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Don’t let your noggin get burnt… or frozen
Why not wick sweat while you’re at it?
Oh, and keep the sun out of your eyes, too
Once you’ve locked down a great pair of running shoes and some comfortable socks to go with them, it’s time to accessorize. Where you start your accessory adventure is up to you, but we’re big fans of running hats here at Believe in the Run. For starters, they take care of our worst hair days. More importantly, running hats keep the sun out of your eyes, and they can keep sunburn at bay if you’re not as full of the follicles.
There are plenty of good running hats for summer and winter, though our list primarily covers the warmer days. As always, all of our picks come from our own running experiences. We’ve run in just about all of these picks, even if we haven’t given them the full review treatment. Don’t worry, we’ve also stuck to hats that you can actually buy. Otherwise, we’d have suggested the winged cap of Hermes.
Anyway, let’s get into the picks.
We’re dads, and judging from our website analytics, there’s a good chance you’re a dad. With the help of the Ciele CRW Cap, we can create a dadcore movement that will be unstoppable. An understated design combines with Ciele’s COOLmatic | PLUS mesh to offer a soft and subtle take on the dad hat. It’s been our go-to running and casual hat over the last couple of months.
Not every cap has to be breathable and filled with enough holes to sink a slice of Swiss cheese. Some hats are made for colder temperatures, and the Fractel M-Series winter cap is one of them. Crafted with soft and cozy Polartec® Wind Pro® fleece, the cap is great for running in wintry weather or wearing casually during the cooler months. Plus, as with most Fractel hats, it’s a bit oversized, so if you got a large dome, this will accommodate you nicely.
Of course, if you want even more protection, there’s the Fractel Winter Legionnaire because Legion Season never really ends. That thing has a whole Polartec cape, so it’s basically a snuggie for your head.
We always have serious doubts when a run brand tries to make a cap that’s more traditional (i.e. doesn’t have a soft brim). Do we really need that? Turns out, we do. Because the Work Running Hat is phenomenal in every aspect– from design to materials to construction. Made in New York City from imported Italian fabrics, it’s the indie version of the Satisfy Running Peace Shell cap. Get it before they blow up.
Since we hammered you with Legionnaire propaganda all summer long, we’re dialing it back. Kind of. We still like ear coverage, especially as the temperatures drop. Featuring a padded fleece interior, retractable earflaps, and a water-resistant outer shell, this hat is winter running at its best. It keeps the ears warm and blocks out the wind, but converts into a regular cap on the go. Yeah, it’s pricey, but it’s totally worth it, especially if you’re into that Imperial Guard look.
The Duckbill is a legend, and for good reason. It can essentially fold down to a size that can fit in your shorts pocket, it’s crazy breathable thanks to open-air mesh on four of its five panels, and it just looks good. There’s a reason several brands on this list have essentially copied the design. Imitation, meet flattery.
Remember how we talked about brands that tweak the Patagonia Duckbill template? Enter the Swift Air Cap. This was an editor’s pick for summer 2023, and it remains one of the best caps you can find, which is probably why it’s sold out on the Outdoor Research website. Luckily, you can find some stragglers out there, and if you do, you’ll be pleased with the ultra-breathable side panels and slim silhouette. It’s also crushable, so it makes for a perfect travel companion.
Territory Run Co.
The Long Haul cap is Territory’s best-selling cap, which makes sense, because it’s great. Featuring a ripstop nylon front panel and laser-cut side panels, the hat is structured yet breathable and looks great but still crushes down. With a bold design that speaks to our inner wild child, it’s a perfect hat to stand out on the trails or on your travels.
If you’re looking for something that blends performance with a trucker-style design, then the Path Projects Badlands Cap is a can’t-miss (I actually wore it for my run this morning). It’s technically a five-panel but has an open mesh on four of the panels that give it trucker vibes while offering comfort and breathability on any adventure. Plus, all their colorways are on sale right now, so it’s almost like they’re free.
Go bold or go home with the lightweight Pacer Cap, featuring laser-cut mesh for a breathable experience on the run. The brim can be worn either flat or flipped, and it’s available in two sizes to accommodate any head shape. Of course, we also love the cotton candy colorway and the bold checker pattern underneath the brim.
For those of you who like the short-brim Euro look, you should probably check out Vaga. Designed in the United Kingdom, their Club Cap comes in a wide array of colors that are all very appealing, with a performance design that’s just as good. Machine washable, quick drying, extremely lightweight, and packable. Plus, everyone in the United States will ask: what hat is that?
A classic five-panel cap, the Go Cap (no, it’s not a Ciele cap) is another great option if you’re looking for something that’s packable, breathable, and comes in a variety of colorways to match your style. It’s also made of 76% recycled materials, so you can feel good knowing that there are plastic bottles on your head instead of in the ocean/landfill.