The best hats for running

Buying guide

Here's how to choose the best running hat to protect you from the elements—while also adding a dose of style to your running outfit.

Last updated: 3 July 2024
5 min read
The best hats for running by Nike

The beauty of running is that it can be done anywhere by anyone with just a pair of sneakers. But to make your run more comfortable and enjoyable—and level up your performance—it's worth looking beyond your footwear.

Yes, running accessories matter. While often neglected, a running hat is a crucial finishing component to any running outfit. Here's how to choose the best hats for running based on style and function.

Is it better to run with a hat on?

While not everyone loves the feeling of running in a hat, running hats help protect your head and face from the elements—whether that's blustery cold winds or the beating sun. Running hats can also keep sweat and rain out of your eyes.

What is a runner's hat?

Any hat with a brim can work in a pinch, but the best hats for running have performance in mind. Unlike your favourite cotton twill cap, the best performance hat for running will also be flexible, lightweight, breathable and made from a moisture-wicking material that helps to wick away sweat and keep you cool and dry.

What to look for in a running hat

1. Moisture control

If you sweat heavily when you run, you'll want to choose a hat with moisture-wicking properties. Nike Dri-FIT hats disperse moisture across the surface of the fabric for quick evaporation, to help your head stay dry.

2. Ventilation

Choose a hat with a ventilated design for better airflow and circulation, even during a high-intensity run. Some Nike running hats also feature perforations throughout for breathability. If you want even less fabric, choose a visor.

3. Fit

Fit is critical for comfort. You must ensure the hat is snug in windy weather but isn't too tight. Select a running cap that is easily adjustable—whether that's with a bungee strap or snapback—so you can customise the fit. The adjustable closure also leaves space for a low braid or ponytail to keep long hair from distracting you or dragging you down (literally and figuratively).

4. Reflectivity

If you enjoy running at night or early in the morning when it's still dark, it's important to look for a running hat with reflective design details, like the reflective design Nike Swoosh on this hat.

5. Sun protection

A wide brim is an important feature to look for in a running hat to help keep your eyes and face protected from the sun. (Some running hats also offer built-in UPF for added sun protection.) Pairing your hat with running sunglasses can give your eyes extra protection from the sun and prevent distracting glare—just make sure the size and curve of your hat's brim fits well with your frames, so you can get the perfect fit for your next sunny run.

6. Warmth

On cold days when staying warm is your top priority, swap out a brimmed running hat for a Nike running beanie. The stretchy knit fabric will protect your ears from the cold and wind, while the Dri-FIT technology wicks away sweat to help keep you dry and warm. If you want to ditch the extra fabric, you can also opt for a fleece running headband with thermal technology to help keep you warm on chilly runs.

7. Sustainable materials

Consider choosing a hat made from sustainable materials that has a lower environmental impact (without sacrificing performance). Nike has several styles of running hats made from at least 75% recycled polyester fibres that begin as plastic bottles and are then converted into pellets and spun into high-quality yarn.

8. Style

Function might be top of mind while choosing a running hat, but our workout gear and accessories can boost confidence, which can boost performance. Luckily, Nike's running hats come in a variety of styles and colours, so you can choose one that best suits your run and your personality—whether that's a sleek all-black option or a floral print.

The best Nike running hats to shop

1. Nike Dri-FIT Club Unstructured Featherlight Cap

This ultralight, unstructured running cap won't restrict or distract you while you're running. The Nike Dri-FIT fabric wicks away sweat, and the strategically placed featherlight vents improve airflow, so you stay dry and cool. It comes in three sizes, so even those with larger heads can find a comfortable fit—and the easy tri-glide closure makes it quick and easy to adjust. Multiple colours are available, whether you prefer a classic white or black or a bright pop of colour.

2. Nike Dri-FIT ADV Club Structured Swoosh Cap

While unstructured running hats are easy to fit into the pocket of your running shorts, some people might prefer a more structured option that holds its shape when you aren't wearing it. If that's you, this hat is a great option for wearing around town long after your run is over. It doesn't sacrifice on function, either. It features Nike AeroBill technology—which integrates proprietary lightweight construction with breathable, sweat-wicking fabric. The snapback closure helps you find the perfect fit that stays put while running.

3. Nike Storm-FIT ADV Club Structured AeroBill Cap

As the name suggests, this lightweight running hat protects you from harsh weather conditions. Nike Storm-FIT ADV technology combines a windproof and waterproof fabric with a seam-sealed design to help keep you dry. It's a great go-to if you live where rainy conditions are common.

4. Nike Storm-FIT ADV Apex Bucket Hat

The bucket hat version of the structured Storm-FIT ADV hat offers the same seam-sealed waterproof design to help keep you dry and reflective design details—with an extra dose of style. Even if you aren't planning on running, it's a great functional and fashionable accessory to complete a casual, sporty outfit. The detachable drawcord and foam inside the brim also help you find the perfect, comfortable fit.

5. Nike Dri-FIT ADV Fly Unstructured Reflective Design Cap

If you don't need rain protection but do want something lightweight, sweat-wicking and highly breathable, the Nike Fly cap fits the description. In addition to Dri-FIT technology, the perforations on the front and side add extra breathability—and the reflective design details provide an additional perk. What sets this unstructured style apart is the four-way stretch material and the hook-and-loop strap that help you get the perfect custom fit. Opt for pink or another non-neutral colour to add a dash of personality to your running outfit.

Words by Kylie Gilbert

Originally published: 12 February 2024

Related Stories

The best winter hats by Nike

Buying guide

The best winter hats by Nike

The best Nike leggings for support and compression

Buying guide

The Best Nike leggings for support and compression

What Nike shoes are best for long-distance running?

Buying guide

What Nike shoes are best for long-distance running?

The 4 best work sneakers by Nike

Buying guide

The 4 best work shoes by Nike

The warmest winter coats by Nike

Buying guide

The warmest winter jackets by Nike