Finding headwear for running that fits, is comfortable, and handles all weather is HARD. I struggle an enormous amount with finding headwear for running. I have a youth sized head… face… really everything. So, hats, headbands, etc. generally not only don’t fit – but if I can ratchet them down to fit – look enormous on me. I had thought that the set of Buff USA headwear would likely fall into the ongoing category of things that don’t fit my head. HOWEVER. I WAS VERY WRONG. Let me break it down. I received three separate items from Buff:
- The Pack Speed Cap (in lavender heather, size S/M)
- The Pack Speed Visor (in what I can only describe as a vacation to the tropics. The color is not currently on the Buff website but can be seen here. One size.)
- The CoolNet UV Wide Headband (in navy heather, one size)
So, let’s break each of these down.
Both the cap and the visor have relatively short bills – the website says approx. 2 ¾ inches. So, when I tried this cap on your classic rainy Oregon day, I was not convinced it would keep the rain off my face. It actually kept the rain off exceptionally well. The hat was also really comfortable – I usually have to cinch hats up big time to get them to fit and stay on which I did with this one – and even all cinched up with the cord at the back it didn’t feel tight at all!
I wanted to do another test run in the sun because the website boasted Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) 50 sun protection, a sweatband, breathability, all the things you hear hats should do but I find often don’t. I also wondered if again the short bill would not be enough. The hat proved me wrong again! The short bill was GREAT in the mid-afternoon sun. I often have an issue with the bill of a hat being so long that I feel kind of claustrophobia, like I have to really use the full range of motion of my head (and body) to see around me. Which when you’re on a run on a busy road let’s say with a lot of traffic moving around, you want to be able to see without using your whole body. The short bill here allowed me to have a really great line of sight AND they were right!
The Fastwick side panels did keep the hat very breathable, the sweatband kept sweat off of my face, and again was just hardly noticeable. There also are some reflective components on the hat, but this lavender color plays some interesting tricks with the light and seems to glow or catch light really well. A subtle safety feature that I enjoyed.
Okay this one made me laugh when I first got it. The combination of the tropical print with a visor was just a little too much. I put it on, and my husband asked if I was headed to Bingo. It is certainly a vibe.
But honestly, I was the most excited about this one because a visor just seems like the best type of headwear for a runner with the open part on top for cooling you down, a bill for sun or rain, and so many options for how you can wear your hair! I’ve always been a little averse to them though because if a cap looks silly on me, a visor could be downright ridiculous. But when given tropical print… make the most of it!
Much like the cap – I tried this one in rain and sun and it was great. All things I said about the cap stand here too – the one thing I liked more about the visor was the band. It felt like having a headband with a bill – it was SO comfortable and didn’t try to pop off my head once. Headbands almost always are trying to creep off my head so I thought with the additional of a bill, it would creep off or pop off almost instantly. There are little silicone grips on the inside which worked really well. You don’t even notice them, but my visor didn’t go anyway.
I also tried all the hairstyle with this to see if it made a difference. I tried the high ponytail, the mid to low ponytail, the braid, and pigtails because why not. This visor didn’t budge. Also, I really grew to love the color. I get a shocking number of compliments on it. I think we all need a little tropical vibe during the long rainy season.
Okay hands down this one was my favorite. I have never ever found a headband that STAYS on my head. I’ve tried them all – wide, thin, different brands, different materials – everything. I love the look of a headband and they are just so functional in how they catch sweat and hold your hair back. THIS HEADBAND FIT AND STAYED ON MY HEAD FOR SO MANY MILES. I basically haven’t taken this headband off since I tried it. It’s my new go to.
The one downside, of course, is that it doesn’t have a bill for rain/sun – but it does work very well with a pair of sunglasses! Besides the fact that this headband fits well, keeps my head cool, and just LOOKS cool – my favorite feature is that it’s made out of 95% REPREVE® Polyester which is made from recycled water bottles. Sustainability is the best ability.
The headband is also seamless so you’re not constantly fighting to keep it turned a certain way so that it looks right. I don’t think this headband had the same silicone grips as the visor, but I didn’t notice it didn’t have them until I looked up the specs. It stays on so well as is!
Sisterhood (or Brotherhood) of the Traveling Buffs
My last thoughts here. I am calling this set of headwear the Sisterhood (or brotherhood) of the Traveling Buffs. BECAUSE THEY FIT EVERYONE. Just like the Traveling Pants. These obviously fit me well, but I wondered if they would fit a couple of my other friends and how they liked them. I didn’t want my review of these hats to be skewed and turn off people who don’t have a petite sized noggin. Here is their breakdown:
- Friend 1 (female, 5’8”, considers herself to have a large head, tried the Speed Cap, weather was unusually sunny; by the way – my interpretation is that she has a normal sized head, so she always looks cute in hats).
She said: “I have never had a hat soak up sweat like the Speed Cap did. I ran a 20-miler and the amount of sweat in my ponytail at the end was about 10% of what it normally is. It never felt tight on my head and all around is a hat I would have in my regular rotation.” I also had her try the headband which she agreed was her favorite. She couldn’t believe how well it stretched it didn’t pop off her head from being too tight. (The exact opposite of my usual issue).
- Friend 2 (female, 5’4”, average head, does not like hats (usually), tried the Speed Visor, weather was classically rainy).
She said: “I’ve never tried a visor. I always thought they looked silly. Like you are about to run to the cruise ship (see it’s a vibe). I am now a convert. This visor fit so nicely and didn’t ride up on my head which I expected it to. I liked that it was more breathable than a hat but also kept the rain off my face.” – I think we have a headwear convert!
- Friend 3 (male, 6’0”, average head (he says), hat obsessed so very picky he wanted me to make sure to relay, tried the Speed Cap).
He said: “The lavender isn’t my usual color choice, but this hat was niiiiiiiice. It fit well and was really adjustable and breathable. It’s unusual for a women’s hat to fit me at all. Let alone to be comfortable enough for me to wear it for 7 miles.” Sidenote: he ended up ordering one in a different color he liked it so much. 😊 I also had him try the headband and he agreed that it fit very nicely too.
SEE. Sister/brotherhood of the Traveling Buffs.
And if you made it this far. Here is the TLDR recap:
- All three pieces of headwear fit WELL. And seem to fit a range of people.
- All three are super lightweight, stretchy, and really comfortable.
- The short bill was not an issue for rain or sun coverage.
- The cap and the visor are the first pieces of headwear that I have owned that actually LOOK like they fit my head.
- Each of these take up effectively no space in my hat basket. They are so lightweight and crushable that I can stuff them down there and pull them out ready to go. I don’t have any other headwear that does that.
- All three are washable! The cap they say to hand wash, but the other two you can throw in a machine. I’ve hand washed all of mine and that is such a game changer for my hats. Some of my non-washable ones are pretty gross.
- Don’t be afraid of tropical print 😊
- The cap comes in a S/M and L/XL size and can be found on the Buff website for $30. The visor is one size and is $24. The headband is also one size and runs for $15.
Thank you to Buff USA for providing us with the test headwear. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.