The Best Cooling Running Gear, Recommended by A Running Coach

The Chill Pal Cooling Neck Gaiter can be worn 12 different ways to keep you cool

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Running outdoors is good exercise, but there are times when running in hot weather can be unpleasant or even downright dangerous. Dumping ice-cold water over your head isn’t very practical when you're pounding the pavement, but fortunately, there are other ways to stay cool on the run.

Reviewed & Approved

The Chill Pal 12-in-1 Multi-Style Cooling Neck Gaiter is an easy pick for our best overall selection because it can be worn many different ways and stays cool for up to two hours. A budget-friendly pick, the Frogg Toggs Chilly Mini Cooling Towel's small size makes it convenient to carry on a run.

You can find shirts, shorts, hats, socks, towels, and even sports bras made with cooling properties. When choosing a product, make sure it fits comfortably and holds a cool temperature for a long time. We reviewed the products on our list based on the type of product, fit, affordability, and material they're made of.

Based on our research, here is the best cooling running gear for the hottest days and climates.

Best Overall: Chill Pal 12-in-1 Multi-Style Cooling Neck Gaiter

Chill Pal 12-in-1 Multi-Style Cooling Neck Gaiter

Courtesy of Amazon

  • 12 ways to wear

  • Easy to use

  • Breathable fabric

  • Tight fit

  • Cooling effect doesn't last long

What do buyers say? 81% of 5,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

An excellent gear item for anyone who runs in hot weather, our best overall pick is the versatile Chill Pal cooling band. We love the fact that it can be worn as a neckband, headband, and more. The soft, breathable fabric cools when you wet it, wring it out, and snap it—and then it stays cold for up to two hours. It’s particularly effective when worn on your neck, since it’s one of your body’s quick-cooling spots. In a 2019 collection of 45 studies, external cooling of the neck, torso, and face proved to be the most beneficial for aerobic performance with a moderate to large effect.

Runners swear that it helps them feel more comfortable and prevents overheating even during very hot runs. On top of that, we like that it’s inexpensive and comes in four different fun colors. Even if you don’t want to wear a Chill Pal band while running, you can use it to pre-cool before a race or to cool down after.

Sizes: One size fits most | Color Options: Four | Material: Not listed

Best Budget: Frogg Toggs Chilly Mini Cooling Towel

Frogg Toggs Chilly Mini Cooling Towel

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

  • Hyper-evaporative material

  • Absorbs 8x its weight in water

  • 10 color options

  • Color may bleed

  • May mildew quickly

If you’re not quite convinced on the effectiveness and technology of cooling gear, these mini cooling towels are an inexpensive way to give it a try. Just wet the towel and wrap it around your neck before, during, or after a run to feel instantly cooler.

Unlike a large towel, we like that it’s a convenient size (3 x 29 inches), so you can stash it in a running pack or tuck it in your waistband until you need to use it. It absorbs sweat and provides cooling up to 30 degrees lower than body temperature for hours. It’s also washable and reusable, making it a great value find.

Sizes: 13 x 33 inches | Color Options: Ten | Material: PVA

Best Women's Shirt: Arctic Cool Women's Instant Cooling Performance Short Sleeve Shirt

Women's Cooling V-Neck Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Courtesy of Arctic Cool

  • Wrinkle resistant

  • UPF 50+ protection

  • Hyrdofreeze cooling technology

  • Runs small

  • Cooling effect doesn't last long

As soon as you start sweating in this Arctic Cool shirt, you’ll begin to cool down. The secret is the shirt’s HydroFreeze X technology, a moisture-management system that disperses moisture and optimizes the natural evaporative cooling process.

Made from fabric that’s fast-drying, soft, and cool, these shirts feature a trim athletic cut for optimum mobility and stretch. Available in a range of colors and sizes, we think these tees are perfect for running or any outdoor activity in the heat.

Sizes: S-3XL | Color Options: Twelve | Material: Polyester/Spandex

Best Men's Shirt: Arctic Cool Men’s Instant Cooling Performance Short Sleeve Shirt

Arctic Cool Men’s Instant Cooling Performance Short Sleeve Shirt

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Antimicrobial

  • Machine washable

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Runs large

  • Cooling effect doesn't last long

Similar to the women’s Arctic Cool shirt, the men’s version features technology that reduces the fabric temperature to cool you down when you’re heating up. Beyond the cooling effect, we like that these shirts also have a lightweight construction and UPF 50 sun protection, making them ideal shirts for hot weather running.

They even work great as a moisture-wicking undershirt. Additionally, they’re antimicrobial and machine-washable, so they’re easy to care for.

