The 9 best thermal hoodies Leave a comment


Science says that when you enter a cold environment, your body prioritizes blood flow to your vital organs over blood flow to your skin — but luckily, a heat-trapping article of clothing can help keep you feeling comfortable. Unlike a standard hoodie, the best thermal hoodies use certain qualities to redirect your body’s warmth back to your skin. That said, not all of them are created equal, so be sure to consider how much warmth you’re looking for as well as the material and fit.

According to Merriam-Webster, “thermal” just means “of, relating to, or caused by heat.” As a result, it’s a common phrase that might not mean a whole lot — just as there are plenty of brands which don’t use the word at all, but still successfully manufacture warm, heat-trapping clothing. Insulated, heavyweight, fleece-lined — these words all indicate that a product is designed to keep your body heat in, even if the word “thermal” isn’t present. And, as always when shopping for clothing online, it helps to consult the buyer reviews in order to confirm a brand’s claims.

Most extra-warm hoodies are made from cotton, polyester, or a combination of the two. This is because those two fabrics tend to be breathable, durable, and insulating — but they’re also really versatile. For example, fleece and waffle-knit are just two fabric construction techniques that can use either cotton or polyester (or, often, a blend of the two), but their dense constructions and soft textures make them insulating.

Last, consider a hoodie’s fit and size. While the fit is largely a matter of personal preference, know that a higher neckline, tighter sleeve cuffs, and a cinched waistband are more likely to prevent body heat from escaping. And, finally, when choosing your size, take layering into consideration if you plan on wearing the hoodie over a shirt (or a sweater) or under a coat. (The styles below were designed with men in mind, and consequently feature men’s sizing, but they can be worn by anyone.)

1. The fan-favorite fleece-lined hoodie

If Amazon reviewer feedback is especially telling to you, opt for the Gildan fleece zip hoodie, which has an incredible 19,000-plus reviews and a 4.6-star overall rating. Its cotton-polyester construction features a preshrunk fleece lining, pouch pockets, and double-needle stitching at the points that could benefit from some reinforcement. It’s also offered in a huge range of colors (including rarer ones like safety green and pink).

  • Material: 50% cotton, 50% polyester
  • Available colors: Ash, black, Carolina blue, dark heather, Irish green, white, Cardinal red, forest green, maroon, navy, purple, red, safety green, safety orange, graphite heather, light pink, sport gray, dark chocolate, royal, royal blue, gray, light blue
  • Available sizes: Small – 5X-Large

One reviewer wrote: “I love it. It fits great. It’s just as bright as the pictures depicted, which is wonderful because I ride mass transit and work second shift. And the price was right. I’m recommending it to all my friends and family.”

2. The best budget pick

Even though most sizes and colors won’t cost you more than $20, the Hanes full-zip ultimate hoodie keeps you plenty warm for the price. It’s made from heavyweight (mostly cotton) fleece and has a jersey-lined hood that resists the cold. Reviewers also note that it’s “plush,” “classic,” and “comfortable,” and they love that it comes in a wide range of colors, all of which explain the number-one best-selling status.

  • Material: 90% cotton, 10% polyester
  • Available colors: Black, charcoal heather, deep forest, deep red, deep royal, light steel, maroon, oxford gray, white, ash, deep navy, light blue, navy, dark chocolate
  • Available sizes: Small – 3X-Large

One reviewer wrote: “I hate big puffy winter jackets, but I needed a new hoodie to keep me warm this winter. This fit the bill perfectly – it’s thick, soft, feels like it’s good quality, and fits a little loose, which I love. […] If you want a comfy winter hoodie for a good price, I’d definitely recommend this.”

3. The best water-repellant hoodie

Yes, it’s made from heavy-duty cotton and polyester to keep you extra warm in cold weather, but the Carhartt Rain-Defender Paxton is also coated with a water-repellent finish to keep you dry as well. In addition, it has a kangaroo pocket, inner security pocket, and ribbed trims to help it keep its shape even when wet. While the zipper-free version is very popular, note that the brand also offers a similar water-resistant hoodie in full-zip and half-zipper designs.

  • Material: 75% cotton, 25% polyester
  • Available colors: Black, carbon heather, new navy, dark green
  • Available sizes: Small – 4X-Large

One reviewer wrote: “Absolutely love this hoodie. Keeps me dry on my motorcycle in rain, light enough for in between fall temps, and feels like the quality material you would expect.”

4. A lightweight zip-up hoodie

“Thermal” doesn’t necessarily have to equate to “thick” or “constricting,” and this Nike Dri-Fit hoodie proves it. It’s ultra-warm because of its heat-managing polyester fabric. It also has a three-panel high-neck hood, but it’s thinner and more streamlined for layering or an unencumbered workout. Even the invisible side pockets are sleek.

