Fractel Hats Multi Tester Review

The team got some natty new hats from Fractel. What did we all think?

Fractel 

The Australian company with an eye on sustainability, focus on performance and comfort produces a wide range of hats to get you comfortably through the run. The team received a range of hats from the desert focussed Legionnaire to the 90’s feeling Bucket.  Come read our thoughts on the Fractel range below.

Specs: the Adidas Boston 12 is lighter and lower 

At 286g in my size US11 / EU45, the Adidas Adizero Boston 12 is much lighter than the Boston 10. Note that I did not test the Boston 11 (and that was on purpose as I didn’t see much changes compared to the 10). My Boston 10 came in at 333g which added to the clunkiness of the shoe. 

 

The Boston 12 also gets closer to the ground with a 2mm reduction of stack in the heel. It moves from the 39mm heel in the Boston 10 and 11 to 37mm and changing the 8mm drop for a 6.5mm one instead. This remains quite far from the Boston “standards” but it definitely helps on the weight side of things. 

Alex

I am not a big fan of caps and headwear in general. Not because I don’t like the idea of having something protecting my head, but simply because I don’t really like the way I look with most caps. That being said everytime there is an opportunity to test new caps I’m in, because I still have some hope that one day something will eventually work for me. Fractel sent me three different products, two caps and one legionnaire hat. 

Caps

The two caps I got are both from the M-series, one being made with Polartec (rather for the winter) and one is lighter (Eucalyptus colorway) for the summer. The prices range from €38,50 for the summer cap up to €45 for the legionnaire hat. All caps work well for my “big” head (61cm circumference) as they’re adjustable. There is still a bit of room so bigger heads could give them a try too. The shape of these caps is what I call “trail caps”, the front is not too rigid and the part that covers the head is not too structured. In all fairness while the products looks great, that shape of caps is the one that really does not work for me. It’s less obvious with the legionnaire cap as the attention goes to the neck protection.

Conclusion

Would I wear that legionnaire cap? Probably not for daily runs, but if we ever enter the Speed Project or something like the Marathon des Sables, then I would definitely consider it. Unfortunately I didn’t get Fractel’s bucket hat and that was the product in which I was the most interested. Let’s see what Andy and Tim think of it!

Alex Legionnaire 1
Andy Cap 1

Andy 

Unlike Alex, I am a big fan of some headwear. I am fairly pale at the best of times so protection from the sun in summer is always required. Fractel, being an Australian brand, probably know a thing or two about this. Where I concur with Alex, is that I do not like the way I look in caps. My usual choice would be a bucket hat. Thankfully, Fractel’s package contained one of those alongside a couple of their M-Series caps (Sierra and Cove). Prices £32 for the caps and €45 for the bucket hat which is sadly not available on the UK website.

Caps

Having a tiny head (54cm circumference) most hats tend to be a pain to fit. This was not the case with any of the three Fractel models. The caps did have to be tightened as far as the closure allowed but they gave a comfortable and secure hold. Both caps are as Alex described, flexible, lightweight and very breathable. I personally preferred the Cove colourway but both are good looking items.

I live and run in a very windy town situated right on the coast. Due to this, I was worried that every run would turn into an impromptu fartlek with me chasing the hats down the road. Thankfully not. Each of the hats stayed secure and never felt like coming loose. Another concern I had was the potential for extra heat generated by each. The M-Series hats are very light, breathable and caused me no issue. They also worked very well when doused under a cold tap on a particularly warm day and worn as a cooling device.

The Bucket

My favourite of the three, mainly for aesthetic reasons, was the B-Series Arizona bucket hat (size sm/m). A good deep fit which for me sits just above the eyebrows, gives plenty of protection from the sun with the brim. Cooling on the top is aided by a large mesh panel on each side of the hat while fit is secured by a drawstring with a toggle which is handy for easy tightening and loosening on the move. This hat is part of my regular wardrobe for the beach, for photographing events and for general daily wear. 

Conclusion

Am I converted to being a hat runner? Not yet. Will I continue to wear these hats? The bucket hat with pride and the caps, maybe when no one is looking!

Silke

I usually don’t wear caps when I am running. I have a lot of hair, run mostly in the early morning hours and in the forest and so I definitely don’t need protection on my head. Also I have a very small head (54cm circumference) and most of  the caps, even if they are medium size, don’t really fit well. Also, I have to say I like caps. I like the way other runners look when wearing nice caps so I always try a new product, just to see if it fits me.

 

In my own closet there are only one or two caps that I really like. One is a very lightweight white coloured one, that I use when I have to run in the sun with no shade. The other has a bigger visor and it has a water resistant upper, so I use that one when it is heavily raining and cold outside. When it is just cold I don’t ever wear caps but something like a beanie or a headband to protect my ears.

