Have you ever gone to perform that perfect smash, only for the sun to come out from behind a cloud and blind you at the last second? It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, it’s downright embarrassing!
That’s one of the reasons you need to wear a hat or a visor when playing. It keeps the sun out of your eyes and off your face, offering some protection from those dangerous UV rays – and looking silly in front of your friends.
If you don’t usually wear hats though, it might not be clear which you should choose. Don’t worry, we’ve got you! Below are our top ten choices for pickleball hats and visors available on the market.
Top pickleball hats and visors
While any old hat will do in a pinch, when you're learning how to play pickleball, you don't want any distractions. If you’re looking for the best of the best, then here are our top picks.
Best overall for men
Under Armour Launch Run Hat
When you’re trying to find a comfortable, reasonably-priced hat that will keep you protected but not slow you down, the Under Armour Launch Run Hat is a perfect choice.
Under Armour is one of the most trusted brands in sports apparel. The company has designed an extremely lightweight hat that is great for pickleball, tennis, or any sport. With breathable material, a one-size-fits-all design, and their patented UA ISO-Chill fabric that “literally feels cool to the touch” it will keep you dinking all day long.
- Stays cool
- Trusted brand
- Some may not like the hook-and-loop fit
Best overall for women
While the women’s version of the Under Armour hat is also excellent, there’s another one that needs to be mentioned here. The Adidas Superlite is pretty much ubiquitous with paddle and racquet sports at this point.
You’ve probably seen a ton of these at the courts, as the hat comes in a wide variety of colors and styles that allow you to show off a little bit of personality.
Not only that but it’s also extremely affordable, with a price point as low as $20 if you buy at the right time. Adidas’ pledge to help reduce plastic waste is another positive, as the hat is partly made with recycled materials.
- Recycled material
- Variety of colors and options
- Some may not like the hook and loop fit
- Not machine-washable
Best for UV protection
Some of us burn more easily than others. So one of the biggest factors in selecting a hat is UV protection. This will help you keep the sun off your face, ears, and neck so that you can keep playing for more than just a few minutes.
If that’s the goal, bucket hats or wide brims may be for you, and there’s nothing better than the GearTOP unisex design.
While these may be marketed toward anglers and hikers, it's a great option for the pickleball player that wants to beat the heat - although you won't see many Major League Pickleball players wearing one.
Still, it blocks 98% of harmful UV rays with a UPF rating of 50+. One of the key features is that they also provide kids hats, so that your little ones can hit the court as well, without damaging their skin or risking a nasty burn.
- Excellent sun protection
- Built-in venting
- Not machine-washable
Best for extreme heat
Have you ever seen a hat that you’re supposed to dunk in water before wearing? That’s the recommended use of the MISSION product line. “Activate” it by submerging it in cool water, wringing it out, and then waving or snapping it around. While it may not continue to cool for “hours” as the company claims, it is quite effective!
These hats are for the pickleball player that has to endure blazing heat but just can’t stop playing. With a UPF rating of 50, it works great for UV protection as well.
- Cooling technology
- Not machine-washable
- Only a few color options
Best visor for women
While the Adidas Superlite can certainly be an option here too, Nike makes its first appearance on our list with their classic Aerobill design. The dry-fit tech keeps the sweat off your face without getting soaked. And its stretchy design allows it to feel snug on any head.
If you want to look like Serena Williams or Naomi Osaka out there, you have to go Nike.
- Stylish brand
- Can be expensive
Best visor for men
How about a brand that doesn’t have quite the same name recognition as Nike or Adidas? USHAKE has a great one–piece visor design that looks good and functions superbly. It’s good on sensitive skin and soaks up all that annoying sweat.
Best of all? It’s less than half the price of the Nike visor. At such a low price point, these are the visors you can throw in the car for a trip to the beach, or keep in a lightweight pickleball bag for when the sun is in your eyes.
- Very low price
- Limited selection
- Some may not like the hook and loop fit
- Not top brand
If you’re thinking - “no, I don’t want what everyone else has! I want to stand out!” We’ve got you covered. Here are some extra picks that fall into some other more specific categories.
Best bucket hat
If you’re looking for something that you can use for pickleball and other outdoor activities, look no further than the Quiksilver Bushmaster. You can get it in any color you would want. It’s relatively inexpensive for a bucket hat, and you can easily remove the drawstring if you’d rather play without it.
Quiksilver is a brand known more for its surfing and skateboarding apparel. But this hat works wonders when you’re doing just about anything.
- Great sun protection
- Variety of options
- Relatively cheap
- The drawstring can be annoying during game
- Doesn’t wick away sweat well
If you want something more low profile without the drawstring, the adorable MaxNova Bucket Hat is another great option. It’s super cheap and is great for casual outdoor activities.
Best flap hat
Maybe you like the fit of a baseball cap, but you need something to protect your neck. How about a flap? With the Heritage cap, a piece of fabric drapes down over the back of your neck. So this cap blocks harmful UV rays and keeps you nice and cool.
You may not want to walk around all day with this on. But it’s the perfect answer for someone who can’t seem to hide from the sun and wants to stay on the court for a few more games.
- Great sun protection
- Breathable mesh
- Baseball fit
- Not very stylish
- Won’t fit every head (two available sizes)
Best breathable & quick dry
If you’re looking for something breathable and lightweight that will dry in a few seconds after you take it off, try the Outdoor Essentials brand. This cap is available in four different colors. It comes for less than $10 and uses Hydrohex material to allow air through and dry quickly.
