Best Running Hats

When the temperatures drop, but you aren’t finished running for the season you need all the accessories you can get to keep you warm from the cold weather. The most important part of the body you need to keep protected from the cold is your head and the best way to keep your head warm and retain your body heat is by wearing a well-insulated running hat. These hats are specially designed to keep you comfortable and keep you warm when your outside enjoying the outdoors.

Since there are multiple options on the market for running hats, it can get a bit overwhelming trying to find the best one that expresses your style but also keeps you warm and retains your body heat. Luckily for you, we have saved you some time and done the research to bring you the top ten running hats on the market today. We not only have listed the top ten but also what makes them the best of the best, so you can keep enjoying the outdoors even when the temperatures drop.

Last Updated: September 6, 2018
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By Kris Kierstead-Lewis:

We've compiled this list to show you some of the best running hats currently on the market. This list gets updated regularly so be sure to come back every so often. Our newest additions are the Tough Headwear Running Beanie, The North Face Bones, the Turtle Fur Midweight, the Under Armour Storm ColdGear Men's Beanie, and the Trailheads Ponytail Performance Beanie.

Tough Headwear Running Beanie
  • Tough Headwear Running Beanie
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • One size fits all
  • Moisture wicking
  • Price: See Here
TNF Bones Beanie
  • TNF Bones Beanie
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Microfleece inner
  • Comfortable
  • Price: See Here
Turtle Fur Midweight
  • Turtle Fur Midweight
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comfortable fit
  • UPF 50+ fabric
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Running Hats

 

Tough Headwear Running Beanie

Originally designed to be worn under a bike helmet, the Tough Headwear Running Beanie is on the top of our list for a reason. It's warm yet lightweight and has a comfortable and secure fit.
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Warmth:


The inner is made of a thin and lightweight fleece to provide warmth, though may not be ideal for extreme temperatures. The outer shell is designed to wick moisture so you won't feel sweaty, though it is not waterproof so keep this in mind if you'll be in rainy or snowy conditions.

Comfort:


The hat is made of a polyester and spandex blend, giving it enough stretch to be one size fits all while being snug enough for it to not get blown off by a particularly strong gust of wind. The seams are designed to be comfortable as well, so they won't feel rough or itchy against your skin.

Durability:


The polyester blend material is designed to take a beating, and is machine washable and easy to care for. This hat will definitely last you a long time.

Value:


Priced around the middle of the spectrum, the Tough Headwear Running Beanie is definitely worth the investment, as it's quite comfortable and made to last a long time.
Pros

One size fits all

Microfleece inner for warmth

Outer shell wicks moisture

Cons

Not ideal for extreme temperatures

  

The North Face Bones Microfleece Beanie

Featuring soft microfleece and a classic design, The North Face Bones Beanie is one that will never go out of style. The microfleece inner will keep you warm and comfortable, and the acrylic outer will keep winds and cold air out.
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Warmth:


Made from an acrylic outer and a soft microfleece inner, this hat is made to provide solid insulation while being comfortable; the microfleece keeps warmth in, and the acrylic outer will keep cold air out.

Comfort:


While microfleece is not the most breathable of fabrics, it's very soft and lightweight and comes in a wide range of colors to match any ensemble.

Durability:


The acrylic outer is designed with durability in mind and will last you a long time. The hat itself is machine washable and easy to care for, and the colors won't fade over time.

Value:


This is definitely a more expensive option, but The North Face is well known for their quality and this hat is no exception.
Pros

Wide range of colors

Comfortable

Durable

Cons

Expensive

  

Turtle Fur Midweight

Want something sturdy and warm, but don't want anything heavy or expensive? Or maybe you want a wide range of colors to go with anything? Enter the Turtle Fur Midweight Beanie. Featuring the brand's own Chelonia 150 fleece, extra layering on the ears, and a durable polyester outer, this hat is sure to please.
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Warmth:


With Turtle Fur's own Chelonia 150 fleece and extra layering on the ears, this hat is made to be warm even in temperatures below freezing or strong winds.

