The 10 Best Running Hats For Performance of 2021

Oct 4, 2021

Category: Gear

Whenever you set off on a run, you’re putting yourself at the mercy of the weather’s whim for the extent of your excursion. Because let’s face it — as accurate as the forecast can be, we’ve all been caught out in an errant shower at one point or another. To make matters worse, the effect only becomes exaggerated the farther away from home your trip takes you. Sure a short jog around the block makes it easy enough to head back inside, but when you’re logging 10, 15, 20 miles, or more, it pays to be prepared. And while shoes and shorts are often the first thought on any runner’s mind, you can’t forget about the importance of a hat.

Granted, you could wear just about any hat while you’re out on a run. However, if you’re looking for maximum moisture-wicking efficiency or the best, most breathable option out there, do yourself a favor and ditch that tired old college baseball cap in favor of a more sport-specific option. These days, running hats are highly-engineered pieces of apparel designed to keep your head cool, keep sweat out of your eyes, and, of course, keep the road ahead free from glare. However, just because they’re purpose-built for performance, doesn’t mean that they’ll leave you wanting where style is concerned. On the contrary — with their eye-catching colorways and five-panel fit, running hats look better than ever. Having scoured the market for everything the industry has to offer, here are our picks for the best running hats.

Path Projects Rainier Cap

Founded by runners, for runners, Norcal-based Path Projects is a brand that’s well-versed in what’s required of quality technical active apparel. And it shows in each and every one of their products. For instance, their Rainier cap is crafted from 100% poly ripstop fabric and mini mesh, a pairing that wicks away moisture, dries quickly, and is UPF 50+ rated. And with features like a nexus flip buckle and a reflective patch, this is one hat whose value proposition speaks for itself.

Purchase: $22

Nathan Quick Stash Run Hat

It pays to be prepared any time you’re out on a run; however, your storage capacity is usually limited by whatever clothing you’re wearing. Rather than weigh yourself down with an uncomfortable waist pack, grab Nathan’s Quick Stash Run Hat instead. It comes with a pair of hidden pockets that can hold everything from energy gels to keys, credit cards, and cash. Better yet — you can even fill them with ice should you need to cool down on a hot day.

Purchase: $25

Myles Momentum Cap

Packability is the name of the game when it comes to any piece of running apparel — you don’t want to be stuck with cumbersome carry in the event the surrounding conditions change on you. Luckily, this hat from Myles folds up without ruining its brim, a key feature to have if you want to stash it away while on the move. And because the adjustable elastic strap comes with a handy snap buckle, you can quickly clip it to your bag without losing your fit.

Purchase: $28

Nike Aerobill Race Day Running Cap

Worn by top athletes worldwide, the Aerobill is one hat with performance provisions aplenty. First of all, it features a streamlined silhouette designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, because the last thing you want is to compromise your race result with unnecessary drag. What’s more, it’s made with Nike’s eponymous AeroBill technology, an addition that ensures maximum breathability and effective moisture-wicking. If you want to run like the pros, rocking their gear is a good first step.

Purchase: $28

Move Free Designs Summit Cap

Move Free Designs is a small grassroots outfit dedicated to keeping wild spaces wild and preserving nature for future generations. As the first product the brand ever offered, it’s for good reason that the Summit Cap is still being sold today. Made right here in the USA, it features a reflective drawcord back, Max Dri Moisture Management, and antimicrobial treatment for defense against stink. Trail-tested by Move Free’s founder and professional mountain runner Patrick Caron, it’s a staple element of any activewear wardrobe.

Purchase: $30

Topo Designs Sport Hat

In each of its offerings, Topo Designs strikes a careful balance between fashion-forward aesthetic and utilitarian functionality. Take, their Sport Hat, for instance. On the forward-facing panel, it sports a bold block-grid design — a welcome departure from the host of single color hats on the market. And when it comes to the construction, Topo has given it a water-repellent stretch nylon front and a breathable mesh back, a combination that can get you through the hottest runs summer has to offer.

Purchase: $32

Saysky Visor

While performance five panels are all the rage these days, you can’t go wrong rocking a visor out on the run — especially if you have a generous head of hair. This one from Copenhagen-based Saysky is super-breathable thanks to its open-top design and moisture-wicking fabric. And because it comes with an easily-adjustable strap, it’ll fit domes of all shapes and sizes.

Purchase: $35

Ciele GOCap Standard

Ciele has all but cornered the market with its suite of stylish running hats. And it’s easy to see why when you consider offerings like the GOCap. In addition to looking the part, this sporty 5-panel is made to move. Lightweight, packable, and ultra-breathable because of its COOLwick mesh fabric, the GOCap is one hat that’s a clear cut above the rest. As an added bonus, it’s been crafted using REPREVE fabric, one of the world’s premier recycled performance fibers.

Purchase: $40

District Vision Zen Slow Cap

Founded in 2013 by Tom Daly and Max Vallot, District Vision is a brand that’s sought to change the sport by getting runners to slow down and take part in some meditation and mindfulness. When it comes to the Zen Slow Cap, it’s a similar story, because although it’s great to rock while out on the run, it’s also perfectly suited to wear around town. But the best part is that it’s handmade right here in the USA.

Purchase: $59

Satisfy Dynamic Running Cap

Sure, most running outlets are still hung up on neon colors and sporty active aesthetics, but Parisian-based Satisfy is an exception to the rule. For instance, their Dynamic Running Cap looks like any standard flat brim, with a range of more street-inspired colorways and distinctive embroidery options. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll see that this hat means business. Made from 3XDRY fabric, it’s not only resistant to water and dirt on the outside but also absorbent of moisture on the inside. In practice, this means that it’ll dry up to 3x faster than non-treated fabrics.

Purchase: $61+

The 30 Best Pieces Of Running Gear For Men

A solid hat is just one item among many that should be in a runner’s workout wardrobe. If you’re after some other essentials, be sure to head on over to our guide to the best running gear for men.

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