Buff CrossKnit Headband review: manage your temperature during sweaty adventures on cold days

This breathable, quick drying headband keeps your ears cozy when a cold wind is blowing, but doesn't get hot and itchy once you're warmed up

Buff CrossKnit Headband
(Image: © Future)

Advnture Verdict

If you want to keep your earlobes from nipping on a cold run but don't want an itchy forehead, try this comfortable, breathable and quick drying headband


  • +

    Comfortable, stay-put fit

  • +

    Light and breathable

  • +

    Wicks sweat and dries quickly

  • +

    Looks good

  • +

    High vis detail for night running


  • -

    A little pricier than some

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    One size only

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    No ponytail hole

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    Hand wash only

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Buff CrossKnit Headband: first impressions

When you don't want to slow down just because it's cold out, chances are your beanie will get too hot and you need a running headband to keep your ears warm, your forehead cool and hold your hair back. This knitted headband from Buff strikes a great balance between the sweaty demands of highly aerobic activity and cold weather. 

Made from knitted acrylic, it easily draws sweat of your forehead when you pick up the pace and breathes well once you start to sweat. It adds some insulation for cold days but is light enough to wear under a ski helmet as an added layer of protection or as a more breathable replacement for your hat on mild and cool hikes.


• RRP: $26 / £20.95
• Gender specification: Unisex
• Sizes: 20cm wide
• Materials: 100% Acrylic, Lining: 100% Polypropylene
• Colors: Many
• Best use: Running, Hiking, Winter sports

This stretchy headband isn't too tight which makes it easy to wear without getting a headache, but even though it isn't tight, it doesn't show signs of falling off and ending up in that big graveyard of lost headbands and gloves. It only comes in one size, but seems stretchy enough to fit most heads. The material is soft and doesn't itch, even when you start to feel warm.

It doesn't have a ponytail hole for those of you who like a low pony when you run, but we love the way it looks and think you'll be happy wearing it around town as well as on your runs. It's a little pricier than some headbands, but with its temperature regulating properties we think it's quite versatile for winter, spring and fall activities, plus it has high vis details for night running. It's hand wash only, and we're a little disappointed not to be able to just chuck it in the laundry, but so far it hasn't been stinky enough to need to.

Buff CrossKnit Headband: in the field

Buff CrossKnit Headband

This stretchy headband isn't too tight which makes it easy to wear without getting a headache (Image credit: Future)

I love a headband for running, not so much because I get sweaty but more because my hair makes me look like an absolute maniac when I start galloping. I also often wear them for winter hikes instead of a hat and under my ski helmet. 

However, I have a problem: I can't stop losing them. I've come to accept that this is down to the shape of my head. As I run, they slowly slip back and fall off, then when I get home I look like Crusty the Clown and I'm $20 short. Last winter, I lost my beloved Smartwool headband and I've been upset about it ever since, so, I was extremely excited to receive this headband a month ago and get it out on the winter trails.

Here’s how it performs:  

Fit and comfort

This headband comes in one size and it seems to work alright for me. It's not tight, so I don't get a headache or weird red lines on my forehead after wearing it. In fact, I barely notice it on, but it also doesn't seem to slip off (I haven't lost it yet anyway) so I think it's ideal for my adventures. It doesn't seem to move around when I move, which reduces my chances of losing it.

It's really comfortable too, not only because it's not too tight but the material is soft and not at all scratchy. 

Buff CrossKnit Headband

This headband comes in one size and it seems to work alright for me (Image credit: Future)

Temperature regulation

In a headband like this, I want some warmth for cold days but I don't want it to be so hot that I can't run with it, and this one seems to strike the perfect balance there. I've been wearing it on cold runs quite happily, and it's warm enough that I can wear it instead of a hat on hikes too. I'm not the sweatiest person in the world, but in my experiences it wicks sweat well and seems to dry really quickly too.

Durability and value

Though it looks and feels like wool, this is made from synthetic fabric so it's more durable, but if you want to keep it in good condition, don't do what I do and just shove it in your backpack or the fibers will get pulled. It is hand wash only which does add some maintenance, but I'm assuming that will keep it lasting longer and I haven't had to wash it yet despite multiple uses.

I think this is pretty good value. It's definitely pricier than some headbands I've tested but it's not just a circle of nylon to wrangle your hair. It helps to regulate temperature on the go and it's reasonably versatile too  – I can see myself wearing this in all seasons in Scotland.

Buff CrossKnit Headband: the bottom line

If you're seeking a warm (but not too warm) headband that wicks sweat for cold weather aerobic activities like running, hiking and skiing, this lightweight, breathable piece of head gear is comfortable and looks great on. For a similarly performing headband that harnesses the power of merino wool for roughly the same price, check out the Artilect Darkhorse Headband too.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.