The 16 Best Fleece Jackets for Men to Keep You Warm and Comfortable This Winter (2024)

The 16 Best Fleece Jackets for Men to Keep You Warm and Comfortable This Winter (1)

Fleece jackets are one of the few pieces of clothing that you can wear as your main top at social events, underneath a thicker coat while skiing, or even as a cozy pajama shirt in the comfort of your own home. Fleece is soft and versatile, and its functionality can rival even the most technical coats and shirts. With proper care, they can also last for years.

It can be difficult to find the right fleece jacket for you, so we tested 30 from popular brands like The North Face, Kühl, Helly Hansen, L.L.Bean, and more to see which ones excelled in fit, design, performance, durability, and value. During the process, we tested each piece in multiple scenarios, from exercise to errands, to see how they performed (you can find more insight on our testing process below). Whatever your specifications are, a jacket on this list will fit the bill.

Our Top Picks

Jump to Review

Best Overall

The North Face Denali Zip Jacket

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • The block-color design pairs well with almost anything.

What to Consider

  • It can be boxy on slimmer body types.

The Denali Zip Jacket from The North Face is one of the most ubiquitous jackets available today for good reason. We chose it as our best overall because of its lightweight, breathable fabric, while still being extremely warm. Its relaxed fit and flexible fabric allow for a full range of motion, and there’s enough room to wear one or two layers beneath it. We love that it comes in a wide range of colors, from the neutral black to more unique colors like “chlorophyll green digital distortion” and “fawn gray.” The recycled-nylon block overlay is an iconic look for all ages, and it also provides wind protection. The jacket is also flexible, featuring a shock cord and lock on the waist to adjust the bottom’s size.

During testing we determined that the Denali performed the best across a wide range of activities: we wore it on chilly mornings, in the car, and doing errands in 30- to 60-degree weather and it was both cozy and breathable. It grabbed the highest score possible in each of our categories, but it particularly scored well in comfortability. We haven’t seen something look good and function as well across the board as the Denali.

The Details: XS to 3XL | Polyester, nylon | Full-zip

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Best Everyday

L.L.Bean Sweater Fleece Full-Zip Jacket

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • It’s extremely soft.

What to Consider

  • It doesn’t have a head covering.

L.L.Bean’s Sweater Fleece Full-Zip Jacket is the ideal go-to daily sweater fleece because of its simple and practical cut and fuzzy softness. In testing, we wore this three to four times per week to different places and events. Because of its full-zip feature, it’s easy to take this jacket on and off in just a few seconds — which is especially helpful on airplanes, trains, and cars. It has a loose fit, which makes it adaptable to the shirts you may be wearing on any given day. The polyester fleece is free of static and clinging (which pleasantly surprised us because of how soft it is), and it has proper anti-odor capabilities, which helped the Sweater Fleece Full-Zip earn its spot as the best jacket for day-to-day use. We threw this in with our other clothes on a cold-water cycle and the fabric still looks as good as new. At under $100, this is a great jacket to pick up for daily use — you may even want to get it in multiple shades.

The Details: S to 3XL | Polyester | Full-zip

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Most Comfortable

Helly Hansen Men's Panorama Pile Fleece Jacket

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • Wearing it feels like a cozy fleece throw blanket.

What to Consider

  • There are limited colorway options.

The Panorama Pile Fleece from Helly Hansen features plush fleece made from 100 percent recycled polyester and a high neck that’s great for protection against the elements. During testing, we loved that it felt like we were wearing a thick blanket rather than a flimsy shell jacket. In the fall, it works as a solo jacket, and during the colder months, it’s a capable midlayer. With sleeves long enough for outstretched arms, the jacket includes thumb holes that let it act as a pseudo pair of gloves. We noticed that the air flow was minimal during our testing activities. While great for hikes and stationary activities, we wouldn’t wear this on a jog due to potential overheating. Unlike some other fleece jackets, you can wash the Panorama Pile Fleece at the same as other laundry rather than washing it separately. Sometimes lesser quality fleece jackets can get all out of sorts in the washing machine, but this one held up just fine when we washed it in a cold-wash cycle and dried it in a medium-hot cycle.

The Details: S to XXL | Polyester | Full-zip

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Why We Love It

  • The sleeves and body are sewn specifically for a wider range of motion.

What to Consider

  • The fabric pills after a few washes.

