Having built hats and visors for the Tour De France and Ironman, Headsweats has really raised its profile and built a strong following among the race community. Its lightweight lids are made with hi-tech fabrics that wick moisture and withstand punishment from sweat, dirt and sunscreen.
The SNEWS® team tested several products from Headsweats, including the Ultralite cap, the Race Hat and the Supervisor. In general, we found that they perform very well while running, hiking and working out, though a couple of testers had some fit issues.
The thing we first noticed about the Ultralite cap was that it did a superior job of managing moisture and keeping us as cool as possible. The woven polyester fabric covering the crown and center of the bill wicks moisture very well. It also allows heat to escape, making this hat very comfortable to wear when you’re on the move in warm weather. The waffle-pattern Coolmax fabric on the side of the cap and lining the headband also sheds sweat effectively. Sure, there were moments when testers saturated the Coolmax portions while running and hiking in hot weather, but the fabric never feel heavy and it dries very quickly compared to other synthetic caps we’ve used.
The hat also stands up to repeated washings and does not stain easily. We threw the Ultralite in the washing machine and used warm water, which removed pretty much all sweat, dirt and sunscreen. “It’s easily washable,” said one tester. “It hasn’t stained with sunblock and sweat (a mixture that is guaranteed to saturate the headband area on most of my runs), and trail dust washes out. It is still bright white!”
The only issue we had with the Ultralite is that it didn’t fit well on some testers. One tester with a smaller melon had no problem. “It’s comfortable and adjusts to my admittedly small head well,” she said.
But two male testers with relatively large heads complained that the cap didn’t ride low enough or sat awkwardly on their heads. One tester said the brim tilted upward, and he couldn’t pull it down far enough to make the hat feel secure.
The other male tester, who not only has a large head, but also thick hair, compared the fit of the Ultralite to his Outdoor Research Sun Runner cap. “The OR hat sits lower, closer to my ears, so it stays put better than the Ultralite, especially when my hair is longer,” he said.
That’s not to say that people with thick hair can’t feel comfortable in Headsweats products.
One of our female testers loved the fit of the Race Hat (made of Coolmax fabric). “Even with my thick hair, it fit down nicely on my head when I pulled my hair back through the gap in the back for the ponytail thing. It worked well,” she said,
All of our testers appreciated some of the smart design details of the various products from Headsweats. For example, the Ultralite has a brim that is long—but not too long—to provide a great amount of shade. Also, the company logo on the back of the cap is made of reflective material, allowing a runner to be more visible at night—good idea. Also the adjustable back band has a thin buckle, allowing you to clip the hat to the outside of a backpack.
One female tester loved the simplicity of the back band on the Supervisor, which is also made of Coolmax. “It’s just a simple elastic band in the back,” she said. “No messing around with Velcro and tabs and adjustments. I could just pull it over my head and hair, and then push it back up under the hair to the right place.” She said that, for her, a visor is the perfect headgear for a backpack trip. “It works well with my thick hair, so I don’t have thick bundles of hair under a hat.”
Whether you prefer a visor or a cap, Headsweats has several quality products that will keep you comfortable during heart-pumping pursuits. The only question is whether the hats will sit properly if you have a relatively large melon. For folks without this fit issue, you probably won’t find a better performing hat or visor on the market.
SNEWS Rating: 4.0 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: Ultralite $20, Race Hat $20, Supervisor $19
For information: www.headsweats.com