Sweat management is an important part of staying comfortable on a run, and a good headband is the perfect piece of kit for the job. The best running headbands are made to keep moisture away from your face and eyes while you run. Depending on the design, they can also serve other purposes: keeping your ears warm in the winter, making you more visible in low light, and keeping your hair from getting out of control.
We have selected the Sweaty Bands headband as our number one. It’s made from polyester to wick away moisture, is thin, non-slip and simply designed, and even though it says it’s a girl or women’s product, it works great for men too.
Keep reading to find out the others that made it onto our list.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Under Armour Performance Headband
Buff Lightweight Merino Wool Headwear
Warm Weather Headbands
These headbands do a great job keeping sweat out of your eyes. And for women, they’ll ensure stray hairs stay in place as you run.
Best Non-Slip Headband
1. Sweaty Bands
The Sweaty Bands headband is designed to be practical and comfortable. It states that it’s for girls or women, but the plain color and minimalist design make it equally suitable for men who have wild hair or just want a sweat-wicking headband.
It is non-slip, so it won’t fall off halfway through your run. The elastic fit allows it to work for most heads from the age of 7 and upwards.
The inside is coated with velvet, so it’s soft and clingy and won’t feel painful or grippy on your head. This does mean that you need to hand wash it – it’s not suitable for the washing machine.
It may not fit those with small heads very comfortably, but for the price it is definitely worth a buy and try.
- One size fits most
- Made from sweat-wicking fabric
- Hand wash only so it can’t go in the washing machine
- It may not fit small heads
Best for Long Runs
2. Lululemon Fly Away Tamer II
The Fly Away Tamer II is a soft headband that won’t chafe or feel constricting on long runs. It’s made from a material called Luon, which is a mixture of nylon and Lycra that helps it to be stretchy enough to fit on almost anybody’s head.
The fabric is sweat-wicking, and has a four-way stretch to keep it tight on your head with as little movement as possible while you’re moving.
It is wider than our first choice, at 2 inches wide, which will prevent any chafing. The wider band also keeps bits of hair from escaping while you’re running.
This one is also machine washable, which is very convenient as you can just throw it in with your other running clothes.
- Made from moisture-wicking fabric
- Four-way stretch
- 2 inches wide for a comfortable fit
- Machine washable
- A little highly priced but it’s for a brand name
3. Under Armour Performance Headband
If you would prefer a headband that is more affordable, you can’t go wrong with Under Armour. This headband is made from polyester, which is moisture-wicking and quick-drying, and Elastodiene, which gives it its stretch.
You can choose from 6 different colors, and it’s suitable for men and women. Some runners who have larger heads might find it to be too tight. They are great for kids, though.
The material is thick and can be hot on the forehead in warm weather, and it absorbs sweat so quickly that it can become too wet to dry effectively in a short amount of time. But at the low price you’ll pay, it’s still worth it.
- Very well-priced
- Suitable for men and women
- Quick-drying material
- 2 inches in width
- It may lose its elasticity after a few wears and washes
- The headband may be too tight on larger heads
Best Tie-style Headband
4. Adidas Alphaskin Tie Headband
If you don’t like the feel of an elasticated band around your forehead, a tie-style band could be the solution. You can choose where to tie it to fit you best, so there’s no discomfort. This means it can also fit any sized, so for once the one-size-fits-all saying is quite true.
It is composed of two layers of mesh that makes it very breathable and cool. Airflow is easy and the polyester and spandex material wicks away sweat.
The design is unisex and you can choose from six different colors to find something that suits you.
There is no chance of it stretching or losing its shape, but if you don’t tie it tightly enough it may not stay in the same position on your head while you’re moving.
- One size fits all
- Breathable material
- Unisex design
- Available in six colors
- Might not stay in place as well as an elasticated one
Best Women’s Tie-style
5. Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie 3.0
This is a stylish headband for women who are looking for something to keep their hair out of their face. No matter what your age or head size, one of these will be a good addition to your running gear to keep you cool and dry in hot weather.
