Why I LOVE to Run Wearing Alpaca Wool (Tested and Approved!)
If you’re a runner and you love to run outdoors year-round, you probably know that having comfortable gear that adapts to your environment is key. Given its great variety of qualities, it might make sense to assume that alpaca woolen garments are perfect for running outside. So, I decided to go on a run wearing my alpaca woolen hat. And here are six reasons why I love running with alpaca woolen garments!
Alpaca wool adapts to a runner’s environment: it is wind- and water resistant to a high degree, and it will keep you warm when it is cold outside. At the same time, alpaca wool will help you evaporate sweat and keep you cool during a run. It is comfortable and most likely won’t leave an itch.
While you might intuitively know that alpaca wool will keep you warm on cold days, it might seem a little much to go running with an alpaca woolen garment. So, I tried it myself and went running with an alpaca woolen hat. I was pleased with the results!
In order to test whether or not alpaca wool is comfortable to wear during a run, I decided to literally go on a run wearing an alpaca woolen garment.
Given that a run is quite physically active, I figured a hat would be the most logical thing to wear. You wouldn’t really go running with a stole wrapped around your shoulders, right!?
Check out the 100% alpaca woolen hat I wore during my run: (Reversible) Hat 100% Alpaca Wool.
Other alpaca woolen garments to consider for running besides a hat are cols, socks, gloves or a headband.
Here are the details of my run:
The weather was an exemplary fall day: it was rainy, windy and cloudy. It was grey, cold and depressing. And every now and then the sun would shine. And then it would be pouring. And then it would drizzle. And then it would be windy.
In short… The perfect day to go for a run ;)
With 13°C/53°F it wasn’t super cold either, but it was cold enough to start preparing for an extra layer of clothes. It’s the kind of weather during which you start running feeling a little cold, but with a potential of overheating once you’re well into your run.
The Results Are Also On YouTube!
If you feel like watching my face turn the same color as the fuchsia colored hat I was wearing, check out my YouTube Channel! You can watch the video below or click the link and subscribe to my channel and see all the many other wonderful features of alpaca wool!
6 Reasons to go RUNNING with an ALPACA WOOLEN HAT:
The Alpaca Woolen Hat Prevented Me From Overheating
One of the main reasons for runners to wear hats is actually not to keep them warm, but to prevent them from overheating!
Obviously when it is cold a hat will keep your head warm, too, but that is not the most important feature of a hat. Whether you go running on a hot or cold day, your body will start to heat up at some point during your run.
According to On-running.com a hat should be designed to draw perspiration away from the head and help evaporate sweat at the same time. On top of that, it will let air through to cool you down.
Whether you are wearing a special runners cap or not, a hat should have similar features to make all this possible. And designed for runners or not, alpaca wool is perfect for this!
Alpaca wool is highly breathable due to its unique fiber texture. Besides, a knitted garment will automatically have “holes” for airing which increases its breathability. Sweat will evaporate before it even has a chance to really form any drops on your head or hair!
I wrote a complete article about alpaca wool being breathable, check it out by following the link: Is Alpaca Wool Breathable?
My Running Experience:
When I started running I felt the chilly fall-air and I have to admit that I was a little cold. A few minutes into the run though, my body started to heat up. And so did my head.
Halfway through the run I started to sweat a lot and I felt the need to take off my runners jacket (wind- and rainproof but not very breathable!). And while I was half expecting to take my hat off, too, surprisingly enough it never felt uncomfortably hot up there!
I completed my run without taking the hat off once! And when I finished, my hair was still dry - no sweat whatsoever!
The Alpaca Woolen Hat Didn’t Fall Off My Head
One of the praised qualities of alpaca wool is its shiny fiber. Shiny, silky fibers give garments a luxury look and feel, like silk. Shiny fibers drape well and therefore look good on you, because they naturally adapt to the contours of your body.
Read more about the lustrous alpaca wool fiber in the full article I wrote about this feature: Is Alpaca Wool Shiny?
All this, also means that it can feel almost slippery! My alpaca woolen scarf sometimes has a tendency to slip off my shoulders when I move too much.
That sounds potentially troublesome when you’re hopping around on a run! And for a hat, specifically, I was afraid that it would fall off or slide down my face and over my eyes.
HOWEVER… IT DIDN’T!
My Running Experience:
Not once did I have to adjust the hat or did it slip down! This was completely against my expectations as I had expected that one of the downsides of running with an alpaca woolen hat would be that it would have to be adjusted the whole time.
The fact that it didn’t do any of that is, of course, a very positive outcome!
The Alpaca Woolen Hat Didn’t Itch
While alpaca wool is generally pretty soft, the hat I am wearing is “only” regular alpaca wool. The wool used for this hat is measured at 26.5 microns, which means that it is itch-free for most people, but definitely not 100% free-from-itch!
I wrote an article about this which you’re going to want to read if you’re interested in more details: Is Alpaca Wool Itch-Free?
Honestly, I was prepared for the worst itch ever imaginable! Because…
sweat + slightly itching wool + friction = ITCHY DISASTER!
Really, sweat itself can cause a feeling of itchiness, the slightest protruding fiber can cause an itch and when you’re running and hopping up and down, the friction can cause even more itchiness!
