Most people don’t realize how cold the weather has gotten until they see puffer jackets in the streets. These insulated, waterproof jackets are a must-have to keep you warm and dry during rain, snowstorms, and extreme cold.
However, the biggest problem with these jackets is that they’re mostly filled with down feathers, which were cruelly plucked out of living geese. No jacket is worth it, isn’t it?
Relax, because contrary to popular belief, there are many down-free jackets that offer you warmth and more. So, here is a list of the best vegan puffer jackets for men and women, and what you need to know about them.
Top Picks for Men at a Glance
- DKNY Faux-leather Quilted Ultra Loft – Best Leather Alternative
- Marc New York by Andrew Marc Men’s Humboldt – Best With a Removable Lining
- Alpine Swiss Niko Down Alternative – Best Packable Option
Top Picks for Women at a Glance:
Why Opt for Vegan Puffer Jackets?
You may be wondering why anyone would choose a vegan puffer jacket over a regular one, and here are some good reasons:
Most people wear the non-vegan version of puffer jackets and enjoy them while being blissfully ignorant of where they come from.
Down, which is the quill-less, soft layer of fine feathers under exterior feathers, is plucked from live geese and ducks while they’re restrained. Sometimes these poor birds are killed for their meat and feathers instead, but the cruelty is still there. So, we recommend the cruelty-free alternative to enjoy a guilt-free warmth.
This rule doesn’t apply to every single vegan jacket, of course, but many vegan jackets are cheaper than their non-vegan counterparts by a mile.
Many manufacturers substitute down for polyesters, which provide perfect insulation at a very affordable price. Also, air is a popular alternative to down as a filling, believe it or not. The inflatable chambers protect your body from the cold while keeping the warmth inside. It doesn’t get more organic than that.
The Best 3 Vegan Puffer Jackets for Men in 2020
We recommend these three puffer jackets for men who are looking for quality cruelty-free options.
1. DKNY Faux-leather Quilted Ultra Loft – Best Leather Alternative
Most people if not all, love the look of leather and how expensive it makes them feel. Plus, it is an ideal choice for outerwear. However, the cruelty behind leather makes it very difficult to enjoy it. So, we found a cruelty-free alternative in the DKNY Faux-leather Quilted Ultra Loft puffer jacket.
This reasonably-priced puffer jacket has a design that catches your eyes immediately, but not in a way that’s in your face. It is very attractive without trying too hard, which is new and unique for a puffer jacket. This subtle, high-end vibe is accentuated in the neutral hues that the jacket comes in.
Its fit isn’t too loose but leaves enough room for you to wear a sweater underneath. Also, it has an easy-to-use center front zipper closure. In addition, three roomy, zippered pockets: two lower welt pockets that you can use for storage or hand warming and an interior welt pocket to store your most personal items.
Our quilted jacket is made from 100% polyurethane, which is a great leather alternative for many reasons.
>> Read more: Our ultimate guide to vegan leather.
It feels very soft and similar to genuine leather. Also, it is more breathable and more eco-friendly than most synthetic materials. Despite being lightweight and flexible, it is resistant to abrasions, oil, and chemicals. Plus, polyurethane’s reasonable price is valid proof that being an ethical, vegan consumer doesn’t have to be pricey. Also, it’s machine washable.
If you want to wear this jacket out in the rain, it will be alright because of its water-resistant exterior. Additionally, the elastic cuffs and stand collar will prevent the wind from bothering you.
However, this jacket has one downside, which is its smell. At first, it has a very strong chemical smell, but it lessens in time, so it’s not a deal-breaker for us.
2. Marc New York by Andrew Marc Men’s Humboldt – Best With a Removable Lining
Sometimes when you’re looking for a jacket, you want one that keeps you warm in the cold but is still wearable on slightly warmer days. The Marc New York by Andrew Marc Men’s Humboldt puffer jacket saved you from the dilemma by having a removable lining.
Like the DKNY Faux-leather Quilted Ultra Loft puffer jacket, this jacket has that effortless and high-end look about it. We love the unique choice of onion quilting because it sets it apart from how most puffer jackets look. It also comes in black, ink, and olive.
The reasonably-priced jacket has a loose fit that enables you to wear whatever you want underneath. Furthermore, it has a heavy-duty center front zipper closure.
Also, the jacket is pretty generous in its deep pockets; it has two lined side-entry zippered pockets that keep the hands warm regardless of the weather, a zippered chest pocket, and an interior pocket for safe storage.
In terms of material, this jacket is made from 100% polyester, which comes with many advantages. It doesn’t have to be said, but polyester makes the price more affordable to people. Also, it has impressive abrasion resistance and doesn’t wrinkle or fade with time.
More importantly, polyester is water-repellent, which means that you can comfortably wear the jacket in wet environments. Also, polyester is pretty convenient, making the jacket machine washable.
Moreover, this jacket comes with a faux shearling lining, which is the ethical alternative to tanned sheepskin. It feels incredibly soft and cozy and keeps you warm. Plus, it doesn’t need any of the tiring maintenance of the real thing. The best feature of this lining, in particular, is that it’s removable, which means you can take it off when you don’t need it on the warmer days.
