Running Fashion Police: Winter Hats and More!

Salty has very exquisite taste in winter head gear.

Are you fed up with the limitations that the cold weather puts on your training? Are you tired of retreating to the treadmill every time Old Man Winter rears his ugly old head? Well, you aren’t alone! If you’re like me and have had enough of winter’s bullying sub-freezing nonsense, if you’re determined to outlast the wintery weather–no matter how many layers it takes–then this series is for you!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll cover the ins and outs of our favorite winter gear, from the fleece on our heads down to the spikes on our shoes. And then we’ll gear up and get out there. Because I think we can all agree:ย it’s time for Old Man Winter to get chicked!

So let’s take it from the top. The hat. When the temps dip below freezing and the wind kicks into high gear, it’s time to dress up the noggin! We polled the spice rack for a list of favorites, and just like the snowflakes our hats collect, no two answers were alike. One thing that sets hats apart from other winter gear is you don’t need to spend much to stay warm. Some of our favorites include hand-me-downs and Dollar Store deals.

Here’s what the Salties had to say about hats:

IMG_5234Basil – As Alaskan winters provide ample hat wearing opportunities, I have a whole collection of favorites. In early winter (also known as “fall” in the Lower 48), I often reach for a 10 year old standard-issue military hat my husband brought home from a deployment, courtesy of his Kiwi comrades. It’s super stretchy and not the slightest bit scratchy, and it does the trick, even when September surprises me with a bit of snow.

When the temps go sub-zero, I reach for my Outdoor Research beanie.
When the temps go sub-zero, I reach for my Outdoor Research beanie.

As the temps continue to drop, I alternate between an Outdoor Research beanie I scored on the cheap and a generic fleece-lined wool cap paired with an old neck gaiter that I stole from my husband. (Is anyone sensing a pattern here?) I like the OR hat best, as it has a built-in face mask that I can tuck away if I get too warm. Wait, did I say “too warm”? In Alaska? In January? Okay, soooo no, I never actually tuck the face mask away. But it’s a nice feature nonetheless.

Chipotle: I love my hot pink Columbia ponytail beanie. It fits snugly (not too tight) over my ears which is a feat since I have tons of hair. This keeps my head and ears toasty. The hole for the ponytail keeps my hair in place. The wicking fabric also keeps my head from becoming soaking wet.

Coriander: Some of my favorite winter running gear is stuff I’ve picked up for free at races–including my favorite hat –a Columbus Marathon Headsweatsย beanie I got at an expo forever ago.

Ginger: I like fleece winter hats for the most warmth, and a good scarf tied just right goes a long way in covering the face.

Licorice: I love the SmartWool Beanies. They’re super soft and super warm.

Mint: I like the wicking beanies, and found a great one at Target last year super cheap! If it’s really cold, then I go old school with the wool hat.

Smart Wool Gaiter
Silvery gator with magenta long sleeve – Sassafras is tres chic!

Salty: My Dollar Store blue hat is the best hat ever. I have run in it for 7 years! It’s such nasty cheap polyester that it won’t retain a drop of moisture and it’s thick and warm, but somehow not too warm. It’s magic!

Sassafras: I have a SmartWool neck gaiter that is invaluable on the sub-freezing days. It’s warm without being overpowering and itchy.

If you have a winter running hat you love, tell us about it in the comments.ย And stay tuned for more winter Running Fashion Police posts!

Recovering corporate hamster-wheeler turned Alaskan hausfrau, mother of two and running enthusiast. Kind of a June Cleaver in tempo shorts...minus the makeup and vacuum. Will run to great lengths to get a moment of peace.

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  1. Minnesota runner here. I have a lot of hats! For just-cool-enough-to-want-a-hat weather (say, 30-45 degrees), I like my merino Buff turned into a beanie, or my INKnBURN tech tube beanie-fied. When it gets a little colder (down to 20), I upgrade to a light Smartwool beanie. Winter cold rates a knit merino hat with fleece lining that I think came from my parents’ house two decades ago. That thing is pretty much impenetrable down to -20 windchill. If it’s wicked cold (-10 windchill or colder), I might add a neck gaiter.

    Great series! Look forward to more Running Fashion Police posts!

  2. I’ve been looking for a beanie with a built-in mouth/nose cover! Thank you for referencing the Outdoor Research Beanie! I ordered one right after reading this! As I’ve gotten older my lungs and sinuses are more sensitive to the colder temps. To ward off chest congestion (and Dr.’s orders) I must wear a mask when running in temps below 30 degrees.