As a runner, there’s no getting around the fact that you may be exposing yourself to some pretty gnarly elements every time you head out the door. And just like running shoes protect your feet from the sport’s repetitive impact, the best running hats will shield your head and face from all kinds of weather conditions.
Sure, you could wear an old baseball cap. But running hats are specifically designed with moisture-wicking fabrics to keep sweat from dripping into your eyes, quick-drying materials that can stand up to a downpour, breathable panels that dump heat during your hottest runs, and brims that protect your skin and eyes without obstructing your field of vision.
Round out your running gear getup with a race hat designed to go the distance with you—and make you look good while doing so.
Field Mag's Top Picks
- Best Overall: Ciele GoCap
- Best Budget Hat: Brooks Propel Hat
- Best Trucker Hat for Running: Path Projects Rainier Cap
- Best Minimalist Hat: Lululemon Fast and Free Running Hat
- Best Ultralight Running Hat: Janji AFO Hyperlight Cap
- Best Vents: On Running Lightweight Cap
- Best Mesh Running Hat: rnnr Streaker Hat
- Best Reflective Running Hat: Bakline Reflective Running Cap
- Best Hat for Hot Weather: Nathan RunCool Ice Run Hat
- Best Short-Brim Running Hat: Hoka Packable Trail Hat
- Best Running Visor: Ciele FSTVisor
- Best for Cold Weather: Smartwool Thermal Merino Reversible Headband
The Best Running Hats of 2023
Best Overall: Ciele GoCap
Ciele’s GoCap is a best-seller and one of the most ubiquitous running hats on the scene for good reason: besides the low-profile design, which allows for a comfortable fit, it’s constructed from a fast-drying Coolwick fabric that keeps your head dry on hot days and has built-in UPF 40+ UV protection built into the front and back. Plus, it's available in loads of colors. (For a lower-profile look and a shorter brim, check out Ciele's ALZCap.)
Best Budget Hat: Brooks Propel Hat
Defy the elements with a cap that combines fashion and function. Brooks’ colorblocked patterns help you stand out from the crowd, while its durable construction—with built-in sun protection and water-resistant fabrics—is still easily crushable if you need to stuff it in a pocket or pack while you’re on the go.
Best Trucker Hat for Running: Path Projects Rainier Cap
If you prefer a more structured hat, this high-performance trucker is made from technical fabrics. Think: a UPF 50+ quick-drying, sweat-wicking ripstop fabric at the front, plus polyester mini mesh at the back. It’s still super flexible, with a large crown designed to fit larger heads and lots of adjustability thanks to the adjustable strap and flip buckle.
Best Minimalist Hat: Lululemon Fast and Free Running Hat
Say goodbye to a sweat-soaked forehead thanks to the sweat-wicking headband built into Lululemon’s Fast and Free Running Hat. That same technology applies to the rest of the ball cap-style hat, which is constructed from the same lightweight, four-way stretch fabric the brand builds their apparel from, guaranteeing you won’t overheat even as you protect yourself from the sun. This hat is minimalist in design, but it still has an adjustable strap and reflective details if you're running late.
Best Ultralight Running Hat: Janji AFO Hyperlight Cap
If you’re not a hat person but still want to shield your head and eyes on the run, Janji’s cap might be the solution. At 29 grams, it’s the lightest running hat on this list, and the Hyperlight AFO stretch-woven fabric has a barely-there feel. A bungee strap at the back makes for super easy adjustments on the fly, and the pliable foam brim can be flipped up when the sun’s out of sight. This is a low-profile hat and one size fits most, but bigger heads and folks with lots of hair might be better off in another hat here.
Best Vents: On Running Lightweight Cap
Ventilation holes laser cut along the front and sides of On’s lightweight hat allow the air to flow right over your scalp, keeping you cool in even the hottest conditions. A soft sweatband keeps it comfy, fast-drying technology means it can handle rain as well as shine, and it’s made from tear-proof fabric that means you can take it trail running without worrying about getting snagged on tree branches.
Best Mesh Running Hat: rnnr Streaker Hat
Known for its funky active headwear, rnnr keeps things minimal on all fronts when it comes to the Streaker hat. The top and side panels are made entirely out of mesh, which allows for the maximum amount of heat dumping, especially as your body temperature rises. Even the brim is shrunken, providing essential sun protection for your eyes without adding any bulk. These features make it ideal for trail runners and hot weather.
Best Reflective Running Hat: Bakline Reflective Running Cap
If you run before the sun rises or after it sets to avoid the worst of the summer heat, the reflective print on Bakline’s performance hat can help make you more visible to anyone you’re sharing the road with. The lightweight, quick-drying style may also appeal to baseball hat fans who prefer a pre-curved brim and an elastic strap that subtly stows away.
Best Hat for Hot Weather: Nathan RunCool Ice Run Hat
Temperatures are getting hotter and hotter every summer, and this hat can be a life-saver on a long run. The mesh side gussets dump heat and the sweat-wicking band moves moisture away from your face, but the real selling point is the fact that it’s equipped with hidden pockets for stashing ice so you don’t get too hot-headed as you run.
Best Short-Brim Running Hat: Hoka Packable Trail Hat
Hoka’s cap combines a number of standout features from caps on this list: laser-cut side perforations for maximal ventilation, a back bungee cord for single-hand adjustments, and a shortened brim that makes it easy to smush down when you’re headed onto less sun-exposed parts of the backcountry. The downturned brim is also great for biking.
Best Running Visor: Ciele FSTVisor
Visor style isn't known to be cool, but wearing one is a great way to shade your eyes and manage a sweaty brow while dumping heat off the top of your head. Ciele brought all these features to its FSTVisor, and managed to bring good-looking prints to a design that doesn't scream "country club."
Best for Cold Weather: Smartwool Thermal Merino Reversible Headband
Even a lightweight beanie can lead to overheating, but this 100% merino wool headband from Smartwool will protect what needs it most (your ears) while leaving the top of your noggin free to shed heat as you warm up. This band is also quite wide, so it provides plenty of coverage, and its merino fabric is soft (not scratchy!) and naturally stink-resistant.