As we like to talk about time and time again at WERD, dressing casually doesn’t have to mean forgoing style, or utility – enter the zip-up hoodie. The zip-up hoodie bridges the gap between laidback and functional with ease. On that note, the best zip hoodies are quite literally easy to throw on and zip up – over your favorite henley or a merino T-shirt – offering casual comfort.
The fabric these days among your favorite brands also bridges the gap quite nicely. Some are made from moisture-wicking stretch fabrics – ideal for workouts. Still other zip hoodies are made from classic French Terry cotton (just like your favorite regular hoodie).
As far as functionality goes, the best zip-up hoodies can also be worn as a mid-layer (try it underneath a waxed trucker jacket, a denim jacket or even a field jacket), and of course, the hood itself offers handy protection from brisk breezes. The best zip hoodies can even be worn for hard-wearing work projects, if the fabric is thick and dependable enough (we’ve got a few options that fit the bill).
Zip hoodies are also apt at meeting multiple casual style situations. Toss it on for weekend outings and lounging with, naturally, the best lounge pants. Style it on the road with stretch joggers or stretch denim, or use it as the aforementioned mid-layer underneath a denim jacket to grab some cold beers at your favorite brewery. If you don’t have a zip-up hoodie, consider this the perfect starting point.
If there’s one company that’s defined the zip-up hoodie for the modern man, you could argue that it’s Huckberry. The company’s Flint and Tinder line already makes an incredibly durable waxed trucker jacket (not to mention stylish, tough jeans and henleys), but the 10-Year Hoodie is something else entirely. It’s made in America with care, crafted from a soft yet long-lasting cotton blend with plenty of structure, the 10-Year Hoodie now comes in a wide range of stylish colors and that aptly named 10-year guarantee.
The fleece jacket you might have reached for in your closet as an afterthought gets a big upgrade thanks to the adventure-minded team at Howler Brothers. The sherpa fleece is cozy, warm and soft, with the ability to function as your outermost layer on brisk days, and the details are seriously on-point. Sturdy ribbed cuffs at the wrist and waist ensure a snug fit, while the hood is even lined in fleece for added comfort. As a bonus, the hood exterior is made with a cotton-nylon blend for durability in blustery conditions, while handy hip zip pockets offer storage space and hand protection.
Active pursuits in chilly weather call for a zip hoodie that can rise to the occasion. The Ovik Fleece Hoodie is made from a stretch polyester, which makes it ideal for wearing as a mid-layer on brisk days outdoors (perhaps under a Fjallraven waxed jacket). Because durability reigns supreme in all things outdoor adventure, the iconic Swedish company went a step further by reinforcing key stress points (like the elbows and chin flap) with its abrasion-resistant G-1000 material for good measure.
American Giant does right by the all-American zip hoodie with its much-loved, favorably reviewed full-zip hoodie. The aptly named Classic Full Zip is burly and rugged, made from custom heavyweight fleece and ringspun cotton. Of course, it’s crafted in the U.S. of A. and built with remarkably tough features, including reinforced elbow patches. As if that wasn’t enough, the hood is double-lined for added warmth in grueling conditions. This is certainly the best zip-up hoodie to wear for your toughest fall and winter projects (or just relaxed lounging).
How can something so casual end up being luxurious? That’s the question James Perse tends to ask with its remarkable assortment of minimal, sleek yet easily wearable menswear, like this French Terry zip-up hoodie. The fabric is super-soft, and it’s garment-dyed for added comfort, too. The garment-dying process also gives this hoodie a unique texture and distinctive look, meaning it stands apart when worn with everything from heather grey joggers to faded blue jeans and a soft black James Perse tee.
Vuori expertly blurs the lines between performance menswear for the gym and, well, the rest of your day (errands, coffee runs, work-from-home meetings and beyond). The Seaside Hoodie hits the right notes in that regard, too, made from a soft fleece that also boasts helpful, comfortable four-way stretch. It also features a handy interior chest pocket to store your phone and EDC, while the hood itself features a slightly higher zipper build for added coverage during workouts, day hikes and just about any adventure you can dream up.
Some things just go together so well, it’s uncanny – like the chill of a frigid winter day and your trusty L.L. Bean boots. The iconic Northeast company helps you tackle other seasonal pursuits with its apparel, like this well-made and reliable full-zip hoodie made out of vintage-inspired waffle fabric. This slim-fit hoodie is the definition of a grab-and-go hoodie, seeing as the waffle fabric is breathable and easy to layer underneath a trucker jacket when temperatures drop. You’d also do well to snag an extra one for your cabin or as a “house sweater,” too.
Among brands making the best zip-up hoodies, Reigning Champ tends to go the extra mile. They’re yet another brand we love making gear suited for work or play (as in, workouts or lazy days at home), but each Reigning Champ piece is built to a high standard. Take this hoodie: The terry fabric breathes easily and wears well with Reigning Champ tees and jogger pants. Dependable details like raglan sleeve stitching and flexible side panels provide ease of movement for active pursuits, while the Slim fit should prove flattering atop sleek base layers.
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