It is slightly wider than most, at 2.5 inches, which means it will cover most of your forehead and keep sweat from dripping down your face.
Nike incorporates their DriFit technology that absorbs sweat and moves it to the surface of the fabric so that it can evaporate more quickly. This helps get rid of moisture very quickly, so it doesn’t stay wet for long.
The headband can fit women of all ages and sizes, thanks to its adjustable tie. It’s also quite versatile—you can tie it under a ponytail, above a ponytail, or even place it over your ponytail for a more comfortable fit.
- DriFit technology
- Adjustable tie
- 2.5 inches wide
- Can fit any size head
- The Nike Swoosh comes off quite easily
Top UV Protection Headband
6. Coolibar Elbert UV Headband UPF 50+
If you prefer to wear a headband instead of a peak cap or a running visor, then considering the best running headband with UV protection is a good idea.
The Coolibar Elbert UV Headband is lightweight and breathable, constructed of micro mesh and with a 4-way stretch to fit anybody comfortably. This is important as it is a pull-on headband, so it should be able to fit most people without a problem.
Their UCmx fabric is engineered with Cooltect technology, which allows it to fend off dangerous UV rays while keeping you cool and sweat-free. It is also 3 inches wide, allowing for maximum forehead coverage and protection from the sun.
- UPF 50+
- Flat lock stitching for comfort
- Breathable micro mesh
- 3 inches wide for maximum coverage
- Only comes in one color
Best Bright Colors Options
7. ASICS Illusion Performance Headband
If you like bright colors, this one’s for you. It is a 2-inch wide headband made from nylon and spandex, which gives it a stretchy fit that is quite comfortable.
What’s really nice about this headband, apart from the color options, is that it has silicone gripper lines on the inside which keeps the headband in place whether you’re running, jumping, or getting a workout on the elliptical.
If you’re running on the road, the headband has a reflective logo on the front to make you a little more visible to motorists.
- Six bright color options
- Inner silicone grippers
- Reflective detail on the front
- Soft stretchy fit
- It may be too loose for those with smaller heads
Best Wide Headband
8. Nike Fury 2.0 Headband
A wide headband is useful for people with wide foreheads, but even if you don’t have a wider-than-average forehead it’s great for covering you up as much as possible to protect your head from the sun as well as allowing very little space for sweat to escape.
This band is 2 ¾ inches in width, which is one of the widest. It covers the forehead very nicely but isn’t too wide that it’s uncomfortable or gets in the way of the eyes.
The DriFit material is lightweight but does a great job of removing moisture and keeping your hairline and face dry and cool.
As an added bonus, this headband has silicone grippers inside to keep it in place no matter how intense your run gets.
- Width of 2 ¾ inches for best coverage
- DriFit fabric for moisture-wicking
- Silicone grips to keep it in place
- Lightweight material
- Some may find it to be a little pricey
- The logo is not very durable and may come off after a few wears
Cold Weather Headbands
When the temperature drops, but it’s not cold enough for a hat or beanie – these headbands will keep your ears warm without causing you to overheat.
Best All-Season Headband
9. Buff Lightweight Merino Wool Multifunctional Headwear
If you run often in cold weather, you’ll need a headband that is multifunctional and keeps you warm while you’re out.
This buff is made from Merino wool, which is one of the most versatile fabrics you can find. You can use it as a simple headband, a neck scarf, a balaclava, or get creative and find what works best for you.
One of the reasons it’s a good choice for winter is that Merino wool is very warm. Although it will keep you toasty, it is also thermoregulating, which means you won’t overheat, and it has moisture-wicking properties too.
- Very versatile in terms of how you can use it
- Made from warm material
- Microclimate control
- Odor prevention
- One size fits all may be too wide for some to use as a headband or face protector
Top Reversible Headband
10. The North Face STANDARD ISSUE EAR GEAR
A reversible headband is like having two, so even though this is a bit pricey it could be considered to be worth it.
