The Best Lightweight Hoodie Brands For Men
Perfect for hardcore workouts and laid-back Sundays alike, every man needs a lightweight hoodie in his rotation.
Not so very long ago, a lightweight hoodie was a sporty layer for the training field or the walk home from the gym, but it’s become a menswear must-have in its own right. The lines between sportswear, loungewear and even smart casual dress are getting more blurry by the season, meaning the right hoodie can even work in the office these days (and not just the work-from-home version).
One of the most quietly functional items of clothing you can buy, the best lightweight hoodies are versatile, comfortable and technical. Be smart about your purchase and you could use the same style for workouts, summer evening layers, housebound loungewear and those in-between days in spring and fall.
You can also buy specialist hoodies designed for runners or yogis, plus luxury styles in merino and cashmere, made for TV binges and the most indulgent creature comforts.
What makes a hoodie lightweight?
Unlike the best heavyweight hoodies, which are designed for thickness, warmth and a boxy silhouette, lightweight hoodies act more like a second skin. Thin and soft, they can nevertheless be good insulators. Certain materials, like merino wool, are used as much for their performance properties as their soft handle.
While heavyweight cotton hoodies weigh in around 400gsm (12oz), lightweight styles are usually around 280-350gsm. They feel more like a mid-layer than a top-layer, unless we’re talking about something designed specifically for workouts.
When you’re buying a lightweight hoodie, you’ll find all the same features that you do on heavier designs: a drawstring hood, pockets at the sides or a kangaroo-style, hand-warmer pocket at the front, plus ribbed or knitted cuffs and hems.
Lightweight hoodie fabrics
Decide what you’ll be wearing it for, then seek out these fabrics for the ideal combo of comfort and clever design.
Originally used on sweatshirts and other sportswear for its moisture-wicking properties, loopback cotton (sometimes known as French Terry cloth) is knitted with a loop on the inside of the garment.
This helps to keep it lightweight and breathable, while also trapping in warmth if you need it as an insulating layer.
Something of a superhero fabric, merino wool combines genuine performance properties with a luxuriously soft handle.
That means you’ll find outdoors brands using it for lightweight base layers as well as high-end labels creating beautifully indulgent merino loungewear.
There’s not much we’ll thank the coronavirus pandemic for, but we will give it this: it was during those miserable lockdowns that luxury loungewear cemented its position as a menswear must-have.
The benefits of a cashmere hoodie are obvious: its silk-like softness, lightweight texture and insulating properties make it the perfect fabric to kick back in.
Made for running, training, yoga or hiking, performance-specific hoodies are usually designed to keep you either warm or cool, depending on the workout.
Often made from polyester or a poly-cotton blend, they’ll be breathable or fleeced, moisture-wicking and may be weather-treated if designed for the outdoors.
A slightly rogue choice, but hear us out: terry towelling is thick and warm without weighing very much. It’s highly water absorbent, hence its use on towels and bathrobes, plus its double-loop construction makes it tactile and soft against the skin.
A towelling hoodie is, we’d argue, a great choice for beach or pool holidays, or loaf-heavy Sundays.
The best men’s lightweight hoodie brands
Few labels do easy-wearing Italian luxury as well – or as affordably – as Luca Faloni. Priding itself on using prestigious Italian mills and local artisans, it brings together modern design and time-honoured craftsmanship.
The label’s hoodies are made from pure two-ply cashmere and silk-cashmere blends. If that sounds indulgent, it’s because it is. These are hoodies that blur the line between loungewear and business-casual layers, with comfortable, fitted construction to make the most of those incredible fabrics next to your skin.
Ethically sourced materials, reduced water usage and transparent supply and labour chains are some of the measures that Everlane uses to lower fashion’s environmental footprint. The brand produces sustainable clothing, minimally designed so it lasts beyond the churn of seasonal fast fashion.
The hoodies combine recycled fabrics and clean athletic styling. You’ll find track-specific styles with stretchy materials alongside classic French terry construction.
What started as a yoga brand has grown into one tailored for all kinds of active lifestyles, and its lightweight hoodies come with thoughtful design features such as the inclusion of Lycra for extra stretch or underarm gussets that give you more movement in the torso while still feeling soft against the skin.
The label also makes a number of hoodies with its own ‘anti-stink’ properties – namely, coatings that prevent the growth of odour-causing bacteria on the fabric.
The label’s minimalist, urban designs also mean you’ll look good in and out of the gym.
From classic loopback designs to forward-thinking performance fabrics, Nike boasts a massive collection of lightweight hoodies. Some are all-purpose athletic gear: gym-bag essentials you’ll also wear for lazy weekends. Others are designed with specific sports or benefits in mind.
From futuristic fleece designs that keep you warm without adding bulk to lightweight mid-layers that are ideal for hiking, there are plenty of techwear options, as well as sweat-wicking styles designed for yoga or running.
The label that invented the sweatshirt has heritage to spare, creating some of the most iconic hoodies known to man. Its best-known styles are the thick-cotton pullovers weighing in around 400gsm that work as statement streetwear as well as anything else. Champion also has a delicate touch, though.
