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I spent over 18 years of my life on a soccer field. Okay, I wasn’t on the field for 18 continuous years, but if I wasn’t at home, it was a safe bet that I was somewhere on a pitch. During those 18 years, I curated a variety of headbands––some kept salty sweat out of my eyes in the summer and others were meant for warmth (after all, I did play college soccer in the mountains). 

So, it came as no surprise when I was asked to find the best running headbands on the market. Whether you’re looking for something to hold back your baby hairs or just are tired of using bobby pins to get the job done, I have you covered with five different options you’ll love.

(Head)bands Make Them Run

Runners have enough to worry about. Blisters, pacing yourself, and running form may race (hehe) through your mind during a tough workout. The last thing you need to be concerned about is your hair getting in the way. Luckily for you, our team of expert product testers and reviewers is here to help you find a solution. We personally wore dozens of running headbands in the quest to help you find the best options on the market. Oh, and our qualifications aren’t too shabby either. We’re certified personal trainers, former college athletes, and nutrition coaches. Finding great equipment and workout apparel is our sweet spot, and we can’t wait to share our expertise with you.

6 Best Running Headbands 

Best Running Headband for Cold Weather: Smartwool Thermal Merino Headband 

Good for: Cold climates and winter runs

Best for Cold Weather

Smartwool Thermal Merino Reversible Headband

Product Highlights

  • 100% Merino wool headband
  • Double layer knit construction
  • Reversible design
  • Unisex
  • Ideal for cold weather

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 6 colorways
  • Reversible
  • Naturally wicks sweat
  • Can be machine washed

Cons

  • Potentially too warm for summer months
  • One size fits most

Bottom Line

The Smartwool Thermal Merino Reversible Headband is ideal for folks looking for a slim and lightweight headband for keeping ears warm during the colder months. It’s made from 100% Merino wool, which is a natural material with moisture wicking properties. It also features a reversible design for even more versatility.

Do you live in a cold climate but love to run? Check out the Smartwool Thermal Merino Reversible Headband for an accessory that’ll hold your hair back and keep your ears warm. It can even function as a short neck gaiter if you opt to go out running with a hat. 

We haven’t had the chance to test the Smartwool headband yet, but we’ve had experience with the brand’s 100% Merino wool products, like cushioned ankle socks we featured in our best running socks roundup

What we like about Merino wool is the fact it’s thinner and lighter than regular wool. Plus, Merino wool isn’t itchy like traditional wool, so this headband won’t make your skin crawl like it does while wearing your grandma’s hand-knit sweaters. 

Wool has natural moisture-wicking properties and wicks sweat away from your body and limits excessive heat build up (aka thermoregulation). For this reason, Merino wool base layers are a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts for winter and summer activities alike. Wool also has antimicrobial and anti-odor properties that make it ideal for high intensity activities like running. 

And a bonus to this Smartwool Thermal Merino Headband: it’s revisable. No matter which colorway you choose, you can enjoy a slight color or print variation on the other side. 

Price$22
MaterialMerino Wool 
Number of colorways7 color options; all reversible 

Best Running Headband for Men: Poshei Men’s Headband

Good for: Keeping hair and sweat out of your face

Best Running Headband for Men

Poshei Men's Headband

Product Highlights

  • Simple, neutral color options
  • Helmet-friendly
  • Great for all-season wear
  • No-slip

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy to care for
  • Can be used for everyday needs, like work
  • Works well with your favorite pair of headphones
  • Protects ears from outside weather elements

Cons

  • Sweat absorption not as high as some more expensive options
  • Comparably thin materials

Bottom Line

With an affordable price and coming in packs of three or more, it is easy to stock up on these headbands for everyday use. The neutral colors match great with work or team uniforms and will help keep you comfortable no matter the activity.These headbands are also used for men (or women) working on growing their hair out and needing something to hold it back during those awkward “in the middle” stages of the process.

Certified personal trainer and GGR writer Anthony O’Reilly tested the Poshei Men’s Headbands from Amazon, and they received his stamp of approval. 

“So I don’t have much hair to begin with, but this headband stayed on, did its job of keeping sweat out of my eyes, and was comfortable,” Anthony explained.

