You are about to go for a run, you strap on your moisture wicking clothing, running socks and running shoes . You have everything you need right? Not necessarily. You have to protect your head and eyes too, preferably with a running hat.
Why wear a running hat?
Protect yourself from the elements: direct sunlight, heat, rain. By design, a hat draws perspiration away from the head helping keep you cool . At the same time, the best running hat is breathable, letting air in through its fabric to further cool you down and provide some breathability.
Manage your hair. When running with longer hair, you quickly appreciate the importance of headpieces. A running hat with a ponytail hole for instance keeps hair from locking in heat from the shoulders and neck, and the ends of the hair out, able to dry quicker while away from the body. A hairstrap can keep your hair in check while leaving rest of your hair exposed.
Manage your sweat. when you go fairly long distance running, the sweat production can be surprisingly overwhelming. Some runners use hats to manage the sweat coming off their head. One runner found that wearing a cap helps to direct sweat to the cap and not down the face.
You look cooler in a hat. For some of you it feels alot cooler to run in a hat and feels naked running without. When well placed that cap can add some level of privacy as you run in public spaces.
What to consider when choosing a hat?
Choosing a hat is often personal and the are factors you should consider and a few general guidelines to choose your hat.
Fitting is the most important part of choosing a running hat. There are multiple types of fits for you to consider, and you should select the one you find most comfortable. A fitted hat is the best option to most accurately fit your head dimensions. Ladies you want to keep in mind your different hairstyles and accommodate egg not just the current. Best to choose a flexifit, commonly called one-size-fits-all. Often it has an elastic fabric that allows the hat to stretch to fit.
Strapback: You can alter the diameter of the hat to fit your head with an adjustable strap or band. This strap can be made of leather, hook and loop fasteners, plastic or a poly band.
Running weather conditions: Weather conditions, especially temperature and humidity, should always be put into consideration when buying running hats.Choose a lighter cap when running in warm weather conditions and for the cold season, you’ll want a running hat that offers just enough thermal protection to keep you warm. When running in direct sunlight consider a hat with a brim and a high UPF rating.
Ventilation - Running long distances, especially in the heat, is bound to make you work up a sweat. Look for a hat that features a mesh panel that lets heat escape and airflow in, which will help keep you dry and comfortable.You don’t want all the moisture to get trapped.
Aesthetics Of A Running Hat-Your hat size should be proportional to the size of your overall body. Let's say you are quite short, wide brims and short crowns may make you look even shorter ,you might need to avoid these types of running hats.
Durability - Of course you'd want a hat that's going to serve you for a long time right?This narrows down to the quality of the running hat.If you'd want a long lasting running hat look for the best quality.
You already know we got you covered 😉
Brim or no Brim?
Brims are perfect for shielding your skin and eyes from direct UV radiation. You want to choose a hat with a UPF rating of 50 and above. If it is cloudy or you feel comfortable exposing your neck and face consider a beanie to keep your head warm.
If you re going for an ultra like circum-Lake Naivasha, you want to take a wider brim hat.
You want a more compact hat in very windy conditions. Like out baseball cap or the narrow brim hat with strings tied up.
Cap or bucket hat?
Bucket hats are often worn when hiking. We have seen them in long hikes, which makes sense because hikes will leave you outdoors for upto 8 hours. You want your face to be protected throughout the day. Caps are most popular with runners. Some of the endurance athletes spot caps and even visors. Caps allow for closer fit and hence faster movement.
Beanie or cap?
Beanies for morning and evening runs when temps might drop. We have also seen runners in beanies in hot sun because it helps to accumulate the sweat rather than it dripping down.
You could have a double layered warm beanie made of wool or polyester. Or you could have a single layer beanie meant to be more breathable and less warm. Some innovations in beanies include, beanies with ponytail holes. It can be worn with your long braids or it can be worn as a very warm neck brace. You should try it. Another innovation in beanies is beanie with ear flaps.
Very light beanies can also be worn as liners under your cycling helmet. Very useful to protect your helmet from accumulating sweat. They become smelly so fast.
What about headstraps?
Headstraps can restrain your loose hair, manage the sweat off your head or restrain your glasses from moving or even falling. Headstraps are especially useful to ladies with loose hair such as plaited hair or even bangs. When headstraps are built with a little more absorbent material they absorb the sweat off your head limiting what comes down your face. For the bespectacled, we have seen headstraps used to restrain glasses from moving or even falling out.
Above all, make sure your hat is comfortable and provides the needed moisture management for your run then, break down what you need in a hat based on the potential elements you will be running in. If you do these things, you’ll be on track to choosing the best running hat for you. Happy Running.