Comfort:


While this hat is advertised as one size fits all, some users have reported that it is a tad small, so take this into consideration if you have a larger head. The inner fleece is soft and comfortable, and the outer shell is made of UPF 50+ protective fabric.

Durability:


The outer shell is water-resistant and will keep you dry in the face of splashes and light rain. The polyester material is also durable and made to last a long time.

Value:


With an affordable price, the Turtle Fur Midweight Beanie will be a great investment, offering features and warmth without breaking the bank, and is durable enough last you a long time.
Pros

UPF 50+ fabric

Comfortable

Wide range of colors

Cons

Runs slightly small

  

Under Armour Men's Storm ColdGear

Under Armour Men's Storm ColdGear
Having been around for over 20 years, Under Armour knows a thing or two about what runners want from their gear. They used this knowledge to create the Storm ColdGear beanie, implementing features such as brushed fleece, water-resistant material, and a classic, aesthetically pleasing fit.
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Warmth:


This hat is equipped with Under Armour's own ColdGear infrared technology, which is a thermoconductive inner coating that serves to retain your body heat, keeping you warm in colder weather. The outer uses their Storm water-resistant coating to keep dry without compromising on breathability.

Comfort:


Under Armour used 100% polyester for the outer shell for a classic, true to size fit. The inner material is a brushed fleece, making this hat ultra-soft and provides all-day comfort. It also comes in a wide range of colors, from basic black to vibrant greens and blues.

Durability:

The outer polyester is made to last and has a water-resistant coating to keep it dry in wet conditions. Caring for this hat is easy; just wash in cold water and dry on low heat.

Value:


While it is on the more expensive end of the spectrum, Under Armour has packed a lot of durability and warmth into this hat, making it well worth the investment.
Pros

Brushed fleece interior

Wide range of colors

Water resistant

Cons

Expensive

Pearl Izumi Winter Thermal

Pearl Izumi Winter Thermal
Pearl Izumi, as a brand, is known for making quality outdoor products that perform well, focusing on what an athlete really needs. Pearl Izumi’s Winter Thermal Hat comes in a lightweight design that brings a lot of warmth and comfort to every runner.
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Warmth:

Designed from 100% polyester materials, this hat is thin and lightweight, but still provides enough thermal regulation for a nice boost of warmth. You’ll get the warmth you really need with this hat, and you’ll always feel good on your runs.

Comfort:

The thermal fabric used on Pearl Izumi’s Winter Thermal Hat is fast-drying, and the hat also provides a good ventilation system to help keep your head dry from sweat. Also, the interior area of the hat feels soft to the touch, which makes it feel great against the skin.

Durability:

Since this hat uses polyester in its design, it is very durable and built to last. You’ll be able to get many seasons of use out of this hat, and feel great each time you hit the trails.

Value:

This hat is a bit more expensive than some other options, but it is still a good value considering the amount of protection and features it offers. Plus, since the hat is also very durable, you know you’ll get a lot out of your investment.
Pros
  • Warm

  • Lightweight

  • Comfortable fit

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Won’t cover your ears

Nike Pro Combat Skull Cap

Nike Pro Combat Skull Cap
If you want an affordable, high-quality hat to keep your head warm on your runs that’s also made by a renowned manufacturer, then you’ll enjoy the benefits that Nike’s Pro Combat Skull Cap has to offer. Designed to keep you warm while ventilating well, your head will stay comfortable each time you hit the trails.
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Warmth:

Nike’s Pro Combat Skull Cap is manufactured to provide your head with adequate warmth even on the coldest winter days. You’ll be able to keep your head warm and dry because of the cap’s breathable features.

Comfort:

Nike’s Pro Combat Skull Cap features a flat seam construction, meaning the cap will fit snugly against your skull and you won’t have to worry about the seams running and creating skin irritations while you are on the go. Also, the effective moisture-wicking features designed into this hat means you won’t experience the discomfort of sweat build up while you are on the move.