The headband is made for winter weather, with a double layer of polyester-knit fleece that also helps repel sweat and help it evaporate quicker. It’s wide enough to cover your ears while you’re running to keep them from getting icy.
If you purchase it from an authorized reseller, it comes with a lifetime warranty. Be careful to choose the right seller for this purpose.
- Reversible for two color choices
- Double-layered fleece construction
- Lifetime warranty if purchased from an authorized reseller
- Wide enough to keep ears warm while running
- It is a little pricier than others
Best Women’s Cold Weather Headband
11. Under Armour ColdGear Infrared Fleece Headband
This headband from Under Armour is cute enough to be worn during any sport and warm enough to keep you comfortable. You can choose from three colors (black, grey, and maroon).
The polyester-fleece material is soft on your head and wicks sweat away from your hairline. Under Armour uses ColdGear Infrared technology, which has a thermo-conductive inner layer that uses your own body heat to warm you up.
For extra comfort, the back section is narrowed to provide better grip and keep it in place. The elastic edges also help keep it stable, but some ladies might find the tightness to be uncomfortable.
- Made of soft fleece for warmth and comfort
- Elastic-bound edges
- ColdGear Infrared technology
- Narrowed back piece for extra comfort
- Some women might find the elasticated edges uncomfortable
- More feminine colors would be nice
Top Headband for Ponytails
12. TrailHeads Ponytail Headband
If you have your hair in a ponytail when exercising, you will understand that it can sometimes be hard to find a headband that is comfortable to wear and arrange around a ponytail.
Thankfully TrailHeads has designed this headband, which gets rid of that problem completely.
It is a polyester fleece band designed to keep you warm and cover your ears while also wicking sweat away. But the great thing is the ponytail loop in the back that you can pull your hair through to keep it out of the way without worrying about how to position your headband around it.
It is very insulating and is a good winter choice. The only problem is that some women may find the ponytail loop to be at too low an angle for comfort and wearing it higher up may result in the ears not being covered.
- Integrated ponytail loop
- Covers ears to keep them warm
- Contoured fit
- Insulates and gets rid of moisture
- Some ladies may find the ponytail angle to be too low
What are headbands for?
A headband is an accessory worn on the forehead when exercising to keep sweat from dripping into the eyes. It does this by absorbing the sweat or wicking it away. Terrycloth is a common fabric for headbands, because it is very absorbent.
Other benefits include keeping your ears warm in cold weather (if you choose the right type), and for those with long hair, a headband can help keep your hair in place.
What are the benefits of a running headband?
Wearing a running headband has some useful benefits, like:
- Absorbing sweat or wicking it away from your eyes and hairline.
- Keeping hair in place and preventing it from falling around the face.
- Some come equipped with UV protection.
- Reflective strips for extra visibility.
- Warm in winter, especially for ears.
- Easy to use and wash.
How should I choose a headband?
When you’re looking to choose one of the best running headbands, you will need to look at the size, width, and material.
Many come in one size only, which can be convenient but might not work for some people, or could be uncomfortable on some heads.
The width of the headband could be a factor that makes it more or less comfortable, as well as affects the sweat-absorbing properties. A wider headband may be more comfortable and absorb more moisture than a thinner one.
Some runners may prefer a thinner one, especially in the heat. But width is a matter of personal preference.
Also, the material it’s made of could make a difference. Terrycloth is popular because it’s very absorbent, and it’s also quite soft. Some are made from polyester, which is very good at wicking away moisture. It’s up to you which one you prefer.
Should I wipe my sweat during exercise?
It’s very tempting to wipe away the sweat dripping down your face when you’re in the middle of a run. But sweat serves a purpose, so letting it drop naturally without wiping it could help you cool down faster.
The body releases sweat when it’s too warm. The sweat is then evaporated from the surface of the skin, helping to cool down the skin.
With this in mind, it is a good idea to not wipe your sweat away. It might stop it from running into your eyes, but it will take longer for you to cool down.