Best Running Hats
While modern science has debunked the myth about 45% of your body heat escaping from your head, it’s still nice to hold in warmth where you can in those frigid winter months. For more info on what type of gear do you need during such extreme cold weather, check this guide.
In the winter, running can actually become more enjoyable with the right winter running gear. A great article of clothing to keep you warm, comfortable, and happily running are the running hats.
However, not just any hat will cut it. While most of these winter running accessories are beanies, they all have certain features that make them stand out, such as breathability or reflectivity or simply great color options. So join us on the ride of checking the top 10 products.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
One size fits all
Microfleece inner for warmth
Outer shell wicks moisture
Top Ten Running Hats
1. Tough Headwear Running Beanie
One size fits all
Microfleece inner for warmth
Outer shell wicks moisture
Not ideal for extreme temperatures
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.Read more
The inner is made from thin and lightweight fleece to provide warmth, though it 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 are in rainy or snowy conditions.
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 not to 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.
The polyester blend material is designed to take a beating and is machine washable and easy to care for. This hat will last you a long time.
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.
2. Asics Thermopolis LT
Lite-Show reflective logo
Fits tight, like a swim cap, for some
This ruched beanie is marketed towards women but could be used by anyone with long hair. It features a low ponytail opening that holds your hair in place while you run. The double-layered construction and snug fit offer great insulation and comfort.Read more
The Thermopolis LT ruched beanie is made from 92% Polyester and 8% Spandex. It features double-layered construction to provide exceptional warmth and comfort. The beanie does not look very long in the photos, but reviewers have assured us that it is long enough to cover your ears.
With non-irritating seams and a comfortably snug fit, what’s not to love about this beanie? It is very soft and lightweight and provides a significant boost of warmth when running. Polyester is natural moisture-wicking, helping to keep you warm, comfortable, and dry on your runs. There is a ponytail opening near the bottom of the beanie where you can easily pull your hair through.
There have been minimal durability concerns with the Thermopolis Ruched beanie for women. You most likely won’t need to wash it after each run. It is machine washable and dries very quickly.
This beanie is very affordably priced. Especially considering the brand name that it holds, its comfort, and durability. As bonuses, it is also reversible and features a Lite-Show reflective logo on the back. This is an excellent choice for women (or men) with long hair.
3. The North Face Bones Beanie
Wide range of colors
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
This is a more expensive option, but The North Face is well known for their quality, and this hat is no exception.
4. Nike Pro Combat Skull Cap
Can feel like it fits too tight
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.Read more
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.
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.
Nike uses plenty of high-quality materials in this cap’s design, which helps make it long-lasting. You’ll be able to use this cap for many seasons and still get the warmth you want.
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.
5. 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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
6. Smartwool 250 Cuffed Beanie
Great patterns and colors
Anti-odor and moisture wicking
Can run small
Durability could be improved
For many people, when they see the brand Smartwool they immediately think of socks. However, the same dedication and techniques of the praised merino wool Smartwool socks shine in this beanie. It is not a beanie that is specifically made for running, but it's comfort, heat retention, and moisture-wicking abilities make it a great option.Read more
Merino Wool seems to be the reigning champ of insulation and breathability, right? This beanie from Smartwool is made from 100% Merino Wool. The interlocking knit fibers are double layered for extra warmth. The 250g weight of the wool provides sufficient warmth but may not be enough for freezing temps.
Besides a few reviewers claiming that this “one size fits all” beanie is a little bit tight, there are no other comfort complaints. The material is incredibly soft and feels great on your skin and hair. The Merino Wool is naturally moisture-wicking and anti-odor. Overall, this beanie packs a lot in a small package and weighs only .15-pounds.
Thanks to the natural wicking and anti-odor characteristics of Merino Wool, you will rarely need to wash this beanie. One downside to this great material is its durability. You must be delicate with these types of garments. The biggest concern is abrasions. If you are running through the wilderness you should cautious to not catch the hat on a tree. When the time comes to wash the beanie, use a garment bag and the delicate cycle, or do it by hand.
