11 Lightweight Running Hats That Look Cool and Still Protect Your Skin

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Outdoor workouts are a (literal) breath of fresh air. Weather permitting, there's nothing like clearing your head with a run, a walk, a hike, or a yoga class in the park. Unfortunately, the best part of outdoor workouts — the sunshine — is also the biggest downside. As much as we might savor the warm sunlight, our skin isn't always on the same page. Sunburn isn't a good look, but it's even worse for your health. People of any skin color can develop skin cancer, and any time your skin changes color after sun exposure — tan or burn — your risk of skin cancer increases, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

That means it's a really good idea to wear protection when you're exercising outside. That includes lathering on the sunscreen and wearing sunglasses and a hat or visor to protect your face. Running with a hat might sound annoying, but luckily, there are lots of lightweight, breathable running-hat choices that won't get sweaty or uncomfortable on a hot run or hike. In the event you're running in the rain, they can help shield your face from droplets. Frankly, these running hats are so versatile, we'd rock them sitting by the pool or on the beach, too. Keep reading for some of the best running hats out there, according to reviews.

— Additional reporting by Lauren Mazzo

Best Affordable Running Hat

Best Affordable Running Hat

GADIEMKENSD Reflective Outdoor Cap ($12)

For less than $15, you can have a running hat that packs all the features of a premium brand. This surprisingly affordable running hat offers UPF 50+ UV protection, reflective detailing, lightweight fabric, and two mesh vents to help keep you cool and dry.

Why we love it: The snap closure means no Velcro to pull your hair, and the price just can't be beat. Amazon reviewers give it a solid 4.4 rating, raving about its ability to fit a variety of head sizes and quick-drying, sweat-wicking properties.

What's worth noting: The brand recommends hand washing this hat, though one reviewer reports putting it in the washer without seeing any sort of damage. It's also not adjustable; there's a single snap closure, and then the elastic stretches to fit your head.

Best Nike Running Hat

Best Nike Running Hat

Nike AeroBill Tailwind Running Cap ($23, originally $30)

The strategically placed mesh vents on this Nike running hat keep you cool, while the hat's solid material on top protects your scalp from sunburn. Even better? It is made from at least 50 percent recycled polyester fibers and has reflective details to make sure you can be seen on the road or trail.

Why we love it: Nike customers praise this running hat for its Dri-Fit fabric that dries quickly after getting wet or sweaty.

What's worth noting: One reviewer notes that, if you have a smaller head, you'll be left with a long tail of velcro in the back from pulling it tight. This can result in a less-snug fit than is ideal for running.

Best Amazon Running Hat

Best Amazon Running Hat

TrailHeads Race Day Running Cap-Performance Hat ($22)

One of the top-rated running hats on Amazon, this TrailHeads pick is affordable while still packing all the necessary bells and whistles a running hat needs. That includes an adjustable hook-and-loop closure for a secure fit, a dark underbill to reduce glare, and quick-drying fabric. It is also machine washable for easy cleaning and comes in nine different colors, from neon green to black and white.

Why we love it: Reviewers praise this hat for being breathable, packable, and easy to wash. "I never wear hats. My ears stick out and so most hats don't sit right," writes one customer. "But this one fits PERFECTLY. I use it for runs and hiking. It's easy to wash and I just let it air dry. I even bought the same hat in different [colors] definitely recommend."

What's worth noting: This hat does not offer UPF protection; however, the brand does have other products with this feature for a few extra dollars. Some reviewers also report that the sizing varies from color to color.

Best Adidas Running Hat

Best Adidas Running Hat

Adidas Superlite Relaxed Fit Performance Hat ($21, orginally $26)

With 13 different colors — and many of them on sale — this is an affordable pick for a running hat that suits all styles. It packs UPF 50 sun protection and a classic hook-and-loop back closure for an adjustable fit.

Why we love it: Customers have given this hat a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, praising it for the reflective detailing (which ensures you're visible even in the rain or dark) and the "lightweight and cool fabric" that doesn't hold in the heat. One reviewer loves that this hat holds its shape even after being stuffed in a backpack or purse.

What's worth noting: This running hat is hand wash only, so keep that in mind if you buy a lighter color or sweat a lot on your runs.

Best Lightweight Running Hat

Best Lightweight Running Hat

Athleta Ultra Light Run Cap ($39)

This ultra-lightweight running hat from Athleta has perforated sides for enhanced airflow whether you're running, hiking, or just out in the heat. As a certified B Corp, the brand always has sustainability in mind, and this hat is no different; it's made from 100 percent recycled polyester sourced from post-consumer plastic bottles. The fabric is also water-repellant to protect against light-to-medium rain. Other than white, it comes in two other colors: a purple-y blue and black.

Why we love it: The easy-adjust bungee in the back means you can find your perfect fit with any hair-catching Velcro. Customers say it is breathable, perfect for the beach and desert, and doesn't tangle their hair.

What's worth noting: You'll need to hand wash this hat; it can't go in the washing machine. Additionally, a couple of reviewers found that the shape of the hat didn't quite work with their heads.

