The Benefits of Wearing a Running Hat

You’re about to go on a run, so you grabbed your running shoes, running socks, and some comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing. You’ve got everything you need, right? Not necessarily. You have to make sure you protect your noggin too, preferably with a running hat. Why wear a running hat?

Wearing a running hat is advantageous in the following ways:

  • Keeps your scalp from getting sunburnt
  • Offers protection from the weather
  • Prevents your hair from getting in your face
  • May boost aerodynamics
  • Cools your head so you’re not overheating
  • Looks awesome

Ahead, we’ll elaborate on the 6 benefits of wearing a running hat so you may be convinced to outfit your head with this must-have accessory. We’ll even offer some tips on how to choose a running hat if you want to buy one right away. 

Let’s begin! 

6 Great Benefits of Wearing a Running Hat

Sun Protection

It doesn’t matter if you have a full head of hair or very little, your head can burn from prolonged sun exposure. If you’ve ever spent a day out in the ocean at the beach, then you likely know what a burnt scalp feels like. It’s incredibly painful, and it’s hard to get relief due to the location of the burn.

Slathering sunblock atop your head–while it would be the best option–isn’t really feasible for many people. You don’t want the white gunk to get caked in your hair, so you tend to go without. 

On those days when you’re preparing for a long run such as a half-marathon or a full and the sun is out, you’ll definitely want a running hat. The top of your head will be protected from the brunt of the sunlight, as will your face since the bill of your hat will provide a protective shadow. 

This is for the best, as the only more painful thing than getting a sunburn on your scalp is getting one on your face. 

A Barrier Between You and the Elements

The cool part about running hats is bright sunlight isn’t the only other weather element you’re safe from. 

If you’re a dedicated runner, then you probably rarely miss a day unless there’s torrential rainfall or a blizzard out there. A bit of rain doesn’t deter you, nor do some snowflakes before they start sticking.

The problem with this weather is it gets in your face fast, stinging your skin and making you rub your eyes a lot. You’ve tried wrapping a winter scarf up to your chin, but this doesn’t help the rest of your face, nor your head.

A running hat will keep your face free from the effects of weather. All that rain will fall on the bill of your running hat so your face stays dry, and the same is true of snow. 

Controls Your Hair

Have you ever been walking down the street on a particularly windy day? If the wind is facing towards you rather than behind you, then your hair is blowing crazily this way and that, whipping around your face and getting in your way. You don’t even need long hair for it to become a nuisance fast.

Now imagine you’re competing in a marathon and it’s coming down to the wire. A strong gust of wind blows in and your hair is again in your face, obstructing your vision. This eventually costs you the race. Hey, it could happen. 

Even if you pull your hair into a ponytail, it tends to find a way to get loose as you run vigorously, which is so annoying. With a running hat, you can pull your hair up and away from your face and then put the hat on, tucking your hair into it so it’s a non-factor. 

Could Increase Aerodynamics

As a runner, you may have heard of aerodynamics, but you’re admittedly not super familiar with what they are and how they work. Aerodynamics relates to bodies traveling through moving air and how that affects airflow. 

Outside of the wind generated from the weather, you also produce your own wind if you gain enough speed while running. Depending on what you’re wearing, you can potentially boost your speed through aerodynamics or create drag. You want to avoid drag as much as you can, as it slows you down.

For instance, if you wore a loose windbreaker to run, it may seem like a good choice at the time, especially on a windy morning. However, since the clothing material is loose, it catches against the wind as you run. If you ran a lap with a windbreaker and then one lap without the windbreaker and no other factors changed, more than likely, you’d have a faster running speed sans windbreaker.

Your speed won’t be ridiculously faster, but you should have a slight boost.  

To harness the power of aerodynamics when you run, you should buy running shoes that are lightweight. It’s also recommended that you remove body hair on the legs (that goes for men too), always choose running clothes that fit close to your body, and pull your hair back. A running hat may also improve your aerodynamics, so give it a try! 

Keeps Your Head Cool

Another reason to buy a running hat is to cool down your noggin. Yes, there’s the obvious perk that since your skin isn’t directly exposed to the sun with a running hat, you’ll stay cooler. Yet still, on a vigorous run, it’s almost impossible to avoid getting sweaty from all the effort you’re putting forth.

That’s why many running hats are made to redirect perspiration, moving it away from your head and then evaporating it. This moisture-wicking keeps your head cooler since it’s less sweaty. Also, taking your hat off after a long day isn’t so bad, since your hair isn’t soaked with sweat.

Mesh or fabric panels in many running hats increase breathability so your head is again not saturated with sweat, even after a particularly grueling race. 

Looks Awesome 

If you’re still not sold on running hats, then look up the social media accounts of some of your favorite pro runners. We’re sure that more often than not, they utilize running hats for the above reasons. They also tend to look really awesome as they’re doing it.

You too can up your cool factor with a running hat. Wearing one will instantly make you look like a more legit runner, putting you in the frame of mind to succeed. 

How to Choose the Right Running Hat for You

You’re convinced that you need a running hat before that big race. The challenge is finding one that ticks off all the boxes above. Here are some features you’ll want in a quality running hat.


Do you often train for your races first thing in the morning or even after work? At both those times, visibility is very much reduced. The same is true if you run during overcast and rainy weather.

For your safety, make sure your running hat has some reflective strips, especially at the bill. These strips tell other people and motorists that hey, you’re here, and to please avoid hitting you.

Moisture Wicking or Transfer

These days, running hats can transfer moisture in all sorts of creative ways. Some have mesh panels for letting your head breathe while others feature a liner within the hat that’s almost like a sweatband and works in much the same way. Your hat should have at least one moisture-wicking feature.

Flexible Bill

An ideal running hat comes with a bill that’s flexible so you can adjust it depending on your needs for the day. You may bend the bill so it’s straight out, curved down, or even curved up if you wanted to.


You have your pick among various running hat styles. If you want to go for a more classic, 80s-inspired look, then a visor is a good pick. This lightweight hat will accommodate hairstyles like high ponytails, but keep in mind that a running visor has no top. Only wear this hat on cloudy days without a lot of sun.

A beanie lets you run in the winter without succumbing to the freezing cold. Beanies tend to be one-size-fits-all as their stretchy material can accommodate all sorts of head sizes. 

You can also try a strapback, which is also known as a snapback. These hats have customizable diameters via the band and strap.


Okay, so how do you measure a running hat to ensure it fits? You’ll need a flexible tape measurer. Have a friend or partner take the tape measurer and put it around your head, settling it just over your eyebrows. The tape measurer should clear your ears as well.

Write down the circumference of your head and then shop for your running hat using that information. To find the perfect fit for your hat, you might want to downsize and then buy a size up as well to see which hat feels more comfortable. 

Final Thoughts

Running hats are a recommended accessory whether you’re practice running or gearing up for your latest marathon. These hats look great, keep you safe from weather, cool your head, and possibly even improve your running aerodynamics.

With the info in this guide, you’re ready to buy your first running hat. Best of luck! 

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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