The Interceptr features two different types of fleece fabrics: one for breathable movement and one for core warmth, all in one piece. We wore the jacket both indoors and out for several hours to see how it held up with movement. It regulated body temperature well and stored adequate warmth, though we felt air movement in the wind. Kühl designed the Interceptr to cover your body and arms regardless of the activity. Due to the articulated sleeves, our arms and wrists stayed perfectly shielded and the bottom of the jacket didn’t ride up the waist. This jacket is ideal for anyone who is active outside or moves from indoors to outdoors frequently due to its temperature-management capabilities. It’s even useful during freezing weather if paired with a light layer on top. It also offers ample storage, with two chest pockets and two hand-warming side pockets. We also think it looks versatile enough to wear for many different occasions. After a delicate wash with cold water and hang-drying, we found the fabric to become even softer and more comfortable.

The Details: S to 3XL | Acrylic, polyester | Full-zip

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Best Value

Columbia Full-zip Fleece Jacket

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • It works as a functional or fashionable jacket and has plenty of colorways.

What to Consider

  • It’s not particularly breathable.

For a basic, reliable fleece jacket at a smart price, we recommend the Steens Mountain 2.0 Full Zip Fleece Jacket from Columbia. It has soft yet durable fleece material, zippered pockets, and a waist drawcord to customize the fitting. It fits true to size but also has room for one or two base layers underneath. During our tests, we determined that it uses a top-tier fleece fabric after we washed it with our normal sweats, and it came out looking and feeling the same. It’s available in over a dozen different colors and different fit variations like “standard,” “big,” and “tall.” Its two-tone design offers flexibility for different outfits, and we experienced a wide range of motion, though we don’t recommend it for high-intensity workouts due to its lack of breathability. Still, the quality it comes with is unbeatable at its price tag — the most affordable option on this list.

The Details: S to XXL | Polyester | Full-zip

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Best Splurge

Patagonia Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • It has a stylish vintage look and a tall collar.

What to Consider

  • The fleece is more rugged than soft.

Patagonia is known for outfitting frat guys and tech bros alike. The Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket looks like it came right out of the 1980s with shaggy, high-pile fleece; retro colors; and a high-rise collar. The fleece looks like a sheep’s body, feels natural, and during testing it kept us warm on cold New York City days by the water. It’s fairly breathable, while also doing a good job of trapping heat and blocking the wind. We machine-washed it with other clothes and dried it on low, and the fabric felt the same as it did before the cycle. While you may be partially paying for the name brand and its initiatives like Patagonia’s Fair Trade manufacturing, we rated the Classic Retro-X as the Best Splurge because of its unique fabric, stylish appearance, and superior functionality during testing.

The Details: XXS to XXL | Polyester, nylon | Full-zip

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Best Sustainable

Cotopaxi Teca Fleece Full-Zip Jacket

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • This jacket worn indoors, outdoors, and for a wide range of activities.

What to Consider

  • The colors are unique — maybe too unique for some.

If you’re looking for a jacket that is best for the environment, we recommend the Teca Fleece Full-Zip Jacket from Cotopaxi. The shell is made of 100 percent recycled polyester fleece, and the stripes across the chest are made of repurposed polyester. After testing this jacket out, we recommend wearing more than just a T-shirt with it if you’ll be in temperatures less than 50 degrees. The jacket is stylish with a tri-color stripe but also performs well for high-intensity, high-movement workouts. It also scored the highest marks in each of our testing categories. It features two hand pockets on the sides for extra hand warmth. Washed in cold water, this jacket air-dries quickly. Cotopaxi offers a generous lifetime warranty, simple returns and exchanges, and you can even trade in your old gear for store credit, which we’re big fans of because it encourages thoughtful consumerism.

The Details: XS to 3XL | Polyester | Full-zip

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Best High-pile

L.L.Bean Bean's Sherpa Fleece Jacket

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    4.8/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • It’s extremely warm for chilly days.

What to Consider

  • It’s too thick to wear for high-intensity activities.