Durability:

Nike uses plenty of high-quality materials in this cap’s design, which help make it long-lasting. You’ll be able to use this cap for many seasons and still get the warmth you want.
Value: Nike’s Pro Combat Skull Cap comes at an affordable price, making it a nice option for what you get. Since the cap has so many helpful benefits, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck if you purchase this hat.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Great fit

  • Good ventilation

  • Flat seams

  • Dries quickly

Cons
  • Can feel like it fits too tight.

  • Could come in more style and color options.

     

Trailheads Ponytail Performance Beanie

Trailheads Ponytail Performance Beanie
Trailheads added an often overlooked feature to this hat; a slot for a ponytail! This may sound like an overrated feature, but with most running hats having a snug fit, a slot for your hair is important in regards to comfort. In fact, this hat comes with two slots, so you'll be comfortable whether you wear your hair high or low.
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Warmth:


The polyester and spandex blend is made with insulating properties to keep your head warm on chilly days, though it may not be ideal for extreme temperatures. Still, this is a great hat for morning runs on those chilly autumn mornings.

Comfort:


The outer is made of a four-way stretch blend of polyester and spandex, ensuring a secure fit while being comfortable and true to size. This fabric is designed with a double-layer construction that wicks moisture away from your skin.

Durability:


Made with sturdy fabric that's easy to care for, and reinforced seams around the slots, this hat is made to last you a good while.

Value:


Being a little above the midpoint of the price spectrum for running hats, the Trailheads Ponytail Performance Beanie combines comfort and warmth with solid value and is a worthy investment if you like to wear your hair up while running.
Pros

Slot for ponytail

4-way stretch fabric

Moisture wicking

Cons

Not ideal for extreme temperatures

ASICS Thermopolis LT 2-in-1

ASICS Thermopolis LT 2-in-1
Designed to be very warm and fashionable, you’ll love the stylish look and how great you feel each time you run with an ASICS Thermopolis LT 2-in-1 Beanie. Plus, ASICS designed this hat to also cover your ears, so you’ll always feel warm when you are out on the trails.
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Warmth:

Asics designed this hat with their Asics’ Thermopolis LT material, meaning you get a lot of warmth from the hat although it isn’t very thick. With the right amount of thermal regulation, which you’ll get with this hat, you’ll look great and feel great no matter how cold it gets outside.

Comfort:

Designed to fit over your ears, your head gets a lot of warmth and protection. Also, this hat comes with an effective ventilation system so you won’t experience a lot of sweat build up when you wear the hat.

Durability:

Made to last quite a while, this hat is manufactured from 92% polyester and 8% spandex, so it is built to last. You’ll get several seasons of use out of this hat.

Value:

Asics’ Thermopolis LT 2-in-1 Beanie comes moderately priced, so it is pretty affordable for the options it brings you. Plus, the hat is built to last, so you’ll be able to use it for some time.
Pros
  • Very warm

  • Comfortable fit

  • Looks great

  • Durable

Cons
  • Can run small

  • Could offer more color options

Seirus Thermax Skull Liner

Seirus Thermax Skull Liner
Seirus’s Thermax Skull Liner is designed to fit great and provide that boost of warmth you’ll want when you are running in the cold winter weather. Plus, this hat offers a lot of flexibility, since it is also designed to fit underneath a helmet.
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Warmth:

Made from a very thin Thermax polyester material, this hat will give you the warmth you need whenever the weather gets cold outside. Seirus’s Thermax Skull Liner provides plenty of insulation even when the weather outside is freezing.

Comfort:

This hat is designed to be very lightweight and comfortable, and it is hardly noticeable when you wear it. The interior area of the hat is also soft to the touch, so it feels great against your skin.

Durability:

Designed with reinforced stitching, you’ll get a lot of durability out of this hat. This hat is built to last for several seasons, so it can withstand a lot of abuse as you run.

Value:

This hat is affordable, which is great news for runners shopping on a budget. Also, considering how durable it is and how many features you get with it, you’ll get a lot out of this hat.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Lightweight

  • Warm

  • Reversible

  • Durable

Cons
  • Can run small

  • Could come in more style and color options

Paramount Beanie by Adidas

Paramount Beanie by Adidas
If you want a high-quality hat that's understated and will work for a variety of situations, not just running, this is the hate for you. This hat features many benefits, including great ventilation and reflective elements.
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Warmth:

The Paramount is made from Adidas's signiture yards--a blend of acrylic and polyester) and will lock in heat while also wicking away sweat.

