Once you start running in a purpose-built, technical running cap, you won’t go back. Here are a few of our favourites and what to look for in a quality running cap.


When it comes to running gear, I rank running shoes, socks (an extension of your shoes), and then a running cap in order of importance. 

Running caps are an all-weather multi-tool that keeps your head protected from the sun, your eyes protected from sweat, and will keep you cool, shaded, and streamlined whether pounding the pavement or scrambling over trails.

What to consider when buying a running cap?

There’s more to think about in a technical running cap than your regular old baseball cap, so here are some features to look out for.


Comfort & Fit

No points for this one. A running cap should fit snuggly enough that it doesn’t fly off your dome when you’re bombing down your local hill or getting slapped silly by branches on the trails.

Pay close attention to the fastening mechanism. A toggle or cinch system works best and will let you quickly crank up the tightness when it gets gusty without having to stop or take too much thought or energy.


Breathability & Weight

Many people might avoid a hat while running, thinking it’ll make their head stuffy and warmer while exercising. While this might be true for regular caps, running caps are designed to maintain good airflow and breathability. 

The best caps are so light you won’t even feel like you’re wearing one.


Sun Protection

A running cap will protect you from UV rays and keep the rain off your face during less-than-favourable conditions. 


Durability & Washability

Washability can make or break a running cap. You want it to be fairly indestructible considering the amount of sweat it’ll invariably soak up. 

With these considerations in mind, here are some of our top picks when it comes to running caps.


Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 review, photos by Matt Wiseman, runner Tim Ashelford, le bent socks, vibes high, trail running, fern

1. Fractel M-Series ‘Jet’ Edition Cap

Fractel is an Australian brand solely dedicated to making premium running caps.

The ‘Jet’ cap is a bestseller, crafted from 100% recycled polyester and combines UPF50+ sun protection on the brim, front panel, and back panel with strategically placed mesh panels to facilitate airflow.

Reflective logos, a pliable brim and SWIFTdry™ sweat-absorbing internal headband mean this hat is jam-packed with all the features you need, but weighs just 59g. 


Run Cap




Notable mentions also go to Fractel’s Indigenous collections like the NAIDOC Week collection they most recently dropped.


Fractel just dropped a NAIDOC week collection, Provided by Fractel, Limited Edition Hats at the table

2. Lé Bent Blueys 5 Panel Run Cap

Lé Bent is another Australian brand but it’s best known for its technical run socks and first on skin merino and bamboo blend layers. 

The Blueys 5 Panel Run Cap takes its name from the Blue Mountains where much product testing was conducted with team athletes like Vlad Shatrov and Tom Batrouney.

Also made from recycled polyester and with all-round UPF50+ sun protection, what makes this cap stand out is the stretchy shock cord and rear toggle that allows for a super customisable fit on the fly.

The laser-cut perforations on the side of the cap also assist with airflow and in a nice touch, are cut in the shape of the Lé Bent ‘é’ accent.

Did we mention this cap is also machine washable and actually floats?


Run Cap



3. The North Face Flight Ball Unisex Cap

Prior to discovering my go-to Lé Bent option above, and before it was mistakenly thrown in the dryer by my partner, the Flight Ball cap from The North Face was my favourite running cap. 


Salomon Ultra-Glide Trail Shoe – Review


Lighter than the options above, unfortunately this came at the cost of the cap’s durability. 

The Flight Ball’s downfall is it isn’t machine washable — a feature that really is essential when you’re bashing out multiple runs a week. 

However, the cap gets a mention here for one unique attribute. 

It has a built-in ice pocket at the top of the crown. I credit this feature as getting me through my first half marathon. Once you have cool ice water melting down your head on a hot summer’s run, and 10km into the run no less, it’s quite hard to go back.

Run Cap


4. Arc’teryx Calvus Cap

Arc’teryx’s foray into running caps is true to form with a minimalist but technically on-point running cap. 

Another lightweight cap at 49g, the Calvus is made from Polydel Mesh — 100% polyester, 80 g/m² — a lightweight, highly air permeable, gridded knit mesh with good wicking properties. 

The cap has an odour-resistant antimicrobial finish however it’s not machine washable, so another one to treat with care.

Run Cap


5. Fractel M-Series Blizzard Edition Winter Run Cap

For those running in places where keeping the ears warm is more of a priority than having an insertable ice pack compartment, the Fractel Blizzard collection is a top pick. 



Crafted with Polartec® Wind Pro® fleece, check out our in-depth review of the Fractel Blizzard Edition fleece caps.


Run Cap




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