8 Headbands That Tame Frizzy Hair and Wick Away Sweat

Runners appreciated how these bands kept flyaways from tickling their faces.

Whether you’re logging two miles or 20, you want to be able to concentrate on your stride or get lost in the scenery around you—not contend with wild hair in your eyes. Long-haired and short-haired runners alike know that stray strands—whether it’s bangs blocking your vision or a single flyaway batting you in the eye—can be enough to put a damper on an otherwise perfect workout or race. And sure, hats are great but they don’t release much heat or allow your head to breathe.

We tested several bands, noting comfort and warmth factors, how well they absorb sweat, and whether they keep strands of hair from tickling our faces.

What to Buy

When you’re buying a running headband, there are a few features you’ll always want included. Look for high-performance, technical fabrics that can wick away sweat so it doesn’t run into your eyes. Of course, you’ll also want something that won’t move while you do, with just the right amount of stretch and even a grippy interior to hold it in place. Reflective detailing and hi-vis colors are a plus when you want to be seen by traffic. And, of course, style counts, too—we gave bonus points to all the headbands we bust out for race-day photos.

Photo credit: Matt Trappe
Photo credit: Matt Trappe

How We Tested

Our editors and staff tested several headbands by logging in miles under various weather conditions (freezing, blustery runs to hot and steamy workouts), to find the best choices for summer and winter. We looked at fit, comfort, and style, taking note of slippage, warmth, and sweat-wicking features. Here are our picks for stay-put bands of all shapes and sizes.

Bands for Summer


Treadbands Tieback Headbands

Treadbands’s tiebacks are easily adjustable and come in two widths: the 2.5-inch-wide All-Terrain for more coverage, and the 1.5-inch-wide Low-Profile for a sleeker look. A thin synthetic rubber strip grips your skin or hair to prevent slippage while you run. To ensure you have a secure fit, watch the brand’s handy video tutorial. Cotton T-shirt soft, the poly/spandex material is actually ideal for heavy sweaters; the fabric is quick-drying, and wicks away sweat. The reflective logo increases visibility, and the bands come in a range of patterns, including solid colors, animal print, and even sushi.

More Images


Bondi Band Headband

With over a thousand colors and patterns—plus the customization option—Bondi Band has a headband for almost every fandom, mood, and mantra. Our testers—whose preferences varied from snakeskin to geometric patterns, as well as a more traditional solid true blue—liked how light and stretchy the band felt on their run. One caveat: The band did tend to slide if it wasn’t worn low. However, the Bondi Band is a fan favorite when you want to add a little self-expression to your running uniform.


Athleta Vital Headband

Athleta’s Vital Headband stays put on your head thanks to silicone grips underneath the full circumference of the band. The band is made of the brand’s Powervita fabric, a nylon/poly/lycra blend that’s stretchy and compressive and super soft.

Bands for Winter


Gore M Opti Headband

Some headbands lose their stretch or become malformed, elongated circles of what they once were. Not so with the M Opti. The band stayed in place, protected ears from freezing, and didn’t give our tester a headache. “The Opti headband is supremely comfortable,” said associate news editor Daisy Hernandez, who also wore the headband under her helmet while cycling. “I get headaches from anything that’s too tight on or around my head. This includes headphones, ponytails, earmuffs, you name it. The Opti provided the perfect level of comfortable pressure to stay in place and not cause headaches or any other kind of discomfort.”


Junk Ear Warmer

Contrary to its brand name, Junk’s headbands are quite useful for keeping sweat and hair off your face; the ear warmer band is ergonomically shaped with a dip in the back for your ponytail. Editors loved wearing the thin bands for a CrossFit workout (patterns, like Peony Party, reaped compliments).


Headsweats Thermal Headband

The Thermal Headband was praised by our tester, digital editor Jessica Coulon, for not sliding during her run and for protecting her ears from the wind. Its secure fit comes at a price, however. “I was left with a very noticeable indentation across my forehead, and it took well over an hour for that to disappear,” she said. “But I liked it and would use it, just maybe not if I was planning on hanging out in public afterwards.”

More to Consider

These headbands were recommended by fellow runners.

Under Armour Mini Headbands

Stretchy, inexpensive, and available in a ton of different colors and patterns so you can match one to any singlet, these narrow Under Armour headbands are a simple way to hold back all those little escapee hairs while you’re running. An internal strip of silicone keeps it from sliding around.

Suddora Stripes Terry Cloth Headbands

Ah, a good old-fashioned cotton classic. These retro favorites hearken back to the golden age of running (which we consider to be any and every time period since 490 B.C.). They might not wick sweat, but they’re absorbent enough to keep it from running into your eyes. Plus, they’re cheap enough that you can buy a different one for every themed run.

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