Any outdoor exercise you do in the cold requires special considerations; it’s essential to stay warm, of course, but you also have to make sure whatever layers you’re wearing are lightweight and breathable enough that you avoid overheating. When your fingers feel like ice, and your cheeks sting from the cold air, you might have a hard time imagining ever being warm again, let alone overheating. But start running, and you’ll warm up pretty quickly. That’s why if you’re going to run in the cold, it’s worth investing in a running beanie. A running beanie will keep your noggin’ toasty without being too warm.
The best running beanies should be moisture-wicking, allowing sweat to be pulled away from your head. This will help reduce itchiness, so you won’t be distracted by the hat that’s supposed to be keeping you warm. Synthetic materials like polyester are favored for moisture-wicking, but they’re not the only options. Merino wool is nature’s performance fabric; it’s moisture-wicking and temperature regulating.
Many of the best options are skullcaps — these are thinner and lighter than traditional cuff or flip beanies. However, some runners might still prefer the warmth offered by a flip beanie. And, of course, you might also want something stylish that goes with the rest of your running gear. We’ve rounded up some of the best running beanies to buy for all of your cold-weather runs this winter.
1. Smartwool NTS Merino 150 Beanie
Smartwool is one of the most unique brands for active clothing — the brand uses merino wool as its primary fabric rather than synthetic materials. This beanie is made from 87% wool and 13% nylon for stretchiness and durability. It’s lightweight and thin without compromising warmth, making it great for runners. Because this beanie can fit under helmets, it’s also suitable for cycling and skiing.
2. Arc’teryx Rho Lightweight Beanie
This beanie from Arc’teryx is lightweight, making it great for staying warm while you run, hike or walk. It comes in three different colors, which are black, green and mustard yellow. The beanie is made from moisture-wicking merino wool, with 5% elastane for stretchiness. It’s one size, though some find that it runs on the smaller side.
Arc'Teryx Running Beanie
3. Tough Headwear Skull Cap
Tough Headwear is made from thin and lightweight polyester, and it’s designed to be worn under a helmet, including motorcycles and bicycles. It’s also an excellent option for runners; four-way stretch ensures a secure fit, and flatlock stitching helps prevent itchiness.
Tough Headwear Beanie
4. Minus33 Merino Wool Beanie
BEST FLIP BEANIE
Thanks to its lightweight construction, this Minus33 beanie is a popular option for running and other outdoor activities. It’s a flip beanie, making it a great choice for those who like a more classic beanie look. It comes in tons of colors, and it’s made from breathable and moisture-wicking 100% merino wool.
Minus33 Running Beanie
5. Smartwool Merino 250 Cuffed Beanie
This option is also from Smartwool, and it’s a great option if you like the style and fit of a cuffed beanie, as opposed to the other Smartwool skull cap featured on this list. It’s a thin beanie and is made from 100% merino wool. It comes in a range of colors, including options with stylish contrasting trims.
Smartwool Running Beanie
6. New Balance Lightweight Running Skullcap
Unsurprisingly, many of the best brands for running shoes also make great gear to go along with the footwear. If you’ve already got your New Balance shoes, shorts, and t-shirt, consider adding this skullcap. It has a reflective New Balance logo and is designed to be comfortable and moisture-wicking.
New Balance Running Beanie
7. Adidas Creator Running Beanie
Adidas’ beanie has a stylish and sporty design, with Adidas’ logo on the front and three stripes on the side. It comes in black and gray, though other colors may be available from different stores. The beanie has an acrylic exterior with a mesh polyester lining that allows air and moisture to escape quickly.
The North Face Running Beanie
8. The North Face Jim Beanie
BEST FOR TRAILS
If you’re looking for a beanie that suits a cold run on the trails, The North Face’s Jim Beanie is a warm option that’s made from a blend of 70% polyester and 30% wool, making for a warm beanie yet moisture-wicking.