Best Running Hats

Whenever you plan to hit the trails during the cold weather, you’ll want to make sure you keep your head warm and protected so that you are better able to trap in and retain your body heat. Purchasing well-insulated running hats can help you feel more comfortable on the trails when the temperature drops.

Since there are many options in running hats available on the market today, we’ve created a list of some of the best running hats you’ll find available for purchase. Also, we’ll discuss some of the criteria you’ll want to use so you know how to evaluate your hat purchase to help you buy the hat that’s just right for you.

Seirus Thermax
  • Seirus Thermax
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable
  • Reversible
  • Price: See Here
ASICS Thermopolis
  • ASICS Thermopolis
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comfortable fit
  • Very warm
  • Price: See Here
Nike Therma-Fit
  • Nike Therma-Fit
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stylish
  • Comfortable
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Running Hats

 

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

  

Nike Therma-Fit Reversible

If you want an effective beanie that’s made to keep your warm during all of your winter weather runs, then you’ll love the affordable price of Nike’s Therma-Fit Reversible hat. Designed to give you the thermal regulation you need even when the temperature drops, you’ll love how this beanie looks and feels.
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Warmth:

Nike’s Therma-Fit Reversible Hat is designed with Therma-Fit technology built into the beanie, meaning it’s got what you need to boost your warmth when the weather is cold outside. The technology in this beanie works well as a great insulation system.

Comfort:

Nike’s Therma-Fit Reversible Hat features a soft fabric on the interior of the hat, which is soft to the touch and very comfortable to wear. While the hat doesn’t always seem to fit right, if you are able to find a good size, you’ll be happy with your results.

Durability:

Designed with reinforced top seams, this hat is built to last, and has the design to take a lot of abuse. You’ll be able to use this beanie for a while before you’ll need to worry about replacing it.

Value:

Priced affordably, this beanie brings you a lot of benefits and features that make it a great investment. Not only will it last you for a while, but you’ll also get everything you need with this hat’s design.
Pros
  • Pretty warm

  • Durable

  • Comfortable

  • Great design

Cons
  • Doesn’t have a great fit

  • Could have better ventilation

  

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

  

Craft Active WS Skull

Craft Active WS Skull
If you plan on hitting the trails in an area that has the potential to push cold weather to the extreme during the winter, then you’ll love the amount of warmth you’ll get from Craft’s Active WS Skull Hat. This hat can handle temperatures that run below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, helping you to feel warm and comfortable whenever you hit the trails.
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Warmth:

Made from 92% polyester and 8% EPTFE materials, this hat is made to boost your warmth even when the winter weather falls into freezing temperatures. If you know you’re going to be running outside when the weather gets very cold, you’ll love how warm your head will feel each time you wear this hat.

Comfort:

Designed with comfort in mind, this hat features flatlock seams that make the hat fit flat and snugly without adding the potential for rubbing and creating skin irritation. Also, this hat brings you a great ventilation system, and will help keep your head dry even as you perspire.

Durability:

Made with some high-quality materials and an excellent design, Craft’s Active WS Skull Hat is built to last. It has a strong combination of materials that will help make it last for many seasons.

Value:

Craft’s Active WS Skull Hat does tend to run on the more expensive end of things. However, considering the amount of durability you get from the hat, it’s still a nice purchase.
Pros
  • Very warm

  • Comfortable

  • Durable

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Can run small

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

Smartwool PhD Reversible

Smartwool PhD Reversible
Designed with comfort, warmth, and style in mind, you’ll love both the way you look and feel in Smartwool’s PhD Reversible Beanie. This beanie also provides a lot of flexibility and a very comfortable fit, so you’ll always feel good when you are on the go.
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Warmth:

Made from 56% merino wool and 44% polyester, the materials built into this hat provide a lot of effective warmth and insulation. Your head will stay warm while the hat works to regulate your body heat inside the hat.

Comfort:

Designed with a 4-way stretch fabric material, this hat is very flexible and designed to move as you do, so you’ll never feel restricted while you are on the go. Smartwool’s PhD Reversible Beanie also comes with flatlock seams so the hat won’t ever rub against your head.

