Runners know it’s important to have the right gear before they go out for a run. Rain or shine, a good running hat will help you stay comfortable.
A running cap is not a regular ball cap. Sweat-wicking material help you stay cool, dry, and comfortable. Like sweatbands, they help prevent sweat from running into your eyes. Many running hats also have built-in UV protection to shield you from the sun.
Running hats are especially helpful for runners with long hair. If you’re working on your form, endurance, or learning a new trail, you don’t want any distractions while you run. But long hair likes to swing into your eyes and mouth at the worst possible moment.
A good hair tie and a running cap works wonders for keeping hair contained, while also keeping you comfortable and distraction-free.
In this article we’ll look at some of the best running hats you can get, what they work for, and the pros and cons of each hat. Let’s get started!
Top 4 Best and Favorites
Salomon XA Cap
Headsweats Reflective Race Running Hat
Buff Pack Run Cap
Salomon Air Logo Cap
Best Overall Running Hat
1. Salomon XA Cap
Like most running caps, the XA has an adjustable back so that you can make sure you have a comfortable fit. But it stands out in less standard features as well.
Despite being made from lightweight, low-density fabric, the XA cap offers Salomon’s Advanced Skin Shield. It’s designed to protect your head from wind and other weather conditions. That works to keep your core temperature more stable, so you can keep running in most weather.
The mesh design still allows for plenty of venting, so you won’t feel like this cap turned into a heating pad on the top of your head.
Its sweatband is highly effective, even for heavy sweaters. You won’t need to worry about getting salt in your eyes. The sweatband is also easy to clean, which will keep your running gear laundry-fresh. No more gym smell.
- Flexible design fits most heads comfortably
- Moisture-wicking sweatband is effective and fast
- UV protection
- Suitable for a wide range of weather
- Won’t hold heat for winter running
- Handwash only
Top Waterproof Cap
2. Salomon Waterproof Cap
Just because you live somewhere with more cloudy skies than sunny ones doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to go for a run outdoors. The right equipment will keep you dry and comfortable. The Salomon Waterproof Cap should definitely be part of your rainy weather gear.
This cap is made from a lightweight, breathable fabric with a waterproofing layer laminated inside. That means that it’s lightweight and comfortable on your head. It will also keep water away from your face and scalp while you run.
This cap is good for more than just rain. Salomon’s Advanced Skin Dry means that all kinds of precipitation, from misty fog to snow, are repelled by the waterproof lining. The lining won’t crack in the cold, so you’ll be able to keep the cap a lot longer.
Are you a night-runner? The fabric is treated for increased reflectivity so you’re more visible and safer on that midnight run.
- Weather protection for a wide variety of conditions
- Tight grip maintains a comfortable hold even on wet skin/hair
- Breathable and waterproof
- Lightweight for added running comfort
- Handwash only
- Only available in two colors
Most Reflective Running Hat
3. Headsweats Reflective Race Running Hat
Sometimes visibility is the most important feature in a running hat. Reflectivity makes it so that friends and family can cheer you on in a race or marathon. It also works to keep you safe on early-morning and late evening runs.
The bright white color on this hat can’t be beaten for superior reflectivity. It is a one-size-fits-most hat, however, so it may not be the best choice for runners with larger or smaller than average heads.
Lightweight fabric makes this a comfortable hat, one you’ll hardly notice as you run. It quickly wicks away moisture, leaving your brow (and eyes) sweat-free, and also vents a ton of heat. No matter how long you’re running, the Reflective Race Running hat will keep you comfortable.
- Highly reflective, greatly increases your visibility as a runner
- Lightweight design, fit most heads
- Fabric wicks away heat and moisture, keeping you comfortable over the long haul
- One size fits all hats aren’t suitable for all runners
Top Portable Running Hat
4. Buff Pack Run Cap
This is the perfect running cap for adventurous runners. If you like to explore new areas, run to your next destination, or just want to be prepared when opportunity strikes, this is a good choice.
The Buff Pack Cap comes in a variety of interesting and distinctive designs that are easy to spot from a distance. You won’t need to worry about losing this cap – it’s vibrant colors are eye-catching.
But its biggest perk is the rollable design. The soft fabric is fully collapsible but will unroll into a usable, structured shape.
That means you can easily go on a run around your favorite campsite and tuck your cap into a pocket until you need it again.
That portability also means you have a lot more flexibility. Running in a well-shaded area where your cap is more distracting than helpful? Go ahead and tuck it away.
It comes with all the usual features for a high-end running cap. Front and back reflective panels keep you safer in low-light, while the adjustable fit design keeps it comfortable for marathon running.
- Keeps its shape even after being rolled or folded
- Lightweight fabric is comfortable on your skin or hair
- Reflective front and back panels
- UPF 50 UV protection
- One Size Fits all design
Best Hat for Running a Marathon
5. Outdoor Research Swift Cap
Outdoor Research knows that you need to be as comfortable as possible while you’re running a marathon. It takes concentration to maintain that level of effort and keep your form correct.
But they also know that you don’t get to pick weather conditions for your marathon, and even that those conditions can change while you’re still running.
