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How Do I Choose the Best Running Headband?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Feb 15, 2024
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A running headband is a very useful accessory, whether simply going out for a jog or running in a race. It helps to keep the hair out of the face, and some help to keep sweat out of the eyes, both of which are important for comfort and safety. When choosing a running headband, it is important to select one that will stay put; many are designed with slip-resistant strips or even little teeth that grip onto the hair and prevent it from sliding out while running. If it will function as a sweatband as well, be sure it is designed to be absorbent and used for that purpose.

The most important thing for a running headband to do is to stay in place and keep the hair from falling forward into the face. It may be helpful to read reviews online from other people who have used running headbands to find preferred brands or styles. Going to a sporting goods store and actually getting a feel for the running headband as well might be helpful, since you will be able to tell if it feels like it will grip on the hair. Many of them have a rubber strip on the inside to keep them from sliding, or teeth like those on a comb.

Another important factor when selecting a running headband is adjustability. The ability to adjust the headband to make it tighter or looser is an important factor for comfort and use. One size fits all headbands may not work particularly well for running or other vigorous activities. For runners who are concerned about fashion as well, many running gear manufacturers make headbands in a number of different colors and designs. This can make it a bit easier to go from a workout to a different outfit, at least in the interim.

Some running headbands are designed to keep sweat out of the eyes as well. These are typically made of thicker material and worn lower on the head to keep sweat and sunscreen from dripping into the eyes during longer runs. Be sure to choose a running headband designed for this purpose; again, reading reviews online can be a great way to separate contenders and find the best choice. Some are very utilitarian and are also designed to hold headphones as well, to keep them from becoming tangled in the headband and the hair while running.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By NatureRun — On Oct 11, 2012

I have tried numerous headbands over the years, and recently I came across a awesome new company that apparently specializes in athletic headbands for men and women: Junkbrands. They have headbands that are made of very technical fabric for athletes.

I love, love, love they way you can tie them tight so they don't slip, but yet they are extremely comfortable. They wick an incredible amount of sweat and quickly dry. After trying so many headbands on the market, this is my new favorite and they come in so many colors and patterns, very fashionable. Side note- my husband loves this brand for a men's fitness headband too. We run and do CrossFit.

By jackiesmith — On Sep 19, 2011

I recently bought a Sparkly Soul headband during their 15 percent off sale after seeing it recommended on this post. I had given up hope of a headband staying in my hair during my runs. These headbands said they were nonslip and would stay in place. And guess what? They do! And it didn't give me a headache or fall off once when I was running.

In fact, I forgot it was even in my hair, until I got a compliment on it. I highly recommend you try these headbands. I just bought a bunch for my running group and my daughters cheerleading team. I am a Sparkly Soul believer!

By Tomislav — On Aug 31, 2011

Way before running headbands that actually worked were around (the ones that have the rubber grips to help them stay into place) the girls that I played soccer with were making the best running headband for women.

It was called the pre-wrap headband. Pre-wrap was the pre-taping soft tape that was not very sticky at all (think post-it sticky) that went on the area skin prior to the tape which was used for injuries such as twisted ankles.

It was easily accessible as someone was always being taped up. The second characteristic, which made it a great running headband was that, it was just sticky enough to stay into place but not sticky enough to get stuck or even pull your hair out. Lastly, you could easily make the pre-wrap length into the fit of your choice.

Since then the pre-wrap companies have caught on (it has probably been ten years now since I played soccer) and they started to make pre-wrap in different colors and finally pre-wrap called "pre-wrap hair ties" were made but they are just pre-wrap rolls in assorted colors.

Best running headband I have ever used.

By Perdido — On Aug 30, 2011

I didn’t know there was such a thing as a running headband. I knew about the kind made for people who work outdoors to keep sweat out of their eyes, but I had never heard of one with teeth or a rubber grip.

When I jog, I borrow my dad’s absorbent headband that he wears while gardening. It is thick and feels like terry cloth. It soaks up the sweat well.