 Sizes: S-4XL | Color Options: Twelve | Material: Polyester

Best Hat: Mission Cooling Performance Unisex Hat

Mission Cooling Performance Unisex Hat

Courtesy of Amazon

  • UPF 50 protection

  • Durable

  • Adjustable hook and loop tab

  • Inconsistent sizes

  • Weak Velcro

Keep your head cool on the run with this Mission Cooling Performance hat, made with proprietary fabric that cools instantly when wet. Just soak the hat before wearing, wring it out, and then snap it in the air to activate the cooling properties. Here's how it works—cooling zones in the hat’s sweatband and front panels absorb water and perspiration and then regulate the evaporation of moisture for a prolonged cooling effect.

We love that the fabric also features UPF 50 protection, which helps to shield your head from the sun’s harmful rays. After a hot run, you can just toss this durable hat in the washing machine to clean, and it will retain its shape and cooling properties. Available in several different colors, it has an adjustable hook and loop closure, so one size fits most.

Sizes: One size fits most | Color Options: Four | Material: 100% Polyester

Best Socks: Balega Hidden Dry Moisture-Wicking Socks

Balega Hidden Dry Moisture-Wicking Socks

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Moisture management technology

  • Machine washable

  • Lightweight

  • Runs small

  • Expensive

Wear the wrong socks on a summer run and you’ll definitely end up with hot, wet feet and most likely some blisters too. But these attractive socks from Balega will keep your feet cool and dry while still giving them the protection they need. Made from lightweight microfiber, they cool your feet by wicking away sweat.

The perfectly placed support and grippy elastic in the arch and heel provide plenty of support and help with blister prevention. We like that you don’t have to worry about them slipping down, as the tab design keeps them in place. You’ll pay a bit more for these socks, but Balega fans say they’re well worth the price and are the ideal go-to running sock for hot-weather runs.

Sizes: S-XL | Color Options: Sixteen | Material: 63% Polyester, 35% Nylon, 2% Elastane

Best Sports Bra: Under Armour Women's Armour Crossback Sports Bra

Under Armour Women's Armour Crossback Sports Bra

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

  • Removable cups

  • Sweat-wicking

  • Fast-drying

  • Runs small

  • Not much compression

  • Should be washed before wear

Any runner with a bust knows how a sports bra that’s ill-fitting or made of the wrong material can make a hot run much more uncomfortable. This Under Armour sports bra is designed to keep you feeling fresh and comfortable, and well-supported of course. Its signature HeatGear fabric is lightweight and smooth to help you feel cool while the UA moisture transport system wicks sweat away from the body to enhance the cooling sensation.

Although it does tend to run small, we really like the fact that it provides a snug fit to reduce chafing, while the four-way stretch fabric allows for a superb range of motion. Available in several different colors, the sports bra is an excellent addition to your summer running wardrobe.

Sizes: XS-3XL | Color Options: Thirty | Material: 84% Polyester, 16% Elastane

Best Men's Shorts: Arctic Cool Men’s Instant Cooling Active Shorts

Arctic Cool Men’s Instant Cooling Active Shorts

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Instant cooling

  • Lightweight

  • Antimicrobial

  • Short drawstrings

  • Runs long

These Arctic Cool shorts go way beyond just moisture-wicking to keep you cool. Their HydroFreeze X technology channels the airflow through the fabric, creating an instant cooling effect. Featuring an athletic cut and four-way stretch fabric blend, we loved how these shorts allow for an excellent range of motion and have a drawstring waistband for a custom fit.

The fabric is also antimicrobial and odor-fighting, keeping you feeling and smelling fresh.

Sizes: S-4XL | Color Options: Two | Material: 94% Polyester, 6% Spandex

Best Women's Shorts: Columbia Women’s Chill River Shorts

Columbia Women’s Chill River Shorts

Courtesy of Amazon

  • UPF 30

  • Interior adjustable waistband

  • Hand pockets

  • Runs small

The Columbia Women’s Chill River Shorts feature Omni-Freeze Zero technology, which reacts with sweat to actually lower the shorts’ temperature. The super-cooling fabric also wicks away moisture to keep you cool and dry.

Durable, lightweight, and packable, the shorts feature UPF 50 protection, so they’re ideal for running and other outdoor pursuits.

Sizes: XS-3XL | Color Options: Twenty | Material: 100% polyester

Best Towel: Mission Max Plus Original Cooling Towel

Mission Max Plus Original Cooling Towel

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Antimicrobial

  • Stays cool for up to 2 hours

  •  UPF 50

  • Dries fast

A must-have for hot weather running, this cooling towel from Mission is extremely effective and easy to use. Simply soak it in cold water, wring it out, snap it, and it’s ready to drape around your neck. It stays cool for two hours, but once it starts to get warm, you can simply rinse and repeat.

We like that the soft and durable microfiber towel is chemical-free, reusable, machine-washable, and even provides UPF 50 protection from the sun.

Sizes: 11 x 33 inches | Color Options: Four | Material: 61% Polyester, 30% Nylon, 9% Spandex

Best Headband: Mission VaporActive Cooling Lockdown Headband

Mission VaporActive Cooling Lockdown Headband

Courtesy of Walmart

  • Chemical-free and machine washable

  • Adjustable

  • Absorbs odors and moisture

  • Expensive

  • Tight fit

If you prefer not to wear a hat when running in the heat but still want to keep your head cool, this versatile cooling headband from Mission is an excellent option. The chemical-free cooling technology attracts moisture at the vapor level, wicking away sweat to keep you cool.