This cap offers superior breathability combined with what Outdoor Research calls a ‘rain fly’ for additional waterproofing. That way, you’re ready to face whatever the weather does on race day.
The 2.75-inch long bill is enough to give you good sun and weather protection, without limiting your visibility or getting in the way.
Complete with the moisture-wicking sweat absorption we all expect from a good running cap, The Swift Cap won’t run your marathons for you, but you might think it did.
- Moisture-wicking fabric captures most sweat before it gets in the way
- Both breathable and waterproof, you’re prepared for all weather
- Multi-panel design for lots of structure and solid weather protection
- Room for customization on the back
- One size fits all
- Limited color selection
- No reflective panels
Top Running Hat for Men
6. New Balance 5 Panel Performance Hat
The New Balance Performance hat runs true to size, but those sizes are just a little bit larger than most running caps. You can expect this cap to offer a superior fit compared to one size fits all caps. Plus, that extra room makes it a perfect pick for most men.
You can choose from four different colors. The white is highly visible and distinctive, while the other colors are a little more relaxed for runners who don’t need to be the star of the show.
A push buckle closure in the back gives you even more room to fit the hat to your head. It’s easy to use, and quick to adjust if you ever need a different fit in a pinch.
This cap also brings a lot of reflectivity. It’s brim, logo, and webbing all have reflective elements. It’ll be harder to miss you than to spot you while you’re out running.
- Easy to fit and adjust
- The slightly larger design is perfect for most men
- Multiple size options for added comfort
- Plenty of reflective surfaces
- Slightly thicker fabric than most running caps
Top Running Hat for Women
7. ASICS Women’s Mad Dash Cap
It’s true that there are some differences between men and women. That’s not a bad thing! But in this case, it can make a difference in the quality of your fit.
You see, most caps are made with men’s heads in mind. That’s not just about the size of the cap, it’s also the overall design and dimensions. Women need a slightly different fit, both for the size and shape of their head, but also to work around longer hair.
The ASICS cap won’t make you choose between a good design and a good fit any longer. It’s a running cap designed with women in mind. The lightweight fabric still breathes, wicks away moisture, supports reflective paneling and comes with a glare-reducing bill.
But the design is meant to fit more snugly and comfortably on women’s heads. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: comfort is an incredibly important feature for a running cap.
- Designed to fit women
- Reflective designs spread across the cap
- Moisture-wicking fabric is lightweight and comfortable
- Dark-colored underbill increases visibility and reduces glare
- Not many color options
- Only 1 size
Most Breathable for Hot Weather
8. Salomon Air Logo Cap
The Air cap is well named. It was designed to be as lightweight and breathable as possible. Even the foam visor is a lighter weight than your typical cap bill. Plus, it’s foldable.
With designs that were inspired by seasonal weather – specifically how they look in different seasons – this cap is also a fashionable addition to most running gear.
But its best feature is that it’s incredibly well-vented as well as made from a breathable fabric. The goal with this hat is that you’ll actually forget you’re wearing it. And it’s lightweight enough that might really happen!
While this is a one size fits all item, the flexible back panel adds a layer of comfort more common to sized caps.
It’s also easier to remove and carry with you when you don’t need it. Simply fold it down to tuck in a backpack or pocket and you’re good to go.
- Flexible back panel for added comfort
- Incredibly light breathable fabric construction
- Foldable and portable
- Smaller visor than average
- Limited color selection
- One size fits all construction
Best Hat for Maximum Sun Protection
9. Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap
Any redheads here? Outdoor Research came through on this design with another very purpose-built cap. The Sun Runner may not be winning any fashion competitions, but it will certainly protect your head and neck from UV rays.
How? In addition to the standard bill in front, you’ll also get a cowl drape in back so that absolutely no sun can get through.
The fabric looks thicker than it is. It’ll maintain thermal regulation, but you won’t find it holding a lot of heat against your head and neck.
Dark under brim fabric cuts out early morning and late evening glare. It also has a series of straps and adjustment points so that you can lift the cowl. The strap in front prevents the cowl from flapping open. But it won’t bounce against your face or check enough to be a distraction.
Quick-dry and moisture-wicking features both round out the utility of this design
- Lots of protection from the sun and other elements
- Quick dry
- Moisture-wicking across the whole hat
- Highly comfortable and lightweight
- Additional fabric can be distracting until you’re used to it
Best Value Running Hat
10. GADIEMKENSD Running Cap
If you’re looking for a low-cost running cap that is still more comfortable and effective than your average ball cap, this may just be the cap for you.
GADIEMKENSD’s running cap features a lot of mesh fabric and moisture-wicking capability. It’s designed to keep you cool and comfortable on even the longest runs. The quick-dry feature also means you’ve got a lot more options in weather. It’ll dry quickly and keep you comfortable, even in most rains.
It looks like a fashion stripe. But, the GADIEMKENSD running cap doesn’t have a fashion stripe, it has a reflecting strip.