Pricewise, this beanie costs more than some of our other options. However, we do love the characteristics of the Merino Wool, the great print and color options, and the fact that the beanie is reversible. It is a stylish beanie that can be used for much more than just running. To top it all of, it comes with a two-year warranty!
7. Under Armour Storm Elements
Brushed fleece interior
Wide range of colors
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.Read more
This hat is equipped with Under Armour's ColdGear infrared technology, which is a thermo-conductive inner coating that serves to retain your body heat, keeping you warm in colder weather. The outer uses their Storm water-resistant coating to remain dry without compromising on breathability.
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.
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; wash in cold water and dry on low heat.
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.
8. Paramount Beanie by Adidas
Could come in more style and color options
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.Read more
The Paramount is made from Adidas's signature yarns--a blend of acrylic and polyester) and will lock in heat while also wicking away sweat.
Made with Climawarm yarns, this Adidas hat will keep you warm without overheating. The material wicks away sweat so you won't have to worry on your long, cold runs.
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.
The Paramount Beanie features a lot of extra benefits, including reflective elements for extra visibility in 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.
9. Turtle Fur Midweight
UPF 50+ fabric
Wide range of colors
Runs slightly small
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.Read more
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.
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 more massive head. The inner fleece is soft and comfortable, and the outer shell is made of UPF 50+ protective fabric.
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.
With an affordable price, the Turtle Fur Midweight Beanie will be a significant investment, offering features and warmth without breaking the bank, and is durable enough last you a long time.
10. Trailheads Ponytail Performance Beanie
Slot for ponytail
4-way stretch fabric
Not ideal for extreme temperatures
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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 cap 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.
Your hat should have enough insulation or thermal capabilities to keep your head warm when you are on the trail during the cold winter days.
Thin hats often have some 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 a matter of personal preference. So, you need to know what you will feel comfortable with before deciding on what type of hat you want to purchase.
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 don’t want to purchase a cap 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 can hold the hat, you should touch around on the internal area of the hat to see if the material feels soft to the touch. Many manufacturers nowadays design the interior spaces of their hats to feel soft and comfortable against the skin, and by merely touching the interior of the hat, you can test what you think in one smooth 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 discomforts. 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 essential to your hat’s functionality, and will also determine whether or not you even decide to wear your hat. So, checking the comfort is essential, because you want something you know you’ll feel good in and want to wear on your runs.
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. Hats made for running 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 is one of the most common fabrics you’ll find in hats and clothes, but it’s not an extremely popular material. 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.
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 is widely used 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.
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 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.
The 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.
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 significant, as some high-quality hats are still very affordable, and the price doesn’t always dictate precisely what type of performance you’ll get from your hat. With hats, some brand names 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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Keep in mind that a running hat is one of the important accessories that a winter runner can have. When the temperatures drop and your head is not fully protected the impact on how long you can run is significant, which may have you hibernating sooner than you hoped.
Working our way down the body, another great cold-weather running accessory is a running scarf or neck gaiter. These hats are great for protecting your head, but for extra warmth, you are going to want something about your neck. Some of the best options are made from Merino Wool. This wool keeps you warm without compromising breathability.
Daylight hours are shorter in the winter. Even if you stick to your routine and regular running time, in the winter, it may already be starting to get dark outside. This is why reflectiveness and visibility are so important. A hat that is brightly colored or has reflective trim or logo is ideal for running in low-light situations. You may also want to consider adding a headlamp to your winter running gear.
Other Factors to Consider
The fit is another critical element that will dictate how comfortable your hat feels when you wear it. The fit is probably one of the essential features of your hat and will also determine how often you’ll wear it. If you wind up with a cap 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. For additional help on this, read our guide on the best skincare products.
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 very adjustable hats. 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 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. Write 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.
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.
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 wintertime. Really, whether or not you want a hat with a brim is a matter of personal preference.
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 moisture. Feeling like you are overheating can create a lot of discomfort. Try some models of headbands or sweatbands.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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: 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 example of spring running gear, 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.