“Don’t come back to practice until you put your hair in a ponytail.” These were the words spoken to me by my late high school coach, Bob Elder. I was a preppy freshman who was more interested in reading Vogue than Running Times. At the time, I much preferred to have my long, brown hair flowing behind me as I did my intervals on the track rather than up and out of my face. In no time at all I not only started wearing a pony tail to practice, I completely threw myself into the culture of running. Four years later, Mr. Elder recounted this small, but crucial demand about the pony tail. In a tearful goodbye during graduation (by both of us), he said that everything on the track I accomplished myself and all he told me to do was wear a pony tail. I give him more credit than that. I pinpoint him as the one person (besides my mother) who has truly had a great impact on my life so far, and helped me foster what I know will be a lifelong dedication and passion for the sport of running.
The pony tail story is one that makes me smile when I think about Mr. Elder. He certainly thought it was important for the female athlete to have the appropriate accessories for practice, and I would agree. If he was able to make the girl who wore heels and pearls to high school every day into a passionate and dedicated athlete, he must have known what he was talking about. The following review of the best headbands and hair ties for running is dedicated to Mr. Elder, who is truly missed every day. I can only hope that I will one day inspire someone as much as he inspired me.
Running Headbands and Hairtie Reviews
I rotated for three weeks among the Lululemon Satin Pirouette Headband, the Under Armour Mini Headband, Scünci No-Slip Grip Hair ties, and the Goody Stay-Put Hair ties. Because I was just coming back from a stress fracture, the last thing I wanted on my training runs was for my headband to fall off or my hair tie to slip out. I don’t stop runs to fix my hair, so the right hair accessory is just as important as finding the right shoes. Additionally, runners put their hair through a lot of abuse with constant showering and exposure to the elements. Wearing a ponytail often also weakens your hair because the point where the hair tie lies can slightly bend and weaken the fibers of your hair. Hence, it is important to find a hair tie that will not put more strain on your hair than is necessary.
Lululemon Satin Pirouette HeadBand Review
My personal favorite headband is the Lululemon Satin Pirouette HeadBand ($14). This is not only a very functional headband; it is also a lovely accessory. The inside of the headband has a rubberized material that keeps the headband in place. It is also adjustable, so you can get the proper fit, which also keeps the headband in place and is not something commonly found in sports headbands. Furthermore, I was not only confident that my headband would stay in place, but every time I wore it during a workout, I felt like an elegant and beautiful runner. The headband is dance inspired, but is tough and durable enough for any athlete. It can also serve as a great accessory to any outfit, including your suit to work, a casual outfit with jeans, or even a formal dress. The headband comes in a variety of colors: the black and pink are my favorite. This is the ultimate runner’s headband for both look and function, and as I like to say, if you feel confident with what you are wearing for running, the quality of your workout will be better.
Under Armour Mini Headband Review
The Under Armour Mini Headband ($9.99) is a great choice if you are looking for something unobtrusive and simple. This small headband, made of technical fibers, stayed put during my hour run with no problems. Unlike many of the headbands made for sports, this one did not have any of the tacky glue that keeps the headbands from slipping, but because of the small size and non-slip feel of the performance fibers, the glue would have been an unnecessary addition. This headband is great for any run or gym workout. The Under Armour logo is featured prominently on the headband, so it is best worn for workouts, but it functions well and serves its purpose.
Scünci No-Slip Grip Review
I found a great hair tie in the Scünci No-Slip Grip (~$4 for 16). This hair tie features the tacky glue on the inside of the hair tie and an attractive, colorful, elastic fabric on the outside. The hair tie was thick enough that I only needed to wear one. During all of my runs, this hair tie stayed in place and the pack of ten came with enough colors that I could easily match them to all of my running clothes. Most importantly, they were durable enough to get me though my workout, but gentle enough that they did not cause any snags or damage to my hair.
Goody StayPut Hair Ties Review
Lastly, I wore the Goody StayPut Thick Elastics (~$4 for 10). I was concerned when I first tried these because they have more of a rubber band feel than other hair ties. The idea is that the rubber feel will keep the hair tie in place; however, I thought this would be more likely to snag or damage my hair. I was pleasantly surprised. The hair tie gave me the feeling of security – there was no way it could slip, and it left my hair damage free. I think this is a perfect hair tie for a long run under harsh conditions or for blasting a speed workout on the track!
Whether you prefer to run with a headband, a hair tie, or both, there are various products on the market that keep your hair in place and looking great. As serious athletes, keeping our hair in place should not be something we have to think about during a training run, much a less a race, so a dependable hair accessory is vital. We have much more important things to focus on like form, pace, and outrunning our competition!
What are your favorite hair ties and headbands for running? Do you use different ones for different conditions? Any that you prefer to wear when you’ll be going on a group run?
Elyse’s Closet features features women’s focused issues and product reviews, book reviews, and insights from the mind of Elyse Braner.