Best Running Hats for 2021
When running, you must wear the correct gear to keep yourself warm and dry. Over the winter months, you can easily get cold and lose a lot of heat via your head, so you should wear a good quality hat that will keep your head warm but allow it to breathe. When the weather gets warmer, it is also important that you wear a hat as it protects your head from the sunlight and keeps it well ventilated.
Whether you like wearing a cap, hat, or winter beanie, we have selected some of the best running hats on the market. Warmth, breathability, and style, we have chosen something for everyone. Enjoy shopping!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
Made from 100% Merino wool
Contains a natural elasticity
Contains moisture-wicking properties
Top Running Hats
Made from 100% Merino wool
Contains a natural elasticity
Contains moisture-wicking properties
Sold for a mid-price
Some reviewers found that the hat lost its shape soon after worn
If you need a hat to wear on your next run during the cold winter days, then the Minus33 Merino wool beanie is the perfect option because it is warm, comfy, and stretchy!Read more
The benefit of this cuff Wool beanie is that it is guaranteed to keep you warm on a cold winter’s day, whilst still being lightweight. Made from Merino wool, this hat will insulate you against high temperatures and will not easily catch fire.
The beanie is made from 100% Merino wool which is super soft and comfy against your skin. The hat contains a natural elasticity, making it stretchy and it features flatlock seams. Merino wool is a moisture-wicking material that works by regulating the amount of moisture on your skin. It absorbs any liquid or sweat from your head and evaporates it out of the fabric and into the air.
Having been made from Merino wool, this beanie is machine washable and can be dried easily. The material also resists odors ensuring your head smells fresh.
Available in 19 different colors, this beanie from Minus33 is being sold for a mid-price.
2. The North Face Bones
Wide range of colors
Featuring soft microfleece and a classic design, The North Face Bones hat 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 provides 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 its quality, and this hat is no exception.
3. Nike Pro
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.
It 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 mean 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.
4. Pearl Izumi
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 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.
5. Smartwool 250
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 hiking socks. However, the same dedication and techniques of the praised merino wool Smartwool socks shine in this beanie.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 option 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!
6. 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 option, 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.
7. Nike Authentic Sphere
Sphere dry technology
Hook and loop closure
A little stiff
The Nike Authentic Sphere cap is extremely quick drying and comfortable to wear. Great for running in the heat.Read more
The cap features sphere dry technology that guarantees moisture control and quick-drying performance.
Made from 100% polyester, this is another of our Nike caps that are lightweight and extremely comfortable you will not want to take it off. The cap is adjustable, featuring a hook and loop closure.
This cap is extremely durable and can withstand a lot of wear.
This Nike cap is available in 10 different colors, giving you plenty of designs to pick from. The cap comes in one size, however, the hook and loop closure makes this cap adjustable. The cap is being sold for a high price so if you have some extra money to spend this could be a good buy.
100% polyester fleece
Soft against skin
Only available in 3 colors
Comes in 1 size
This colorful beanie from Carhartt is guaranteed to keep you warm. Made of fleece, it's perfect for the coldest month and early morning runs.Read more
This men’s beanie will keep your head warm in colder temperatures and when taking part in a range of outdoor sports activities.
It is made from a 100% polyester fleece material. This material is extremely soft against the skin and is stretchy allowing the hat to be easily pulled onto your head.
This beanie is machine washable and extremely durable.
The hat comes in two different colors including lime and orange. It is available in one size only and is being sold for an affordable price.
9. Under Armour Blitzing 3.0
The front panel is backed with a foam padding
Available in 27 colors
Not ideal for extreme temperatures
Made from performance materials and offering a classic fit, this signature Under Armour Men’s Blitzing 3.0 Cap is an easy choice.Read more
When it comes to insulation, this is one of our cooler hats that are best worn in the summer months. It has a pre-curved visor and HeatGear sweatband that protect you against sunlight and keep you cool. The cap is made from 84% polyester and 16% elastane. The UA Microthread fabrics also use re-engineered fibers that provide a good level of breathability and stretch.
The men’s cap features a pre-curved visor and structured front panels that help maintain the shape of the hat and make it extremely comfy to wear. The cap also features a front panel that is backed with foam padding, providing additional comfort. The hat has a built-in HeatGear sweatband that wicks away sweat, keeping you cool and dry. The cap offers a stretchy construction making it comfy to wear.
This Under Armour Men’s Blitzing 3.0 Cap is machine washable and extremely durable.
The cap is available in 27 different colors and comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from X-Small to XX-Large. Sold for an affordable price, this cap is a great buy that you will not want to miss out on.
10. Nike Pro Vapor Skull 4.0
Features flat seams
Comes in 1 size only
Some reviewers found that the fabric used was extremely tight against the skin
Simple but stylish, the Nike Pro Hypercool Vapor Skull Cap 4.0 is another of the favorites that we have included on this list for a good reason.Read more
This cap features a mesh material that has been strategically placed along with the cap, allowing your head to breathe when exercising.
If you like Nike products, then you will love this skull cap. Lightweight and extremely comfy, this hat has been made using a Dri-FIT fabric that will keep your head dry when exercising. The hat has also been carefully constructed, featuring flat seams that sit closely but smoothly against your skin.
This cap is made from a durable, washable fabric.
The cap comes in 3 different colors including Black, Royal Blue, and White. The hat comes in one size, which may not be suitable for some people. Available for a mid-price, this cap from Nike may exceed some people's budgets, however, for the price, you are getting a stylish accessory.
11. Tough Headwear
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 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.
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 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. 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 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.
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.
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. Try also some models of headbands or sweatbands.
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.
q: Does wearing a running hat cool you down?
A running hat can help to cool you down by drawing perspiration away from your head. A running hat also allows air to pass through the fabric easily, cooling down your head and allowing it to breathe.
q: Are polyester hats breathable?
When blended with other fabrics, a polyester hat can be breathable but also exceptionally durable, due to the strength of the polyester.