Finally, we arrive at the downsides. Firstly, while we appreciate the roominess that allows us to wear layers, the sizing does run large, which means that smaller-framed men definitely have to get a size smaller. Secondly, the fact that the sleeves aren’t cuffed means that you’ll have to find a way to protect your hands from the cold and wind when the winter gets a bit too serious.
3. Alpine Swiss Niko Down Alternative – Best Packable Option
Are you a traveler, hiker, kayaker, or skier? Then, you need an animal-friendly jacket to keep you warm on your trip while being lightweight enough to be easily packed. You’ll find everything that you need in the Alpine Swiss Niko Down Alternative puffer jacket.
First things first, this packable jacket is incredibly affordable, and we highly recommend it when you don’t have enough to splurge but still want decent quality. Also, it comes in four different color options: the blue one has higher visibility than the others, which could be useful for safety reasons.
In addition, it has a practical front zipper closure. The jacket also has four zippered pockets: two front pockets that you warm your hands in or store items, and two interior slip pockets. The zippers are gunmetal-tone and engraved with the brand logo.
This packable gem has a 100% nylon shell, which gives the jacket many advantages. Nylon is water-resistant and quick-drying, so it’s pretty practical to wear if you’re fishing, for example. Also, it feels very soft, despite being stronger than many synthetic materials.
The jacket also prides itself on having a 100% polyester filling and lining, which lowers the price but not the functionality. Polyester’s water and abrasion resistance make it ideal for outerwear. Also, it’s pretty lightweight compared to other fillings and linings. Also, the use of nylon and polyester makes the jacket machine washable so that you can wear it again on your trip with no special care needed.
Nonetheless, this jacket has its minor flaws. Firstly, the size runs small, so you’ll have to get a size larger than you normally would in order to be comfortable. Secondly, while the lining and filling are enough for mild winter, we wouldn’t recommend this jacket for extreme cold because it’s not meant for that.
The Best 2 Vegan Puffer Jackets for Women in 2020
These two puffer jackets are out top choices for women who want down-free jackets to keep them warm.
1. Patagonia Nano Puff – Best for Upcycling Enthusiasts
Some fashion items are animal-free, which is great, but very harmful to the environment. However, the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket changes the game and caters to upcycling enthusiasts, thanks to its 100% recycled shell and lining.
This practical jacket is seriously attractive, and it challenges the idea that synthetic materials make the outwear look plasticky. It has a unique brick quilting pattern accompanied by narrow horizontal quilt lines on the side panels, which isn’t just a stylistic choice but a way to keep insulation stable. The thread used in this pattern is highly durable for extra abrasion resistance.
The jacket has a high-quality center front zipper with a wicking interior storm flap that is meant to last, and the zipper garage prevents zipper-to-skin contact, which may lead to chafing when it happens repeatedly.
In addition, the jacket boasts of two zippered hand warmer pockets with zipper garages, as well. Also, the zippered internal chest pocket can be used as a stuff sack that has a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop. You’d be glad to know that the jacket comes in a wide selection of colors, and you can never go wrong with classic navy, roamer red, or camp green.
Let’s get into the materials. Since the jacket has a 100% recycled polyester ripstop shell, it feels lightweight. Also, the complete upcycling of polyester saves the environment from its harmful side effects while benefiting from it, such as its wrinkle-free properties, quick-drying nature, and low maintenance needs. Also, it resists abrasions pretty well.
We also love the 60-g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation that uses 100% post-consumer recycled polyester. Its manufacturing process reduces carbon emissions, offers excellent warmth for its weight, and keeps warm even when wet. Also, the jacket is lined with 22-denier 100% recycled polyester.
Moreover, this jacket is water-resistant to enable you to use it everywhere, and windproof so that you can be unbothered by the wind. Also, the adjustable drawcord at the hem enables you to seal in the warmth.
This jacket isn’t guilt-free just because it’s vegan and upcycled. It prides itself on being Fair Trade Certified sewn, which ensures that apparel workers are fairly paid. Also, the jacket is bluesign approved, which gives us peace of mind about the safety of the materials involved for the workers, customers, and the environment. The downside is how pricey it is compared to others on the list.
2. Wantdo Hooded Warm Quilted – Most Stylish
Many women would love wearing puffer jackets if they could look a little less “puffy” and a bit more stylish. If you’re one of them, you’ll definitely love the Wantdo Hooded Warm Quilted puffer jacket.
Wearing this reasonably-priced jacket will immediately get you compliments, and it comes in a wide selection of colors; we recommend black, burgundy, and olive.
The windproof jacket makes use of front-zip closure with a covered snap placket and buttons that looks stylish and seals the warmth in and the wind out. Also, the adjustable drawstring allows you to customize the fit, maybe show off your silhouette, and keep warm simultaneously. If you’re worried about your hands getting cold, you won’t have to, thanks to the elastic cuffs.
The stand collar also looks good while keeping the wind out. Also, the removable buttoned hood is adjustable so that you can customize its fit and level of protection, or remove it altogether when you don’t need it.
