trail runners in the best workout hats
Without hats, you run the risk of overheating in the summertime, getting too chilly in the wintertime, or sunburn at any time of year. (Photo: Amy Hatch)

The Best Workout Hats, According to the Pros

How people who make a living playing outside protect themselves from sun, rain, and sweat

Without hats, you run the risk of overheating in the summertime, getting too chilly in the wintertime, or sunburn at any time of year.

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When it comes to training, little things like hats often go unheralded. But they keep you from overheating in the summer, getting too chilly in the winter, or landing a gnarly sunburn. Translation: Without a hat, your workouts can suck. Here are the pros’ picks to avoid such a fate.

Buff Pack Run Cap ($30)

(Courtesy Buff)

Gina Lucrezi, Ultrarunner

This cap is a staple in my trail run kit,” says Gina Lucrezi, the two-time winner of the Leadville Silver Rush 50-Miler and first American at the UTMB CCC 100K. “It’s lightweight, breathable, and packs down to practically nothing. The brim holds its shape in transit, and the elastic pull-cord in the back lets you tailor the fit without the extra hardware that adds bulk.” Bonus: The upper panel offers UPF 50 sun protection.

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Icebreaker Reversible Pocket 200 Beanie ($18)

(Courtesy Icebreaker)

Whitney Hedberg, Adventure Racer

When Whitney Hedberg hits the trail for a hike or run, this wool beanie is in her pack, even in summer. “I live at 10,000 feet in Breckenridge, Colorado, where it can rain or snow in any season, so I need a hat that keeps me warm no matter the conditions,” says the world champion competitor. “Getting soaked can end warmth immediately, unless you’re donning merino wool. It’s lightweight, but if it gets wet, I can keep going without getting chilled. You want be able to trust your gear, especially when you go far and high and don’t have an easy exit, which is the case in most of my mountain workouts. This hat checks all the boxes for me.”

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Flexfit Delta Hat ($9)

(Courtesy Flexfit)

Ian Ross, Canoeist

During a workout or a race, there’s one thing pro boater Ian Ross doesn’t want to worry about: his hat flying off. “It’s a small thing but so important,” says the nation’s top sprint C1 canoeist. “Adjustable caps come off too easily. Since this hat is sized, once you find the right one, the polyester and spandex create the right amount of give, so it’s easy to put on, and has the right amount of snugness to make it stay. I wore it for the first time in 2016. Now I wear it for all workouts and while running, lifting, or paddling.”

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Buff Lightweight Merino Wool Hat ($19)

(Courtesy Buff)

Hadley Hammer, Big-Mountain Skier

“Much of my summer training involves hiking and climbing high in the Teton Range for anything from a quick three-hour mission to a long ten-hour day. Since summers aren’t particularly balmy in Jackson, I need versatile headwear,” says Hadley Hammer, a Freeride World Tour competitor and Buff ambassador. “The Buff merino wool hat protects me from the elements but isn’t too hot while scrambling around. It’s also so light and small that it’s easy to throw in my jacket.” Hadley also feels great sporting the eco-friendly and naturally odor-resistant wool, even multiple days in a row.

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Headsweats Go Hat ($22)

(Courtesy Headsweats)

Abby Broughton, Adventure Racer

From running to paddling to climbing, this simple hat has been adventure racer Abby Broughton’s go-to headgear for years. “Hats can get itchy, but this absorbs sweat without you noticing,” says the world champion competitor and former member of the U.S. rowing team. “I also love the overall design. The brim isn’t so long that it blocks vision, but not so short that it’s pointless. The clip makes it easy to put on quickly with a ponytail, and the fabric is light and breathable. You can also throw it in the washer over and over and it doesn’t break down.”

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Patagonia Duckbill Trucker Hat ($35)

(Courtesy Patagonia)

Suzy Williams, Gearhead

“I’ve tried scores of hats while working as a gearhead, but I’ve always been a huge fan of trucker hats, so I was stoked when Patagonia came out with a lighter, more functional version of the classic style,” says Suzy Williams, gear expert with It boasts an internal Coolmax headband to wick away sweat, an adjustable rear buckle with elastic for a snug fit, and a darker-tinted underbill to reduce glare on bright days and snowy glaciers. Plus, the hat is made of 92 percent recycled nylon and is Bluesign approved, meaning it’s free of harmful substances.”

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Lead Photo: Amy Hatch

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