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Fractel Performance Headwear Review
A Doctors of Running Team Editorial

Based out of Queensland, Australia, Fractel is a performance headwear company with a big emphasis on sustainability. In 2021, they made a big overhaul towards using nearly 100% recycled yarn in all of their hats. Additionally, 1% of their overall net profits goes towards nonprofits and businesses aimed at protecting the environment. In this review, our editorial team takes a look at a variety of hats from the collection to offer our thoughts on their performance headwear line.

Fractel Items Tested in this Review
"Jet" Bucket Hat
"MYSTIFY" Polartec Cap
"NEPTUNE" Legionnaire Cap
"LUMEN" Visor

The Bucket Hat
Style Seen Above: "Jet"
Shop: $55
Material: 100% recycled polyester (excluding trims)

Ryan Flugaur, Contributor
: I used to believe that bucket hats are not designed for running, this was before I received the Fractel bucket hat. Their bucket hat is a lightweight, breathable, and machine washable bucket hat that offers 360 degrees of sun protection. There is a fastener on the back of the hat helping  provide a comfortable, but tight fit, to ensure it doesn't come off. However, seeing how this is a bucket hat, I experienced it fly off during windy runs as the 360 degree brim catches wind more easily than a traditional brim hat. For this reason, I found the Fractel bucket hat performs best during my longer or slower paced runs where wind was not as much of a factor. For hot and sunny days the bim does a good job of keeping the sun out of your eyes and the internal headband works well to absorb sweat.

When it is time to clean the hat, which I did after every 2-3 runs, it is easy to throw in the washer and hang dry. Sizing is standard and the S/M fits my head very nicely. For reference, I typically wear fitted hats around 7. The adjustable fastener ensures that smaller heads can still achieve a tight fit. In extremely hot weather greater than 75 degrees F, I typically chose to run in a slightly thinner hat as the fractal bucket hat can feel too warm. Also, the black color doesn't help the hat to stay cool.

Positives: Well-fitting hat that can be customized to head size. Good for easy and long runs to keep the sun from beating on your head, neck, and face.
Negatives: Bucket hats are not designed for windy days and can fly off easily. Material may be slightly too thick for hot summer days. Weight can be substantial as the hat begins to collect sweat.

The Cap
Style Seen Above: Bailey
Shop: $45
Material: 100% recycled polyester, Polartec power dry fabric

Nathan Brown, Senior Contributor: This is the second line of Fractel hats to hit the market in the US, and they’ve taken a huge step in the right direction. Overall, the fit is much more dialed in and sculpted to my head compared to the previous models which were a bit sloppy throughout. They also seemed to decrease the depth of the cap, which minimized irritation to the tops of my ears. I have a smaller hat, and the previous versions were quite uncomfortable. I’m happy to say that this issue is fixed!

The material is very lightweight and breathable but still protects from the sun (UPF 50+), making it function really well on warmer days. Additionally, there is a soft internal headband that helps absorb sweat and keep it from running down the face. One other thing to note is the choice for a spandex (elastic) adjustable band in the back. For some, they may find this more comfortable than a more rigid option found in Ciele hats, but I also found that it stretched over time and needed to make regular adjustments (weekly) to keep it secure on my head, particularly when windy. I personally prefer a more rigid strap like what is found in Ciele, but that is certainly a very small issue and also a personal preference. Stylistically, I love the colors and new logo designs, and the brim can be both traditional or flipped upward. Big fan of the updated line and a true competitor for best running hats out there for daily running.

Positives: Internal headband helps with moisture containment, breathable and comfortable material, sizing is good/adaptable
Negatives: Elastic band in the back required some regular readjustments, especially in the first couple weeks and then settled in.

David Salas, Senior Contributor: I received the MYSTIFY cap, which lived up to its name. This running hat breathes incredibly well and wicks moisture unlike any hat I’ve run in before. It has quickly become my go to for long runs and hard workouts. The weight is very light and the material is perforated throughout. Even following long runs the hat seems like it hardly has any moisture retained at all. The fit throughout is good and the brim sits nicely over the forehead. I have not had any issues with it sliding or translating. It also fits the head dimensionally well. The design is streamlined well and will most likely be my racing hat for this fall season. The only thing I could really think of to streamline would be the logo. It seems a little misplaced like a sticker on a sports car. Other than that the hat performs incredibly well.