 

The three hats Fractel sent me are a bucket hat in a slightly blue and greenish colour. A running cap in pink and light blue and another cap with a strange pink, mint green and sand yellow combo.

The Bucket

The first one I tested is the B-Series Crystalise Edition Bucket Hat. I am sorry but when you wear this one it really feels like you have a bucket on your head! The bucket offers the most protection against the sun. When I put it on, it sits very deep on my forehead. If I had to do an ultra race with no shade for hours, I would consider wearing this one. On the other hand, it does not have a cut on the back to put my pony tail through and so it gets too warm at my neck which I cannot tolerate at really high temperatures. If I would choose to wear this bucket hat at high temperatures, I would cut a hole at the back.

Caps

Number two is the  M-Series Wattle Edition Cap. This is made from Polartec’s Power Dry material. A highly breathable, quick drying and moisture-wicking as Fractel write on their webpage. It is adjustable, which I really prefer so that it fits my head better. Even though I put the band into the smallest position, the tops of my ears are still covered. The good thing about this cap is that I can put my pony tail through it. The bad thing, for aesthetic reasons, is the combination of colours used is not to my liking. As I don’t usually need to wear a cap, I will not choose this one when I do.

The one I enjoyed the most is the F-Series Castle Edition Cap. It fits my head much better even though it still covers the top of my ears which is okay, as it means I can’t get a sunburn on them. I can put my ponytail through at the back. My head isn’t overheating under the upper and even when the wind gets heavier it stays in place. Finally, and what to me is the more important thing: I like the way it looks!

Tim Layout

Tim 

In daily life, I have worn a cap for about the last decade but not for running. For running I usually prefer to wear nothing except for some runs during summer where I know that I will be under the sun for a while and need to protect myself. As a consequence, my main concern has always been the look and not especially the comfort. To give you some idea of my usual tastes, I’ve worn the following brands: New Era, Nike (including their running models), Kiprun, Bandit, Soar, Adidas, and such.

Fractel sent me 2 items: the M-Series Cap (Cove edition) and B-series bucket hat (Ravine edition). 

The Bucket

Unfortunately, the bucket hat was too small for me (or my head isn’t made for this kind of hat). The issue didn’t come from the size of my head but from my ears. It was impossible to fit them inside the bucket hat and they were crushed which was painful. Therefore, I didn’t test the bucket hat at all. Although, I gave it to my girlfriend who used it a lot for daily wear and really enjoyed its breathability and the comfort. 

The Cap

Back to the cap, the  size is almost too big for me but thanks to the flexibility of the cap visor and the adjustable lock system I was able to fit it to my head without it being my favourite fit.

 

As I wasn’t a huge fan of the colourway (brown / camel) I should admit that I was at the beginning not really enthusiastic about the product. However,  I’m glad to keep wearing the hat.

 

I have worn the cap for 3 running sessions and during a whole week where I was walking under 35-40 degree (95 – 104F) temperatures with very few moments in the shade. 

Based on my experience with caps, the Fractel I received is the most breathable and comfortable cap I have ever worn. Thanks to the bright color but also the very thin material on the top of the cap, I never experienced overheating as I have with other caps. The brim material absorbs perspiration without becoming irritant and the cap visor is long enough to protect my whole face from the sun (which isn’t a good point from a look point of view as I found it too long). I also discovered after testing that the cap is 100% recycled fabrics, and machine washable. Both features are a bonus and I would like to see them more in the caps I buy. 

Conclusion

Will the Fractel be my next daily cap? No, because I don’t really like the look and the shape of my head with it. Nevertheless, as it’s a VERY comfortable cap, I will definitely use it for running or for a moment where my main concern isn’t look but comfort and practical aspect (like hiking). Finally would I recommend the cap? As the price is not so huge (€35) and the taste about fit and colour are very personal I can only answer: Yes.

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Alex Filitti Meta Circle

Alex

28 years old

183cm (6′) – 68kg (148lbs)

Mid/Forefoot striker – Stride runner

Moderate pronator

@alexfilitti

Alex Filitti Meta Circle

Alex

28 years old

183cm (6′) – 68kg (148lbs)

Mid/Forefoot striker – Stride runner

Moderate pronator

@alexfilitti

Tim

Tim 

30 years old

169cm (5’5″) – 57kg (125lbs)

Heel/Midfoot striker – Cadence runner

Moderate pronator

@timtim_ab

Silke

Silke 

49 years old

167cm (5’4″) – 55kg (121lbs)

Midfoot strike 

Pronation level TBD

@schlossstadtlaeuferin

Andy

Andy 

44 years old

173cm (5’8″) – 66kg (145lbs)

Forefoot striker – (Very) high cadence runner

Pronation level TBD

@discobob

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