These affordable headbands come in packs of four, and are available in neutral colors like black, white, and gray (among others). Anthony was impressed with the adjustability of these headbands, and thinks they would fit most head sizes.

Besides being ideal for running, the Poshei Men’s Headbands are also marketed as being usable under helmets. According to Anthony, the polyester material is thin and breathable, which would make it ideal for activities like biking, skiing, and snowboarding. 

However, Anthony did note that this headband isn’t the best choice for really long runs. Although this headband is sweat-wicking, it doesn’t have unlimited absorption. If you’re a person who sweats excessively (no shame in the game), this may not be the ideal companion for completing an especially strenuous workout. 

PriceBetween $12-$15
MaterialPolyester
Number of colorways6

Best Adjustable Running Headband: Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie

Good for: Different head sizes and all types of hair 

Best Adjustable Running Headband

Nike Dri-FIT Head Tie

Product Highlights

  • Sweat-wicking headband
  • 39” length
  • Tie closure
  • Personalized fit

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 5 colorways
  • Customizable fit
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Doesn’t feature anti-slip grips
  • Potential for ties to come loose

Bottom Line

Nike Dri-FIT Head Tie is a simple headband with a tie closure, making it completely customizable to the size of your head. It’s made from the brand’s Dri-FIT material, which is a combination of polyester and elastane. It comes in multiple colorways including black, white, red, blue, and purple.

Nike Dri-Fit is the ultimate headband if you can never seem to find a running headband that fits. Whether you have an extra-large dome or a particularly small noggin, we think the Nike Head Tie is the best for folks on either end of the size spectrum. 

Rather than a closed-loop design, this Dri-Fit Head Tie is a single 39-inch strip that allows you to tie it around your head for a custom fit. With 39 inches to work with, folks with larger heads don’t have to worry about squeezing into a one-size-fits-all headband. Plus, you can tie the headband in the front or back for a personalized look. 

It comes in 6 colors on Amazon including basic black and white options. The Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie is made from a stretchy, synthetic polyester fabric which will wick moisture away from your skin and keep your scalp feeling dry. While this headband offers a custom fit, we wish there were non-slip silicone grips for additional security. 

Price$10
MaterialPolyester, elastane
Number of colorways6

Best Wide Running Headband: Alo Yoga Airlift Headband

Good for: Someone who wants a headband that covers a lot of surface area 

Best Wide Running Headband

Alo Yoga Airlift Headband

Product Highlights

  • Comes in 5 different colors
  • Has a cinched center detail
  • Made with signature Airlift fabric
  • No-slip grips to keep the headband in place

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Can use for a variety of activities
  • Works with different hair types
  • Simple style with great colors
  • Made in W.R.A.P.-certified factories

Cons

  • Needs to be hand washed
  • Expensive for a headband

Bottom Line

If you like a simple headband that keeps your flyaways and the rest of your hair out of your face, this is a great headband to try. Many customers had it in more than one color and found it to be the one they grabbed for when heading out the door for a walk, run, or workout.

I’ll say it: I have an exceptionally large head. This unfortunate fact has pushed me towards only purchasing wide headbands (the skinny ones just don’t cut it). Luckily, the Alo Yoga Airlift Headband was equipped for the job (and my baby hairs). 

This trendy headband is available in five colors, but I selected the “Tile Blue” shade. I’m particularly fond of this headband because it can be worn two different ways: With the Alo logo facing the front or with the notched side front and center.

Since the Alo Yoga Airlift Headband is so wide, it’ll likely go over your ears. This makes it ideal for colder temperatures, but be warned: You may sweat if you wear the Airlift headband in warmer weather.

I’m used to headbands not wanting to stay put on my head and was initially concerned it would be the same story with this one. Not the case! I was able to go on a six-mile run without the headband flopping off of my large dome. 

After a run, I usually throw my fabric headbands into the washing machine with my other dri-fit clothing, but you’re not supposed to do this with the Airlift. According to the product page, you’re supposed to hand wash the headband to preserve the integrity of the fabric. This is inconvenient, but not the end of the world. 

