Should I Go Running With A Hat On?


Running Hat

Running with a hat is often a necessity for gaining protection from the elements, hot or cold. In the six years I’ve been running regularly, I’ve found that I love running with a warm beanie hat on in the winter, it must be a comfort thing.

But there are a range of reasons you might want to consider running with a hat on. 

Running with a hat on can provide a bit of shade in the summer and warmer ears in the winter. The hat will also keep your hair tied up and neat, which will make you a bit more aerodynamic while running. Lastly, a moisture-absorbing hat will keep the sweat from running into your eyes. 

There are things you need to know when you decide whether or not to wear a hat while running, such as the effect it will have on your temperature, how it might affect your performance or other miscellaneous factors you should account for. 

Furthermore, there are a couple of things you should know about wearing a hat in hot weather vs. wearing a hat in colder weather. We take a look at all of this. 

Running With A Hat: What You Need To Know

If you feel you want to go for a run but are unsure about whether to put on a hat or not, there are a couple of factors you should consider.

The Temperature Factor

This factor is (by far) the most obvious factor you should consider when you decide to wear a hat. There are benefits to wearing hats in cold and hot weather, but know that you will be less hot in warm weather and less cold in cool weather if you decide to wear a hat.

The Hair-Factor

If you decide to wear a hat while running, you will have a much more comfortable time if you have long hair tied up into a ponytail. Many hats come with ponytail holes that keep your hair away from your neck and shoulders.

Accordingly, if you wear a hat, you will not battle with your hair

Aerodynamics

Another thing you should know if you decide to wear a hat while running is that you will be slightly more aerodynamic. The difference is less significant compared to cyclists or swimmers. Still, that tiny difference between a good, streamlined head shape instead of wind-resistant hair blowing all over the place can amount to a couple of seconds of running time.

When you wear a hat, you will glide a bit easier through the air.

The Weather Factor

Wearing a hat while running means you will be protected from the elements. This is true for most types of weather conditions, be it: 1) your hat protecting your scalp from very strong sunlight, 2) making sure your eyes are protected in situations of very bright sunlight as well as very heavy rain, and 3) giving you a bit of a visor that protects you from strong dust winds.

When you wear a hat, you will have more protection against undesirable weather conditions.

Should I Wear A Hat When Running In The Heat?

It might seem counterintuitive to suggest that you wear a hat when running in the head, but i you are bald for example, there is a real risk from the heat and sun.

You should consider wearing a hat when running in the heat as it will block exposure from the run. You chose a white hat and one which allows moisture to wick away from your head.

So to reiterate, wearing a hat in the summer (or just when it is hot in general) is good and bad. If you run in very hot weather and you decide to wear a hat, two things will happen:

  • You will block exposure from the sun to your face and your head.
  • You will trap most of your body heat in your head. Your head has a lot of heat that escapes through it, and if you wear a hat while running, it will trap all of this heat.

Thus, you will feel less heat from exposure to the sun as well as heat generated from within your body. However, some triathletes state that if your head increases in temperature, your body temperature will probably not increase.

These triathletes say that having a cool head has many benefits on your comfort while running do not relate to keeping your body’s temperature low: if you feel uncomfortable in your head, you feel uncomfortable overall. So keeping your head cool is only done for the sake of running comfortably.

Accordingly, if you want to wear a hat while running, it is better to choose a mesh hat. This is because a mesh hat will allow air to pass through it, helping ventilation and keeping your head somewhat cooler.

Furthermore, you’d rather not go with a hat that absorbs moisture – to have a wet piece of fabric on your head can be a nuisance. It might also make your hat slightly heavier, and you don’t really want any unnecessary weight on your head.

TOP TIP!

If you can, get a white trucker hat. The sports trucker hat is specifically made for physical activities. The color reflects sunlight instead of absorbing it, ensuring that you are kept as cool as possible.

On the other hand, if you decide to buy a visor instead of a running hat, get a visor with the same qualities as you would look for in a running hat: light in weight, does not absorb moisture, white in color, etc. However, in the case of a visor, try and let the inside of the brim be black or any other dark color. This is only to ensure that the light that your visor reflects does not glare in your eyes.

In summary, yes, you would probably want to wear a hat or visor if you run in hot weather. However, you want that hat or visor to comply with certain requirements, such as being white, lightweight, and it must not absorb moisture.

Should I Wear A Hat When Running In The Cold

Wearing a hat in colder climates is a good idea for the same reasons why they do not recommend you wear one in hotter climates. 

You should wear a hat when running in the cold to help prevent loss of heat from your head. Accordingly, you are going to want to keep the heat insulated and keep your head covered

As mentioned, some of your body heat escapes through your head. This is what gives you the idea of feeling warmer or colder than what your actual temperature reading may be. In winter, you will want to have this heat contained.

It is advised that you wear hats that are made of fleece or wool in colder temperatures. Lastly, it remains a good idea to go with running hats or headgear that does not absorb moisture.

Some runners recommend the Merino Beanie. These hats are also very easy to tuck away, should you feel you are warming up.

In summary, yes, you can wear a hat if you run in the cold. The benefits are not as great as they are when using a running hat in hotter weather. If you decide to use a running hat for colder weather, it will probably be to insulate your head with heat and keep your ears warm while you enjoy a bit of exercise in colder climates.

Conclusion

It is recommended by some people that you should wear a hat when you go for a run. This holds true regardless of the weather in which you are running. Wearing a hat has various effects on you while you are running. It will maintain your temperature, it can keep your hair neat, and it can even make you slightly more aerodynamic.

If it is hot, it is highly recommended to choose a hat that does not make you feel like you are sweating more than you are, reflecting the sunlight a little more. If it is winter, you might opt to do the exact opposite and put on a hat that firmly insulates the heat – to keep your scalp and ears warm, of course.

Either way, hats are an excellent idea when running, and there is a suitable hat for every occasion. So, increase the comfort of your running experience and go get yourself a suitable running hat!

References

https://www.treehugger.com/best-gear-for-summer-running-4863627#:~:text=for%20optimum%20comfort.-,Hats,of%20course%2C%20is%20sun%20exposure.

https://www.verywellfit.com/cold-weather-running-clothes-and-gear-2911014

https://www.on-running.com/en-ch/articles/what-to-wear-when-running-in-the-cold-clothes-by-temperature

https://www.healthline.com/health/winter-running#what-to-wear

https://www.on-running.com/en-us/articles/5-reasons-for-running-hats

Mark Norman

I've been running for over 6 years and now try to balance it with life as a dad to two young kids. I'm not super quick, I just try to run consistently, not always easy! I'm lucky enough to have run the London Marathon twice along with countless other half marathons and 10ks. I'm also one of the Run Directors at my local parkrun.

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