All those features, and for less than you’ll pay for most generic gaps. This is definitely a good value for the money. Plus, is perfect for new runners who don’t want to invest a lot in the starting gear.
That all comes at a total weight of 2oz, more than light enough to be comfortable on your head.
- Lightweight and highly breathable
- Very affordable
- Reflective strip for added safety
- The quick-dry feature isn’t quite as fast as other hats
Top Running Hat for Soaking Sweat
11. Headsweats Race Hat
Another affordable option, Headsweats has included all their proprietary technology in this hat.
Eventure, their proprietary fabric, is what makes this such a good hat for soaking sweat. A good sweatband does more than keep the salty liquid from running into your eyes. It also needs to quickly dry that sweat.
More than that, it needs to do it quickly enough to make sure you stay cool and don’t have a sticky uncomfortable layer of fabric across your forehead.
While this design looks a good bit more solid than you’d expect, it’s still a highly breathable cap. The fabric lets a lot of airflow through. Beyond that, it also does some of the work of moisture wicking away from the main sweatband.
One big advantage: this is a machine-washable cap.
- Machine washable
- Superior moisture-wicking and breathability
- Comfortable sweatband
- Adjustment strap is relatively short
Best Running Hat for Summer
12. Adidas Superlite Hat
Summer is already challenging enough for runners. While early morning and late evening can be more comfortable, they’re far from ideal running times.
So, for a good summer run, you need gear that matches.
What does that require? Well, for one thing, a lightweight, breathable hat that wicks moisture away and works to keep you cool. The spandex and polyester mix may not sound like the best moisture-wicking material, but this Adidas hat does a wonderful job.
The hook and loop closure in the back is easy to operate. But the real winner is the super-light design. The Superlite hat is just that, and makes it significantly more comfortable than most running caps.
Combine that with UPF 50+ protection, and this is a particularly good cap for those sticky warm summer months.
- Lightweight and comfortable design
- Superior breathability
- Good UV sun protection
- One size fits all
Best Hat for Big Heads
13. Under Armour Launch ArmourVent Cap
While this is a one size fits all cap, that one size is pretty large. If you’ve struggled to find a hat that didn’t pinch or try to fall off your head, this may be a good option.
Under Armour worked hard to get a flexible, comfortable, one size fits all cap for men’s heads.
The color options are pretty typical. But the fabric that handles it all is soft, comfortable, lightweight, and removes a lot of moisture and heat as you run. Customers rave about the sweat-wicking ability on this hat, some even calling it the best Under Armour hat.
Reflective taping on the logo and a few other strategic locations will help keep you safe on your run. Not to mention that the quick-dry means that your hat will be good as new only a short while after your run. Or get caught in the rain!
Add to that the affordability of this style over a sized hat, and it’s clear why this is such a popular cap for men with larger heads.
- Larger than average design
- Stretchy and flexible fabric with superior moisture wicking
- Easy to operate closure
- One size fits all
Top Running Hat for Small Heads
14. 2XU Run Cap
Some things are just classic. The 2XU’s one size fits all cap is one of them. It runs a little to the small side, making it best suited for people who usually do best in smaller cap sizes. But, even with that taken into account, this is still a solid running hat without the excessive bells and whistles of some other designed.
The 2XU only comes in few color option. But the fabric offers reasonable reflectivity. It also wicks away moisture to keep you dry and comfortable while you’re running.
The classic design may not be as sleek as some of the newer alternatives, but it also screams ‘serious athlete’. You know what you need, you know what it takes to get it, and you’ve got a hat that gets the job done.
- Simple, classic design
- Fits smaller heads well
- Good moisture-wicking and breathability
- One size fits all
- Fewer features than some running caps
Top Hat for Ponytails
15. TrailHeads Race Day Performance Running Hat
If you have long hair, you already know that ponytails are one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your hair contained and out of the way while you run.
This whole cap is designed with that convenience in mind. It’s designed for you to wear a ponytail. That’s a whole lot better than a cap that simply allows you to.
In many different colors, you have the opportunity to let your personality shine a little with this hat. But it’s more important features, like moisture-wicking and breathability, are where the hat shines best.
Since it’s designed for how a ponytail changes the shape of your head, your hairstyle won’t affect the breathability and moisture-wicking abilities of your hat.
The mesh that covers the cap is designed to draw water and heat away from your head. It works well for both short sprints and long-distances.
- Lots of color and customization options
- Designed for ponytails in particular
- Highly breathable mesh fabric
- Sits slightly higher on your head than most running caps
- Not as much sun protection as some running caps
Best Running Trucker
16. Headsweats Townie Hat
Another machine washable hat, this is a good choice for people who need a multi-purpose cap. It’s designed with running in mind, but between the stylish design and thicker fabric, this hat is also good for most standard cap purposes.
It has the same Eventure terrycloth sweatband as most Headsweats caps, a comfortable and highly effective cloth design.
It’s perfect for climate-controlled environments as well as outdoor situations. Overall, this is a solid option for people looking for a good running cap as well as a good-looking fashion accessory.
- Highly comfortable
- Superior moisture wicking
- Fashionable design
- One size fits all