Add in some great sun protection, and you've got a hat that is perfect for the casual pickleball player
- Not a notable brand
Best pickleball hats on amazon
There are several great pickleball hats on Amazon too. If you want to show off your love for the game, these are the ones you want to go with. They might not perform as well as something like an Adidas or Nike tennis visor. But you’ll surely be the most recognizable player on the court!
If you’re a parent (or you have one that thinks they are funny), this is the hat for you. The faded ballcap looks like it might have been picked up in the mid-eighties. It’ll help you show off your sense of humor while keeping the sun out of your eyes.
One other benefit that not all of these hats have - a ponytail can fit through the back! And, with a 4.8 star rating on Amazon, this hat has made many happy customers.
A quick-drying hat with sweat-wicking fabric AND a sweet pickleball logo? Sign me up! This is a great pickleball hat for someone who wants to look the part when dropping a dink. With great ratings (4.7 stars) from satisfied customers and a variety of options, this one’s a winner.
Then, there’s a mix of the two, with the breathable mesh hat from Today’s Good Mood. With a funny slogan that will make your opponent smile (just before you crush them), this hat is perfect for the casual player that just wants to enjoy the sun.
How to choose the best hats for pickleball
Once you start shopping for pickleball hats, there are several factors you should consider:
The first thing you have to decide is what style of pickleball hat you are after. Baseball? Visor? Bucket? Flap? There are even more than these four, with hybrids that kind of bridge the differences available too.
The biggest question to ask at this point is whether you’re going to wear it for pickleball only, or if it needs to be your all-around outdoor hat.
No one wants to play in pain! Make sure the hat is comfortable on your head, and not only when you’re standing still. Some pickleball hats will move around as you exert yourself, causing chafing or other issues. If you can, try it on first and take a few quick lunges like you’re playing!
Another key is how heavy the hat is. A more substantial material can be good in some situations, especially if you’re going to wear it while hiking or some other outdoor activity as well. But if it’s just for pickleball performance? You want something light and breathable.
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This is one of the biggest complaints by pickleball and tennis players - the hat just doesn’t fit right! The hook and loop design that so many of these pickleball hats include can be frustrating at times, as it can be hard to find the perfect fit.
There are other options like snapbacks or flex-fits that can be easier, though they present their challenges. Snapback means there is at least part of the hat that won’t include a wick-away barrier, and flex-fit can be stretched and worn out over time.
If you’re playing outside in the direct sun, this is a big one. Even if you don’t normally burn, you don’t want those harmful UV rays beating down on you throughout the match. Make sure you think about where you’ll be playing most when making this decision.
Fabric / material
Is it meant to get wet? Can it be machine-washed? Will it breathe? These are all questions you should ask when considering what material to go after. The big brands might try to sell you on a patented fabric, but make sure that it doesn’t sacrifice weight or comfort
Even if the pickleball visor is the best for performance, it might not be the right one for you if it comes in just plain black and white. Lots of people want to make an impression when they walk on the court. So make sure to settle for nothing less than the color you’re after.
This is the big one. No one wants to pay more for a hat than they did for their whole pickleball outfit. If you’re only going to be using this hat for a few hours a week (or year), it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg.
It might be worthwhile to invest a little bit in a trusted brand that won’t wear out as quickly. But make sure you aren’t spending more than you need to.
Why do pickleball players wear hats?
Most people wear hats to protect themselves from the sun. It’s no different for pickleball players!
Not only does a hat or visor keep the sun out of your eyes, but it also offers some protection from harmful UV rays. If you’re going to be spending any length of time outdoors, it’s always a good idea to put something on your head.
In addition to practicality, many people simply feel more comfortable wearing a hat. If you’re not used to wearing one, it might take some getting used to. But once you find the right style and fit, you’ll be glad you made the switch.
Are hats or visors better for pickleball?
This is entirely a personal preference, though pickleball hats are still more popular overall. One key benefit of a visor is if you have a hairstyle that doesn't fit under (or through) a hat easily.
If you want the most sun protection possible, you might want to consider a hat with a brim all the way around. This will keep the sun out of your eyes no matter which direction it’s coming from.
On the other hand, visors tend to be more breathable and can be less hot to wear in summer weather. They also don’t mess up your hair as much! If you have long hair, a visor might be the way to go.
What is the best pickleball hat for hot weather?
We would recommend the MISSION line of cooling hats, but it is all about finding something that is breathable.
A lot of the newer synthetic fabrics are great at wicking away sweat and keeping you cool, so that is something to look for.
You might also want to consider a hat with a wider brim, as this will provide more shade for your face. If you can find one that is both breathable and has a wide brim, that would be ideal.
Can you wash pickleball hats?
You can wash any hat but you'll have to check out the specific instructions on your hat to see if it is machine washable. Many won't be, because of the plastic or metal bits on the hat. In that case, you'll have to spot clean or hand wash.
To machine wash, put your pickleball hat in a mesh bag (this will protect it from getting damaged in the washer) and set your machine to a gentle cycle with cold water. Hang to dry or lay flat - do not put in the dryer!
If you need to hand wash, use cool water and a mild detergent designed for delicate fabrics. Gently scrub any dirt or stains and rinse well. Again, hang to dry or lay flat.
If you're looking for the best pickleball hat, you can't go wrong with a classic baseball cap. They're affordable, comfortable and come in a wide range of styles to suit any taste. And hey, you might just have one that matches your new pickleball paddle perfectly.
But if you prefer a more lightweight option or need extra sun protection, a visor or wide-brim hat may be a better choice. Above, we've collected some of our favorites so that you can have the best experience possible. What kind of hat do you prefer? Let us know on social!