en el apasionante mundo del running temperature dips below freezing? When snowpocalypse season lays siege to half the country and the “real feel” index makes Antarctica sound like a reasonable vacation spot, you might be forgiven for Sneakers Andes HI211888 Taupe. But some hardy souls are motivated by the crisp air, bright light, and in-it-together camaraderie of running in the cold—it beats sweating through humidity, they say. And truly, if you Puma x MCM Low Sneakers in Bright White Vibrant Yellow in warm, sweat-wicking gear, you probably can tolerate temperatures colder than you realize. (Don’t overdress, however, or you’ll overheat, and as your sweat chills, you risk hypothermia. You should feel slightly cold when you first step outside and warm up within 10 minutes.)
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The myth of losing 50 percent of your body heat through your head was long ago busted, but it sprang from seeds of truth: If your head is cold, you will be, too. We tapped into a community of like-minded pals who run through all the elements winter throws down to find the best beanies to see you through until spring. The perfect hat will keep you toasty warm while wicking sweat to keep you dry; look for one that covers your ears and stays securely on without squeezing your forehead. And then get out there: You’ll be happier and healthier, just like the other cold-weather-loving crazies.
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Marathon training through a Northeast winter doesn’t so much take grit as it takes good gear—including the perfect warm, but-not-too-warm beanie to coax you toward the door on those mornings when you’d rather stay under the covers than run in the snow. To make this list of top winter hats, we relied on our own experience running in frigid Pennsylvania winters, as well as tested reviews by trusted sources. We all put a great deal of trial and error into selecting and testing the best hats here; but for the sake of thoroughness, we also scoured Amazon reviews for pros and cons of models we might have missed. Here are our recommendations.
This best-selling lightweight running hat for winter is made from a poly-spandex blend that stretches over your head, sits close on your ears, and effectively wicks away sweat. Thin enough to fit under a ski helmet or bike helmet, it kept warm-blooded testers toasty at temps as low as 10 degrees; others used it as a liner underneath chunky knit caps. Runners prone to overheating appreciated being able to roll it up and stuff it in their pocket. If you don’t love it, Tough Headwear has a generous return policy. The beanie is also available in bright orange and neon yellow for increased visibility during winter’s limited-daylight days or in snow.
If you insist on running in truly frigid temperatures, you may wish to opt for a protective style like this one. This fleece hat has a pull-down face mask in front which helps to protect your head, face, and ears from the winter chill. The face portion is made from moisture-wicking material so it won't get overly damp from your breath—plus the whole thing is machine washable, so you can just throw it in with the rest of your laundry.
There's nothing quite as cozy as a beanie in wintertime—and if you get a good one like this Carhartt, it will stay on your head, and last for years. Carhartts are known for having thick, plush, and stretchy material, which makes them great for fitting on any type of head shape and size. Since it has a folded design, you can also pull it down to your desired height for a looser or closer fit based on your preference. Best of all, it comes in numerous colors that you will want to wear outside of your workouts.
Might be too thin for some, especially those who used the previous version of this hat
This is the go-to head warmer for the brave soul who runs in all conditions, including snow, sleet, and ice (which we don’t recommend). Here’s why: Smartwool’s 100 percent merino is double-locked for extra warmth, which is no surprise, but it’s also soft, it breathes, it wicks moisture, and it resists the odors that some man-made materials never shake, even after repeated washing. Roll the cuff up for a stylish touch or pull it down low over your ears on the frostiest days. A few outliers complain that the weave on this year’s model is thinner than in the past, but most runners rave about this perennial fave.
Most winter hats leave my giant, chaotic ponytail with nowhere to go. This fleece cap has a little hole in the back through which it can escape, so all that hair stays out of sight and out of mind. It’s an ideal pick for sunny, below-freezing days, as the bill is big enough to protect your eyes, and the drop-down ear flap is cozy against your ears and neck. It’s also versatile—the ponytail slit is almost unnoticeable if you’re not using it, and on warmer days, you can tuck the ear cover back into the cap. The all-over fleecy fabric is soft, comfortable, and warm, but it doesn’t provide much rain protection for those who run in wetter climates. Also be warned that the hat stretches to fit in one-size-fits-most fashion, so runners with bigger heads might find it to be too tight.
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Block out some of that blinding winter sun or keep the falling snow off your face with this generously billed ball cap. Made of a soft, stretchy fleece with a drop-down flap to cover your neck and ears, the hat will keep your whole head warm and comfortable on the coldest days. For visibility on early morning or late evening runs, the hat’s bill has reflective accents.
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When you just need a simple, warm layer to get the job done without setting you back in the cash department, this skullcap has you—and your ears—covered. Made of a blend of polyester and spandex, the hat wicks away moisture and keeps sweat from pooling into your eyes. It’s robust enough to block out the windchill but still lightweight enough that you won’t overheat on balmier days.
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Give your head some soft merino love with this lightweight winter cap. Made of 96 percent merino wool with a little spandex for stretch, the beanie keeps you cozy on cold runs without leaving your scalp itchy and overheated, and the just-snug-enough fit stops the cap from sliding off without inducing a pressure headache. It’s so small and lightweight that you can tuck it into a pocket if you get too warm—but be warned, you might want something heavier for the coldest, bitterest days.
Before joining Runner's World as an Editor in 2019, Gabrielle Hondorp spent 6 years in running retail (she has tested top gear from shoes, to watches, to rain jackets which has expanded her expertise—and her closets); she specializes in health and wellness, and is an expert on running gear from head-to-toe. Gabi began her journalism career as a Digital Editorial Fellow for Runner’s World and Bicycling Magazine, and has since advanced to a Runner's World Editor specializing in commerce. She has a double degree in English and Media and Communication from Muhlenberg College where she also ran cross country and track.