Best Running Hat With a Ponytail Hole

Best Running Hat With a Ponytail Hole

Lululemon Fast and Free Ponytail Running Hat ($38)

Turn this Lululemon running hat around and check out the big opening in the back, which is wide enough to incorporate ponytails of any height. Get it in six colors, including white, black, and gray. But no matter which you choose, you'll get reflective detailing, an interior mesh sweatband to catch any drips, quick-drying fabric, and an adjustable back closure for a custom fit.

Why we love it: Reviewers are obsessed with the ponytail hole. "I have a ton of hair and have troubles fitting my ponytail or bun through the hole that normal ponytail hats have. This hat is perfect for my average head size with the adjustable band and allows all my hair to be in a comfortable high pony or bun for my runs. It doesn't slip up or blow off when it's windy and doesn't leave a big dent in my forehead like other hats do when I get them tight enough to not blow away."

What's worth noting: Some customers report the hat being too big and say that the adjustable strap doesn't go far enough to fit their head. Because of this, one reviewer said the hat "rides up constantly and slips up my head."

Best Trendy Running Hat

Best Trendy Running Hat

Outdoor Voices Doing Things Hat ($28)

You can't blame us for being a little obsessed with the Doing Things Hat from Outdoor Voices. It's heavier compared to the others on our list but great for lower-intensity activities like walking, hiking, playing court sports like pickleball, or going on a casual run.

Why we love it: Reviewers have given it nearly five stars on the Outdoor Voices website, and they're nearly all obsessed. "This is my most fave hat ever. Color goes with everything and fit is perfect! I wear it 5/7 days! It's now a part of me, I've been wearing it so long. I'm actually on here to buy a backup!" one person writes. Another customer vouches that it's a great running hat: "this hat is so comfy, light, and fits perfectly snug which makes it awesome for running!"

What's worth noting: Some reviewers shared that the hat doesn't have much structure; it's easily crushable, which is great for travel but may leave it wrinkly or keep it from standing upright when on your head.

Best Trail-Running Hat

Best Trail-Running Hat

Adidas Terrex HEAT.RDY Five-Panel Graphic Cap ($30)

This Adidas running hat from the brand's outdoor-focused sub-brand, Terrex, is made from recycled materials and perfect for taking into the woods. The HEAT.RDY technology manages heat to keep you running, hiking, and exploring in hot weather, and an inner sweatband helps capture any sweat that does arise. If it gets dirty while you're tearing up the trails, just toss it into the washing machine.

Why we love it: Reviewers call this cap "superb" and say it's great for workouts of any type. "I wear this hat every time I run because it is very comfortable to wear and absorbs sweat well," one customer writes.

What's worth noting: Some reviewers note that the hat isn't friendly to big heads and could use a bigger bucket.

Best Luxe Running Hat

Best Luxe Running Hat

Sweaty Betty Swiftie Running Cap ($38)

Not to be confused with something for Taylor Swift fans, this Swiftie running hat from Sweaty Betty is easy to adjust and durable for any kind of weather, just in case a summer storm rolls through on your jog. It even features antibacterial tape inside to prevent germs from growing out of control.

Why we love it: Long-distance runners give this cap their seal of approval. "I don't normally run with a hat but needed one for the 2023 London Marathon," writes one reviewer. "It was pouring with rain at the start and this hat kept me dry. Fits well, drys quickly and comfy. Also easy to clip onto running belt when you don't need it."

What's worth noting: This hat isn't machine washable, so you'll need to hand wash it after sweaty runs.

Best 5-Panel Running Hat

Best 5-Panel Running Hat

Ciele GOCap Century Run Cap in Soca ($45)

The GOCap, the original Ciele running hat, has become a cult-favorite soft-brim run cap for a reason. This five-panel running hat is lightweight, reflective, machine washable, and packable; has UPF sun protection; and is made with ultra-breathable mesh fabric to keep you cool and seen. It also offers a "million miles guarantee," meaning you can contact the brand for a repair, replacement, or refund if you're not satisfied with your purchase. Purple not your thing? It has tons of colors to choose from, from classic to bright.

Why we love it: Reviewers rave about the resign as well as its washability. "C'mon now, its simply the best running hat- In my opinion," writes one reviewer. "You won't regret this one. Fabric and design is incredible. Extra points for being washable without the brim getting destroyed. Favorite for my trail runs. 100 percent love."

What's worth noting: At over $40, this is the most expensive hat on the list. Though you have a lifetime warrantee with purchase, it's not the most affordable running hat option.

Best Winter Running Hat

Best Winter Running Hat

Brooks Notch Thermal Beanie ($28)

If you're hitting the road or trails to log miles when it's chilly out, you'll need a running hat that keeps your head and ears warm. Add this Brooks running hat to your collection of winter running gear, as well as for shoulder-season runs when you need to stay toasty. The fabric is designed to be moisture-wicking while also being insulated, so if you warm up and sweat, your head won't get cold.

Why we love it: Zappos customers call this "very comfortable and warm" and say it's "great for cool weather."

What's worth noting: This running hat isn't adjustable, so depending on the size of your head, it may or may not cover your ears or could be too tight or too loose.