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This is the best winter coat I’ve ever owned—and it's animal-friendly

It's warm, breathable, and stylish, and no animals were harmed in the making of this coat. What's not to love?

Credit: Jamie Ueda and Nordstrom

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In many parts of the U.S. we're in the dead of winter with freezing temperatures and looming snowstorms. While it’s great weather to snuggle up in your coziest robe and watch Netflix, unfortunately, many of us have to brave the cold and leave the house for the occasional trip to the grocery store or to get some fresh air. With most indoor activities closed during the pandemic, many of us are spending more time outdoors, which means grabbing a mask and a toasty winter coat as we head out the door.

What should you look for in the perfect winter coat?

winter coats
Credit: Getty/baono

A winter coat should keep you warm but not sweaty.

Ideally, a winter coat should protect you from all the elements you may encounter, such as rain, wind, or snow. It should be warm without overheating you, and should be breathable so you don’t end up a sweaty mess. It also doesn’t hurt if you look stylish while being protected, rather than resembling the Michelin Man.

All of this is a pretty tall order for a single article of clothing. While brands like Canada Goose and Moncler have a cult following, I’ve never been able to bring myself to drop that much cash on a winter jacket, though I’ve come close. Every winter I’ve searched far and wide for that one jacket that I’ll love, and I’ve bought many winter coats that I really like.

I had yet to find the one that meets all these requirements—until I discovered my latest and greatest find on the Nordstrom site, the Save The Duck Long Colorblock Puffer Coat. If you’re in the market for a new winter coat, or want to replace your existing jacket with an amazing find, here’s why this one is the best winter jacket I’ve ever owned.

What is Save The Duck?

Save the duck
Credit: Save The Duck and Nordstrom

Save The Duck makes stylish outerwear.

Save The Duck is an Italian fashion brand that launched in 2012. It primarily makes women’s and men’s outerwear such as puffer jackets, rain jackets, and vests. As the name suggests, its outerwear does not use any duck or goose down. According to the website, Save The Duck products are “100% animal-free and cruelty-free,” meaning they do not use any garment components that may have caused suffering or damage to any animal. They have also won multiple awards from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for their ethics towards animals.

And its ethos extends beyond animals, taking a holistic approach with concern for the environment and the people that make the clothing. It’s one of the most transparent garment companies I've come across in spelling out its sustainability practices. Its products are also independently certified by reliable third parties, such as Blue Sign and Oeko-tex for social compliance, harmful substances, and sustainable manufacturing practices. The company is a certified B Corporation, which means it meets the highest standards for social and environmental performances. To that end, Save The Duck is committed to designing durable products that have a long life cycle, using recycled materials when possible, and working towards reducing carbon emissions in its manufacturing and being carbon neutral by 2030.

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What I love about the Save The Duck Long Colorblock Puffer Coat

Save the duck
Credit: Nordstrom and Jamie Ueda

This is the Goldilocks of coats.

I have a confession: I knew nothing about the Save The Duck brand or its Colorblock Puffer Coat when I bought it. I’d been on the hunt for a long coat that would keep me warm in the New York City winter, for both walking around and dining outdoors in freezing temperatures. When I found it at Nordstrom, it fit my requirement of being long, and I absolutely loved the stylish color blocking, which is really just black fabric in a range of sheens. Despite the fact that I knew nothing about its quality and was skeptical about its warmth, I took the gamble, because I knew that if I didn’t like it I could return it to Nordstrom, no questions asked.

I can not emphasize enough how happy I am that I took a chance on this coat. With most jackets, I have a love-hate relationship. They are either not warm enough or make me sweat, too heavy, or not the right length for my 5’2’’ frame. This particular Save The Duck coat is the Goldilocks of coats. Despite feeling lightweight, this jacket is extremely warm. I’ve worn this outside in temperatures in the teens and I don’t get cold in it. But I also don’t overheat—one problem I have with almost every jacket is that it will keep me warm but the second I start walking, I’m sweating profusely causing me to unzip or even take the jacket off and carry it, which is not always convenient if I have my hands full. It offers my ideal balance of warmth and breathability.

The coat’s secret weapon is its quality materials. The fill is what the company calls “Plumtech,” which made of polyester and designed to imitate the fluffiness, light weight, and warmth of down. The outer material is a polyester fabric with a tight weave that helps block the wind from going through the jacket, yet it and the fill allow my body heat to dissipate. The outer fabric is also water resistant and has kept me dry in a light shower and helped repel snow from sticking to my jacket.

When I have to take it off and carry the jacket, it doesn’t make my arm sore from its weight, an issue I’ve had with heavier winter coats. This makes running errands where I take off my coat at my destination much more enjoyable as I’m not toting around a heavy jacket with me.

While the length of this coat on the Nordstrom model is somewhere around the knee, on my 5-foot-2-inch frame the jacket hits mid-calf, which is exactly what I wanted to keep my legs covered. It also does not look frumpy or overwhelming on my short stature, which some longer jackets have a tendency to do.

The last two things I love are the zipper and pockets. I often find in jackets that the difference between a quality jacket and a cheap jacket are in the details, and this one did not disappoint. The zipper on this jacket joins and closes smoothly, every time I go to put it on—if you’ve ever had a zipper connect off-center or feel sticky, you know why I’m so excited about this one. It’s also a two-way zipper, so I can open up the bottom, which comes in handy when I don’t need as much coverage on my legs or I’m climbing into a car and need more freedom to move my legs. The two rectangular pockets on the front of the jacket are big enough to hold my large iPhone, keys, and wallet, which comes in handy if I don’t want to carry a purse or want easy access to my phone. Because the pockets open at the top rather than on a diagonal like other pockets, I don’t have to worry about my stuff falling out, either. The pockets are also big enough and in the right location so I can comfortably slide my hands in to keep them warm.

What I don’t like about the Save The Duck Long Colorblock Puffer

save the duck
Credit: Jamie Ueda and Nordstrom

The only downside—my tote slips off my shoulder.

I love this coat so much, it’s hard to find anything to complain about. However, if I nitpick, my only quibble would be the material on the shoulders. It’s not as shiny as the rest of the fabric, which I thought would be less slippery. However, my canvas tote has a tendency to slip off my shoulder quite frequently because the material is so smooth. Though I can’t complain too much: The slickness of the fabric is no doubt what makes it good at keeping me dry in bad weather.

Is the Save the Duck Long Colorblock Puffer worth it?

save the duck
Credit: Nordstrom

This coat is worth every penny.

Yes! I want to buy this coat for all my friends and family—though it’s nearly $300 price tag will keep me from doing that. While this is steep for a coat, if it’s within your budget I would recommend this over a cheaper jacket that's not as good quality. Its the details like the water-repellent fabric and the smooth-running zipper that give me confidence my coat will last me for many winters.

The Save The Duck Colorblock Long Puffer is also cheaper than a trendy Canada Goose jacket, which runs $625 and up. And it’s made from materials that are not derived from animals, so if that’s important to you, you can’t go wrong here. Further, if you don’t need to buy a new coat immediately, you could wait for it to go on sale, toward the end of the season (I got mine in December for $270).

Lastly, unlike some jackets where you are paying for the brand name, Save The Duck is very transparent about its sustainability efforts and certifications. Oftentimes sustainable materials and certifications cost more, which is no doubt part of the reason this jacket costs more. But that may be worth the extra money, if you try to buy sustainably driven products.

Get the Save The Duck Long Matte Colorblock Water Resistant Puffer Coat at Nordstrom for $298

Shop Save The Duck at Nordstrom

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