We like that the soft, absorbent headband keeps the sweat out of your eyes and your hair off your face during even the most strenuous training sessions. Once you’re finished, you can clean it in the washing machine and use it for your next run in hot conditions.

Sizes: One size fits most | Color Options: One | Material: 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex

Best Vest: TechNiche International Adult HyperKewl Cooling Sport Vest

TechNiche HyperKewl Cooling Sport Vest


  • Lightweight

  • Cools for 5-10 hours 

  • Water resistant inner liner

  • Works best when you're in movement

  • Not great for humid conditions

It may seem a bit counterintuitive to put on an additional layer during a hot run, but this lightweight cooling vest can actually help you feel more comfortable. Specifically designed for runners and cyclists, we were impressed that it can provide five to ten hours of cooling.

To use, just soak the vest with water for two to three minutes before your run and then put it on. The water slowly evaporates and takes your heat with it, while the vest’s water-resistant liner keeps you dry. The only downside of this vest is that it’s not as effective in very humid conditions, since it depends on evaporation to keep you cool.

It comes in a variety of sizes, from XS-3XL, and comes in blue or silver.

Sizes: XS-3XL | Color Options: Two | Material: Quilted nylon outer, HyperKewl fabric

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, since there are so many ways to wear the Chill Pal 12-in-1 Multi-Style Cooling Neck Gaiter it’s the most versatile option for long-distance running or just cooling down around the house.  

However, if you are also cooling down on your spending, then you can’t go wrong with the Frogg Toggs Chilly Mini Cooling Towel, which will give you the same chilling effect at a fraction of the price.

How We Selected the Best Cooling Running Gear

We selected the best cooling running gear based on a few different criteria. First, our expert, running coach Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, researched and reviewed dozens of cooling running gear products—including hats, shirts, pants, undergarments, and more—to find ones that actually work, based on technical qualities and reviews.

When selecting our top picks, we considered each cooling garment's material, comfort, reflectivity, and level and duration of cooling. We also considered how they held up throughout a day of wear, including whether they wicked away moisture and kept odor at bay during exercise.

What to Look for in Cooling Running Gear


Cooling running gear should contain synthetic, moisture-wicking materials to keep you dry and cool. If sweat lingers on your body, it could lead to chafing. For scarves and hats, you should also look for soft, breathable fabric that cools when you wet it.


For cooling running gear, look for loose shirts and running shorts. If you prefer leggings, avoid black, which can absorb heat. Try lighter colors and make sure the leggings fit tight to avoid chafing.


To stay safe when running outdoors, you need to make sure you’re seen. Wear clothing that has reflective elements to increase your visibility. This is especially important if you opt to run at dusk, late at night, or early in the morning to avoid strong sun and heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you stay cool when running in hot weather?

    Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself down naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process and dark colors absorb the sun's light and heat. Wear synthetic fabrics (not cotton) because they will wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur.

    If you want to wear something on your head to block the sun, wear a visor. Hats can be constrictive and trap heat.

  • Does cooling running gear offer protection from the sun?

    While some clothing is specially designed to block UV rays, it's important to protect exposed skin with a waterproof sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15. 

  • Will cooling running gear enhance your performance?

    Wearing cooling running gear may help enhance performance because when you feel better, you may be able to run longer and more efficiently. A 2016 study on cooling clothing has shown that it improves exercise capacity when used in a hot, humid environment.

  • How do you run safely in the heat?

    Avoid running when the sun is at its strongest, generally from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Early morning or late evening running is better. You should also run without headphones and wearing reflective gear to stay safe.

  • What are the signs of overheating during exercise?

    Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of overheating:

    • Feeling faint or dizzy
    • Disoriented
    • Skin is cool to the touch
    • Stop sweating

    These are all dangerous signs of overheating or even sun stroke, and you should immediately stop exercising.

Why Trust Verywell Fit 

Running coach and marathoner Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, avoids treadmill running at all costs, so she runs outside through all types of weather extremes. During hot and steamy runs, she wears a Mission Enduracool Cooling Performance hat to stay cool and protected from the sun, and she puts on Balega socks to keep her feet dry and comfortable.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Douzi W, Dugué B, Vinches L, et al. Cooling during exercise enhances performances, but the cooled body areas matter: A systematic review with meta‐analysesScand J Med Sci Sports. 2019;29(11):1660-1676. doi:10.1111/sms.13521

  2. McFarlin BK, Henning AL, Venable AS, Williams RR, Best Sampson JN. A shirt containing multistage phase change material and active cooling components was associated with increased exercise capacity in a hot, humid environment. Ergonomics. 2016;59(8):1019-1025. doi:10.1080/00140139.2015.1108460