Comfort:

Made with climawarm yarns, this Adidas hat will definitely keep you warm without overheating. The material wicks away sweat so you won't have to worry on your long, cold runs.

Durability:

The materials designed into this hat help to make it long-lasting, meaning you’ll get a lot of use out of it. This hat should last you for several seasons, and you’ll always love putting it on.

Value:

The Paramount Beanie features a lot of extra benefits, including reflective elements for extra visibility on low light runs, you get a lot for the cost of this hat. This hat runs on the affordable side of things, so it’s a nice hat for runners looking to buy on a budget.
Pros
  • Reflective details

  • Wicks moisture

  • Affordable

  • Durable

Cons
  • Could come in more style and color options.


The Criteria We Used To Find The Best Running Hats

When you’re doing your research so you can select the best running hat to meet your needs, you’ll want to consider a few criteria points to evaluate. Those criteria points include warmth, comfort, durability, and value. We’ll discuss each one of these points in a bit more detail below.

Warmth

Since one of the primary reasons you’ll want to wear a hat when you run is to stay warm, you’ll want to make sure you pick a hat that provides you with enough temperature regulation to keep yourself comfortable. Having a hat that is not warm enough or too warm can make you feel uncomfortable when you’re dealing with cold winter temperatures.

One important feature to look for with your hat design when you are considering warmth is a good ventilation system. Since you don’t want your hat to make your head feel so warm you overheat, and you are likely to perspire as you run and don’t want to wind up with a moist head, either. Feeling like you are overheating can create a lot of discomfort. Also, if you sweat too much and your hat doesn’t breathe, you may wind up drenched in your own sweat and cold from the moisture of your perspiration.

Making sure your hat has either a breathable material on it that can repel moisture away from the skin, or making sure your hat ventilates well enough to push the sweat build-up outside can help you feel much better on your runs. Most manufacturers of running hats nowadays have the technology and knowledge to know you need a hat that keeps the sweat away from your skin and dries out easily.

Aside from making sure you purchase a hat with a decent ventilation system, you also want to make sure the hat you buy has enough insulation or thermal capabilities to keep your head warm when you are on the trail during the cold winter days. Even hats that are thin often have some kind of insulation or thermal regulation properties, and help keep you from losing heat in the cold weather.

Determining how warm you want to feel, how much insulation you need, and how much ventilation will feel comfortable to you is really a matter of personal preference. So, it’s important for you to know what you will feel comfortable with prior to making a decision about what type of hat you want to purchase.

Comfort

Determining how comfortable your hat feels when you wear it will be dictated by the hat’s materials as well as the hat’s overall fit. You obviously don’t want to purchase a hat that doesn’t feel comfortable against your skin or rubs, because it will make your run miserable and most likely you’ll stop wearing your hat and thus waste your money.

What materials feel comfortable is sometimes a matter of personal opinion, but you can check how you feel about a hat’s materials by trying it on. Also, if you are able to hold the hat, you should feel around on the internal area of the hat to see if the material feels soft to the touch. Many manufacturers nowadays design the interior areas of their hats to feel soft and comfortable against the skin, and by simply touching the interior or the hat, you can test what you think in one easy move.

How the seams are designed into a hat can also determine a lot about how comfortable the hat will feel as you run. If the seams on the hat stick out, especially on the interior area of the hat, this can rub against your head and create a lot of discomfort. Many manufacturers make their hats nowadays with flat seams, so that the seams lay flat against your head, don’t rub, and don’t even feel like they are there.

Comfort is very important to your hat’s functionality, and will also determine whether or not you even decide to wear your hat. So, checking the comfort is important, because you want something you know you’ll feel good in and want to wear on your runs.

