Hats and headbands reviewed for their performance on Colorado’s roads and trails.
One wouldn’t think that such a small item could make such a big difference to winter-weather comfort, but try running in freezing temperatures without some sort of head protection, and you’ll quickly understand the importance of cold-weather headgear. The ideal piece of winter running headwear in our estimation is thin, warm and breathable. Wind protection is another key major factor. Because a lot of heat is lost through the head, keeping your noggin protected might just be the key to staying warm—and keeping your workouts on track—through the cold of winter.
Brooks Balaclava ($25, Brooksrunning.com)
The Balaclava is a versatile winter head and neck covering. The combination of polyester and spandex allows the Balaclava to stretch and maneuver into different positions while running. When temperatures went south, the full head and neck covering position made all the difference. The lining is a brushed fleece, adding an element of comfort and insulation, while still breathing effectively and eliminating moisture. The eye and face opening is large enough to expose the entire face, but the elasticity of the fabric allowed us to pull it over the mouth and nose for maximum warmth. It stayed in place nicely. The neck of the piece is long enough that it extended down under our running top, making for an excellent seal and preventing any cold air from chilling the body. The one-size-fits-all nature of the Brooks Balaclava fit our tester well, but might be either too small or too large for some athletes. It also doubled as a really effective piece for bitterly cold days on the bike.