However, it is an elastic headband, and it feels a little too tight. I get a headache if I wear it for very long. Now that I know about adjustable running headbands, I am going to get one!

By andee — On Aug 30, 2011

I'm not too picky when it comes to a running headband, but I have found that I prefer the ones that are thicker over the thin ones.

It is nice to have something that not only keeps the hair out of your face, but also catches the sweat and keeps it from running down your face and in your eyes.

It is a little different story when it comes to my other running apparel. I am much more particular about how my shirts and shorts fit, and I also like something that looks nice.

I know I am not out there making any kind of fashion statement, but I feel much better about myself if I have on some nice running clothes as opposed to throwing on any old pair of shorts and shirt.

By golf07 — On Aug 30, 2011

I always like to have an assortment of headbands for running around the house. I run several days a week and always wear a headband to keep the hair our of my face and eyes.

Because they are worn a lot and get sweaty and are washed a lot, they don't seem to hold their shape for very long. It drives me crazy if I am wearing a headband that has stretched out too much, and it keeps falling down in my eyes.

If I always have a good supply on hand, I know that there will always be one that fits right and doesn't totally clash with my other running clothes.

By jennymendez — On Aug 29, 2011

My friend recently recommended I try a Sparkly Soul headband she picked up at an expo. She said it stayed in place her entire half marathon and all her training runs. Everything I used previously fell off my head when I was running, so I didn't think I was a headband girl as a result. I tried it and I love it. It didn’t give me a headache or slip off my head. Now I wear them for everything - even everyday to work. I can't imagine my life before them

By animegal — On Aug 29, 2011

Choosing the best running headband really comes down to personal style I think. There are so many varieties to choose from, so once you have something you like the feel of, it is really a matter of finding a color that works with your look.

For myself I found a great line of fitness clothing for women that was produced by a local company. They had lots of cute workout gear, and they always offered a variety of running headbands that matched everything. I ended up choosing a black running headband with a small logo on it to represent the company. I didn't really want something that stood out from my hair too much.

By turquoise — On Aug 28, 2011

I guess picking the best running headband depends on what you're looking for. For me, it has to be lightweight, cover my ears for running in the cold and have a place where I can put my iPod.

The one I have has all of these qualities, it's so lightweight, I hardly feel it on. It's thinner at the top and thicker on the bottom so it covers my ears which is great when jogging in colder climate. I also hate using an arm band for my iPod, so I put my iPod in the little mp3 player pocket that my headband has.

Obviously not everyone will want the same kind of headband as me. So I think the best thing to do is to think about what your needs are when you're jogging and choose a headband according to that.

By manykitties2 — On Aug 27, 2011

For those of you that enjoy running you should try to find a running headband that is made of a good quality absorbent material. I like running headbands made out of totally natural materials, and find that cotton is excellent for collecting all that nasty sweat you shed.

One thing to keep in mind is that your running headband shouldn't be too tight, as it can actually give you a pretty bad headache. I didn't know this and just picked up the first headband I found and it was actually a bit too small. I always assumed that one size fits all with headbands, but I guess there are big differences.

By SteamLouis — On Aug 27, 2011

I run track at school and I didn't realize this before I started using a headband but a lot of sweat and oil from my hair actually gets onto the headband when I'm running.

That's why the most important thing for me is for the headband to be machine washable and very durable. I actually have three or four of them. When I return from a run, I throw the dirty one in the laundry and grab a clean one. I had a cheap one before that basically got destroyed in the washing machine because apparently it was hand wash only. The ones I have now are machine wash safe which is really convenient.

By serenesurface — On Aug 26, 2011

I love my jogging headband, it is pretty large width wise but that's how it keeps the hairs out of my face. I have some side bangs that have grown a little bit but it won't stay in place when I put my hair in a ponytail and always manages to get into my face and eyes when I'm jogging. I hate to have to stop and fix my hair when I'm jogging at a nice pace.

The headband I got at the athletics store is perfect for jogging. It's wide so the shorter hairs can't escape the band. It also has the rubber grip underneath so it doesn't slip up or down. It's perfect, I'm so happy with it.

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