Used to be, there were only three kinds of people who would ever be caught dead in a men’s fleece jacket: crunchy climber types with a dozen REI stickers plastered on their Nalgenes; Bay Area startup wonks who love the feel of their Allbirds against the pedals of their Teslas; and finance bros whose personal style never outgrew their frat house days. All of that changed a few years ago, when swiftly and suddenly—perhaps prompted by an intrinsic fear that the world was ending—the entire fashion world started dressing like they were halfway through a weeklong canoe trip in Maine. Hiking sneakers trekked their way onto red carpets, technical puffers posted up front row at Paris Fashion Week, and best of all, cozy fleece zip-ups became acceptable non-dad attire.
The Best Fleece Jackets, At a Glance
That’s great news for you, because bundling up in a fuzzy, furry fleece is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself in the depths of a long winter. They are impenetrably warm, impossibly comfy, and bring more texture to a single fit than all the cords in your closet combined. And with seemingly every outdoors outfitter, designer label, and underground streetwear brand on the planet getting into the men’s fleece jacket game, you’ve got more shaggy options at your fingertips than ever before. Here are 19 of the fleeces that matter most.
The Best Fleece Jacket, Period
Patagonia invented fleece as we know it. The mountaineering OGs were the first to bring synthetic pile into outdoors wear in the ‘70s, the first to fix its problematic pilling by developing its signature Synchilla fabric in the ‘80s, and they dropped the first fleece jacket ever to reach icon status later that decade. The Retro-X is the Air Jordan 3 of fluffy zip-ups: instantly recognizable, eternally in style, still up to snuff performance-wise decades after its release. The shaggy sherpa exterior is water-repellent and quick-drying, the mesh lining is wind-resistant and controls odors, and both are built from 50% recycled materials. It’s got the requisite zip hand pockets and chest pocket for your ear buds and granola bar. If you’re a first time fleecer, this is the only place to start.
The Best Fleece Jacket for Layering
If fleece has one serious drawback, it’s that it can be tough to layer. Not impossible, but chunky and sticky don’t always make for the best in-between-anything situation. Enter this Arc’teryx Kyanite AR jacket, made of a warm, lightweight, stretchy(!) Polar Tec fabric that’s light on the static electricity and heavy on functionality. In other words, a fleece that’s actually designed to layer.
The Modern Classic Fleece Jacket
NYC-based designer Sandy Liang is a big reason why we’re even talking about fleece in a fashion context. Back in 2018, her signature fuzzy jackets—ostensibly designed for women—became a crossover hit among menswear aficionados thanks to their oversized fits, offbeat details like a neon lining and leopard print trim, and “extremely pettable” outers. Liang drops a handful of new (and equally great) silhouettes every season, but the OG still hits just as hard as it ever did.
The Bang-For-Your-Buck Fleece Jacket
Are Fancy Fleeces™ worth the price tag? Most of the time. But if you don’t feel like finding out, just head to Uniqlo. The retailer’s windproof outer fleece jacket does at least 80% of what the rest of these can do for, like, 40% of the price. As far details go, the polyester fleece is soft, fluffy, and fully windproof, the cut is roomy enough to fit over your favorite whatever, and it comes in four subdued colors that’ll pair well with just about everything else in your closet—and at this price, you can afford to build a whole rotation.
The Best Fleece Jacket for the Dead of Winter
If you’re an avid reader of GQ, you’ll have seen this twofer jacket before. It was our pick for the best eco-friendly puffer jacket, but could have easily Meryl Streep’d the thing and taken home several awards. Puffed and fluffed? It doesn’t get any cozier. If you’re looking for a classic fleece jacket that can also stand up to the bone-chilling-iest days of winter, this is the one. Pair it with some baggy cords and rugged winter boots, and you’ll stay toasty and stylish no matter the wind chill.
The True-Blue Grail Fleece Jacket
Whatever madman is running Kapital’s fleece program has turned the entire operation up to 11 in recent years, churning out some of the most mind-bending, face-melting, bank-draining pieces we’ve seen. And somehow, they keep raising the stakes—this one’s fully reversible, comes in a blue so good it’ll make you reconsider other blues entirely, and has a cool sashiko pattern because, well, why wouldn’t it?
The Heirloom-Grade Fleece Jacket
As with any fabric, there’s a spectrum when it comes to fleece. But if longevity is you’re thing—like, pass down to your kids, cordovan loafer-adjacent longevity—this vintage-inspired joint from French heritage specialists Arpenteur is a Tier 1 option. The dense, heavy fleece is as good as it gets, the wool content within the fabric will hold up after years of wear, the minimal design won’t ever look bad, and that snap-front won’t get all finicky with age like a zipper might. Try it with some faded jeans and Birkenstocks, chinos and polished boots, or even over a sweatsuit and fuzzy shoes for some welcome cabin vibes. Or all of them, at different points—trust us, you’ll have the time.