coat" at the height of its internet fame, this cozy coat is a hit with its fans and a number of fashion experts. And trust me, it lives up to the buzz.
This puffer coat has a "downtown cool" silhouette, with a high-low hemline and oversized front pockets. It's well priced for a 90% duck down jacket that will actually keep you pretty warm. It's not the winter coat you'll want to wear in extreme cold, but it's certainly cozy enough for the walk from the train to your front door.
Insider Reviews editor Maria Del Russo took her Orolay Jacket on a weekend trip during a cold snap and was surprised by how toasty warm it kept her. She appreciated the multiple pockets and the ribbed cuffs, which kept the wind from whipping up her arms.
This coat has been compared to the more expensive options from Canada Goose, which usually are over five times the price of the Orolay Thickened Down Jacket. It's worth mentioning that it is not waterproof, so you'll probably want something else for rainstorms or intense snow.
The best wool coat
Made of recycled Italian wool, Everlane's Italian ReWool Overcoat has a clean finish and a double-face for added warmth with a premium feel.
Pros: Good price for the quality, versatile fit, warm
Cons: Oversized, you may need to size down
Sizing options: 00-16
A great wool coat elevates any outfit and keeps you cozy while doing so, but a well-made one can be pricy. Everlane's Italian ReWool Overcoat has a subtle elegance and a weighty wool construction at a more budget-friendly price point.
Like the rest of the ReNew line, the Italian ReWool Overcoat is made with recycled materials — 62% recycled wool and 38% recycled nylon, according to the company. It has a simple, oversized fit with thoughtful details like a notched collar and double-breasted front. Its rounded silhouette that looks great buttoned up over a dress or unbuttoned with jeans and a tee.
For fall days, it's warm enough worn on its own. When it gets chillier, there's room to layer heavier tops underneath. The inside is also lined, so you don't have to worry about any itching if you're sensitive to wool.
Insider Reviews senior reporter Mara Leighton wears this coat frequently and recommends sizing down unless you have particularly long arms — she noted the sleeves were a bit short.
Things to keep in mind while shopping for women's winter coats
Types of insulation:
Down: Still the most popular fill for winter coats, down is the name for the fluffy layer of under-feathers harvested from ducks and geese. That fluffiness serves a purpose: down has thousands of tiny air pockets that trap and retain heat, keeping the wearer warm. It's also ultra-compressible, lightweight, and breathable.
However, down loses its insulating powers when it becomes wet, and it can take a while to dry out. Plus, lower-quality down can harbor dust and debris, triggering allergies in those who are sensitive to such things.
Down can be harvested using different methods, and some are more ethical than others. Some brands even repurpose old, recycled down in an effort to be sustainable. We have chosen to keep down recommendations in this guide, but have offered great down-free alternatives if that is how you prefer to shop.
Water-resistant down: No down filling is completely water-resistant, but polymer-treated down is definitely better at wicking away moisture. It also tends to be very expensive and still doesn't handle dampness as effectively as synthetic insulation.
Synthetic insulation: Made from a combination of water-resistant compressed fibers, synthetic insulation mimics down in its ability to trap warm air via tiny holes. Synthetics are often heavier than down, and they're not quite as compressible. But on the upside, they dry faster and are often significantly less expensive. Some common synthetic fills include Thinsulate, Polarguard, Thermolite, Dryloft, and Hollofil.
Down/synthetic insulation: These coats mix both materials throughout or are designed so that some areas are down-filled (like the core) and others (the arms, for example) contain synthetic insulation.
A word on fill power:
Down is rated according to fill power, which is represented by the number of cubic inches one ounce of down occupies. To test it, the down is compressed by a weight in a glass cylinder and then allowed to bounce back. The better the quality of down, the higher the fill power, with numbers typically ranging from 300 to 900. Down outerwear typically falls between 600 and 800, with anything higher considered premium.
Check out our other winter gear guides
The best winter boots for women
The best winter coats for men
The best beanies
The best places to buy scarves online
The best thermal gloves
The best places to buy winter hats for men, women, and children
The best mittens you can buy
The best snow pants for men, women, and kids
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]
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