Price$24
MaterialAirlift fabric
Number of colorways3

Best Breathable Running Headband: JUNK Big Bang Lite Tactical Headband

Good for: The ultimate breathability and UPF sun protection 

Best Breathable Headband

JUNK Tactical Big Bang Lite Headband

Product Highlights

  • Sweat wicking-headband
  • Tactical T-shirt feel material
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Made in the USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Non-slip design
  • Hidden seams for comfort
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • One size option
  • Potentially too thin for some preferences

Bottom Line

JUNK Tactical Big Bang Lite Headband is a unisex, one size fits most workout headband with sweat-wicking properties. It’s made from polyester but has a t-shirt style feel. It has a tapered and non-slip design.

If you’re looking for a breathable headband to beat the heat, the JUNK Big Bang Lite headbands  may be a good option for you. The synthetic construction wicks away sweat while helping your head feel cool and dry. It also features UPF 50 sun protection, which we appreciate because who actually remembers to apply sunscreen to their scalp?

We haven’t had a chance to test the JUNK Big Bang Lite yet, but look forward to updating you when we do. We especially like the fun prints and colorways the brand has to offer. The link we feature in this roundup features the brand’s basic black, but you can visit the JUNK store on Amazon for a wide variety of options. 

JUNK Big Bang Lite headbands are made from a single-ply synthetic polyester fabric that is thin, stretchy, and has a T-shirt-like feel. Polyester is a synthetic material often used for activewear. It’s known for its moisture-wicking properties and the ability to dry fast, which helps keep your skin feel cool and dry. 

It’s worth noting that not all polyester is created equal. You probably own polyester clothing that is rather stiff. Breathability depends on the knit and weave—but stretchy polyester has wide knit and offers ultimate breathability. 

Price$16.99
MaterialPolyester 
Number of colorways10+ colorways and dozens of prints 

Best Non-Slip Running Headband: Buff CoolNet UV Headband 

Good for: Folks who need a headband that can stay in place no matter what you’re doing

Best Non-Slip Running Running Headband

Buff CoolNet Headband

Product Highlights

  • 4-way stretch headband
  • UV and UPF 50 sun protection
  • Made from 95% recycled microfibers
  • Cooling technology
  • Odor control

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Silicone anti-slip grips
  • Comfortable bonded seams
  • Machine washable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • One size option
  • Only 4 colorways

Bottom Line

This Buff CoolNet Headband is not only lightweight and breathable, it also offers UV and UPF 50 sun protection. You’ll be able to keep hair off your face during exercise while staying cool and protected in the sun.

If you’re looking for a non-slip headband, we tested the ultimate stay-in-place option: The Buff CoolNet UV Headband. You may have seen Buff products if you’ve ever watched the reality TV show, Survivor. Buff supplies the neck gaiters you see the contestants often wearing on the show. 

Some of our GGR expert testers have personal experience with Buff neck gaiters from activities like skiing and hiking. Testing the CoolNet Headband was our first time testing the brand’s headband-specific design. The main difference—other than the shorter length—was the silicone strips on the inside of the headband to help it stay in place and has stretchy material that will work well for a variety of head shapes and sizes. 

GGR senior editor, Erin Chancer says the Buff CoolNet headband stayed in place while running and other sweat-inducing activities, like mowing the lawn. “It works great at keeping sweat and hair out of my eyes during workouts,” she says. 

Woman wearing Buff CoolNet Headband

“I have a small head, so headbands tend to be way too big on me,” says Erin. “I even have to use an occasional bobby pin to secure them to my head. However, I didn’t have to do that with this one, it stayed put.” 

Plus, this Buff CoolNet Headband also has UV and UPF 50 sun protection to keep your hairline protected from harsh UV rays. You may also like knowing the CoolNet headband features antimicrobial technology (HeiQ) to wick sweat away from your body and reduce odors.

There are four prints to choose from on Amazon and the price varies depending on the color selection. The headband has a slight taper where the headband seams meet, so you can style the headband two different ways. 

