I am a big fan of running outdoors. There is always something motivating about watching the scenery go by as you run past it. Being in nature really is soothing, motivating and beneficial to my mental health when running.
That is until you start sweating like crazy because of your run! I don’t know about you guys, but I get sweaty really quickly. Sweat dripping on my face isn’t the best look on me. And don’t even get me started on how I look on rainy days! The mixture of sweat and rainwater isn’t the most flattering look on me.
This isn’t unsolvable, right? I’m sure there would be something out there to help me… And what do you know, I found myself researching the best running hats.
Running hats are not only to prevent the sweat from running down your face. It can give your skin extra protection from the harmful UV rays that the sun gives off, especially when you usually run outside while the sun shines brightly. Just like you can’t forget to put on your sunscreen, you also can’t forget a running hat!
On the other hand, it keeps you dry from when the rain pours down.
Not all running hats are going to help you enjoy your runs though! You might just get a hat that doesn’t fit your head well. You’ll either lose your hat to the wind or get a headache from how tight it hugs your head. You also definitely want something light, as if nothing is on your head! And you can’t just get any cap you have lying around.
Whether you’re an outdoor runner or you just like going on strolls outside, you probably want to have the right gear for whatever weather. Below I’ve reviewed some of the best running hats available online for both men and women! And trust me, if you’re getting a hat to prevent the sweat dripping down into your eyes causing a sting then these hats are worth it!
Best Running Hats For Men and Women Compared and Reviewed
#1 - Salomon Xa Cap
You definitely cannot go wrong with the Salomon XA Cap. It is made of UPF50 fabric, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 50, which blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays. This protects you from the harmful UV rays, so your skin will have the extra protection it needs.
This hat is also made out of 100 percent polyester, which is known to be durable and long-lasting. It is usually used in athletic and outdoor clothing as it easily dries. Not only will it keep you dry, but it also keeps itself dry too with the moisture-wicking coating that it has.
You won’t have to worry about getting wet no matter how much you sweat! With the integrated sweatband this hat has, your sweat is absorbed to prevent it from getting into your eyes. I’m sure you runners out there know the pain of having to constantly wipe your face while you’re trying to concentrate on running! We don’t get this problem when running in the cold and is one of the many reasons I prefer running in winter too!
Like me, you might find that you’re prone to overheating, especially when the sun is scorching hot above you. This hat is designed to help prevent that, with mesh material on the sides of the hat to improve air ventilation. Its AdvancedSkin Shield technology also makes sure that you keep your body temperature more stable.
To make sure you get the best version of this running hat, the Salomon XA Cap offers different sizes. For a more fitting size, you can customize the tightness with the adjustable back clasp, which is also stretchable. You can definitely make sure this hat won’t fall off while you’re running those miles.
While running, you want to feel as free and light as possible to run for longer and more comfortably. Luckily for you, you might even find that you have forgotten that you have this hat on! It is lightweight, especially with the polyester material that doesn’t absorb moisture.
The style is truly a classic for me. It is styled like a baseball cap, making it look more casual and wearable wherever you need a cap. This definitely is on the pricier side though, so if that’s an issue, or maybe you don’t run outdoors much anyway, you might want to look for cheaper options.
What have others said about this running hat?
“Great purchase. I love the sweatband too, super easy to wash. Dries quickly too.” Paolo M
#2 - BUFF Pack Run Cap
This hat can be compressed into your pocket, and it will go back to its shape once you release it from its scrunched-up form. You don’t have to worry about it taking up any of your storage. I’m sure you know the struggle of running with a lot of stuff on you, but that won’t be a problem.
You can use this for other outdoor sports or for the wildest running trails. This hat will adjust to your needs. If you like hiking or running uphill, you can adjust the bill of the hat upwards so that you can see upwards too. Then when you get to even ground, you can put it back to its original position.
Want to make sure you stand out while running? This multitude of designs that this hat offers will give you just that. This is definitely a different style compared to the other hats with more minimalistic designs. Its designs are different for each variety, making it hard to find someone else with the same kind.
You don’t have to worry about this weighing you down. The hat weighs only one ounce! Because of the polyester material, even your sweat won’t increase any weight on your head. Polyester quickly dries and doesn’t absorb your sweat.
