One of the best things about running that helps to explain its consistent popularity as an active pastime is the fact that it can be done nearly anywhere. People can run in man-made environments like a sidewalk or well-manicured lawn, or they can run in natural settings like a hiking path or mountain trail. With modern exercise technology, people can even run in place at the gym or in the comfort of their own home.
In order to accommodate the versatility of running, many products have been created and a lucrative industry has formed. The most obvious example of this is the creation and distribution of footwear: jogging shoes, training shoes, trail running shoes, road running shoes, and so on. But any experienced runner knows that footwear is only the tip of the iceberg. After all, running is an activity that engages the entire body; it makes sense that accessories for the rest of the body can have a positive effect on the experience.
2XU is a company that specializes in ancillary running equipment, with their compression gear being some particularly impressive examples of their expertise in these departments. Their Run Cap is a refreshing take on the ubiquitous baseball cap design, only optimized for running outdoors. There are enough features baked into its deceptively simplistic design to allow for a much more enjoyable running session than what many outdoor runners may have thought was possible.
The logical conclusion based on the design of this product is that outdoor environments are the most appropriate for its use. The cap and brim are extremely effective at shielding the wearer from sunlight without weighing down their head or looking visually unappealing. However, the secondary benefits provided by this cap make it useful indoors, such as when running or performing exercises in a gym. Finally, this cap is more suited to running than the basic baseball caps and “dad hats” it most closely resembles thanks to some design quirks implemented by 2XU, such as a sturdy nylon construction and mesh side vents.
The first design aspect that improves this hat’s airflow is the material used in its construction. Ordinarily, this style of hat will be made from a thick fabric reinforced with stiff paper or plastic in order to retain its shape. The 2XU Run Cap uses a thin layer of nylon instead, which means that it can facilitate airflow to a much more significant degree at the expense of its firmness. This material also has moisture wicking properties, which means that “hat hair” can be avoided due to effective sweat management.
Traditional baseball caps and snapbacks also rely on tiny eyelets added to the sides of the top cap for ventilation, which is a very ineffective manner of doing so. What this 2XU product does instead is opts for several small vertical strips of mesh material along the top which function as air vents. These are far more effective at letting air flow in and out, although it does look a bit tacky as a consequence.
Nylon may sound like a rough material to those who have seen it used for applications other than apparel. It’s a common material used to create tarps, parachutes, ropes, and other textile-based products that need to provide excellent durability. None of these products are particularly well-known for being comfortable or soft to the touch, so the stigma makes sense. However, the nylon used in the design of this running cap is much softer than the kind used for the aforementioned products, since it is intended to be worn on the body. Additionally, 2XU’s performance enhancing features such as air vents and moisture-wicking technology provides enhanced comfort as secondary benefits. The end result of these design decisions is a product that is so soft, lightweight, and breathable that wearers might forget that they had it on their heads in the first place.
With this running cap, a Velcro strap placed on the rear is used to offer meager customization in terms of sizing. This product is only available in one size that is intended for use by adults. Teenagers may be able to wear this hat comfortably and securely with some adjustment of this rear strap, but younger children likely won’t. This is acceptable in terms of headgear sizing and shouldn’t lead to any issues for the vast majority of customers. Unfortunately, there isn’t any specific sizing information provided by the manufacturer, so any prospective customers will simply need to act on faith if they want to purchase this product online. Otherwise, it is recommended that people who are interested in this cap try it on first if they have the option.
With the 2XU Run Cap, however, a strong and resilient build was a clear goal in their design process: one that they accomplished expertly. The fact that the entire cap is made from nylon proves that this manufacturer was determined to provide their customers with the most durable running hat possible that still feels lightweight and breathable. Nylon is well-known for its ability to withstand punishment and the fact that skydivers and BASE jumpers entrust the material with their lives is a testament to that fact. On the other hand, the Velcro strap found on the rear of this run cap is less resilient than other common baseball cap rear fasteners such as a metal belt. However, it’s still more than capable of withstanding common environmental hazards that might be encountered during the typical running session, although using it for trail running is not advised.
Unfortunately, this 2XU product comes at a disadvantage in terms of fashion appeal. For one thing, the fact that it is made entirely from nylon means that it doesn’t retain its shape as well as a high-end snapback, causing it to look cheap in comparison. Additionally, the sizable mesh vents meant to improve breathability come across as tacky. However, 2XU still makes an effort to provide a modicum of stylistic appeal to this product through a range of colorways. The stock option is an all-black build, which is easy to coordinate with other articles of clothing and does a good job obscuring the awkward-looking air vents. For individuals who find this color scheme to be boring, they also offer a bright blue and white variant for some extra flair.
A third model of the 2XU Run Cap was designed that is mostly black with some bright pink accents. This model is also accompanied by a pink ribbon, the official symbol for breast cancer awareness. It’s a nice touch to provide a product that helps raise awareness but 2XU has not stated whether any of the profits for this product actually goes toward breast cancer research or treatment, which may be concerning to some individuals.
- 100% nylon construction
- Moisture wicking technology reduces sweat pooling
- One-size-fits-all design with adjustable rear Velcro strap
- Breast cancer awareness colorway
- Mesh segments on cap for ventilation