Positives: Material wicks moisture incredibly well without adding weight to the hat. The perforation keeps weight down and makes it very breathable throughout. A solid hat for long or hard efforts in warm conditions.
Negatives: The only thing for me was the sticker logo feels a little misplaced in comparison with the performance of the rest of the hat.

Why "Fractel," Per Fractel: Fractel originated from the term ‘fractal’. A fractal can be defined as an infinite pattern and is often used to describe natural features such as trees, rivers and mountains. This connection with the natural environment and potential to be infinitely occurring was the inspiration behind the name.

The Small Cap
Style Seen Above: Midnight
Price: $40
Material: 100% recycled polyester, REFLECT polyester

Bach Pham, Content Manager
: For me, the standout point for Fractel from a performance perspective is the fit. I have a higher volume head due to a ton of hair. The small cap does a great job of dealing with my head mess, comfortably tucking in my hair. It also has a nice depth to the fit which makes the cap feel extra secure. The recycled materials are also super soft and sits comfortably. The straps do a great job of keeping things secure. They do take a touch of fiddling to make work if you are used to velcro, but it does do the job well. The cap in general is about average in weight. The material is very quick to dry. If I take the hat for back-to-back runs, it's been ready to go for day two each and every time.

I do like the shorter brim to see a bit more on the run. However, and this is nitpicky, but I did find it hard to style the hat with running clothes. From a performance standpoint though, the cap gets the job done and on my shortlist of running headwear to grab out the door daily.

Positives: Fantastic fit for larger head sizes and can dial down for smaller heads as well. Sweatband does a great job of absorbing.
Negatives: Slightly quirky to style

The Legionnaire
Style Seen Here: Neptune
Price: $55
Material: 100% recycled polyester (excluding trims)

Matt Klein, Chief Editor
: The Legionnaire series are the hats I didn’t know I needed, but now I do. I have both the “Horizon” and “Neptune” (all black) versions, which are unique in that they have about 270 degree coverage of the side and back parts of your head and neck. The fabric from the hat extends down to my shoulders and provides extensive coverage from the sun and elements. As someone with a history of melanoma, having additional protection from the sun has been fantastic. For hiking to faster efforts, the flap whips back and has never gotten in my face. It provides solid protection during heat and lighter precipitation. During normal to heavier rain, it begins to hold water and gets bogged down. For heavier precipitation, a full jacket may be a better choice. The fit is on the snug side, but does have some adjustability in the back with a clip. Overall, these are great hats for full head, ear and neck protection from the hot sun and lighter weather.

Positives: Extensive coverage for head and neck. Fabric panels stay out of your face while providing protection for everything from your ears to skin. Materials are light (hat weighs 63g). Hat is secure and can handle a variety of motions and speeds.
Negatives: Fit is slightly tight (I have a big head). Not waterproof and absorbs water in heavy rain. My wife says I look like an old retired man when I wear them.

The Visor
Style Seen Here: Lumen

Price: $30
Material: 100% recycled polyester and SWIFTdry fabric (excluding trims)

Andrea Myers, Contributor: I tend to wear hats or visors on rainy runs to keep water out of my eyes. Unless it is also below 50F, I prefer visors because they keep my head cool while providing protection from the rain. The “Lumen” visor is lightweight, well-fitting, and comfortable. The elastic headband is adjustable and has a plastic buckle in the back, which makes it easy to take on/off over a ponytail. I did not experience any irritation or slippage on my forehead while running and appreciated the medium width of the headband, which did not rub on the tops of my ears. I also like the firm brim, which provides some structure to the visor. It performs well in the rain and it fits comfortably enough that I would use it for racing. The material also dried relatively quickly once the rain stopped during my run. Overall, this is a well-fitting, adjustable visor that makes rainy conditions more tolerable.

Positives: Adjustable headband lets you dial in fit. Plastic buckle lets you don/doff visor without messing up your hair. Very lightweight at 55g.
Negatives: Could benefit from a reflective element on the front of the visor to improve visibility in bad weather.

Interested in Trying Fractel?
Find them at

You can also now shop Fractel at Running Warehouse (Affiliate Link).

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