The hat also has UPF 50, which blocks 98 percent of harmful UV rays. This will give you extra protection to be added to the sunscreen you should be applying before your runs. You’ll also find an internal sweatband that will keep the sweat off your eyes.
There’s also an elastic cord at the back which will help you adjust the tightness of the hat. The only problem is that you can’t choose your own size! This hat only offers one size fits all.
What have others said about this running hat?
“Super light! I like how you crush it in your palm. Flexible brim too.” Elijah E
#3 - Outdoor Research Swift Cap
You don’t have to worry about being restricted by this hat as this has been said to be very breathable.
This hat gives you air ventilation to help you keep your body temperature at a stable level. This is because it is made with a mesh lining on the sides and crown that makes it light and lets your head “breathe”. I am always looking out for gear that will prevent overheating because it always happens to me, so this hat is definitely one I would consider.
It is also made of Supplex nylon which helps to prevent moisture retention and makes the hat very stretchable. The main shell is made of 100 percent polyester which makes the hat easily dry. All in all, this hat is made of quick-drying materials that don’t absorb moisture.
The combination of materials might mean that this isn’t as durable as the other hats, though. Outdoor Research also goes the extra mile to waterproofing with what they call a “rain fly”.
This Swift Cap is both memorable and forgettable at the same time. You’ll find that it is very lightweight, making it easy to forget it’s there. It is also super comfortable, which is important for outdoor running! You don’t want to get bothered by the weight of your gear.
It also has a headband that absorbs sweat so that you don’t find yourself wiping your face every few minutes of running. I can definitely relate to that, as I am a heavy sweater especially on days when the sun really shines brightly outside.
The Swift Cap only offers a one size fits all fit, which might affect how it fits your head. You can adjust the fit on the back, though, with the buckle it offers. It also doesn’t have reflective panels, which might be important for you if you like running at night.
#4 - Nike AeroBill Featherlight Cap
This hat is designed so that you are able to run outdoors without the glare that the sun’s rays bring. The inside of the hat is black so that running will be easier on your eyes. Just like a good hat, the brim also protects your face from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Want to make sure your head won’t get too hot? Nike has got your back with the mesh panels integrated into this hat. You’ll get the air ventilation that you need to prevent you from getting too hot.
The hat is also lined with Dri-FIT material. Because of this, you’ll get the comfort you need from a hat. It also will prevent the hat from absorbing moisture, helping the sweat get away from your hat as quickly as possible.
Want to help the environment by purchasing sustainable clothing? Nike uses 100 percent polyester which has already been recycled. Not only are you getting a high-quality hat, but you’ll also be helping reduce your impact on the environment. Also, the material makes for a strong and durable hat.
You’ll get all you need from a hat with the comfort you want while running. The materials this hat is made from is definitely lightweight. This hat also makes sure your head won’t get too restricted.
This hat, however, is one size fits all. Although it comes with an adjustable velcro strap on its rear to help you customize the tightness, you might find that if you have a larger head, this hat feels too tight for you.
#5 - Headsweats Performance Race Hat
If you’re looking for something affordable but definitely high quality, the Headsweats Performance Race Hat is the hat for you. It is known for its ability to remove moisture and dry quickly. Not only is it moisture-wicking, but it’s also breathable too.
Headsweats uses the Eventure fabric for its shell, which gives you a quick and easy drying fabric to help you reduce the weight that your sweat might bring.
I’m sure runners out there know how impossibly annoying it is to feel your sweat dripping down the sides of your face. Almost as annoying for runners as chafing but that’s why I always use anti chafe cream when running as well.
You might find yourself surprised by how lightweight the hat feels. It actually weighs less than two ounces! I don’t think you’ll even remember you have this hat on. Plus, the style is definitely a classic with its baseball cap design.
The Eventure fabric is made from polyester, which is one of the materials that is always seen in athletic apparel because of its stretchability and quick drying. The Eventure terry headband that the hat gives also absorbs the sweat so that might keep you from giving your best performance otherwise.
You won’t have to worry about having a headache when putting this hat on. You can easily adjust the fit by adjusting its buckle at the back. The Eventure fabric also makes sure that your hat is breathable and you won’t be overheating.
The great thing about this hat is you won’t have to worry about it losing its shape when you put it in the washing machine! This makes it very easy to clean, unlike other hats that require hand washing. This hat is only available in one size, though, so you have to depend on the adjustable strap.
