In the dead of winter, puffer jackets are everywhere you look. But finding anything resembling a good puffer jacket, let alone the best puffer jackets can be quite a tricky task, despite the fact that they surround us everywhere we go—slung on the backs of office chairs, draped on barstools, piled high on restaurant banquettes, scurrying across snow-covered streets. The puffy coat is as much a staple of winter as…complaining about said winter. But consider the myriad ways to go wrong with a puffer: too puffed up and you’ll look like you’re wearing George Costanza’s infamous Gore-Tex coat. Too bare-bones and you’ll be wishing you’d sprung for a jacket with more down filling. And even if you get the right fit, most drab winter jackets fail the Kondo test: They inspire literally zero joy. Luckily, this season’s best puffers are all antidotes to the semi-fitted brown or black sleeping bag you probably already have in your closet (speaking of which, your office probably has a coat drive coming up!). They come in unique silhouettes, they’re made with innovative fabrics, and they flaunt some eye-catching colors that will actually make a winter fit instead of sabotaging it. Below are our eight favorites, plus a handful of others worth puffing up your closet with.
The Best Puffer Jacket for City Dwellers
The North Face designs jackets for outdoorsy folks and city dwellers alike, which means you’re just as likely to see one of the brand’s trademark puffy jackets in SoHo as you are in the Catskills. The retro-inspired Nuptse jacket features a boxy silhouette and is made from The North Face’s original shiny ripstop fabric. If that weren’t enough, the puffer also comes with a stowable (and quite stylish) hood for when the wet weather hits.
The Best Retro Puffer Jacket
You know how your dad never once seemed cold, even on the bone-chillingest days? It’s because he was probably wearing a coat like this one, from Crescent Down Works, who have been turning out made-to-order puffy parkas, vests and shirts straight from Seattle since the ’70s. Beneath that throwback corduroy exterior, you’ll find 11 ounces of high-quality 700 fill-power down—more than enough to keep you seeming like a superhero to your kid all winter long.
The Best Puffer Jacket for Animal Lovers
If the idea of plucking feathers from fowl just to keep warm makes your stomach turn, Save The Duck have your cruelty-free alternative. With its nylon shell and synthetic insulation, the Italian label’s signature puffers aren’t lacking in the looks or performance department—the bright, shiny jackets will keep you toasty in temps all the way down to 14 degrees F.
The Best Not-So-Puffy Puffer Jacket
Don’t let that slim, streamlined shell fool you. Veilance’s Monitor coat is packed with all the cutting-edge, cold-busting technology you’d expect from Arc’teryx’s highest-end division. We’re talking a whole lot of trademarks, people: Down Contour™ technology! Down Composite Mapping™! Insulated StormHood™! WaterTight™ external zippers! Waterproof GORE-TEX® Pro exterior! What does all that really mean for you? It means you’re getting an absurdly warm, absurdly advanced coat that won’t restrict your movement or interfere with your minimalist tech ninja aesthetic.
The Best Luxed-Up Puffer Jacket
Moncler makes the Rolls-Royce of puffer coats. From the luxurious and instantly recognizable patch to their signature glossy, puffed-up panels, a Moncler jacket is basically engineered to turn heads. This one, though, is a touch subtler than usual, thanks to its dreamy, matte, garment-dyed finish. It’s still got all the performance and signifiers that make a Moncler a Moncler, but it proves you’ve got enough taste to go beyond the obvious.
The Best Puffer Jacket for Keepin’ It Classy
Who says you can’t teach a heritage brand new tricks? Woolrich, who have been churning out best-in-class woolen goods since the Jackson administration, have mastered the art of the designer collaboration in recent years. Their ongoing partnership with Aimé Leon Dore, in particular, has delivered a surplus of lush grails, like this heavyweight parka crafted from windproof, water-resistant Loro Piana tweed.
The Best Eco-Conscious Puffer Jacket
Back in the ’80s and ’90s, Miuccia Prada’s pioneering designs helped turn practical, techy nylon into something worth lusting over. Now, she’s pulling the same trick for recycled materials, by fashioning Prada’s iconic nylon goods—like this understated puffer—from repurposed ocean plastics.
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Article written by Tyler Watamanuk, Yang-Yi Goh #GQ