Its lightweight styles are around 280gsm and work as a good layer to pull out of your gym bag at the end of a workout. It also does running-specific hoodies and other performance styles that are well worth checking out.
Unlike a lot of fast-fashion giants, Japan’s Uniqlo takes a utilitarian approach to its collections. As well as comfortable fits and easy-wearing designs, its menswear essentials often come with an element of technical performance, and that’s certainly the case with its zip-up and pullover hoodies.
Often made from a quick-drying polyester-viscose blend, Uniqlo’s lightweight hoodies have plenty of stretch in them, too. Ideal for outdoor runs and indoor loafing.
For people who take athletic wear as seriously as denimheads take jeans, Reigning Champ is the place to get your sweats. Taking a surgical approach to simplicity, the label develops its own signature fabrics, with each piece designed for long-lasting comfort.
Its hoodies come in different weights, so you can choose exactly what you need. Its lightweight style is breezy and designed for mild climates but it’s constructed with the same obsessive attention to detail as everything else that Reigning Champ produces.
Minimalist LA designer James Perse creates simple laid-back essentials with a luxury touch and high-quality materials. Its hoodies come in a range of options, from cashmere-cotton fleece to supima and recycled cotton.
Also worth checking out is Y/OSEMITE, the label’s luxury sportswear line, which includes ultra-soft hoodies made with extra stretch for time spent in the hills, on the beach or in the gym.
Reiss takes a modern, elevated approach to everything it makes and its selection of lightweight hoodies is no different. It produces hoodies from a range of interesting materials, including neoprene and merino wool with an emphasis on comfort and laid-back urban styling.
For high-end loungewear or a luxury layer for your next long-haul flight, you won’t find many better.
David Gandy Wellwear
With Wellwear, male supermodel David Gandy created his own take on elevated loungewear, and it’s a genuinely innovative approach to laid-back fashion and technical clothing.
Each piece is developed not just for comfort but high-tech performance, with the fabrics coated and lined to offer your body physical benefits as you wear them.
Wellwear’s lightweight hoodies are a good example. One comes lined with a material that absorbs your body heat as you work out and reflects that heat back at you in the form of far infrared rays. The idea is this helps your muscles relax post-workout by supporting blood circulation. How’s that for functional fashion?
Hamilton & Hare
It started out intending to make the best men’s underwear in the world, then Hamilton & Hare expanded its mission to include loungewear and wardrobe basics. With a focus on the most comfortable natural fabrics, it’s a reaction to fast fashion’s reliance on synthetics.
Case in point: its terry cotton hoodies are luxuriously soft, brushed on the inside for an indulgently tactile feel next to the skin.
Green fashion often feels like a contradiction in terms, but not at Pangaia. This innovative label is all about material science, finding alternative ways to make premium clothing with technologies such as bioengineered dyeing processes and novel plant-based fibres that cut waste and carbon emissions.
So its hoodies are feel-good in more ways than one. Made from recycled and organic cotton, they’re also treated with peppermint oil, which helps to keep them fresh for longer – reducing the amount of times it needs to go in the machine.
You’ll also find recycled cashmere hoodies and styles designed with a chemical-free, lab-grown protein.
With eco credentials just as impressive as its outdoor functionality, Patagonia makes clothing that works and clothing that lasts.
Its collection of hoodies spans a range of weights and purposes, from breathable mid-layers to heavyweight insulation.
It’s one of the biggest athletic brands in the world, so of course Adidas has hoodies for every sport and every season.
Its lightweight designs include styles tailored specifically for runners, golfers, yogis and more. Depending on what you’re wearing it for, you’ll find hoodies that are rain- or wind-repellent, plus some with added stretch for increased maneuverability and comfort.
Moisture-wicking fabrics are used pretty much across the board, too.
The Prince of Preppy America, Ralph Lauren’s take on the Ivy League look includes lots of classic sportswear refashioned as casual pieces. Its hoodies are a mix of traditional preppy layers, designer tops practical enough to train in and colourful streetwear-style pullovers.
The collection is vast, spanning Ralph’s multiple sub-brands, but across the board you’ll find well-sourced cotton and cotton blends. Waffle knit construction makes some options lighter than the label’s thicker fleeces. And of course, the famous pony logo is emblazoned across the majority of RL hoodies.
Johnstons Of Elgin
A historic label with its eye on the future, Johnstons of Elgin make quite remarkable knitwear from seamless 3D-knitted pieces to jacquard patterns made from incredible merinos and cashmere wool. The Scottish brand also does hoodies, and exceptional hoodies at that.
Made from featherweight cashmere that’s silky to the touch, this is one of the garments made on state-of-the-art ‘wholegarment’ machines that do away with sewing altogether. The result is a form-fitting hoodie that’s as wearable as they come.
Another label that sees sustainability as a mission rather than a marketing label, every garment Rapanui makes is designed to come back to the brand to be remade when it’s worn out. To reduce waste, its garments are printed by textile machines only when you’ve placed the order.
Its organic and recycled cotton hoodies come to you free of plastic packaging and the lightweight, surfer-style fits are ideal for post-swim warm-ups.