I occasionally run with a woman who wears an Athleta Polartec Power Stretch Visor Beanie. Every time I saw it I thought it was a cute, functional hat. Thanks to a Christmastime coupon, I decided to try the Athleta Visor Beanie.
I initially liked the beanie’s soft, but somewhat structured feel. It feels like a typical fleece hat, but has a bit of a starchy feel. I have worn it on a few runs now and I like it. It isn’t the warmest hat out there, but it does the job, and the visor makes it a great winter running hat.
First, the hat is a nice size. The website suggests that it is a skullcap style hat. I found it to be a bit looser than a skullcap, but tight enough to stay on while running. It has contoured sides to provide extra ear coverage. It is made from a Polartec® Power Stretch®: Polyester/Spandex blend that provides thermal warmth without bulk and is breathable and wicking. It is very lightweight and breathable. This is a plus on most days, but if offers no protection from wind. It wicks nicely and generally keeps my head comfortable. One feature I really like is the ponytail hole. It has a ponytail hole that’s actually large enough for my thick hair. I love having enough space to fit both my hair and my fingers in the hole. It makes getting it on much easier. The brim of the hat is designed to keep sun out of the wearer’s eyes. I was initially skeptical given the short length of the brim, but it does a nice job of keeping my eyes shaded.
The instructions on the hat say hand wash. That’s never going to happen in my house, so I tossed it in a garment bag and into the wash with my other running clothes. I reshaped it and air dried it after washing. It survived just fine. Maybe it’s a little bit floppier, but several washes later it seems to be holding up. The picture above was taken approximately 4 washes into its lifespan. As you can see, it’s held shape nicely. I am not as impressed with the seam placement on the hat. There are two seams that run over the ears, one at the top of the ear and one at the bottom. I notice these seams rubbing on my ears and this can get uncomfortable after a while. Other than the seam placement issue, this is a great hat that fulfills a unique place in my running gear collection – it’s keeps the sun out of my eyes like a visor, but with the warmth of a beanie.
Suggested retail price: $34 (the savvy shopper will wait for a coupon or pair this with another Gap purchase to get the free shipping on orders over $50)