Hats get a bad rap. It’s something you throw on when you’re in a rush or when you don’t feel like trying. But they’re more than a mere cloaking device—they’re an essential and versatile piece of kit for any serious adventurer. Think about it: Hats keep you warm in winter, shaded in the summer, and looking cool all the time. Can your fancy gloves do that? Didn’t think so.

For such a comparably small investment, the right hat can be worn while jogging your favourite trail or while enjoying a soirée on the town. As you’ll see, the only time not wearing a hat makes sense is while running in slow-motion on the beach, your long, golden locks flowing in the wind. Now, I don’t know what your life is like, but those slow-mo runs happen only rarely in mine.

TL;DR: Our top pick for 2021’s best running hat is the Ciele GoCap. The GoCap offers runners a welcome intersection between function, cost, and style.

The Top Running Hats Reviewed

Best Overall Running Hat:

Between its moisture-wicking properties, reflective detailing, and UV protection (UPF 40+), the Ciele GoCap is designed with function first. That said, its classic style, ultralight design, and attractive range of zesty colors do a lot for its form, too. And, for the price, you really can’t go wrong.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Moisture-wicking
  • Reflective
  • UV protection
  • Ultralight
  • Style
  • Price

Cons

  • Too cool for school
Product Type

Best Cold Weather Running Hat:

Winter running demands gear that’s both tough and technical. When it comes to hats, Ciele’s FSTBeanie delivers on both fronts. The Polartec Power Wool ensures your head stays warm while sweat gets wicked away. Its Polartec Power Grid provides increased durability and coverage. The FSTBeaning dries fast and features reflective labels.

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Pros

  • Insulation
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Fast-drying
  • Reflective

Cons

  • Limited to cold conditions
Product Type

Best Hat for Running in the Rain:

While actually a cycling cap, the Fiandre Norain Cap by Sportful performs just as well for running. It prevents precious warmth from escaping through your head without the risk of overheating. The cap is rated for temperatures as low as 5°C (41F) and weighs just over an ounce. It features a seam-sealed Polartec NeoShell outer that dries fast, sheds water, and is surprisingly windproof. Pro tip: On a rainy night, the Norain cap pairs well with a synthwave playlist.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Reflective
  • Fast-drying

Cons

  • Price
Product Type

Best Lightweight Running Hat:

While the Salomon Air Logo Cap may look like a cycling cap, it’s actually a running cap inspired by its cycling brethren. The mesh top offers excellent breathability, while the thick headband absorbs perspiration so it doesn’t drip into your eyes. Thanks to its lightweight build, the Air Logo also dries incredibly fast. A variety of under-the-visor designs make this cap unique.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Stash-pocket

Cons

  • Too icy for winter
Product Type

Best Running Hat for Hot Weather:

The RunCool Ice Run Hat by Nathan is our favourite for those sweltering days. As the name so eagerly implies, this hat was designed with the sole purpose of keeping your head cool. Besides its lightweight, breathable materials, you might be wondering what makes it superior to the competition. Well, a stash pocket allows you to store actual ice inside your hat. The pocket is handy for other things, as well.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Stash-pocket

Cons

  • Too icy for winter
Product Type

Best Trail Running Hat:

While Karpos may be relatively new to the outdoor gear scene, they’re built on a truly outstanding legacy. So it’s no surprise that their Lavaredo Cap ranks among our favourites when running trails. This cap is as ultralight and breathable as you’d expect, and even features a collapsible visor which lets you carry it in your pocket. A rear drawstring allows for precise adjustments.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Collapsible visor
  • Compact
  • Ultralight
  • Drawcord
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Price
Product Type

Best Running Visor:

Do you tend to overheat while running in a hat? Get the best of both worlds by cutting out the middle-man—literally—and check out the Salomon Sense Visor. A visor is a great alternative to a hat, as it offers better airflow without sacrificing UV protection. Meanwhile, the absorbent headband will keep sweat from falling into your eyes.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Efficient
  • Absorbent
  • Durable
  • Quick-dry

Cons

  • No top
Product Type

What to look for when buying a running hat

Choosing the right running hat isn’t complicated. Here, we make it easier still by detailing exactly which features to focus on.

Fit

Choosing something with an adjustable band is best. Velcro and drawstrings are especially good, as they give you the full range of snugness.

Lightweight

Especially for trail running, it’s nice to have a hat that’s not just light on your head, but can be easily folded and tucked away into a pocket. Lightweight hats also tend to be cooler, which is good for hot days.

Breathability

This is true for both winter and summer running hats: get something that breathes! Be mindful that sweat needs to evaporate. Otherwise, it can accumulate on your scalp and change your core temperature.

Reflective Bands

If you’re especially fond of night of foggy weather, opt for a hat with reflective bands. This safety feature helps ensure you stay visible to drivers in unfavorable conditions.

Washable Fabric

Imagine how much sweat accumulates inside a running hat. So make sure to choose something that’s easily washable and fast-drying. Always follow the washing instructions, especially with delicate fabrics like mesh.

FAQs for running hats

Is it better to run with a hat?

It may seem counterintuitive, but the answer is actually yes. Summer running hats are designed with moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics which permit evaporative sweating. Additionally, their UV-resistant outers protect from the sun’s harmful rays, while the visor reduces glare.

Do you run hotter with a hat on?

There’s no solid evidence one way or the other—it mostly comes down to context and personal preference. Indeed, placing fabric over your head will reduce evaporation, but it will also protect your scalp from direct heat. If you are worried about running hot, consider using a visor or opt for a mesh hat.

Can you run in a beanie?

Traditional beanies may be the go-to headwear for chilly winter days. But warm and toasty as they are, they’re also usually made of that dreadful c-word: cotton. So, if you’re going to run in a beanie, make sure it’s a synthetic or wool-blend. We recommend the Ciele FSTBeanie.

Conclusion

For most endeavors, you can’t go wrong with the Ciele GoCap. Still not sure? Keep browsing—we’ve got plenty of running hat styles to choose from. Next, check out our Complete Guide to Cold Weather Running!