If you prefer thick, scruffy materials versus the short-and-soft fleece you may be used to, the Bean’s Sherpa Fleece Jacket is for you. The body is made of 100 percent recycled polyester, with nylon and polyester linings. The sleeves have classic ribbed cuffs to limit cold air slipping to the arms. We tested this in multiple settings, both indoors and outdoors, and appreciated the fitted look and versatility in different environments. You can get by with just this jacket and one or two undershirts because the high-pile material holds warmth extremely well. We wore this with a T-shirt and hoodie underneath, and it still looked good. While it’s great for hikes or relaxing, we wouldn’t recommend you go for any runs in this because its thickness could cause overheating. Despite its thick fabric, there was no pilling or shrinking after washing.

The Details: S to 3XL | Polyester, nylon, acrylic, spandex | Full-zip

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Best Lightweight

REI Co-op Trailmade Fleece Jacket

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • Its material is thin while still being warm.

What to Consider

  • The zipper hangs to the side, not straight.

Guys who are always on the go will appreciate the Trailmade Fleece’s lightness and versatility. You can wear this as a standalone jacket for workouts, or combine it with more layers for colder temperatures. When we tried it out, we found that it was ideal for travel because of its packability, and we were able to wear it for days at a time. We don’t recommend wearing more than a basic T-shirt underneath as it could get too crowded. While there are five available colors, we wish there were a few more neutral options like gray or white for more casual use. Washing this jacket from REI is easy —we put it in with the other loads and the fabric felt unaffected and the colors did not bleed into other clothes.

The Details: S to 3XL | Polyester, spandex | Full-zip

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Best for High-intensity Activities

Outdoor Research Vigor Grid Fleece Pullover Hoodie

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    3/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • It’s especially stretchy for fleece material — great for base layers.

What to Consider

  • It’s not the warmest for colder days.

This pullover hoodie from Outdoor Research is similar to a strong performance long sleeve, but with a hood and a few additional features. The grid-pattern fleece has a proprietary treatment that keeps the body cool and dry during sweaty workouts. The hood features a balaclava that’s great for when wind hits your face and thumb holes on the sleeves keep it from rolling up your arms. If you have any accessories like keys or AirPods, the left-chest zip pocket provides handy storage. This fleece also has UPF 30 protection and a lifetime guarantee, which we appreciate, especially for outdoor runs and activities that require more durability against the elements. We also washed and dried it with a normal load and the fabric came out unharmed.

The Details: S to XXL | Polyester, spandex, nylon | Pullover

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Best Pullover

Patagonia Men's Lightweight Fleece Pullover

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    4.5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    4.5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • The recycled polyester fleece wicks moisture and dries quickly.

What to Consider

  • It doesn’t have side pockets.

The Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover has been in Patagonia’s classic collection for years for good reasons. The fleece material is so soft and plush, we wore it around the house like a bathrobe. You won’t overheat in this, but it’s still breathable. Button snap closures up the neck allow for a relaxed or performance look. If you plan on skiing in weather lower than 50 degrees, we recommend this for its versatility. You can wear this around the lodge and under a bigger winter coat. While washing in hot water works well, we do recommend air-drying this to keep the fleece soft. We wish there was more storage, but the chest pocket can still hold smaller items, and at the end of our tests, we determined that we’d definitely purchase this again for more seasons on the slopes.

The Details: XXS to 3XL | Polyester | Pullover with snap buttons

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Best for Hiking

REI Co-op Hyperaxis Fleece Jacket 2.0

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    4/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • It offers superior wind protection.

What to Consider

  • It holds warmth inside, so be cautious on warmer days.

We primarily tested the Hyperaxis 2.0 during outdoor activities and found it to be the most equipped for hiking and climbing. It hangs a little below the waist, so if you prefer a slightly oversized fit, this will be great. The material has four-way stretch and allows for a wide range of movement while also drying quickly and wicking sweat away from the body. The edge, cuffs, and hem have a Lycra spandex binding to ensure a tight fit without the need for a drawcord. If you plan on layering, it features thumb holes on the sleeves to keep the jacket in place. It has pockets on the chest and sides, which provide ample storage for long hours outside. For cleaning, we put it in a regular load and air-dried it, and the fabric came out feeling good as new.

The Details: S to 3XL | Polyester, nylon, spandex | Full-zip

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Most Stylish

KUHL ALPENWURX

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • The heavyweight fleece is great for cold-to-freezing environments.

What to Consider

  • The metal zipper and slider could be hard to grasp in lower temperatures.

