The Best Running Skull Caps Reviewed & Tested

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Searching for the best running skull caps? Take a look at the top choices for 2017, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying one in a store!

I’m sure that most everyone has heard the phrase “you lose most of your heat through your head” at least once and probably a lot more often. Sometimes it even gets really hyperbolic, with people throwing out stats like 70% or 80% of your heat evaporates here. Is this the truth or is it an long told fable?

Well, like so many things in life it isn’t black and white — the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Ergodyne 6630
  • Ergodyne 6630
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Efficient & comfortable fit
  • Price: See Here
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Nike Pro Combat Hypercool
  • Nike Pro Combat Hypercool
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Dri-FIT moisture control
  • Price: See Here
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Pearl Izumi Barrier
  • Pearl Izumi Barrier
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Windproof panel
  • Price: See Here
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On a purely logical level it wouldn’t make sense that we lose that high a percentage of heat through our heads. The head accounts for such a small surface area that its rate of heat loss would have to be exponential to lose that much total heat, when compared to the rest of the body. Not surprisingly it doesn’t.

In the following we’ve taken a thorough look at skull caps and selected the most optimal for runners. Herein are reviews, details, and discussion — all you need to know about skull caps. Enjoy!

 


Ergodyne 6630 High-Performance Cap

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The beauty of the Ergodyne 6630 high performance cap is in its simplicity and its ability to absorb like no other. Made from technical fabric with a generous, absorbent terry cloth headband -- this skull cap is going to sop up any excess sweat no problem. Paradoxically this is great for hot weather, if you tend to perspire excessively and have been the victim of sweat stung eyes you know what a great benefit this can be. For a few other reasons why we rate this cap so highly see below.
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About the Product:

- Simple and to the point, high-performing skull cap, that is efficient and comfortable
- Made from HiCool fabrics that work as a great thermoregulation aid
- All synthetic, sponge and elastics are designed for max absorption
- One size fits all
- The colors are unique and varied: blue, Lime, Stars & Stripes, camouflage, barbed wire, mexican flag, red western, skulls, and of course flames
Pros
  • Practical design
  • Many colors including high visibility options
  • Excellent temperature regulation
Cons
  • Universal size fits small for some


Nike Pro Combat Hypercool Skull Cap

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Much like UA ,skull caps are very much the territory of a company like Nike. Their flagship skull cap is called the Combat HyperCool, and it is predictably quite good. It’s made from Dri-FIT fabric and comes with layered ventilation zones to make sure you stay cool and as dry as possible. This is one of the most minimalistic skulls caps out there, and it has a relatively thin construction. Despite its lack of bulk this cap will keep you pretty warm, and you can count on it in all but the most extreme conditions. Very reasonably priced (by Nike standards) there is a lot to like about the Hypercool.
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About the Product:

- Made from 87% Polyester and 13% Spandex
- Strategically located Nike Hypercool zones allows for unimpeded ventilation
- Nike Dri-FIT Fabric makes sure that athletes stay cool, dry and comfortable at all times
- Premium fit and zero distractions with
- Nike Pro Combat Jock Tag for maximum brand recognition
Pros
  • DriFit moisture wicking properties
  • Flat lock stitching to reduce chance of irritations
  • HyperCool zones for increased ventilation
Cons
  • A bit constrictive for some


Pearl Izumi Barrier Skull Cap

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Here we’ve got another skullcap that really excels when it comes to blocking the wind. The Barrier Skull Cap from Pearl Izumi has a windproof front panel keeps your forehead well protected from the wind. Made from an indestructible single layer that lays nicely against the skin, expect a comfortable fit. This is a great option for men, and for women as its ergonomically cut to not conflict with a ponytail. Best of all it kills it when it comes to warmth, moisture transfer, and the resistance of odors. Overall a solid choice.
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About the Product:

- Made from 100% polyester
- Windproof panel combined with high grade thermal fabric, provides extremely warm full head coverage
- Performance engineered for the the body in motion, won’t constrict or slip easily.
- Proudly manufactured in the USA
- Has 4 core fabric technologies (Transfer, Barrier, Thermal and Softshell ) — in tandem these work together to deliver optimum performance
- Pearl Izumi product has a reputation for high quality and they offer a lifetime guarantee with their products, not too shabby!
Pros
  • Ideal for colder weather
  • Engineered for motion, so a great choice for running
  • Comprised of fabric technologies such as Transfer, Barrier, Thermal and Softshell for optimal protection
Cons
  • A few weren't crazy about the tight fit

Under Armour Mesh Skullcap 2.0

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Under Armour’s penchant for making good quality compressive gear makes them a shoein in the skull cap category. Their Mesh Skullcap 2.0 does not disappoint. The Signature Moisture Transport System wicks sweat and keeps your head dry. Plus you’ve got 4-way stretch material fabrication that allows you to move and offers a little support. Every once in awhile (especially if you size something wrong) Under Armour goes a little heavy on the compression for our taste. Not the case here. Highly recommended.
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About the Product:

- Fabric breakdown: 84% Polyester and 16% Elastane
- Comes in 6 color options,
- Has an eye catching UA design
- Signature Moisture Transport System ensures you stay nice and dry
- 4-way stretch fabrication and ergonomic seams make for a comfortable fit
- Ultra-soft on the skin, ultra-lightweight won’t create even the smallest bit of drag
Pros
  • Super lightweight
  • Moisture managing properties wick away sweat
  • 4-way stretch material for a conforming fit
  • Produces very little drag
Cons
  • The fit seemed a bit short for some

