Over Thanksgiving weekend, we were deep in gear testing mode for the best new sneakers of 2018 post, which meant lots of time on the road. Our team of eight testers was very focused on running as many miles as possible in each pair of shoes. While it’s a high drive to get outdoors, once the temperatures drop, motivation begins to go with it. All of a sudden it takes thermal leggings, a base layer, a BUFF or neckwarmer, gloves and a hat to get outside instead just shorts and a tee. I quickly realized I needed to update my running accessories to get myself up and out every morning.
For Thanksgiving, my family travels far enough north that when I head out for runs, I return to the house with frost covering my eyebrows and eyelashes. I didn’t have a hat, opting for an over-ear headband, which at sub-20 degree temperatures was a mistake. While a headband keeps your ears warm, when it’s frigid, you need something that’s going to keep the heat in and help you power through whatever your daily mileage is. These eight hats are an easy way to warm up your noggin and your body.
GoCap Polartec Seawall
Ciele Athletics and Polartec teamed up just in time for winter running and hiking. The ever-popular GoCap gets a refresh with Power Wool and Power Grid fabrics along the edge of the cap and within the different panels. This was the first hat our team reached for when we went out to test winter running gear. Everyone wanted to wear one of these hats. While they’ll work for above 30-degree temperatures, we recommend pairing it with one of the FSTBeanies or headbands on frigid days. As with all Ciele products, it’s ensured for a million miles — so practically a lifetime.
Buff Midweight Merino Wool Hat
While we typically reach for a Buff when skiing or boarding down the mountain, it’s just as helpful to throw on one of the products that made the brand famous when running. The merino wool hat is long enough to cover your ears while also dipping low in the back, so you get a bit more coverage than traditional running caps. It’s thin, with just one layer around the top of your head and two around your ears, but it’s made with 250 grams of midweight merino wool that keep you plenty warm. We’re big fans of all of the properties of merino: sweat-wicking, antimicrobial and temperature-regulating. Pick up a hat in one of four colors.
Lululemon Resolute Runner Beanie
The Rulu fabric feels smooth and soft like your favorite pair of joggers. It’s breathable, sweat-wicking and comes in three colors (black, teal or red). Small reflective details along the side and logo help improve your visibility during the darkest months of the year.
Under Armour Storm ColdGear Reactor Beanie
There’s nothing worse than putting on all of your layers, heading out on a run and then feeling your head get soaked through a mile in, thus causing shivers for the remainder of the miles. A beanie that doesn’t soak through when you go out for a run in a snowstorm is a beautiful thing. The Storm finish works hard to keep snow and rain out but still allows your head to give off heat, so you don’t overheat.
Smartwool Merino 250 Cuffed Beanie
With its minimalist branding, roll cuff and 100 percent merino wool, Smartwool’s beanie is one of our top picks. Merino 250 is the brand’s heavier base fabric, so it’ll keep you warm in colder temperatures. Smartwool hats are soft, yet durable, so expect to have this last for a handful of winters.
Outdoor Research Wind Pro Hat
While this hat is built for snowshoers and backcountry skiers, it’ll work just as well for long training runs along snow-covered trails. A hard-faced fleece means it’s wind-resistant and water-repellent, so a mid-run snowfall won’t derail your training plans. The fleece interior is super soft to the touch and won’t bother you during all-day wear.
Pearl Izumi Thermal Skull Cap
If the thermostat reads between 45 and 55, reach for Pearl Izumi’s Thermal Skull Cap. This is the hat that will hold you through the shoulder seasons before and after the frigid cold of winter. It’s also an excellent beanie to invest in when you live somewhere that might not drop below 30. It’s quick-drying and sweat-wicking, so you can wear it all year long without worry of a stink.
Craft Active Extreme 2.0 Windstopper Hat
For days where it’s just too windy to fathom hill repeats, this Windstopper hat will help you hit the trails or outdoor track. It’s built for cycling use, but runners will appreciate the paneling to stop winds and keep your head dry. It’s lightweight and designed to slide under your helmet, so it’s not bulky at all.
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