A lightweight, good-looking and easy-to-wear cap, with some thoughtful features.
Peak in eye view
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The Salomon XA: first impressions
The Salomon XA is a good looking technical running cap that features in our list of the Best running hats. Very clearly, it is aimed at runners facing hot and sunny conditions during training runs or races, and features a long and stiff peak that keeps the sun’s rays out of your eyes (see also: hiking injuries and ailments: how to avoid and treat them and why you should pack a hat next time you head outdoors).
There are three sizes to choose from but the unisex cap also has an adjustable buckle closure at the rear and elastic give. The main material is Salomon’s AdvancedSkin Shield, which protects the head against wind but also offers good breathability.
Mesh inserts on the top of the cap aid more air ventilation, while an integrated inner sweatband helps to absorb sweat to stop it dripping into your eyes. There is a wide color choice, and the cap can be found for a good price.
RRP: $25 (US) / £22 (UK)
Style: Sports cap
Gender specificity: Unisex
Sizes: S–M / M–L / L–XL
Average weight: 40g / 1.4oz
Materials: Salomon’s AdvancedSkin Shield (100% Polyester) Colors: White / Transcend Blue & Hawaiian Ocean / Black & Shiny Black / Black & Reflective Charcoal / Papaya Punch / Pacific & Trellis / Clematis Blue / Fuchsia Red & Charcoal / Olive Night & Martini Olive / Ashley Blue & Charcoal / Hawaiian Ocean & Charcoal / Hawaiian Ocean & Fuchsia Red / Opal Blue & Harbor Gray / Almond Cream & Sirocco
Compatibility: Running and hiking in hot and sunny conditions
On the trail
Some of the colors of the XA (Papaya Punch, for example) will divide opinion, but the cap is really useful for hot and sunny conditions – no arguments from anyone about that. (And if you don’t like one, there are plenty of other colors to choose from.)
The long, stiff and slightly u-shaped peak is very good at keeping the sun off the face and out of the eyes though it took a while for me to get used to seeing the edge of the peak in my peripheral vision. (It could be that I am more used to a clear view ahead because I usually wear a buff for running.)
The cap fits neatly and is easily adjustable with the rear clip. The elasticated band helps to give a good, comfortable fit so the cap doesn’t fly off when you run. In fact, the cap didn’t move at all, fortunately.
The cap feels airy on sunny days and it is light enough to forget you are wearing it. The internal sweat band is useful and kept the perspiration off my forehead. If you are very sweaty I’m not sure the band would cope over longer distances but the fabric does dry quickly so it might be okay.
Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.