When you're running, the last thing you want to deal with is sweat in your eyes or wayward strands in your face. That's where a sweatband comes in. Whether you log miles outdoors or on a treadmill, the best sweatbands for running soak up sweat with a washable, moisture-wicking fabric and let you focus on on hitting your next personal best.
Wicking fabrics are usually woven out of synthetics like polyester or nylon and often incorporate spandex for stretch. These materials don’t absorb moisture and instead move the sweat away from your skin for quicker evaporation. As a result, wicking fabrics will help your body feel cool and dry — or at least cooler and dry-ish, depending on how hard you go.
Next, focus on fit. A good sweatband for running is usually a little wider than average to tame those flyaways. This is especially true for cropped haircuts that are too short for a ponytail: you might appreciate that extra coverage to help keep hair from sticking to the back of your neck. A wide sweatband can be pulled lower down on the forehead, too, for extra sweat-stopping power right above your eyes where you need it most.
Once you’ve narrowed down the right size for you, think about your specific needs. Fine or slippery hair that’s prone to losing headbands and barrettes might want extra grip from a thin silicone strip inside the sweatband to keep it in place, for example. If you run outdoors, consider a sweatband with a visor for the added sun protection. A cooling headband can help regulate your temperature and potentially boost performance (marathon runners take note). On the other hand, winter runners will definitely want at least one fleece option to protect their ears from cold temperatures.
Whatever the weather you train in, these are the six sweatbands that can go the extra mile.
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1. The Best Basic Sweatband For Running
Bondi Bands are a simple yet versatile sweatband for running made from a “no slip no drip” performance fabric blend that is designed to stay put while wicking away moisture. The exact material is a proprietary blend, but it features a grippy underlayer that’s more secure than plain fabric (it just needs to touch a little bit of skin) and ten times better at wicking than cotton, according to the brand. Measuring three inches wide, these stretchy bands are also wide enough to handle a variety of haircuts, and they fit well under helmets for those looking for an option for cycling as well. "Can't live without them," a reviewer declared. "They keep sweat and annoying hairs out of my face while running, hiking, doing yoga, and doing gardening/yard work. I dread any of these activities when I have forgotten to pack one." To keep yours looking good, you'll want to hand-wash them and air dry.
- Available colors: 25, including neon pink, navy, and eggplant
2. An Extra-Wide Sweatband You Can Pull Down Low
This extra-wide unisex sweatband measures four inches wide, so it can be pulled down low over the forehead on super-sweaty days to keep drips out of your eyes, or pushed back to contain flyaways and short hair. The quick-drying sweatbands are made from a polyester-based spandex blend that is eight times more wicking that cotton, according to the brand — and you can wring it out and it will be almost completely dry and ready for round two. (When you're ready to wash, do it by hand and let them air dry.) There's a ribbed back that provides no-slip grip, without feeling tight, to stave off pressure headaches so you can focus on your workout. "They are so light and do a great job wicking my sweat in the gym. I use these for weight training, running, and basketball, they don't slip. Can't ask for much more," one reviewer summed up. If you run often, you might want to pick up one of the two-piece sets.
- Available colors: 8, including red, olive green, and gray
3. A Visor Headband For Extra UV Protection
A moisture-wicking sweatband with a visor keeps bright sunshine and sweat out of your eyes while protecting your face from UV exposure. This one is made from recycled polyester and spandex with a breathable and moisture-wicking mesh lining, and a “non-glare” undervisor to beat back reflected light. The adjustable hook-and-loop velcro closure means it will stay put while you log miles. "This hat is my go to running hat," one shopper shared. "It is super super lightweight, absorbs sweat, washes very easily, dries very quickly, and still looks great after two years of wearing."
- Available colors: 12, including black, gray with pink, and a purple tint
4. This Budget-Friendly Cooling Sweatband
This cooling sweatband helps you beat the heat on long runs. It works thanks to an evaporative PVA fabric lining that lasts for up to four hours of cooling action and helps keep sweat out of your eyes. Simply soak it in water, tie one on, and hit the road. It naturally feels a little stiff when it dries, and can easily be reactivated by dunking in water a second time. Plus, since it comes with a self-tie closure, you can really customize the fit — and at 1.5 inches wide it's able to hold back strands with no problem. "I never realized how much overheating hurt my running performance until it suddenly wasn't a problem anymore," confessed one shopper who was training for a 15K race. "When the breeze hit just right, it felt like I was standing in front of an air conditioner." You can also score a two-pack for just $10.
- Available colors: 9, including a red western print and a skull print
5. An Ultra-Wicking Headband With A Cult Following
Backed by nearly 3,000 Amazon reviews, this two-inch-wide sweatband, with a patented “sweat seal” design, actually absorbs sweat and channels it away from your face. A soft silicone band on the inside creates a barrier against drips while keeping the sweatband securely in place, and ultra-wicking polyester takes care of the rest. The material has antimicrobial technology that helps keep it fresh no matter how many runs you go on. However, the silicone strip can leave marks, so time your post-run hangouts accordingly. "I bought this and ran a half-marathon with it on, in humid conditions," one review explained. "I was soaked from head to toe when I finished, but no sweat was running off my head into my face."
- Available colors: 32, including charcoal, storm, and teal
6. This Fleece Sweatband With Room For A Ponytail
A moisture-wicking fleece sweatband with a contoured design and ponytail loop keeps you warm and dry on cool-weather runs. Versatile midweight polyester fleece provides full ear coverage (and helps keep earbuds in place), while a spandex-blend trim ensures a comfortable fit. A ponytail loops helps you seat it at the perfect angle that won’t slip forward or backward, and since it measures 2.5 inches at the front and 4 inches over the ears, you get a little extra coverage from the elements where you need it most. One shopper reported back that "It’s great for cold weather running. It keeps my ears warm and I don’t have to wear a hat!" Another runner added, "Having a place for my hair is such a nice touch." You can also spring for a two-pack so you're covered even when you're behind on laundry.
- Available colors: 14, including a charcoal with blue lining, and a chartreuse with black lining