But again, none of that happened!
My Running Experience:
Oh man, this was the biggest surprise of them all! No itch, no discomfort, no urges to take the hat off and throw it away!
First of all, the sweat had evaporated before it could cause waterfalls of sweat to stream down my face.
Second, there was barely any itching thanks to the smooth fiber texture (despite it being not the softest fiber)
Thirdly, the hat stayed in place perfectly so it didn’t cause extra friction.
The Alpaca Woolen Hat Protected Me From the Rain
It is October in the Netherlands as I am writing this post. That means it is likely to rain about 99% of the time. It also means that I feel inclined to stay inside and limit my runs to dry moments. (Which means I never go running at all anymore.)
Plan B: go running with an alpaca woolen hat.
Alpaca wool is not 100% waterproof, but is definitely water resistant to a very high degree. It has great wicking capabilities because it rains as plentiful in the Andes as it does here in the Netherlands. So, if it can keep an alpaca dry from a lovely downpour, it should keep my head dry, too.
At least, that’s what I had hoped for. And *luckily* I had picked a rainy day to go for my test-run.
Read more about the waterproofness of alpaca wool in another article I wrote: Is Alpaca Wool Waterproof?
My Running Experience:
Ohhh yes, only 5 minutes into my run it started to rain. And then it started to POUR! And then it started to drizzle. And then it was dry, but I was running in the forest so the leaves dropped some more raindrops on me.
And through all of that, the hat got wet, but not once did my hair or head. The inside of the hat was completely dry! And even on the outside, only a few drops had really gotten “into” the hat. The rest of the rain probably bounced off before it got a chance to get absorbed.
Afterwards, the (outside of the) hat was damp for a while, though.
The Alpaca Woolen Hat Protected Me From the Wind
Alpaca wool does not only protect you from rain, it is also known that alpaca wool protects from the wind, too. The same logic applies: alpaca wool is not 100% windproof, but it is wind-resistant to a high degree.
The fact that this hat specifically has a double layer which gives extra protection. Normally the knitted texture of this (or any other knitted) garment will let some wind come through the garment. The thicker the fabric and the tighter the knitting pattern, the more protection it will give.
For the full article about whether or not alpaca wool is wind-resistant, check out this article I wrote: Is Alpaca Wool Windproof?
My Running Experience:
Like I said earlier, it is autumn here in the Netherlands and that means that it is also very windy this time of year. And with the temperatures dropping gradually, that wind can be very uncomfortable!
While wearing an alpaca woolen hat definitely helped to keep my extremities warm, but obviously it didn’t protect the rest of my body.
In a perfect world I might even consider running in an alpaca woolen sweater. The windproof jacket that I was wearing kept my core protected from the wind, but it had many downsides, too. It was definitely not as breathable or warm as the hat!
The Alpaca Woolen Hat Protected Me From the Cold
Alpaca wool is warm! And your most intuitive response to wearing an alpaca woolen garment during a run would be that it is bad idea.
Fair enough. Alpaca woolen garments are usually worn when it is cold and there is a reason for that: they actually do keep you warm! Alpaca wool has insulating and isolating properties. This means that it keeps the cold outside but maintains the warmth inside at the same time.
This is fantastic because your body will always adapt to your body temperature underneath an alpaca wool garment! And when it gets too hot, it will evaporate the sweat which will help bring the temperature down again. Oh the wonders of alpaca wool!
While it is hard to pin down how warm alpaca wool exactly is, I did write a full article about this: Is Alpaca Wool Warm?
My Running Experience:
I was a little scared that I would be really cold once it started raining. It was a windy day to begin with, but rain + wind is definitely a recipe to get (a) cold. So while the cold itself didn’t bother me too much to begin with, it definitely started to bother me after I had gotten wet.
However, my head (specifically my ears and neck!) didn’t feel any of that during the run! If any body part felt cold it was definitely my core. Due to the wind and my body being sweaty, I struggled with the (perceived) cold because of the wind, but mostly in my back and front, never in the body parts that were covered by my hat.
There Are More Benefits to Running With an Alpaca Woolen Hat
An (Alpaca) Woolen Hat Helps Keep Your Hair in Place
Other benefits of running with an alpaca woolen hat is that it can help your hair to stay in place. While this might sound as something that is not as important, it is actually nicer to run when your (long) hair is not flying around.
If you’re wearing a cap you can often stick your tail through the hole on the back of it, but with a knitted hat that won’t really work.
Nevertheless, I did notice that it prevented my hair from loosening up. Often when I go running, I need to readjust my braid because locks of hair will fall out, or I lose an entire ponytail completely.
With the hat, it definitely stayed in place better!
Looking Fashionable (With an Alpaca Woolen Hat) Improves Your Performance
According to On-running.com, hats help with “enclothed cognition” and can help improve your performance. According to Wikipedia, enclothed cognition is the effect clothing has on mental processes and functionality.
So as it turns out, when you feel that you look good while you’re on a run, you will automatically perform better. You can better concentrate on your performance instead of worrying about whether or not your hair, clothes, etc. are still in place.
So if you’re wearing a fancy alpaca woolen hat and you know that you will look good… You’re more likely to perform better!*
*Results are not guaranteed! :)