The Best Running Hats: Top Rated Technical Caps For Runners

Any one of these highly recommended running caps will go the distance with you, no matter how many miles you're running.

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All opinions are our own and never influenced by brands. If you buy through links, we may earn a commission.

Welcome to our guide to the best running hats, featuring our highly-recommended running cap choices for all runners, whether you’re running the roads, hitting the trails or smashing ultras.

A technical running hat is one of those running essentials for every run, rain or shine. These caps will help wick sweat away from your face and eyes, and keep your head/face/neck shaded from the sun (and also rain), among other important reasons explained in this running hat buyer’s guide.

Key features to look for when choosing a running hat

When buying your next running hat there are a few essential features that you’ll want to look out for. For a hat to be suitable for running and be worthy of making it onto this list, it must be:

  • Breathable – a breathable hat allows air to circulate around your head, helping to keep you cool, while keeping the sun and rain out
  • Moisture-wicking & quick-drying – hat made from moisture-wicking fabric will draw sweat away from your skin and stop it running into your eyes, while a quick-drying design ensures that your hat won’t stay soggy with sweat or rain
  • Lightweight & preferably packable – A lightweight hat won’t weigh you down, and a packable cap is even better so you can stash it away in your hydration pack when you don’t need it
  • Comfortable – your cap should feel like it’s barely there, and be adjustable to get a good fit
  • Stylish – let’s be honest—we all want to look good while we’re running
  • Durable – Look for hats with robust construction and high-quality materials that will stand up to a beating and stay with you mile after mile
  • Sun protection – to protect your face, ears, and the top of your head (where it can be tough to apply sunscreen) from the sun’s UV rays.

Just remember: a cap isn’t a substitute for sunscreen – make sure you’re still slathering on the SPF – these are our favorite sunscreens for runners.

All of the caps on this list have these features so you can simply choose the one you like the look and sound of the most!

This list of the best running caps is regularly updated so remember to bookmark this post and check back before buying your next hat!

If you’re on this page looking for a warm hat to wear for cold weather runs, head over to our best winter running hats buyer’s guide for recommendations for beanies, headbands and earwarmers.


janji AFO running hat

1. Janji AFO Hyperlight Cap ($38)

The AFO Hyperlight Cap running hat has the prestige of being considered the best running hat on this list. Let me tell you why.

It’s a super lightweight running hat that’s breathable, adjustable packable, and has a flippable brim. Flipping the brim up when it’s not needed to shield from the sun helps give visibility while climbing steep hills.

You don’t even notice it’s on your head, and that’s how I like it – no bulk.


Arcteryx Norvan Cap

2. Arcteryx Norvan Cap ($60)

The Arcteryx Norvan Cap is great addition to your running hat collection. It’s impressively lightweight, breathable, and insanely packable, making it an ideal companion on high-intensity runs.

It also has an easily adjustable headband, great ventilation and is treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent).

You’ve probably seen me wearing it a lot in my YouTube running shoe reviews or our Instagram account.


Fractel Headwear Best running caps

3. Fractel Headwear ($40)

Australian company Fractel Headwear‘s running hat collection includes a variety of lightweight cap options with wide brims that can be flipped up and are made with 100% recycled, breathable fabric that provides UV and sun protection.

The Fractel hat featured above is the “Cairo” Edition, and is a personal favorite of our co-founder, Helen – visit Fractel’s website to see their full range of color options.

Fractel is also a great brand to consider if you want a bucket hat or a legionnaire cap. Both are popular for running in the desert and very hot weather conditions and are often seen on runners attempting Badwater and the Marathon des Sables.


Ciele Athletics cap

4. Ciele Athletics GOCap ($50)

The Ciele GOCap is very lightweight and packable which means you can stash it away in your running hydration vest, running belt or pocket when you’re not using it without worrying about it losing its shape when you unpack it.

This machine-washable running cap offers great sun protection and also has plenty of reflective detailing, including a nice pattern under the brim ready for when you flip it up – to keep you safe in low light or when running at night.


BUFF Pack Run Cap

5. Buff Pack Run Cap ($30)

The Buff Pack Run Cap is a really innovative and versatile trail running hat. Buff is already famous for its multifunctional headwear and headbands and it won’t be long before these hats are seen all over the trails.

One of the clever features is that it has a flexible brim, which you can flip up when running/hiking uphill allowing you to see further towards the horizon at the top of your climb, you can then flip it back down when running on the flat or downhill.

The thin, smooth, lightweight fabric is also great for moisture-wicking, making it a top choice for wearing on those hot, sweaty summer runs.

I wore my UTMB special edition Buff Pack Run Cap for my OCC race not that long ago and it performed excellently for the entire 10.5 hours of mountain running!


On Lightweight Cap

6. On Running Lightweight Cap ($40)

I love the more traditional solid brim design of the On Running Lightweight Cap, not only does it look great but it also has all the essential features that make a great technical running hat.

It’s lightweight, fast-drying, and very breathable due to the laser-cut mesh panels with ventilation holes that run along the sides.

Not only does this hat provide great sun protection but it also comes with a reflective logo on the front to help you be seen while running in low-light conditions.

To learn more read my in-depth On Running Cap review.

Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.

6 COMMENTS

  1. A nice article for all the sports lovers with a very nice and brief explanation. Reading your article it is clear that sportswear will never go out of fashion now. It has become an integral part of our daily wear.

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