Fit

The fit is another important element that will dictate how comfortable your hat feels when you wear it. The fit is probably one of the most important features of your hat and will also determine how often you’ll wear it. If you wind up with a hat that is too small, it is more likely to cut off the circulation to your head, and that can not only make you feel colder but very uncomfortable. If the hat is too large, it’s likely to rub against your skin and create skin irritations, another situation you want to avoid when you are on the trails.

Some hat manufacturers make hats in a wide variety of sizes so that you can select the size that feels best, and still, others make hats that are very adjustable. Making sure you buy a hat that either comes in various sizes or is adjustable can also help you find the right size, so you feel more comfortable on your runs.

How do you determine your size so that you can make sure your hat fits you well? Follow our steps below to help you figure out sizing.

  1. Measure your head. You need to know your correct head size if you’re going to purchase a hat that fits it correctly. To measure your head, you just need a tape measurer. Take the tape measurer and move it around your head above your ears and eyebrows, or about where a hat would sit on your head. Take down the inches of your head size as well as the centimeters, because depending on the brand, you may have either inches or centimeters provided to dictate the correct hat size.
  2. Go to the store and try the hats you are interested in once you know your size, and select the one that fits right and also brings you the functionality you really want. After you get your hat, make sure to take the tags and stickers off. You don’t want things like that on your hat as you run, because they can rub and create other problems. Then, you are ready to go.

Since people’s heads come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, you do need to know your head size and any other unique features to figure out what type of hat will fit comfortably. Once you find the hat that has all the features you want and gives you a great fit, you’re set.

Ventilation

Owning a hat with a good ventilation becomes important even when the weather is cold outside. Since you do want a hat that will keep your head warm, you’ll be looking for something with insulation or thermal properties to regulate your temperature. However, even when the weather is cold, you’re going to wind up sweating as you run. If your hat can’t ventilate that sweat out, you’ll wind up with a head that’s either going to overheat from your own body heat, or with a head that’s wet and cold since it is drenched in sweat, trapped inside your hat.

So, some kind of ventilation in your hat, even when you are using it to keep yourself warm, is important to consider. To some people, the level of ventilation that is really needed can depend on how much warmth they really want, and sometimes there is a trade-off between these two features when you purchase a hat. But still, even if the hat is somewhat breathable and you want it to feel very warm, then you’ll be okay. When the ventilation is hardly there, you’re likely to experience overheating or sweat build-up problems.

Make sure you select a hat that has some kind of moisture wicking potential so that it can push the moisture from your perspiration to the outside of the hat. Some hats will come with vents, while others will use breathable materials to help with ventilation. You want to make sure you select the hat that offers either one of those two things and ventilates well enough to keep you comfortable throughout your run.

Durability

Much about the durability of your hat will depend on the seams and the material used in the hat. Some hat manufacturers make hats that include reinforced seams and double stitching. While all of that is an excellent sign of durability, if you purchase a hat with reinforced seams, make sure you check the seams on the interior of the hat. If the hat doesn’t have flat seams, and the seams are thick, this could create problems with the seams rubbing up against your head as you run. So, reinforced seams are always an excellent sign of durability, but also make sure you check the seams on the interior of the hat to make sure they won’t chafe your skin.

Running hats come in a wide variety of materials nowadays. We’ll discuss some of the commonly used materials for these types of hats, and what the materials mean for the hat.

  • Cotton. Cotton is one of the most common fabrics you’ll find in hats and clothes, but it’s not an extremely popular material for running hats. Cotton doesn’t typically ventilate well and can create a lot of sweat build-up on the interior area of the hat. Also, cotton isn’t quite as durable as some other materials.
  • Wool. Some of the hats on our list are made of wool or a combination of materials that includes wool. Wool is a very soft material that feels great against the skin, and it also offers a lot of flexibility. Plus, wool has a lot of natural insulation that makes it a good choice for running hats. Wool is also fire-resistant and durable as a material.
  • Polyester. Polyester is widely used in many running hats and is a breathable material that helps add extra ventilation to the hat. Polyester is also comfortable to wear, and very durable and long lasting.
  • Acrylic. Some hat manufacturers use acrylics to make their hats, and acrylic hats give you some level of sun protection. Acrylic is not as durable as polyester, but more durable than cotton, and also provides you with a bit of extra sunscreen.
  • Nylon. Nylon is used often on hats for mesh panels and extra ventilation. Most hats aren’t made totally of nylon, but you’ll often find nylon in hats combined with other materials.

