My new winter hat for cold weather running

When it gets really cold, you’ll want to wear a warm hat for your runs. 

Cold weather or winter shouldn’t stop you from running. Even if the temperatures falls below freezing, it can still be a lot of fun to run. Actually, my most memerable runs where in snow and really poor conditions. The right gear and especially a good winter hat will help and make it more comfortable. 

I normally don’t wear anything on my head while running. But I’ll make an exception for those really cold days in winter. Especially on longer runs, wet hair and a cold wind make for a bad combination. They can result in a very cold and uncomfortable run, cold ears and a very cold and painful feeling. 

I recently went through the trouble of finding a new winter running hat, after my old one mysteriously disappeared. Not having bought a warm hat in a while, I expected to find good advise on my favorite running websites and some forums where runners share their experience.

I quickly found out however that warm hats do not get the same attention as running shoes or fashionable running apparel get. A lot of runners seem to grab any warm wooly hat they have lying around. It seemed I really had to figure this one out myself. 

Not satisfied with the initial options I found, I did a lot of comparison shopping using Google Shopping, Amazon and shops that specialize in running gear.

My main criteria for a warm running are:

  • Warm but breathable, fit for temperatures 40F to 20F degrees (+5 to -10 Celcius)
  • A tight, snug fit, with no moving parts
  • Light and odor resistant, making it easy to pack or travel with
  • Somewhat fashionable, but it doesn have to win any prize
  • Priced around $25

After a lot of online research, I visited a few stores to actually feel the material and try on the different options. In the end I settled on the Smartwool PHD Light Reversible Beanie

I have tried it out now for a few runs and I’m still very happy with my purchase. This hat has a very snug fit over my head and it can cover my ears. Although it’s warm, it breathes well and doesn’t make me feel like I’m overheating after 30 minutes or more of running.

The one downside was that it was weird for the hat to have a large washing instructions label sewn in on the inside, considering this is meant to be a reversable hat. Luckily, I was able to solve this issue with a few well aimed cuts with a small scissor relatively quickly.  Prices vary, I was able to buy mine at REI during a sale. It is also available on Amazon.


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