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Separate mesh and coverage layers allow maximum breathability
Outdoor Research has solid colors, patterns, and even visors or bucket hats to pick from
$28 to $38 ain’t bad for sun protection
RYAN: Robbe is onto something with his love for the Legionnaire Hat, and it’s no small feat to start a trend in the running world. However, like Meg, I just can’t get down with the cape. No, I’m not just saying that because I’m not confident enough to rock the style, I have no qualms about running fashion (wait for my love letter to running jorts). Instead, I’m out on the Legionnaire because I have longer hair that traps heat with the efficiency of an Everest-bound snowsuit.
It’s bad enough that I already sweat and salt my way through one hat after another until I’ve built up enough of a collection that I need to wash, so why add extra fabric on top of that? Sorry, my dudes, but I won’t be joining the caped crusaders for a while. What I will do, however, is rock a new hat from Outdoor Research until the cows come home.
Outdoor Research? The trail brand? But you’re a road runner. Yes, I know, and I hear you, but Outdoor Research isn’t just for life on the wild side. The brand’s Swift Cap and Swift Air Cap have opened my noggin to breathable summer running like no running hat before. Let me tell you ’bout my best friends…
RYAN: I won’t lie — I’ve had the Outdoor Research Swift Air Cap on every few days since I got it while visiting Boulder, Colorado, in July, whether I’m running or not. You simply can’t miss the wide-open mesh that’s visible on both sides of the blue shell, and it ends up feeling like there’s no hat there at all. Outdoor Research’s secret is that the mesh stretches all the way across the top of your head, meaning that you get a cross breeze without sacrificing protection (UPF 40, to be exact).
On top of the protection and breathability, the Outdoor Research Swift Air Cap is incredibly packable. Mary Poppins could fit an infinite number of these caps in her magical tote bag, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. The flat brim is soft and flexible, meaning you can bend it fully in half, but it springs right back to its original shape. I had some trouble packing my Boulder treasures into my carry-on for the trip home, but not the Swift Air Cap.
Oh, and maybe the best part is that the Outdoor Research Swift Air Cap doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Right now, it comes in three solid colors and two patterns and is (at least) $12 cheaper than comparable silhouettes from Ciele.
PRICE: $32Shop Outdoor Research Swift Air Cap
RYAN: If you want something a little more traditional and need a bit of bend to your brim, the Swift Cap is a solid option. Yes, it sacrifices a little bit of breathability with a tighter mesh weave, but the overall design is the same. Outdoor Research doubled down on the separate mesh and shell layers, achieving slightly better UPF 50+ protection. Oh, and what you give up in terms of breathability, you easily make up for in color options. The Swift Cap comes in a whopping 15 colors, offering something for those who love bright colors and muted ones alike.
Personally, I’ll stick with the blue hues because they have just enough color without being too loud. Either that or because they match my eyes — one or the other. The Swift Cap is just a little bit less packable than its airy sibling, mostly due to the structured brim. It’s still flexible; you just can’t quite fold it all the way in half. On the bright side, the Swift Cap weighs a ridiculously light 2.5 oz… so who cares if you have to hang it off the side of your backpack? It’s basically a feather.
Not sure whether the Outdoor Research Swift Cap or Swift Air Cap is right for you? Well, let’s put it like this — if you need ultimate breathability, go Swift Air, and if you need more sun protection, stay Swift. Oh, and if you wanna get funky, check out the visor or the bucket hat.
PRICE: $30Shop Outdoor Research Swift Cap
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Ryan is kind of like Robbe’s Igor behind the scenes. He helps to compile and clean up everyone’s reviews, and finds time to get in a few miles of his own. When he’s not running or editing, Ryan writes and reviews for Android Authority, spending time with the latest tech and complaining when things don’t work quite right. If he’s not doing any of that, maybe you’ll find him nose-deep in a crossword puzzle or trying to catch up on an endless backlog of shows to stream.
All-time favorite shoes: New Balance Rebel v2, Adidas Takumi Sen 8 (or 9), Saucony Endorphin Speed 3More from Ryan