Running Trend: Trucker Hats Explored

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Image courtesy of patagonia.com

From the trail, to the road, to the Tri course, runners are embracing the trucker hat. It started in traditional grass-roots style, with trail runners donning cheap gas station-style trucker hats, loving the full coverage bill and breathable back. As trail runners began ditching their technical hats for this cheap and casual option, running brands caught the drift and began creating ‘technical’ trucker hats out of light, breathable, moisture-wicking materials. The trend has now exploded, and we are seeing this hat style on the heads of runners everywhere.

Several of our most popular running hat brands have introduced trucker hats designed specifically for runners, and I tested three of them out to see which is the best. I took the North Face Runner’s Trucker Hat, the Patagonia Duckbill Trucker Hat, and the Asics Lite-Show Structured Cap out for a run on a warm day to see how they stacked up.

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A running hat needs to provide protection from the sun as well as moisture management on the run. It was a close call between The North Face Trucker Hat and Patagonia’s Trucker hat in terms of which had better overall performance. When it came down to it, though, I felt that the North Face hat pulled the moisture from my forehead better, and it evaporated quickly. This was probably due to the fact that the North Face hat is designed with a more low-profile overall fit (more like a typical performance run cap), which pulled the moisture towards the back of the cap. This left a little to be desired in terms of breathability, but for those who sweat more, the North Face Trucker Hat would be a better option still.

In terms of comfort, I felt that the Patagonia Trucker Hat was the clear choice. I forgot that I was wearing it after only a few minutes. The soft band and lightweight, flexible back panel made this hat conform to a wide variety of head shapes and sizes, not to mention providing comfort for even ultra long runs. The bill of the hat never obstructed my view, but it’s easy enough to flip it around and wear it backward when running uphill – which also allows a bit more air to flow through the mesh.

When it comes to stlye, though, the Asics Structured Cap stays true to the traditional trucker hat shape. That being said, it also feels the most like a traditional trucker hat, being by far the heaviest option of the three. It held on to sweat and was hardly breathable. But if style’s your number one, you’ll probably gravitate toward this option.

Best Overall | Patagonia Trucker Hat

All of the hats stood out in one area or another, but the hat I just kept coming back to was the Patagonia Trucker Hat. It stands out as the best overall balance between style and performance. While maintaining a fairly classic trucker-like look, I was impressed by the performance of this hat. Best of both worlds? You bet.