The sun beating down on your face during a run may well be what you dream of, yet for those of a fairer complexion, conscious of skin damage from sun exposure or just don’t like wearing sunglasses when running, a decent running hat is often a necessity for those warmer days. They’re also pretty handy in the rain too, which is useful for British summer.
Not any old hat will do either; of course you can wear that old trucker hat or your favourite baseball cap, but with technical fabrics being what they are these days, you can reach peak performance (not sorry) without ending up with a heavy, soggy mess on your head. Below are some of the best that have sat atop a sweaty head of late.
Buff - Pack Lite R-Flash Logo Black. RRP £28.25
Aimed at those who like to count every gram of their kit, this offering from buff is extremely light (30g) and Buff claims it can be packed down into a tiny ball, which it can, and will return to its original shape, which it sort of can. The peak was a little buckled after a few goes at this but nothing to stop you from buying it if small, lightweight and packable is what you’re after.
It shaded the eyes well, kept sweat at bay and the drawstring tensioner at the back of the hat was beyond adequate at keeping it on the head, even when the wind picked up. Style wise, it’s perhaps not the prettiest with the large fluro branding on the sides, but there is an all-black offering for the fashion conscious and panels with the logos is also venting so is serving a purpose rather than just being branding. The lightness of it comes into its own on really hot days, so definitely one for those looking at venturing far and wide with changeable weather conditions.
Nike Aerobill elite. RRP. £31.95
The Nike 5 panel running hat is a bit a classic and this Aerobill elite hat pays homage to this, but with a few design tweaks. Well vented and comfy thanks to the dri-fit lining, the hat features reflective details to help keep you visible, including a strip along the rim of the peak.
Another nice touch to save weigh is that an inner section of the peak has been removed, leaving just the outer edge to handle the shape. A simple touch, but effective. The only real downside is that Nike have thought it necessary to write RUNNING in big letters across the front, as if you might forget what you’re doing.
Ciele FSTCap – Indigo Edition, RRP $40
The newcomers, we had two Ciele hats on test: the FSTCap and the GoCap, and though both are excellent running hats, we preferred the FSTCap when it came to race day. Stylish and functional, Ciele are a Canadian brand who have cemented their position as a company to watch through a solid social media presence and collaborations with the likes of Tracksmith and Stance, but where some 'cool' brands lack substance, these hats are up to task.
The materials used are all high quality, even after some sweaty miles and some washesDetails like the quality of the clasp on the adjustment strap and the fact the excess of the strap tucks neatly into the back of the hat are just two reasons why we liked them. A third is the variety of colours and styles available; running can be a pretty ugly place sometimes but these simple block colour combos means you’ll be able to find a hat to match all your look. Does come at a cost though.
2XU - £15
Perhaps not the most refined on test but when sweating into a hat, being refined isn’t the top of everyone’s list and this offering from 2XU is perfect if that’s you. With three colour options, white would be our advised choice as what you lose to dirty marks you make up for on really hot days.
Mesh vents on the crown on the head offer some venting and the logos are reflective to help you stand out. That’s about it really, it does what it’s meant to do and it does it well, but perhaps isn’t the most eye catching.
Mission Enduracool Running - £28
The most ‘tech’ hat on test, the Mission is designed to keep you cool using ‘endurcancecool’ technology. This means you soak the hat before you run, wring it out and give a wave about and the material naturally cools when wet. Perfect for those warm start lines when you’re already hot and you haven’t started running. If you don’t want to run in wet hat, then sweat does the same sort of thing in activating this cooling effect.
The hat lacks any real vents however, which wasn’t an issue as the material is very light (and cooling. Did we mention the cooling), but if you don’t want to run about with a wet hat on, then you could save yourself some money and just get one the alternatives above.