Moreover, the jacket has two handwarmer pockets, one inside pocket, and one internal zippered chest pocket.
In terms of materials, the jacket makes use of highly durable oxford fabric and PU membrane for water resistance and resilience against the elements. Also, the jacket has high-quality hand plug cotton insulation to keep you warm.
The downsides are the fact that the size runs small, so you have to get a size larger to be comfortable, and that the zippers aren’t durable at all and you may have to replace them.
How to Pick a Vegan Puffer Jacket
Here are some important aspects that you need to consider the next time you purchase a down-free puffer jacket.
Size and Fit
Most people love the puffer jackets that fit snugly because they keep you cozy while flattering your silhouette. Belted puffer coats or ones with functional hem and hood drawcords are the best for showing off your body in a complimentary way.
On the other hand, we still recommend that you leave a little bit of room under the coat, especially if you’re planning on wearing multiple layers or sweaters underneath. Having enough space to move freely doesn’t hurt, either.
Our first and foremost priority while choosing our picks is 100% vegan materials, whether they’re plant-based or synthetic alternatives.
There’s no plant-based filling or outer shell that’s more popular than cotton, and we’ll tell you its advantages. Cotton is a hypoallergenic, lightweight, moisture-wicking, insulating, easy-to-dye, and sturdy gift from nature. Everything about it makes it a no-brainer to include in manufacturing puffer jackets.
Then, there’s cotton’s hippier and more sustainable sister: hemp. Hemp, like cotton, is breathable, insulating, and strong. However, it is better than cotton in every category, and it beats it in the field of sustainability by a landslide. So why not save the animals and planets?
>> Read more: Hemp vs cotton.
Then, we have synthetic alternatives. The majority of synthetics are polyester and nylon, and they have very similar advantages.
Polyesters, whether recycled or not, kept coming up while we were conducting our research on vegan materials for puffer jackets, mainly because it is cheap yet highly functional. Its resistance to water, wrinkles, color fading, and abrasion make it the ideal material for a vegan on a budget.
These qualities make it the ideal material for outer shells, lining, and filling for vegans on a budget.
On the other hand, nylon offers very similar advantages to polyester; however, it is better in many ways. Nylon is more expensive but has better value for money. Its water resistance and quick-drying characteristics are perfect for a vegan jacket that gets the job done in wet weather. Also, nylon feels softer to the touch, yet it is much stronger than polyester.
What’s the point of wearing these oversized coats if not for their weatherproofing abilities? The best aspect of waterproof vegan puffers is that they offer a better combination of insulation and waterproofing than down. Why? Because down jackets lose their ability to insulate when they get wet.
So, all of the alternatives, whether natural or synthetic, will give you a better performance in that category. Of course, you have to make sure that the jacket you’re buying is waterproof first.
Also, the windproofing abilities of a puffer jacket, such as high collars, longline designs, and snug cuffs, are vital if you experience strong winds or storms in the winter.
Finally, if you live in a really cold area, try to ensure that most if not all parts of the puffer jacket are insulated, meaning the hood, torso, and sleeves. Handwarmer pockets also matter because you’ll never be truly warm unless your hands are.
Style and Colors
A common misconception is that puffer jackets are bulky therefore unflattering, but that is simply untrue. Puffer jackets can be very stylish, and you can see the hottest celebrities wearing them all the time. In fact, the oversized look is very on-trend nowadays.
Vegans who want a classy, timeless look can find jackets with diamond quilting. You can also choose one with neutral colors and up your game with accessories and shoes, or pick a statement puffer coat, like denim or metallic, if you’re feeling bold. Sometimes bold colors in outerwear are about functionality, like neon colors for visibility in the wild or at night.
If you can’t pick one color, we hear you; committing to one color or print can be scary, especially if you’re splurging. So, we recommend checking out reversible puffer jackets.
Vegan Puffer Jackets FAQs
How do I Choose a Puffer Jacket?
You choose the right one for you by paying attention to its sizing and fit. Vegans should also make sure that it’s made from quality animal-friendly materials. It needs to be waterproof and windproof, as well. Finally, a nice-looking jacket is a must.
Are Puffer Jackets Vegan?
Unfortunately, many puffer jackets aren’t vegan, as they are either filled with down or wool. Some include leather or suede as an outer shell. However, there are many vegan alternatives that make use of 100% plant-based or recycled materials.
Is Wool Vegan?
No. Common misconception is that shearing sheep helps them. However, their need to be protected from overheating is due to the interference of the wool industry in their nature.
Furthermore, cruel practices like mulesing are a routine part of the poor sheep’s lives when humans are after their wool.
>> Read more: Is wool vegan? (in-depth article).
Men who used to love leather jackets will appreciate our top choice, which is the DKNY Faux-leather Quilted Ultra Loft puffer jacket. Next in line, we have the Marc New York by Andrew Marc Men’s Humboldt puffer jacket, which lets men decide whether they want warmth or not, thanks to the removable lining.
On the other hand, women will love our top pick the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket for using 100 recycled polyester as shell, lining, and insulation. However, the stylish will enjoy Wantdo Hooded Warm Quilted puffer jacket’s adjustable fit.