Well-known cap brands used by athletes are bringing the professional performance features from the field to retail, so that fitness-minded consumers can enjoy the same benefits. Many look for the same popular brand names from professional sports, like the New Era brand carried by SanMar (asi/84863). Inspired by the training caps worn by the pros, the New Era Gridiron training cap (NE700) is a high-performance style featuring 50+ UV protection to help deflect the sun's unforgiving rays, odor-controlling technology and technology to wick away sweat.
Brand name or not, a performance cap must be counted on to perform through a number of standards. Fersten Worldwide Inc. (asi/53974), for example, is known for its performance caps, with over 30 performance styles in its catalog. These carry a whole range of performance features like moisture wicking and UV protection as well as other bonuses like RPET (100% Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) fabric and 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material.
Bottom line, performance is about keeping the wearer cool and dry. The Headsweats Race Hat (HDSW01) from alphabroder (asi/34063) is made from a proprietary performance knit fabric called Eventure. "The fabric helps [people] perform at their best with Headsweats Perspiration Technology for wicking moisture," says Lisa Maloney, senior account manager for Headsweats. "The fabric is lightweight (the hat weighs in at 2 oz.) and dries very quickly, which makes for great use in hot, sweaty conditions, as well as ease of washing when the activity is completed. After it's washed, the hat will be completely dry within a few hours." The hat also features a sweat-wicking terry headband inside, and a black underbill which reduces glare. The hat can be decorated a number of different ways, including embroidery, screen print, heat transfer and sublimation. For all performance hats, make sure the decoration is light so that it's best suited for physical activity.
The New Era Gridiron cap (NE700) from SanMar (asi/84863; circle 89 on Free Info Card) is a 100% polyester, performance-enhanced cap with a mid-profile crown and stretch fit closure.
The Headsweats for Team 365 Race Hat (HDSW01) features moisture-wicking, cooling and quick-drying properties, as well as a front panel perfect for custom logo application. Available from alphabroder (asi/34063; circle 111 on Free Info Card).