The Kühl Alpenwurx adds a touch of luxury and fashion to an otherwise straightforward piece of apparel. The Berber fleece collar looks like a classy, fur-trimmed coat, while providing a soft touch to the neck. We really enjoyed this as other jackets can cause friction on the skin, especially in the cold, dry weather. The sueded fabric patches on the shoulders and elbows offer a unique style, while also giving further protection to areas that are susceptible to wearing down over time. When trying this jacket out, we found that air sometimes got in on colder days, but we never felt too hot indoors. This jacket is especially good for long drives or travel because of the articulated sleeves that remain in place during movement. The manufacturer recommends washing it in cold water and then laying it out flat to dry. A delicate cycle keeps this jacket’s fabric perfectly intact.

The Details: S to XXL | Polyester | Full-zip

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Best Breathable

Arc'teryx Kyanite AR Jacket

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    4/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • It’s simple, elegant, and ultra versatile.

What to Consider

  • There are no inside or chest pockets.

Made with Arc’teryx’s technical Polartec Power Stretch Pro synthetic fleece, the Kyanite Jacket allows for top-tier airflow. The material also has a nylon face that offers strong resistance to abrasion. We found it to be on the thinner side, which made it extremely breathable, but it also stored warmth well. The material allows for motion and flexibility, great for workouts and quick movement. It comes in five colors and its stylish design allows it to be worn out casually.

It fit almost perfectly and wasn’t too short or too long. It also would work for multiple body types. As long as you care for it properly, this jacket would perform well through many wears and washes. The only adjustment we’d make is the addition of a chest or interior pocket for more storage during other activities that may require extra tools.

The Details: XS to XXL | Polyester, nylon, elastane | Full-zip

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Best Sporty

Topo Designs Global Midlayer Hoodie

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • The hood can provide extra warmth and protection.

What to Consider

  • It only comes in four color options.

The Global Midlayer Hoodie strikes the balance between function and fashion. Its grid-pattern fleece is soft enough on the skin as a base layer and strong enough to act as your solo outerwear. It features one zipper chest pocket, two zipper hand pockets, and a tight-fitting scuba hood, which would be great for quicker movements against the wind. We found it long enough to cover everything, but not overly baggy. Elastic on the wrists and waists also prevent too much air getting in. Also, if you have shorter arms, the elastic helps hold the sleeves in place.

We appreciated the zippers, which stayed in place when we wore it. It’s excellent at holding warmth, but we wouldn’t recommend it in temperatures above 60 degrees as it could be too hot. We found the washing process to be extremely easy, throwing it in with other clothes, and normal detergent worked well.

The Details: S to XXL | Polyester, spandex | Full-zip

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Best Hooded

Helly Hansen Men’s Patrol Pile Fleece

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Performance

    4/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Love It

  • This is a great in-between piece when you need more than a thin jacket and less than a full coat.

What to Consider

  • It has a large logo embroidered on the left chest.

For those trekking in extreme weather conditions, the Patrol Pile Fleece Jacket offers all the comprehensive features you need. Part of Helly Hansen’s award-winning “Arctic Patrol” family (gear made for extreme-weather professionals), this jacket is suited for the worst weather. The adjustable hood and cuffs let you choose if you want the standard roomier openings or a tighter air-restricting fit. Thick YKK zippers on the shell and pockets are sturdy, great for extra assurance when you’re carrying valuables or going through uncertain terrain. When we tried this jacket, we felt like the insulation could handle most temperatures, but we’d definitely recommend an additional down jacket if you’ll be in freezing weather. We also loved how easy it was to wash — we didn’t put it through any special treatment (but did air-dry it), and it came out like new. Helly Hansen is also a member of Bluesign, an organization that offers solutions and services to help companies become more sustainable.

The Details: S to XXL | Polyester, polyamide, elastane | Full-zip

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Other Fleece Jackets We Liked

We tested so many jackets that they couldn’t all make the list, and these four still have merit for some travelers despite small inconveniences.

The North Face TKA Glacier 1/4 Zip Pullover: This pullover has soft, comfortable fleece and fits true to size. It doesn’t have pockets, which may be necessary depending on the activity.

Columbia Sweater Weather Fleece Full Zip Jacket: This fleece feels high quality and has a competitive warmth-to-thickness ratio. That said, its breathability can cause wearers to get too warm depending on their activity.

