TWO WEEKENDS AGO, I was doing my weekly shop at Aldi, a supermarket I’ve been frequenting since learning that Aldi customers save $17 on average per bag of groceries in comparison to those who shop at the big two. Turns out, produce isn’t all Aldi shoppers save on. In that miscellaneous middle section, next to some garden hoses and bathmats, were a pile of black and khaki puffer jackets. Out of curiosity, I picked one up. To my surprise, it was made with 800 fill power down, which is a super high warmth-to-weight ratio — at well-known outdoor gear brands, that kind of loft would set you back hundreds of dollars. It was also water repellant and certified with the Responsible Down Standard. And it was $49.99. 

I purchased one. For the last two weeks, I haven’t stopped wearing it — and I haven’t stopped flexing on the price and quality, either. When people ask where my puffer is from, I’m excited to tell them it’s from Aldi. Usually, their response is one of surprise (unless they’re a long-time Aldi customer who’s been saving $17 per bag for years). I’ve sent at least four friends (three quarters of them men) to the supermarket chain to pick up their own since then. 

If you’ve been shopping for a puffer jacket recently, you’ve probably come to terms with the fact you’re going to have to part with some significant dollars in order to get something that will look good and keep you warm. Of course, there’s Uniqlo — the Japanese brand’s down jackets sell for around $100. Its Ultra Light Down Parka, which is the most comparable product to Aldi’s Men’s Down Jacket, is $99 with 750 fill power down. Another great option, despite it being double the price of my puffer jacket life hack discovery. 

Clearly, I am not the only one who’s stumbled upon this stylish yet functional bargain. According to Aldi’s website, online delivery of its Mens Down Jacket is currently experiencing delays. But a ‘check stock availability’ search shows that all the physical Aldi locations in my local area still have the jacket in both colours, but as Aldi’s limited edition products tend to go (its Special Buys are like streetwear drops for budget-conscious mums), these puffer jackets won’t stick around for long. Do with this information what you wish. 

In the meantime, here are five other affordable puffer jackets that come highly recommended by my esteemed colleagues. May you stay warm and steezy for less this winter. 

Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Parka

With a fill power of 750, a water-repellent finish and, as the name implies, an ultra-light demeanour, Uniqlo’s puffer jackets are a failsafe option.

Cotton On Recycled Puffer Jacket

Made from recycled polyester, Aussie retailer Cotton On’s puffer jackets have a nice boxy shape and high collar. British racing green is also in.

Everlane ReNew Short Puffer

American brand Everlane is renowned for its elevated essentials. Right now, it’s having a big sale on outerwear — this puffer is down from $388 and there’s still plenty of sizes left. It’s also made from 100 percent recycled fabric and filled with recycled high-performance down insulation. 

Industrie Ottawa Puffer Jacket

We can always rely on Industrie to deliver cool cuts and silhouettes for less. If you want a puffer-bomber jacket hybrid, this is the jacket for you.

Macpac Men’s Halo Down Jacket

The New Zealand outfitter has a reputation for quality, so when it’s pieces go on sale, you know you’re getting a good deal. It’s made with 600 loft duck down, which is certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS).

Are puffer jackets worth it?

Yes. If you’ve never owned a puffer jacket before (which, unless you’ve lived in the tropics all your life, would be quite astounding), let me tell you: once you’ve put it on, you won’t want to take it off. By virtue of being filled with down, they provide warmth by trapping your body heat within tiny air pockets, which are created by the down. Even synthetic puffers, like our suggestion from Cotton On, work like this. So you can be vegan and enjoy the benefits of a puffer jacket, too.

How can you tell if a puffer jacket is good quality?

You might’ve heard the words ‘down’ and ‘puffer’ used interchangeably when referring to the winter staple. ‘Puffer’ is the umbrella term that encompasses all insulated quilted jackets, while ‘down’ specifically refers to a type of puffer jacket that uses natural insulation fillers like goose or duck feathers.

Making sure which insulation filler is used is key to telling which jacket will optimise warmth and lightness. Another tell-tale sign of good down filling is that it should feel soft as you compress it in your hand, and if it returns to its original shape quickly, you’ve got a quality puffer jacket.

Are puffer jackets good for men?

Come winter, puffer jackets are an essential for anyone who wishes to stay warm on their daily commute. This includes all genders, and the fact puffer jackets have become stylish means they are the perfect item for bridging functionality with fashion.

How do you wash a puffer jacket?

While it is important to first check the specific care instructions on the label inside the jacket, the general consensus goes that it is safe to wash in the machine in cold water on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Before doing so, make sure you turn the jacket inside out and close all zips and covers.

Esquire participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.


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