I invested in a running hat a long time ago for the following reasons:
1. I sweat. A LOT. It drips down from my forehead into my eyes, and since my sweat is pretty salty, the sweat that gets into my eyes stings. Stinging eyes, if you haven’t already figured out, doesn’t feel very good.
2. I have bangs and my hair is cut in layers, meaning that only 50% of my hair gets secured in a ponytail. Along with the aforementioned sweat, pieces of hair flying in my face = ain’t fun at all.
3. To keep the sun out of my eyes. For whatever reason, I don’t want to get running sunglasses. OK, actually, I have a bunch of reasons, such as: (A) I think I’d look douchey in them, (B) I feel like they’re more bother than they’re worth, (C) I’m actually kinda sensitive to the ones that squeeze your head too tight. Anyway, running caps do a great job of blocking out the sun most of the time.
4. I am vain. I may not appear to care very much about my appearance, but it’s another thing to look disheveled (i.e. “A HOT MESS”) in public. A running hat prevents the hot mess from occurring, IMHO.
These are the items I currently own for keeping my hair out of my face, and may be updated as I accumulate new headwear. Oh, don’t be scared by my photos; I’m sorry if I look a bit psychotic. I never know how to pose for photobooth.
Nike Running Hat
This is the first hat I bought; it’s been with me since 2008. As you can see from my photos, it’s the one hat I run in almost 100% of the time. As a result, it’s gotten really stinky. Even with frequent washings, I can’t get rid of the scent of mildew. And I, more than anyone I know, disdain the smell of mildew. So, sadly, the Nike Running hat might have to leave soon.
Cost: $20 (I think)
Pros: White, so reflects the sun well. Fairly simple design (even though I eschew logos). Adjustable velcro flap in the back is easy to use.
Cons: Smelly, but perhaps due to user error/overuse. May also be partially due to thick cotton-like material around the headband (though the rest of the hat is made out of Nike’s Dri-Fit fabric).
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
I got this headband from my friend and fellow blogger Laura, who was (and still is!) raising money for Team in Training. Seeing as my hat was getting smelly, I thought it’d be nice to have an alternate headband.
Pros: Cheap. Light. Dries quickly. Love the slogan; makes me smile whenever I wear it.
Cons: Doesn’t always wrap up all of my layers and bangs (see photo). I wish that all of the text was similar in size, because from far away, all you can see is “SLOW.” Doesn’t exactly boost my morale.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Under Armour Oakland Running Festival Hat
I got this at the expo for the 2012 Oakland Half Marathon. I love the colors. It’s lightweight and hasn’t given even a slight hint of odor (knock on wood). It’s got a handy clip enclosure in the back to allow easier ponytail slip-through. It’s also fits me a *little* better because it’s specifically sized for women.
Cost: $25 ($21.99 online)
Pros: Attractive colors. Lightweight. Not smelly. Dries quickly. Clip enclosure. Fits well.
Cons: A little bit pricey (but a very useful race souvenir). Maybe I could do with less wording, but it doesn’t bother me all that much.
Rating: 9 out of 10 (so far)
UPDATE (5/26/12): Shortly after this post was written, I semi-retired the Nike hat; it’s now on reserve for extremely desperate situations due to its high level of stink. In its place, I’ve gotten 2 more Under Armour hats, one in white/orange, and the other in “deceit” (teal)/white. I did try on a bunch of other brands at REI, but they fit me weird/looked stupid/weren’t as cool as the Under Armour hats. Also, given the intense glare of Sunny California, I might have to get over my feelings about running sunglasses and invest in a pair. Sigh.
Disclaimer: The above review is my personal opinion. I have not been compensated (in merchandise or money) to endorse these products.