Where fleeces were once the exclusive remit of easygoing dads and crunchy climber types with pro tips on sleeping in a Subaru’s trunk, the best men’s fleece jackets are now closet staples for everyone. A lot of that comes down to how the outdoor-inspired gorpcore movement—perhaps prompted by a fear that the world was ending—pushed the fashion world to start dressing like they were midway 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 soft fleece zip-ups became acceptable attire.
The Best Fleece Jackets, At a Glance
We’re infinitely grateful to all the Alex Honnold-types who turned us onto the fleece, because bundling up in a fuzzy, furry pullover is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself in the depths of a surprisingly brisk fall. A fleece is impenetrably warm (and a lot more cost-effective than shearling), impossibly comfy, and brings as much texture to a single fit as all the cords in your closet combined. And since the best men’s fleece jackets became hot commodities, designer label and underground menswear brands have joined the O.G. outdoor outfitters in riffing on the men’s fleece jacket.
Since you’ve got more shaggy options at your fingertips than ever before, we figured we’d pull 19 of the best men’s fleece jackets on the market. Stay cozy.
The Best Fleece Jacket, Period
Patagonia invented the 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 the first to icon status when it dropped this, the Retro-X fleece, later that decade. The Retro-X is the Air Jordan 3 of fluffy zip-ups: instantly recognizable and eternally in style. The shaggy sherpa exterior, built from 50% recycled materials, is water-repellent and quick-drying, with a mesh lining that’s wind-resistant and controls odors. You’ve got hand pockets and a chest pocket for your granola bar. Every fleece on this list owes a debt of gratitude to the Retro-X, and you’ll know why when you pull it on for the first (or the 51st) time.
The Best Fleece Jacket for Layering
If fleece has one serious drawback, it’s that it can be tough to layer. Not impossible! But it’s fluffy, and has all the snaggy, grabby abilities of the soft side of the Velcro, making it hard to enjoy fleece as a mid-layer. So Arc’teryx did that thing where it innovated…again…on techy outerwear with Kyanite AR jacket, made of a warm, lightweight, stretchy PolarTec Pro fabric that’s light on the static electricity and heavy on keeping you toasty. In other words, a fleece that’s actually designed to layer.
The Modern Classic Fleece Jacket
High-pile outerwear like the Prentis Jacket by Carhartt WIP is for when you want to lean into fleece’s fuzzball energy. Cut to a loose, boxy fit, the full-zip jacket has all the fixings: midweight polyester pile, funnel neck to trap the warmth, and ample zippered pocket space. But it turns the classic silhouette on its head with an exploded jacquard-type print. The Prentis is a shortcut to putting some funk in your fits without doing a whole lot of work, especially if you treat it like outerwear and layer over a long-sleeve tee or a hoodie.
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
Most two-for-one deals are suspect at best, but Japanese-born Beams has come through with a fleece that’s twice as nice. One side is a thick sherpa-fleece jacket with wintry-themed pile. The other is a silky, simple ripstop nylon. Either side should keep you equally toasty, but now you can save some room in the coat closet or flip the script if the Nordic print feels a little passé in February. As for styling, the loose fit allows plenty of space to layer in your finest crew necks or a full zip hoodie.
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.