Apparel & Accessories

The Best Gear to Protect Your Ears In Cold Weather

Pro tips and 8 of our favorite running ear warmers to help protect your ears.

Keeping all parts of your body warm is crucial when committing to your outdoor running routine come winter. From socks that will keep your feet dry to gloves that will guarantee circulation, everything needs the right protection. When it comes to your head, you need to make sure your ears are covered with a running ear warmer.

While you might choose a headband purely to help control your hair and to keep flyaways at bay, they can be a lifesaver out in the cold. Ben Rosario, head coach of the Hoka Naz Elite professional team, shared his expert advice on why keeping your ears covered is so important. “Just like your hands and feet, ears are an extremity, which means they are farther away from the heart and thus don’t receive blood flow as easily, making them susceptible to things like frostbite,” he says. It’s not just discomfort and pain: While it might sound extreme, spending too much time in the cold unprotected can lead to hearing loss. Coverage is crucial.

[Related: Here’s Exactly What to Wear on Winter Runs, Both When It’s Below and Above Freezing]

When choosing a headband style, consider the fabric. Besides making sure the ear warmer is machine washable so you can clean your sweat off, look for knits that are moisture-wicking, or have technology to keep you warmer. Also, stay away from fabrics that will irritate or itch your forehead. Rosario advises on a thicker style for when you are heading out for a long run or one in an extra cold environment. A winter hat can also do the trick, but a winter headband can keep your body from overheating while you jog. Rosario’s preference is to cover your entire head in extreme cold, but your choice should really come down to comfort.

There are a variety of headbands and earmuffs that will help keep your ears warm and prevent aching in the cold weather. Find the style and price that are right for you depending on what you are looking for. Here are eight great options.

Our Favorite Running Ear Warmers

Calia By Carrie Underwood Performance Headband | $22

A band full of technology will keep your head focused on your run. Moisture-wicking capabilities keep your head dry, and rubber grips will help secure the loop while you are bouncing with each stride. They will also help to keep your hair back and in place. Reflective stripes in front ensure you are visible on the road during low-light hours.

patterned running ear warmer from Kari Traa

Kari Traa Akle Headband | $30

For wide coverage, with a very winter color palette and pattern, try this jacquard knit headband. The wool fabric is comfortable, insulating, and odor resistant. The tight-knit also prevents it from stretching out, so the shape will remain the same for the entire season and then some.


Nike Seamless Headband | $18

When it’s uber chilly out, consider layering a headband under a hat. Choose a thin, stretchy running ear warmer that will lay flat against your head, like this one from Nike. If you become too hot, shove the hat in your coat pocket, and you can cool off but still keep your ears covered. Also, this will work nicely under a helmet for any ski or snowboarding adventures.

black running ear warmer

Tough Headwear, Women’s Ponytail Headband | $9

Those who only run in a pony (isn’t that every run with long locks?) will appreciate this band with a hole for your pulled-back hair to go through. The premium performance fleece with medium thermal protection will keep all the heat on your head.

Columbia Trail Shaker Headring | $16

You can always count on activewear companies to think of everything: This ear warmer has slits at the ears for your eyewear or earbuds to run through, tangle-free. It’s also lined with Columbia’s Omni-Heat thermal reflective protection, a fan-favorite for keeping everything it covers supremely warm.

pink running ear warmer from Lululemon

Lululemon Sherpa Weave Earwarmer | $58

Wrap your head in coziness with this soft, sherpa style. Made from merino wool, this woven ear warmer will naturally adjust to your body temperature. It’s also slimmer in the back, so it stays put around your head.

UA Around Town Headband | $25

Made with the same attention to detail as their cold-weather gear, this cable-knit, velvety-looking running ear warmer will keep you warm. One-piece construction keeps comfort (no seam itch!) a priority.


colorful ear warmer from Spyder

Spyder Brrr Berry Head Band | $25

While the fun texture and bright stripes might draw you to this band, the lined interior is what will have you keep coming back to it. It will add a bright pop to any of your running looks.