Best Running Hats for 2021

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Minus33
Test Winner: Minus33
Amazon Link
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!

Standout Picks

Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Wool Beanie
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!
Amazon Link
$22.99
The North Face Bones Beanie
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.
Amazon Link
$59.00
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.
Amazon Link
$24.95
Pearl Izumi Winter Thermal Hat
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.
Amazon Link
$22.99
Smartwool Merino Sport 250 Reversible Beanie
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.
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 option, implementing features such as brushed fleece, water-resistant material, and a classic, aesthetically pleasing fit.
Amazon Link
$33.90
Nike Authentic Sphere Quick Dry Low Profile Swoosh Embroidered Adjustable Cap
The Nike Authentic Sphere cap is extremely quick drying and comfortable to wear. Great for running in the heat.
Amazon Link
Carhartt Men's Fleece Beanie
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.
Amazon Link
$16.99
Under Armour Men’s Blitzing 3.0 Cap
Made from performance materials and offering a classic fit, this signature Under Armour Men’s Blitzing 3.0 Cap is an easy choice.
Amazon Link
$25.00
Nike Pro Hypercool Vapor Skull Cap 4.0
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.
Amazon Link
$26.27
Tough Headwear Running Beanie
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.
Amazon Link
$9.95

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Insulation

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.

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 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.

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. 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
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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

Top Running Hats

1. Minus33

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$22.99
Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Wool Beanie
Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Wool Beanie
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

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.

Comfort

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.

Durability

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.

Value

Available in 19 different colors, this beanie from Minus33 is being sold for a mid-price.

Amazon Link
$22.99

2. The North Face Bones

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$59.00
The North Face Bones Beanie
The North Face Bones Beanie
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

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.

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

Amazon Link
$59.00

3. Nike Pro

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$24.95
Nike Pro Combat Skull Cap
Nike Pro Combat Skull Cap
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

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

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.

Durability

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.

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.

Amazon Link
$24.95

4. Pearl Izumi

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$22.99
Pearl Izumi Winter Thermal Hat
Pearl Izumi Winter Thermal Hat
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

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 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.

Amazon Link
$22.99

5. Smartwool 250

Where to buy
Smartwool Merino Sport 250 Reversible Beanie
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

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.

Comfort

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.

Durability

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.

Value

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

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$33.90
Under Armour Men's Storm ColdGear
Under Armour Men's Storm ColdGear
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

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.

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; 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.

Amazon Link
$33.90

7. Nike Authentic Sphere

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Nike Authentic Sphere Quick Dry Low Profile Swoosh Embroidered Adjustable Cap
Nike Authentic Sphere Quick Dry Low Profile Swoosh Embroidered Adjustable Cap
Amazon Link

The Nike Authentic Sphere cap is extremely quick drying and comfortable to wear. Great for running in the heat.

Read more

Insulation

The cap features sphere dry technology that guarantees moisture control and quick-drying performance.

Comfort

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.

Durability

This cap is extremely durable and can withstand a lot of wear.

Value

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.

Amazon Link

8. Carhartt

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$16.99
Carhartt Men's Fleece Beanie
Carhartt Men's Fleece Beanie
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

This men’s beanie will keep your head warm in colder temperatures and when taking part in a range of outdoor sports activities.

Comfort

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.

Durability

This beanie is machine washable and extremely durable.

Value

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.

Amazon Link
$16.99

9. Under Armour Blitzing 3.0

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$25.00
Under Armour Men’s Blitzing 3.0 Cap
Under Armour Men’s Blitzing 3.0 Cap
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

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.

Comfort

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.

Durability

This Under Armour Men’s Blitzing 3.0 Cap is machine washable and extremely durable.

Value

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.

Amazon Link
$25.00

10. Nike Pro Vapor Skull 4.0

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$26.27
Nike Pro Hypercool Vapor Skull Cap 4.0
Nike Pro Hypercool Vapor Skull Cap 4.0
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

This cap features a mesh material that has been strategically placed along with the cap, allowing your head to breathe when exercising.

Comfort

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.

Durability

This cap is made from a durable, washable fabric.

Value

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.

Amazon Link
$26.27

11. Tough Headwear

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$9.95
Tough Headwear Running Beanie
Tough Headwear Running Beanie
Amazon Link

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

Insulation

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.

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 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.

Durability

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.

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.

Amazon Link
$9.95

Sources

  1. Grid, 5 Reasons to Wear Running Hats, Informational Running Website
  2. Evo, How to Buy Hats, Informational Running Website