Price$17
MaterialRecycled REPREVE microfiber
Number of colorways4 prints 

Other Helpful Running Products

Need to complete the rest of your running repertoire? Never fear, GGR is here! We’ve found the best shoes, apparel, and equipment to keep you running like the champ you are:

How We Picked and Tested the Best Headbands

  • Price: How expensive is the headband? Is it a good deal or value for the price?
  • Brand: What brand is the headband? Is it a typical brand like Nike, Under Armour, or Adidas? Is it available for purchase on Amazon or does it need to be bought on the brand’s website?
  • Color options: What color options are available? Is it a reversible headband with an additional color or pattern on the other side?
  • Materials: What is the headband made out of? Is it machine washable and easy to clean?
  • Comfort: Does the sweatband have a comfortable fit? 
  • Sweat-wicking: How is the headband at drying sweat? Does it trap extra sweat and is it quick-drying?
  • Warmth: If the headband is for warmth, does it have an ear warmer? Is it a fleece headband or does it have a fleece lining?
  • Fit: Is the headband adjustable at all? Will the headband work with short and long hair? What type of hairstyles will work with the headband? Will it fit most head sizes?
  • In use: Does the headband stay on the head well? Does it have silicone on the inside to prevent slipping?

What to Consider Shopping for the Best Running Headband

While everyone’s noggin is different, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Width

You can find headbands with a super thin design, however we didn’t test or research options under 1-inch thick. From our testing experience, about 2 inches of fabric is ideal for keeping sweat off your face in moderate climates. Thicker headbands (over 2 inches) that cover the ears are ideal for colder months (or protection from the sun).

Material

We suggest looking for materials and fabrics that offer moisture-wicking properties. As mentioned earlier in this roundup, Merino wool is a natural fiber with the ability to regulate temperature and polyester is a synthetic fiber with similar moisture-wicking and breathable properties. Both are common and performance-driven materials to seek out in a headband. Avoid cotton for running headbands because it absorbs moisture rather than wicking it away from your skin.

Hair Thickness and Texture

Folks with fine or thin hair may find that silicone grips are a requirement to keeping a headband in place. However, if you have thick, curly, or textured hair silicone grips could be a nuisance in your hair and you may want to choose a headband without grippers.

Benefits of Running Headbands

GGR writer and certified personal trainer Lauren Strong loves a good headband while running or working out. “A headband might seem like a negligible piece of apparel, but when it comes to running no one wants hair in their face,” Lauren explains. “Headbands can efficiently sweep back all your hairs for outdoor running, sweat-dripping intervals, or casual jogging.”

“I’ve personally gone through many different hair styles including pixie cuts, bob-length hairdos, and bangs,” Lauren continued. “I can attest to the fact that a headband is a great option for anyone lacking the length to pull everything into one single ponytail.”

Best Running Headbands FAQs

Is it good to wear a headband while running?

Yes, headbands can be good for running. I recommend choosing a headband that has some sort of silicone on the inside to help hold back any stray hairs. As with any running gear, whether it’s leggings, running shoes, or a sports headband, you’ll want to make sure it works for you specifically. What works best for you may not be the ideal choice for someone else.

Can I wear a workout headband year-round?

Yes, you can wear a workout headband year-round, but you should choose your headband wisely. Some are sweat-wicking headbands, which are ideal for summer and warmer climates. Others are made with fleece, and meant to keep your ears and forehead warm.

What is the best head sweatband for running?

From our testing experience and extensive research, moisture-wicking materials are essential when you want to stay dry. The JUNK Big Bang Lite is our top pick for breathability in a running headband.

What headband keeps hair out of your face when running?

We like the fact that wearing a headband when running keeps sweat and hair out of your eyes. But not not all headbands are created equal. Based on our research and hands-on testing, these are our top picks for running headbands:

-Best Running Headband for Cold Weather: Smartwool Thermal Merino Headband
-Best Running Headband for Men: Poshei Men’s Headband
-Best Adjustable Running Headband: Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie
-Best Wide Running Headband: Alo Yoga Airlift Headband
-Best Breathable Running Headband: JUNK Big Bang Lite Tactical Headband 
-Best Non-Slip Running Headband: Buff CoolNet UV Headband

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I spent over 18 years of my life on a soccer field. Okay, I wasn’t on the field for 18 continuous years, but if I wasn’t at home, it was a safe bet that I was somewhere on a pitch. During those 18 years, I curated a variety of headbands––some kept salty sweat out of my eyes in the summer and others were meant for warmth (after all, I did play college soccer in the mountains).   » Read more about: 6 Best Running Headbands (2024): Stretchy and Moisture-Wicking Options  » Read more