SweatHawg Shorty Skull Cap

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Skull caps are often worn for the purposes of warmth, but this is far from their only utility. Working as an absorbing entity is equally as important in some cases. If you tend to sweat a lot, wearing a skull cap it one way you can work to remedy this. As the name implies the SweatHawg is a skull cap designed to suck up as much sweat as possible. This skullcap combines powerfully wicking stretch material with a high-absorbent brow band to stop excess perspiration. We’ve experienced this cap to stand behind its identity and when it comes to dealing with sweat this is one of your best options.
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About the Product:

- Primed for sweat control.
- Hyper-absorbent material in the brow to stop dripping and keep your eyes clear
- Ultraviolet protection, also provides a bit of warmth in cool weather. Shorty version comes down to cover your ears.
- Made in the USA.
Pros
  • Provides decent moisture control
  • Hyper-absorbent material in the brow to keep sweat out of the eyes
  • Good choice for cooler weather
Cons
  • A bit bulkier than some others

Icebreaker Pocket Hat

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If we’re being honest this hat is probably on the borderline between a skull cap and low profile beanie — the truth is it’s too good to leave off. We’re extremely partial to products made from Merino Wool (as you’ll know if you’ve read some of our other posts) and the Pocket Hat from IceBreaker is 100% Merino. As the name implies this hat has a slight build and easily stows in your pocket. It’s a fully functioning, breathable, and odor resistant hat made from non itch fabric that will softly protect your head. If your priority is to be comfortable you probably aren’t going to do much better than this hat.
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About the Product:

- Dual layered and reversible
- Odor resistant, fights bacteria and sweat accumulation
- Slim, low profile and snug fit hat
- Two colour options available
- Offers lightweight yet extremely powerful insulation
- New (based on feedback and redesign) and improved fit
Pros
  • Provides lightweight insulation
  • Snug, low profile design, perfect for running
  • Reversible, dual layer construction
  • Improved fit
Cons
  • Only 2 color choices

Craft Active WindStopper

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If a hat has “windstopper” in the name and plastered on the front of it you know there must be something to it. And in this case there is. Craft Active has produced a hat that stands up to the harshest of conditions, and is a trusted brand when it comes to top quality base layers. There are two primary ingredients in the cap’s material: air-channeled polyester which expels extra heat away from the body, and filament yarns which move moisture away. The microclimate created within this hat is ideal for endurance training and race day performance. The price is a bit higher, but the results are more than than worth it.
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About the Product:

- Made from 92% Polyester and 8% EPTFE
- Flatlock seams won’t irritate and move smoothly with the body
- Engineered fit and superb drying properties
- Has a hexa-channel fiber (yarn) resting against the skin, which enhances moisture transport, and improving thermoregulation
- Protects your body in mild and windy/cold conditions, won’t overheat
On the exterior, a brushed fiber offers extra insulation
Pros
  • Flat lock seams reduce chances of irritation
  • Engineered fit
  • Hexa-channel fiber enhances moisture control
  • Blocks the wind
Cons
  • Some hoped it would work better against stronger winds

Saucony Unisex Omni Skull Cap

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Built with runners in mind (men and women), the Saucony Omni Skull Cap is an efficient and durable way to keep you head warm. You may end up getting a little bit of hat head, but the insulation offered will be more than worth the ruffled hair. This cap fits nicely (not to rigid or loose) it deals with moisture in an efficient way, and it adds more visibility to your body for nighttime training. If we had to go with one skull cap recommendation this might be it, if for no other reason than it’s incredibly broad appeal.
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About the Product:

Material breakdown: 92% Polyester 8% Spandex

- Gender neutral fit
- Keep warm in chilly weather with secure fitting skull cap
- Completely reversible hat offers two elegant color options
- Four way stretch means it fits tight to the head and secures the ears/neck area
- Thermal fabric manages moisture efficiently
- Stitches in reflective logos are there for extra visibility
Pros
  • Secure, insulating fit
  • Reversible construction
  • Ideal choice for cold weather
  • Moisture wicking properties
Cons
  • Some found the fit a little short

To borrow a phrase from WebMd: “The real reason we lose heat through our head is because most of the time when we’re outside in the cold, we’re clothed but not wearing a hat.” It’s the difference between simply covered skin and not covered skin. Research has more or less shown that the head loses heat at the same rate as any other part of your body.

So, there’s that myth busted. This does however leave the the task of making sure our heads are well covered in cold weather. If you’re training in the winter (or summer for that matter) you need some good protection for your dome. There’s a million hats to choose from, and there’s also skull caps — a sleek and high performing alternative.

Whether you’re training in the bitter winter cold or blasting summer heat skull cap can do quite a bit to help your body thermoregulate itself. There is a reason a lot of NFL players wear them for a competitive advantage. Running bands can be another solution, however we’ve found their lack of full coverage to provide less benefit when it comes to staying warm or remaining cool. Be sure to pay close attention to sizing, the last thing you want is elastic constricting your head. So that’s it, these are are our top eight — cheers to warm ears and a sweat free brow!

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