This post is rated Sprinters and Olympians.
Day 2 in our “vs. series” brings us to the comparison of hats and visors. Like our coverage on wetsuits, there are both advantages and disadvantages to each. Without further ado, lets get into the meat and potatoes of the post.
Visors are low profile and shade your face from the sun. Visors are very easy to grab coming out of transition and keep an open flow of air circulating in the area above your head.
Hats are also light weight but provide more protection from the sun. Hats can be used as pockets for carrying extra nutrition or in my favorite case, ICE! I love to take ice at aid stations and dump into my hat before returning to my head. One downside to hats is that they do trap the heat on top of your head which could lead to overheating.
In my opinion, the warmer the race the better a hat will serve you. As long as you make sure to fill your hat with ice as often as you can, you will do a much better job at keeping cool. I learned this valuable lesson at the Buffalo Spring Lake 70.3 in Lubbock, TX. The run course contains no shade whatsoever and luckily a teammate of mine recommended a hat along with this icing strategy. It worked like a charm and I had a great race.
On the flip side, if you are looking at either an early season or late season race with moderate temperatures than a visor will suffice. A visor provide the sun protection for your face and carries the advantage of air flow to your head.