Most durable hats come in either polyester or wool and might be combined with other materials to add more flexibility and ventilation to the hat’s features. While durability is an important factor to consider, you do want to make sure you select a hat that has the type of material that feels comfortable to you. If that material is less durable than a different material, it’s almost always better to go for comfort.

Value

If you are shopping on a budget for your hat, you will want to factor in how much value you’ll get with your hat purchase. Value can be important, as some high-quality hats are still very affordable, and the price doesn’t always dictate exactly what type of performance you’ll get from your hat. With hats, some brand names simply cost more and might not even make hats that are as functional as their cheaper counterparts. So, remember, if you are shopping on a budget, you can purchase a good hat and save a bit of money.

Other Things To Look For

Reflective Elements

If you tend to run often when the sunlight is low, then you might want to consider getting a hat that has some reflective features in it. Reflective elements make you more visible to oncoming traffic and keep you safe as you run. Several of the hats we provided on our list offer reflective elements. Of course, if you plan on running before the sun is up or after it goes down, you should think about a hat with reflective elements just to stay safe.

Brims

Some running hats come with brims, while others are made as beanies or skull caps. Some runners prefer to have a hat with a brim because of the extra shade and protection from rain against the face this offers. However, not all runners like brims, especially during the winter time. Really, whether or not you want a hat with a brim is a matter of personal preference.

 

FAQ

Q: Why is ventilation so important if I want to use my hat to stay warm?

You want a hat that ventilates because you don’t want to wind up with a pool of sweat on your head or overheating from excessive temperature. If a hat ventilates well, it will push moisture to the exterior area of the hat so you don’t experience moisture build up as you sweat. That helps your head stay dry, warm, and also prevents overheating.

Q: If I have long hair, do some hats help me deal with that?

Yes, if you have longer hair, you’ll notice that some manufacturers of hats have ponytail holes on their hats to help you hold and control your hair.

Q: Can a hat help with aerodynamics when I run?

Yes. Although a lot of runners don’t think about how a headpiece or lack of one can increase their drag, a streamlined hat build for running can help cut a few seconds off of your running time. All runners know a few seconds can make a big difference in a race.

Q: Do hats made for running offer some weather protection?

Yes, some hats made for running offer features that help protect you from different elements. Some hats have sun protection in them, others are water-resistant, and others are wind-resistant. Not all hats on our list include all of these types of weather protection, but weather protection is available if that’s something you really want when you purchase your hat.

Q: Should I consider fashion and style into my hat decision before I make my purchase?

If style and fashion are important to you, then you can certainly factor it in. Some people need to look good to feel good, and they need that psychological boost to perform better. If looking good really does help you perform better, then there is no reason to not find a fashionable hat. Just make sure that hat also has all the functionality you need.

Q: Do I need a running hat or can I use a sweatband?

Sweatbands are a good idea when the weather is warmer, but if you’re running in the cold winter weather, you need something that will help with blood flow and keep your head warm. So, during the winter, you will want to wear a hat when you run.

Final Thoughts

Now that we have looked in depth at why a running hat is so important at keeping you warm and retaining your body heat, you should have a good idea of which running hat would best fit your style and terrain you will be running in. Keep in mind that the running hat is one of the important accessories that a runner can have on them, as when the temperatures drop if your head is not fully protected, it can have a great impact on how long you can run for and may get you hibernating sooner than you hoped.

 

Sources

  1. Ryan Sabin, Best Beanies for Running, Informational Running Website, Oct 06, 2017
  2. Krista Sheehan, The Best Hats for Running in the Rain, Informational Health Website, Sep 11, 2017
  3. Grid, 5 Reasons to Wear Running Hats, Informational Running Website, May 11, 2017
  4. Evo, How to Buy Hats, Informational Running Website, Sep 15, 2017
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