Durability:

The materials used to make Smartwool’s PhD Reversible Beanie help make the hat strong, so it can withstand a lot of abuse when you are on the trails. Because of its durability, you’ll get a lot of use out of this hat.

Value:

Smartwool’s PhD Reversible Beanie comes in the moderate price range, so it’s not overly expensive or overly affordable. Because of this hat’s durability, you will still get a lot for the price.
Pros
  • UPF 20 sun protection

  • Comfortable fabrics

  • Flatlock seams

  • Warm

Cons
  • One size fits all, means it may not fit everybody well.

  • Could ventilate better

The North Face Standard

The North Face Standard
Designed from very warm fleece materials, The North Face’s Standard Issue Beanie will keep your body heat well regulated when you hit the trails during the winter. Made for comfort and providing a great fit, this hat both looks great and feels great.
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Warmth:

The North Face’s Standard Issue Beanie is designed to be slightly thicker than some other hats on our list, and features a fleece material for added warmth. This hat insulates well and helps provide the thermal boost you’ll want when the temperature drops outside.

Comfort:

The interior area of this hat is very soft and smooth, which makes it feel great against your skin each time you wear it. Also, this hat ventilates well so that you won’t feel an uncomfortable build-up of sweat underneath your hat.

Durability:

The North Face, as a brand, is known for developing high-quality products for the outdoors that are made to last. The North Face’s Standard Issue Beanie is no different, and is made to be strong and durable so it will last you for a while.

Value:

Like many of The North Face’s products, this hat is a bit more expensive than some of the other options on our list. However, the durability of this hat does make it a solid investment.
Pros
  • Thick

  • Lightweight

  • Dries quickly

  • Warm and comfortable

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Can fit small

Salomon Active

Salomon Active
Salomon’s Active Beanie is designed for versatility, since it helps keep your head warm as you run but can also fit under a helmet if you decide you want to partake in other activities. Manufactured to keep your head warm while offering a great ventilation system, you’ll love the way your head feels each time you use this beanie.
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Warmth:

Manufactured from a microfleece material, this hat is made to boost insulation and keep your head warm. Salomon’s Active Beanie helps keep your head thermally regulated so that you’ll always feel great when you hit the trails.

Comfort:

Salomon’s Active Beanie brings you a great ventilation system so your head won’t feel wet even as you sweat. Plus, this hat also comes with reflective features, which can make you more visible and keep you much safer even when you run in low light.

Durability:

This beanie is made from high-quality materials that combine to help it last, so you’ll be able to use the hat for a while. Considering the hat’s excellent protective features, it’s strength will give you several seasons of use.

Value:

Salomon’s Active Beanie is priced in the affordable range, meaning it offers a lot of benefits for runners shopping on a budget. Also, because the hat is so durable, you’ll get a lot of use for what you’ll pay.
Pros
  • Good ventilation

  • Reflective features

  • Warm

Cons
  • Has a ponytail hole that can be irritating.

  • Interior of the hat can fit tight.

Columbia Sportswear Trail Flash

Columbia Sportswear Trail Flash
If you want a high-quality hat that will help keep your head warm on your runs, then you might want to consider Columbia’s Sportswear Trail Flash. This hat features a variety of benefits, including great ventilation and reflective elements.
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Warmth:

Columbia’s Sportswear Trail Flash is made from 85% polyester and 15% elastane jersey, you’ll get the materials you need to help keep your head warm on your runs. This hat helps to boost your thermal temperature regulation so you’ll feel comfortable on your runs.

Comfort:

Made with Omni-Wick evaporation technology, this hat is very breathable, so you’ll get plenty of ventilation even as you sweat. Columbia’s Sportswear Trail Flash has a lot of moisture wicking potential, so you’ll never feel moist from wearing the hat.

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:

Since Columbia’s Sportswear Trail Flash 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

  • Dries fast

  • Affordable

  • Durable

Cons
  • Hat can fit small

  • Could come in more style and color options.

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.

     


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

Fit is another important element that will dictate how comfortable your hat feels when you wear it. 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 on 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 cloths, 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 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 thing 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 bit 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.

 

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