In addition to SPF and sticking to the shady side of the street, a good hat is a must for me every time I lace up my sneakers and take to the streets. Somehow, though, despite my best efforts to minimize sun exposure when sweating outside, I’ve struggled to find the perfect running hat. (The wide-brim cotton visor I’ve been wearing for my weekly park loops is not doing it for me.)
If you’re serious about your pavement-pounding gear, you need a hat specifically designed to go the miles with you. The best running hats are made with lightweight, sweat-wicking, breathable materials, says trainer and runner Victoria O’Neil, CPT, run coach for STRIDE. “Wearing a hat allows me to really tune into my body, breath, and stride,” she says. I ‘sweat a lot when I run, so I want a lightweight hat that ventilates well and doesn’t keep moisture or heat in.” #Relatable!
A snug sweatband is a must, too. “I don’t want to keep having to readjust my hat as I run, so I look for a form-fitting hat or a hat with an adjustable strap,” she adds. Your best bet is to opt for a topper that’s made from a moisture-wicking material like Nylon or polyester.
To keep your next run shady, gear up with one of these picks from O’Neil and seasoned runners on the Women’s Health team; they’re the best running hats in the game.
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Best All-Weather Hat
This unisex running hat is feather-light, made from fast-drying fabric, and features sleek, laser-cut ventilation. “I love On shoes, and they have equally awesome hats,” says O’Neil.
This one has an adjustable band and is wicking. Even better, the fabric holds up in any weather condition, from the extreme sun to rain (hellooo, waterproof).
Best Running Hat For Bigger Heads
Dri-FIT Swoosh Perforated Cap
If your style skews minimalist (like me) and you’re working with a larger noggin (also me), this simple Nike hat is sleek and sweat-proof.
Yes, it’s technically a men’s hat, but it’s one of the only options that I’ve found that fits comfortably and looks pretty chic. I love it in Anthracite and Black, but fret not, color lovers; it comes in brighter colors, too!
Best Running Hat For Super-Sweaty Runs
Women’s Threadborne Fly by Cap
If you’re the type to sweat up a storm no matter the workout, this hat, made from a stretchy mesh, is the running hat for you. Its breathability also makes it a must in hot-AF weather.
“What I love about this hat is the super lightweight fabric that never makes me overheat,” says Women’s Health staff writer Jennifer Nied.
Best Winter Running Hat
Trail Summit™ Beanie II
Outdoor runs in frigid temps are a hard pass without a hat—but you won’t want to rely on the same cap you’d wear in the heat.
Enter this stretchy, breathable, moisture-wicking skullcap, complete with a thermal-reflective lining to ward off icy gusts. “When it gets colder out, keep your noggin and ears warm yet dry with this super-fitted beanie,” O’Neil says.
Best Running Hat To Wear All Day
Lightweight Run Cap
Boasting UPF sun protection, this breathable, polyester hat handles high-intensity workouts outside without looking crazy sporty.
“It’s lightweight and great for keeping the sun out of my eyes, but also looks polished and goes with everything on days when I’m just running errands,” says Women’s Health digital director Robin Hilmantel.
Bonus: it features an adjustable strap for a perfect fit.
Best Running Hat For Small Heads
Fast and Free Women’s Run Hat Elite
With four-way stretch and mesh panels, this running hat stands up to ultra-active, sweaty workouts without a prob.
It’s also great for anyone with a smaller noggin. “Size matters for hats, and this one has a smaller bill and shorter height, so it fits perfectly without squishing your ears,” Nied says.
Bonus features include moisture-wicking fabric, an adjustable back closure, and reflective details.
Best Athletic Running Hat
Aether’s unisex hat looks like a trendy baseball cap, but it’s built to perform. Made from 100-percent Nylon and featuring a moisture-wicking mesh sweatband on the interior, it’s lightweight and breathable. Plus, the adjustable back closure helps you get an optimal fit.
Best Reflective Running Hat For Low-Light Conditions
Women’s Shadow 2.0 Cap
This hat is one of O’Neil’s favorites for a few reasons: “It’s breathable, form-fitting, and has a reflective logo in case you run before the sun comes up or after it goes down,” she says.
It’s also machine-washable and features a soft, unstructured design that forms to your head for an adjustment-free run.
Most Comfortable Running Hat
Real talk: Ill-fitting hats are often more trouble than they’re worth—but this one practically guarantees an annoyance-free run.
“There’s so much I love about this cap,” says Nied. “The bill and strap adjust for a totally custom fit, it’s so light I forget I’m wearing it, and the interior, sweat-wicking, cushioned mesh make it a must on hot, sunny run.” Talk about a rave review.
Best Lightweight Running Hat
Unisex Pack Run Cap
Available in everything from bold prints to plain black, this running hat is exceptionally lightweight. (It weighs only one ounce!)
It’s also great for travel and long days in the sun thanks to its crushable brim and UPF protection. A few other pros for O’Neil:
“It’s stylish, has a built-in sweatband, and is compressible,” O’Neil says. Oh, and did I mention the unique adjustable drawstring?
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