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.
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 22 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 Up
One thing fleece isn’t always great for? Layering under anything but the roomiest of technical shells. This collarless Veilance joint, though, will slide right into all manner of multifaceted fits, thanks to a slimmer layer of wool fleece that’ll still pack in the heat with the best of ’em.
The Modern Classic Fleece Jacket
Rising NYC 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 its oversized fit, offbeat details like a neon lining and leopard print trim, and, as one GQ editor put it, its “extremely pettable” outer. Liang’s dropped a handful of tasty new fleece silhouettes every season since, including this impossibly rad baby blue rendition.
The Bang-For-Your-Buck Fleece Jacket
Can’t quite afford the Patagonia joint above? Head to Uniqlo. This, shall we say, homage to the Retro-X is nearly as good as the real thing, but costs a quarter of the price. The polyester fleece is sumptuous, fluffy, and fully windproof. It’s cut roomy enough to fit over your favorite hoodie, and comes in four subdued colors that’ll pair well with just about everything else in your closet. At this price, you can definitely afford to collect them all.
The Best Fleece Jacket for the Dead of Winter
The North Face’s Nuptse jacket ranks among the handsomest, most iconic puffer jackets on the market. Now, they’ve gone and made the all-time classic even better, by decking the whole thing out in fuzzy fleece. Puffed and fluffed? It doesn’t get any cozier. If you’re looking for a big, bold fleece jacket that can stand up to the bone-chilling-est 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
Just about everything Kapital makes is rare and enticing, but in recent years, the label’s exquisite fleece jackets have arguably been their rarest, most enticing offerings of all. Each season, the Japanese denim masters turn ‘em out in an array of artful prints, like traditional damask and sashiko patterns. But for our money, the wildest and most desirable version is this oversized cow print, which’ll bring a welcome kooky energy to your weekend wardrobe.
The Heirloom-Grade Fleece Jacket
If you’re looking for a fleece jacket to pass on to your kids, this vintage-inspired joint from Japanese outdoors specialists Manastash is the way to go. The high-quality fleece is deep and dense, and it’s laden with abrasion-resistant ripstop panels for extra durability. Try it with some faded jeans and Birkenstocks, chinos and polished boots, or even over a sweatsuit and fuzzy shoes for some cabin vibes.