Best Running Skull Cap

What percentage of body heat is lost through the head is a matter for much debate. 15% is the figure that’s been widely accepted for a long time. However this has been challenged in recent years.

Whatever the figure is the fact remains that if your head is cold when you go for a run. It will be less enjoyable.

There are lots of options when choosing a winter running skull cap. This guide points out some of the features you might find helpful when deciding on which is the best running skull cap for you.

Buyers Guide

You might not need all of these factors in your skull cap but they are all helpful. Pick two or three points that are most important to you.

Appropriate For The Conditions You’ll Be Running In

How cold does it get where you are in the world? If you find yourself on top of a 14’er in Colorado you’ll need a different skull cap from the one you use at sea level.

Can you get away with buying one multipurpose skull cap or do you need more than one?

Could you buy one skull cap and a buff that you can adjust to suit your needs as they change. This could even be during the course of your run.

Warmth to suit your needs is the one factor that you definitely need to consider above all others.

Don’t Forget To Cover The Ears

I got myself a tight fitting skull cap in my first winter season of running. My head was warm enough but my ears were out in the cold and frosty!

A skull cap with ear protectors or is big enough to cover your head and ears is a goo idea.

Also consider a buff that can be adjusted to cover ears and head.

Skull Cap And Head Phones

If like me you run with music all the time. You’ll need a skull cap that works with your head phones.

I find that a skull cap can help keep in ear head phones in place. Especially useful if your headphones have wires.

I love my AfterShokz headphones but they would not work well with the first skull cap I used. There would have been no room for the band that goes around the back of my head. The buff that I now use to cover my head and ears moulds round that band perfectly.

What To Do With Your Long Hair

If you have long hair make sure that the skull cap you’re looking at has a hole at the back. You might not always run with a pony tail but if the skull cap doesn’t have that hole there will be nowhere for your pony to go.

Comfortable, Not Too Tight

Something that feels comfortable when you put it on your head in the house. Might not feel so comfortable during a 20 mile long run. Make sure there’s a little bit of give and no pressure on your forehead when you put the skull cap on.

It will loosen up over time as you use it. So if its boarder line tight, it may well be ok.

Wicking Sweat

This is an essential factor that maybe should be higher in the list. The skull cap should be made of a material that will take sweat away from the head.

If it doesn’t you run the risk of the sweat hanging around get cooling down. The opposite of what we are trying to achieve here.

Other Considerations

These points may not apply to everyone. But one or two might apply to you.

How Long Will It Last?

This depends on how much you use it and how much you spend. The more expensive brand names are of a high quality and should last you for many years.

Further down the price range you go (this is where you’ll find me) the quality goes down as well.

However the winters where I live are not too extreme and I don’t need to wear my skull cap on every run. It has lasted four years and counting so far.

What’s Your Style?

I go for function over form but you might have more style than me. There are lots of different styles to choose from so have a good look around and find one you like the look of. This is very much a secondary consideration. There’s no point in being the best dressed runner with a cold head.

Sun Protection Factor – SPF

If you are lucky enough to have sunshine and snow you might want to check the SPF factor provided by your skull cap.

Resistant To Smell

Gore-Tex and CoolMax are material brands that have anti-odor technology built in. All well and good but they still need to be washed.

I have the double buff system. I’m wearing one while the other is in the wash. I can do this with a buff as they are relatively inexpensive. I’m quite tight so don’t think I could justify the expense of having two high end skull caps.

A Winter Sweat Band

If you sweat a lot, get a skull cap that will also act as a sweat band.  If you have a skull cap in mind, think about how it will sit on your head and how that will help when you sweat.

Final Thoughts: Best Running Skull Cap

If you are new to running and find yourself here having been on your first winter run. I hope you have found these tips useful.

When you take your skull cap out for the first time don’t go too far. Go for a shortish run from which you can get home easily. Just in case an issue occurs.

Finally if you’re a cyclist. Consider a skull cap that will fit under your helmet. You might be able to get away with purchasing one skull cap for both running and cycling.

Best Running Skull Cap


Slightly obsessed middle aged runner.