  • Material: 100% polyester
  • Available colors: dark gray, black
  • Available sizes: Small – XX-Large

One reviewer wrote: “I would rate the hoodie as a top-shelf purchase. Extremely well made. The material is lightweight but extremely warm.”

5. A thermal-lined hoodie with 4.7 stars overall

The Dickies thermal hoodie has more than 1,000 reviews and a near-perfect overall rating of 4.7 stars. It’s made from primarily cotton and has a warm, thermal fleece lining inside that one reviewer wrote makes it “the warmest and the most comfortable jacket” they’ve ever owned. In addition to its ribbed cuffs and waistband, split kangaroo pockets, and well-made components, it’s offered in five colors. Overall, it’s a classic, high-quality option that fits a lot of cold-weather needs whether you wear it over a T-shirt or a sweater.

  • Material: 80% cotton, 20% polyester
  • Available colors: Ash gray, black, dark navy, white, dark brown
  • Available sizes: Small – XX-Large

One reviewer wrote: “Best thermal hoodie on the market in my opinion. I layer up in cold weather and I use this as the outer layer. Dickies thermal hoodies are the best out there.”

6. The best hoodie for layering

For those who prefer to layer their way to optimal warmth, a thin, bulk-free hoodie is the way to go. The Nike Therma pullover fits the bill with its lightweight, silky polyester fabric and pull-over design, but it’s still made to keep your body heat in and the cold out. Most importantly, because it has a scuba hood, drawstring, and flat kangaroo pocket (instead of a collar, zipper, and bulky storage), it can be worn both over an undershirt or under a coat.

  • Material: 100% polyester
  • Available colors: Maroon, anthracite, green, navy, black, scarlet, royal, purple, black/white
  • Available sizes: Small – 4X-Large

One reviewer wrote: “Very comfortable great product […] It adjusts with the climate and provides a lot of warmth with no bulk.”

7. The best tall hoodie

If you’re looking for extra tall hoodies, these from Carhartt hoodie has tall options in most sizes and are incredibly well-reviewed — they’ve garnered a 4.7-star overall rating after nearly 2,000 reviews, to be exact. The exterior is made from a plush cotton-blend, while the interior features a polyester thermal lining. The hoodie also features a brass zipper and spandex-reinforced ribbing to lock in heat without being uncomfortable.

  • Material: 53% cotton, 47% polyester
  • Available colors: new navy, black, carbon heather, army green, Carhartt brown, dark brown
  • Available sizes: Small – 4X-Large

One reviewer wrote: “I work outside and I do a lot of work outside around the house. I don’t like it when my clothes ride up. The tall size eliminates that no matter how far I reach and no matter how low I have to bend. If you want a heavy-duty zip-up sweatshirt that will last a long, long time, I highly recommend you try this one.”

8. The one with the most pattern options

You can find thermal hoodies in a relatively expansive selection of solid colors, but this men’s sherpa hoodie from Amazon Basics comes in some great patterns (like plaid and camouflage) as well. In addition, reviewers love the plush sherpa interior, warmth-sealing ribbed cuffs, deep split pockets, and hood. Most importantly, they note that it’s “warm” and “very soft,” especially for the price.

  • Material: 56% cotton, 44% polyester
  • Available colors: black, blue heather, burgundy, camel heather, charcoal buffalo plaid, charcoal heather, dark brown, green camo, gray camo, light gray heather, navy, off-white, olive, red, red buffalo plaid
  • Available sizes: X-Small – XX-Large

One reviewer wrote: “Nice and warm and hoodie part keeps my neck warm even when the hood is down. […] I love the camo, my favorite color!”

9. The most customizable thermal hoodie

Finally, for those who’d appreciate the chance to custom-create their ideal hoodie (for less than $40, at that), the Peak Velocity build-your-own sweatshirt is genius. In addition to choosing your color and size, you also get to pick the zipper length and if you want a hood or not. Since the fabric is made from a waffle-knit polyester that traps in heat, it’s shockingly warm without being too bulky — and the design even features thumb holes and reflective stripping on the back and sleeves.

  • Material: 100% polyester
  • Available colors: stealth green heather, light gray heather, victory blue heather, black heather
  • Available sizes: X-Small – 4X-Large

One reviewer wrote: “Whether you are looking at this for outdoor activities or for couch lounging, this hoodie is perfect for it all. Soft, fits great, not too thick but plenty warm. I purchased one, tried it on, and immediately ordered a second.”



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