Parks Project Yellowstone Geysers Trail High Pile Fleece: This high-pile fleece offers an ultra-soft touch that maintains well after washing. We found the sizing to be off and a little too bulky.

Patagonia Men’s Better Sweater 1/4 Zip Pullover: The true-to-size, fitted body maintained warmth when we wore it outside. With just one pocket on the chest, we wish it offered more storage.

Our Testing Process

For this piece, the Travel + Leisure team tested 30 different jackets in everyday scenarios like exercise, running errands, and relaxing around the house. We used the same parameters for each jacket and judged them based on fit, design, performance, durability, and value. To test the overall breathability, we tried to blow air through the fleece fabric while holding our hand out on the other side to see how much air went through to our hand. We also washed the jackets to see if the process was convenient and easy and to see if the fleece fabric changed at all after. With fit, design, performance, durability, and value in mind, we selected the fleece jackets that performed the best all around in these categories. We will continue wearing these jackets for an additional six months to see if any of our opinions change over time.

Tips for Buying Fleece Jackets

Consider how you plan to use it

Not all fleece jackets work for every environment, so consider the weight of the fleece. If it’ll be colder, you’ll want a thicker, more durable jacket. If it’ll be warmer, you can stick with a lighter fleece. You also want to think about the activity you’ll be doing most of the time. If you’re going to be out for the whole day, you’ll want to have plenty of storage for keys, snacks, and other objects. If you’re just going out for a short job, you won’t need as many pockets.

Corey Simpson, Communications Manager at Patagonia, recommends using the “80-20 rule” in which you should consider how you’ll use the jacket 80 percent of the time for primary use and 20 percent of the time for occasional activities. Then you should decide on the weight of the fleece (lightweight, midweight, or heavyweight) based on your intended use.

Think about layering when choosing fit

If you plan to wear the jacket on its own, make sure it has enough thickness and durability to keep your body regulated in cooler temperatures. If you’re going to use the fleece as a base or midlayer, get a thinner fleece so you don’t overheat, but make sure you leave enough room to wear clothing underneath. Getting an in-between jacket that can have more or less layers will also help you perform the widest range of activities.

Consider affordability versus functionality (Some fleeces are more technical and specific in their use)

Some fleece jackets we tested were made for specific use cases, and others were built for general purposes. Make sure that your budget and level of functionality match because if not, you’ll just end up paying for features you don’t need, or you may not get enough support.

More technical fleeces may come at a higher price point for performance, Simpson says, so you can expect to pay more if you’re looking for something for a specific activity like skiing in cold weather, but it may not be as versatile for everyday use.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are fleece jackets warm enough for winter?

    It depends on the brand, materials, and activity. Generally speaking, fleece jackets in the winter work best under a down coat or parka. If you’ll be running or exercising, then you can most likely get away with just a fleece jacket, but if you’ll be sitting outside for long periods of time, you’ll want to have some extra layering.

  • How do you care for a fleece jacket?

    You should always check the care label on each garment, but most fleece jackets should be washed in cool-to-warm (stay away from hot) water with a mild detergent and set out to air-dry. If you have specific stains or spots you’re trying to remove, use an enzyme-based stain remover because it will break down stains better than just soap and water. Make sure to wash your jacket after every six to 10 wears to keep it clean, but also to not wear out the fabric from over washing. For fleeces that are susceptible to shedding, use a guppy bag or microfiber filter in the washing machine to prevent microfiber pollution.

    And remember that you’re going to want to keep your gear clean to keep it functioning well. “If you have a bunch of oils or if your fleece is saturated, you're not really getting the performance you need out of it,” Simpson says.

  • Do fleece jackets shrink?

    While it varies by brand and level of quality, fleece typically does not shrink. If exposed to very high temperatures, fleece will shrink, but if you wash it properly with cooler water, it won’t. It’s always best to check the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this story, commerce writer Joe Niehaus sorted through T+L’s in-house testing data, then customer reviews and product descriptions to create an in-depth roundup of the best fleece jackets for men that are available today. He has tried many of the brands listed, including The North Face, Columbia, Patagonia, and Helly Hansen. T+L editors also consulted with Corey Simpson, Communications Manager at Patagonia for feedback on how to identify quality fleece and how to maintain a fleece jacket.

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The 16 Best Fleece Jackets for Men to Keep You Warm and Comfortable This Winter (2024)

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