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Photo credit: www.inov-8.com

Inov-8 Race Elite Windshell HZ jacket review


Last updated: 16-Aug-18

By Fiona Outdoors

The running footwear and apparel specialists inov-8 have created two windproof outer layers for runners. The names are the same, except one is FZ (full zip) and the other is HZ (half zip) jacket. The items have other differences, too. This review is the Race Elite Windshell HZ. Also see the review of inov-8 Race Elite Windshell FZ.

inov-8 state the Race Elite Windshell HZ is a “super lightweight windproof jacket for athletes who want to race light and fast on cold, windy days”.


  • 100% Nylon 6 Mini-ripstop Pertex Quantum fabric
  • Deep centre front zip that operates two ways
  • Elasticated cuffs and hem
  • Stuff sack
  • Tailored for men or women
  • Weighs 60g/2oz (women’s), 70g/ 2.5oz (men’s)

Photo credit: www.inov-8.com

Pros: What’s good about the inov-8 Race Elite Windshell HZ

The jacket feels super light and is really easy to wear. It acts as an excellent windproof layer despite the feeling that I was hardly wearing anything.

The fit is roomy enough for a couple of thin layers underneath but not too baggy and flappy.

The ripstop nylon Pertex fabric is silky feeling (rather like parachute material) and doesn’t make too much of a rustling noise. (Too many running jackets make a horrible rustling noise in the wind.)

The two-way zip is useful for extra venting. You can create a neat gap in the zip by zipping the lower zip up towards the top zipper. This means you let the air in but without having to deal with the collars of the jacket flapping about.

Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors.

The jacket offers good breathability. I worked hard while running but didn’t end up too sweaty so this means the sweat vapour is getting out of the fabric.

There are some nice reflective details and the jacket stuffs down into a very small size so you could easily run with it in your hand or squeeze it into a pocket in a base layer.

The brand does not state in the description that the jacket has any kind of waterproofing treatment but it does appear to repel light rain. I asked a representative at inov-8 who agreed that the jacket has been a light DWR (Durable Water Repellent) but he added: “For a fully waterproof jacket you’ll need to buy the Stormshell, for example, which has 20,000 HH.” Read about HH ratings here.

The price is attractive as are the colours of the women’s jackets.

A stuff sack is a useful way to carry the jacket when not in use.

Photo credit: www.inov-8.com

Cons: What’s not so good about the inov-8 Race Elite Windshell HZ

It’s a shame that the men’s jacket only comes in black. How about a nice red, blue or green? And while the men’s version has a chest pocket the women’s does not. I have no idea why this might be the case.

The minimalist elastic hems on the torso and arms are basic. I prefer something a little softer and more comfortable around the skin of my wrists.

I didn’t like the feel of the fabric against bare skin although other people might not be bothered by it.

This is a small point – and doesn’t affect the performance of the jacket – but I really wish the names of the two windproof jackets, the Race Elite Windshell HZ and FZ differed more.

A hood would be an asset for some people on a windproof jacket.

Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors.


This is a lovely lightweight jacket that does a great job of keeping out the wind and chill. The fabric is super light and silky. The price is pretty good for what you get.

Design 8.5/10
Features 7/10
Performance 9/10
Value 8/10
Total 8.1/10

Other jackets you may want to consider:

inov-8 Race Elite Windshell FZ
Patagonia Houdini
Brooks LSD running jacket
Odlo Whirl running jacket

About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.

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