Best Running Headbands – How to Keep Sweat and Hair Off Your Face

Very few things are more annoying than when hair and sweat get in your face during your run. In order to avoid this, you need to find a headband that stays in place, absorbs sweat and isn’t too loose or too tight.

To find the best running headbands on the market, you’ll need to make sure they do everything you need them to on your run.

Quick Look: Our Top Picks

Do People Still Wear Headbands While Running?

Older runners will remember the headband craze of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Back then, wearing a headband was the height of coolness. These days headbands don’t command quite as much respect, but you’ll see a lot of athletes who still like to rock them.

Here are some reasons to consider adding a headband to your running gear:

  • Long hair: Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you have long hair, headbands can come in handy. Even if you wear a ponytail while you’re running, hair often escapes from the ponytail, especially on longer runs. As it flops forward, it seems to get stuck on your sweaty face. The headband can keep it back away from your face so you don’t spend half your run annoyed by your hair.
  • Heavy sweaters: If you start dripping the minute you start kicking, then a headband could be a godsend for you. It’ll keep the sweat out of your eyes so you can concentrate on your run.
  • Motivation: The right headband can be motivating to runners. Whether it’s emblazoned with a symbol that means something to you, or has a funny saying that will carry you through the miles, headbands can make you feel better about what you’re doing.
  • Visibility: When you’re wearing a headband on race day, you’ll stand out a bit in the crowd of runners. That’ll make you easier to spot for your friends and family who have come to cheer you on.

What Should I Look For in a Headband?

A headband has to meet a pretty stiff list of criteria to make it worth your money. You need to figure out what’s important to you in a headband because every runner will have varying needs. Here’s some of the factors you should consider before buying one.

  • Comfort: Any headband you use has to feel comfortable. The fabric of the headband should feel nice against your skin because if it doesn’t, by the time you reach the end of a marathon, it will feel like sandpaper. You don’t want your headband to be too tight on your head either.
  • Grip: Your headband needs to stay put. You don’t want it falling back or sneaking down to create a blindfold on you as you race. Some wide headbands easily stay put without budging, but skinnier headbands might need a special coating of a grippy substance to stay in place.
  • Style: If you feel like everyone’s laughing at you because your headband is hopelessly uncool, you won’t want to wear it.
  • Easy on the hair: When headbands have a coating on the back to help with grip, they can sometimes be hard on your hair. If your headband gets tangled in your hair when you take it out, you should get rid of it and search for one that doesn’t rip your hair out.
  • Absorbent: If you’re a sweater, you’ll want a headband that can absorb all that moisture so it doesn’t run down your forehead and end up in your eyes.
  • Washable: Headbands have a dirty job, mopping up all that sweat. They are going to get filthy quickly. Whether you hand wash them in the sink or toss them in the washing machine, you have to be able to get the sweat out of them. Look for one that is easy to clean.
  • Durability: Our headbands have to be able to hold up mile after mile, year after year. Runners already have to replace shoes every few hundred miles, we don’t want to add headbands to our list of upgrades we have to make. We need ones that won’t stretch out or start to fray or rip.
  • Weather: The type of weather you run in can make a big difference when it comes to your headband selection. If you do most of your running in hot weather, you’ll want a light, breathable headband that won’t make you feel even hotter. If you live in colder climates, you may want a thicker headband that provides that little bit of extra warmth that can psych you up to go out in freezing temperatures.
  • UV protection: Chances are, your eyes are already getting UV protection from the sunglasses you wear during your run. Every piece of gear that can add to the UV protection is a good thing for runners who tend to spend a lot of time outside in the sunlight. If you like wider headbands, that UV protection can be significant.

Top 5 Running Headbands

1. Bondi Band Headbands

Bondi Band headbands inspire some serious loyalty among their fans. They hold up well over time and they come in a variety of colors for you to choose from.

Pros

  • Easy to clean, and they retain their shape well after being washed.
  • Durable year after year.
  • They stay in place well, even on long runs or for the times when you pick up the pace.
  • Made in the U.S.
  • One size fits most so you don’t have to do the guesswork as to what size you need.
  • Moisture wicking material will keep you dry and comfortable.
  • Can fit under visors or hats.
  • When used in colder temperatures, they’ll keep your ears warm while you run.
  • The material will feel comfortable against your head mile after mile.
  • These headbands won’t feel too tight or too loose on your head — there’s no discomfort.

Cons

  • These are wide headbands, so people who prefer thinner headbands may not like these.
  • While these are absorbent, the material is very thin so it won’t absorb enough sweat for some people on long run days.
  • The wide headband might be too warm for people who live in hotter climates.

2. Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie 2.0

You’ll feel like Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid with this unique head tie. If that’s not enough to make you run your miles harder, nothing will be. These cool head ties make you look like a serious athlete the second you put them on.

Pros

  • These head ties are made of Dri-Fit fabric that has great wicking capabilities that will leave you feeling dry.
  • Because these are tied onto your head, you’ll always find a fit that works for you. You never have to suffer from a headband that is too tight.
  • There are no confusing sizes to order.
  • For people who care about showing off which brand they support, these headbands have the Nike logo right on the front for everyone to see.
  • It’s machine washable so you’ll always have a fresh, clean head tie.
  • Great durability to these headbands. They hold up well wash after wash.
  • This headband is a serious sweat catcher. It will keep sweat out of your eyes even during vigorous workouts.
  • The material is fine for both hot days and cold days.

Cons

  • There is no gripping material on the underside of this headband to help it stay in place.
  • Only comes in 6 different color choices.

3. Suddora Headbands

Runners spend a lot of money on gear like shoes, GPS units and clothes. It’s nice to find accessories that won’t make a dent in your budget. These Suddora headbands offer a high value for a low price.

They’re nothing fancy, but they’ll get the job done.

Pros

  • Because of their low price, you can buy different ones to match all of your outfits if you want. They come in 19 different colors.
  • Some runners prefer cotton when it comes to headbands — these are made of cotton, spandex and nylon.
  • These are highly absorbent, which is perfect for soaking up sweat.
  • Not too wide and not too thin — these have a width of 2 ½ inches.
  • If you buy one of the neon colors, you’ll add to your visibility as a runner.
  • Washes easily.
  • They feel soft against your head, which makes them really comfortable to wear.

Cons

  • These headbands take a long time to dry, which is bad news for heavy sweaters.
  • They can slide a bit if your head is too small.
  • Some people might find these a bit too thick to use during hotter months.
  • The appearance of these headbands is pretty basic.

4. Buff Original Headbands

If you’re looking for a headband with some serious versatility, you may want to check out Buff headbands. These headbands offer insane multi-tasking — they can also be used as neckerchiefs, hoods, masks and scrunchies.

Pros

  • These headband are seamless, which adds to your comfort level.
  • They offer protection from cold and windy days when you don’t want to go out for a run, but you know you should.
  • They are made of breathable fabric — they’re 100 percent microfiber polyester.
  • These headbands offer great odor control, which is always a good thing when you’re logging a lot of miles.
  • They wick the moisture really well from your skin.
  • One size fits all.
  • Buffs are lightweight so you’ll forget you’re even wearing anything at all on your head.
  • They offer 95 percent UV protection.
  • They don’t shrink or lose their shape when they are washed.
  • They come with instructions on different ways to use and tie them.

Cons

  • While they have a lot of patterns to choose from, they don’t have many solid color options for runners who prefer a more subdued headband.
  • They are pretty expensive as far as headbands go.
  • They may be longer than some people like their headbands to be.

5. TrailHeads Women’s Print Ponytail Headband

This headband is made just for women who are living an active lifestyle. It has a key feature that women with long hair will appreciate.

Pros

  • This headband is made to accommodate ponytails, which is a great feature that benefits long-haired runners everywhere.
  • Made in the U.S. They are designed and tested in Connecticut, and actually made in Massachusetts.
  • There are a lot of patterns to choose from for women who like their accessories to match their outfits when they run.
  • The contoured headband fits securely over your ears, which makes it a great choice for colder weather running.
  • The material has a brushed interior, which makes these headbands feel super soft on your head.
  • These have enough moisture-wicking to keep you nice and dry.
  • These are a snap to wash — just toss them in the washing machine and lay them flat to air dry.

Cons

  • Because these do cover your ears, it can feel way too hot on warmer days or longer runs.
  • Not many solid colors to choose from — they offer mostly patterns.
  • This headband may be a little wider than some women will want — they are three inches in the front and 4 ½ inches on the side part that goes over your ears.

And the Winner Is …

Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie 2.0

Despite the fact that it only offers a few color choices, we love the Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie 2.0. You feel like a professional athlete when you tie this on your head, and that mindset carries into your performance. This headband can help you bring it during a race.

It keeps the sweat out of your eyes like a champ, and you control how loose or tight you want it to be. The Dri-Fit fabric is so comfortable against your skin and it sucks sweat up like a sponge, which leaves you feeling refreshed on your run. Because the material is so light, these can be worn year round, no matter the weather.

These headbands will last for a long time because they hold up so well to washing.