My Number One Pick
What You Need To Look For When Buying A Running Hat
You should look for a running hat that is durable and lasts for a long time. Although most running hats are made of 100 percent polyester, some hats are made with other materials that might not be as durable as polyester. It’s not easy to find those hats, though, so you’ll be fine as long as you see that the material is polyester.
You know those hats that give you a headache because of how it hugs your temples? Yeah, you really don’t want that. You want a hat that is designed skillfully so that you won’t feel like anything is there. Aside from that, you want to look for the correct size for your head.
The way to measure your head is by using a tape measure and wrapping it around your head. Make sure it is above your ears and eyebrows. Then check the sizes that the hats offer.
You also want to make sure that the hat has adjustable straps or buckles on the back for you to be able to customize how tightly it wraps around your head. This is especially important for those hats that are only one size fits all.
This is one of the most important features personally. When I run, I like to concentrate on my form and my breathing, so when I am bothered by my running gear, I find myself getting less motivated to go the extra mile (literally!). You might relate to my experience, too!
Some hats are lined with more elastic fabrics to make it more stretchable and fit your head well. Other hats fit properly, offering sizes so that you don’t have to worry about it being too tight or too loose. You also want soft but sturdy materials, which is what polyester tends to be.
The quality of the hat lies greatly in what kind of material it is made from. Although most hats are made of polyester, some are designed better than others. You can determine this with the reviews of other people.
- Moisture-Wicking and Quick Drying –
Moisture-wicking fabrics are fabrics that do not absorb moisture. Instead, it attracts water or sweat away from your skin so that you can feel dry. It also doesn’t absorb moisture so that it evaporates and dries easily. Synthetic materials like polyester have this ability. Polyester only retains 0.4 percent of moisture!
- UV Protection –
You might ask, why be concerned about UV Protection when I put on sunscreen? Well, sunscreen usually loses its efficiency as time passes because it doesn’t typically stay put on your skin. Clothing is still one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays.
One of the things that sports apparel brands will tell you what level of UPF they have. UPF is the Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which tells us how protected you are from UV radiation. If a fabric has UPF of 50, it blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays. UPF of 30 is recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation.
You absolutely should consider how heavy a hat will weigh on your head. Of course, when you’re relaxed and trying on different hats, you’ll find that all of them seem light enough. But remember how much heavier things feel while you run! The lighter option will be the best for you in the long run. Pun intended.
The style you choose ultimately comes down to personal preference. However, I would recommend you get something with reflective lining or design, especially if you like running outdoors at night. It will help you be seen among the cars that might be running alongside you.
The breathability of a running hat depends on the material and construction. For example, some running hats are lined with polyester mesh on the sides and crown for more air ventilation. You also want a good fit for it to be breathable; not too loose, not too tight.
Frequently Asked Questions About Running Hats
Q: Do I really need a running hat?
A: If you run outdoors regularly in the sun or do other outdoor activities, then I’d say you should definitely get one. You’ll stay cool and protect yourself from the harmful UV rays. If you run at night, although this is still definitely helpful in wicking away moisture, you might be able to make do without a running hat. The reflectivity is most useful at night, though!
Q: Why choose a running hat over a headband?
A: Although headbands are great to prevent sweat from running down your face and into your eyes, you won’t get the UV protection that you need. It’s very crucial to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays!
Q: Can I use a running hat for other outdoor activities?
A: Big yes! Most features you need in running hats are also needed in most outdoor activities, like durability and moisture-wicking abilities. However, some running hats are made more versatile than others. For example, some running hats have adjustable bills so that you can turn it upwards when hiking upwards.
Some gear is more important than others, and I definitely put running hats highly on my list. There are a lot of things to consider before purchasing running hats, such as durability, weight, and comfort.
Runners out there definitely know the struggle of wearing uncomfortable gear. Even the energy you take in when running makes a difference! It’s all trial and error as we’re trying to become better runners.
Ultimately, you have to do your own research. Aside from the tips, I told you, looking at reviews online is a great way to do this. Some hats are said to fit smaller heads more than others.
You can also find comparisons online by people who have worn several hats and have been running outdoors for years. Who knows? You might even get inspired to go the extra mile on your next outdoor run.
While you’re here, check out reviews on the best running shoes for beginners and make sure to check out our 17 tips on how to become a better runner. Get out there!
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.