The Best Ear Warmers: Robes for Your Lobes


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Appropriate cold-weather wear can make all the difference to your experience. Puffies, buffs, boots, scarves, you probably have coverage for just about every body part. But what about one of the parts most susceptible to the cold, your ears.

We’ve put together this selection of high-quality, good lookin’ ear warmers. Earmuffs, headbands, fleece, dry fit, there’s a little something in here for every activity. We did some research, hunted down the best, and tested out a few ourselves to help you find the right fit.

 

Best for really cold weather: 180s American Wool Behind-the-Head Ear Warmer

 

  • Collapsible180s American Wool Behind-the-Head Ear Warmer
  • Wool
  • Behind the head fit
  • Sherpa Lining
  • Primaloft insulation

Our first choice ear warmer for cold weather is the 180s American Wool Behind-The-Ear Warmer. While testing this product, I brought it cross-country skiing, running, and sledding in the snow. Its best use is in cold weather with lighter activities. The wool keeps you incredibly warm on the coldest of days, even when you crash into snow at high speeds, as I did. For running and skiing, my ears were almost too warm!

Oftentimes, this product was virtually unnoticeable under my hair because of the behind-the-ear design and low-profile ear coverings. However, it was still easily worn with braids and other hairstyles, and did not cause any issues or get tangled. Read the in-depth review here.

See 180s American Wool Behind-the-Head Ear Warmer on Amazon

See 180s American Wool Behind-the-Head Ear Warmer on Walmart

 

Best for long hair: TrailHeads Women’s Ponytail Ear Warmer

 

  • 87% polyesterTrailHeads Women's Ponytail Ear Warmer
  • 13% spandex
  • Slit for ponytail
  • Multiple color options
  • Fleece interior
  • Moisture-wicking

Those of us with long hair often struggle to figure out a way to wear our hair with a headband. During workouts, leaving our hair down isn’t an option, especially with thick hair, and ponytails rarely work well with headbands. TrailHeads understands the dilemma and crafted the TrailHeads Women’s Ponytail Headband as a solution. This headband features a slit in the back for pulling a ponytail through, keeping your hair pulled back and off your neck. Simple and effective.

During testing, I wore this headband for chilly runs. My findings included warm ears, my long hair tucked away, and zero slippage. My hair is more than halfway down my back, so I’d usually opt for a higher ponytail than what this headband offers, but I still loved this product. The stretch was significantly more than comparable products and fit my head perfectly. Additionally, I appreciated throwing this headband in the washer with my running clothes. However, it does need to air dry instead of machine dry. Read the in-depth review here.

See TrailHeads Women’s Ponytail Ear Warmer on Amazon

See TrailHeads Women’s Ponytail Ear Warmer on Walmart

 

Best acrylic ear warmer: Carhartt Women’s Acrylic Ear Warmer

  • Rib-knit stitchingCarhartt Women's Acrylic Ear Warmer
  • Acrylic fibers
  • Monotone design with embroidered logo patch

Carhartt is known for high-quality, durable workwear, and this ear warmer headband is no exception. Designed after popular Carhartt hats, the Carhartt Women’s Acrylic Headband is 100% acrylic fibers with rib-knit stitching for stretchability. This headband is perfect for cold work days, running, or around town. The simple color scheme and straightforward design mean you can wear this headband with just about anything.

The stretch on this headband is exceptional. It will hold hair back snugly, without a fight, and settles gently on the ears. The acrylic fibers make for a soft, comfortable headband that is suitable for all-day wear.

See Carhartt Women’s Acrylic Ear Warmer on Amazon

See Carhartt Women’s Acrylic Ear Warmer on Carhartt

 

Best bandless: Sprigs Earbags Bandless Ear Warmers/Earmuffs

  • Two layers of ThinsulateSprigs Earbags Bandless Ear Warmers/Earmuffs
  • Fleece interior lining
  • Patented snap-on technology
  • Three sizes available

For those looking for compact and packable warmth, bandless ear muffs might be the lightweight answer to your warm ear dreams. Sprigs Earbags have two layers of Thinsulate and a fleece interior lining to block out the wind and the cold. The lack of band means no snags in your hair and means these babies pop right into your pocket, purse, or bag with ease.

How do these stay on without a band? The patented snap-on technology allows this product to fit snugly over your ear. To wear them, flex open the earbag, scoop it over your ear and gently press down to snap it into place. Sprigs foldable ear warmers come in 15 colors, so there is something for everyone. Before you purchase, don’t forget to measure your ear and ensure you have the correct sizing.

See Sprigs Earbags Bandless Ear Warmers/Earmuffs on Amazon

 

Best for skiing: Turtle Fur Original Fleece Ear Warmer

  • Three layers of heavyweight fleeceTurtle Fur Original Fleece Ear Warmer
  • Contoured for additional ear protection

No turtles were harmed in the making of this ear band, we promise. The Turtle Fur Original Fleece Earband is a simple but effective band that provides ear protection from the cold. The design is similar to a headband but has a contour that provides additional ear coverage for maximum warmth. Three layers of heavyweight fleece make this headband one of the warmest options available and great for extremely frigid weather.

For winter sports where a helmet is standard, like alpine skiing or snowboarding, this product fits nicely under a ski helmet to provide additional insulation. This band is excellent for both men and women, with one size fitting most people, and acrylic fibers producing stretch for heads of all shapes and sizes.

See Turtle Fur Original Fleece Ear Warmer on Amazon

 

Most versatile: Buff DryFlx Headband

  • Reflective fabricBuff DryFlx Headband
  • Moisture-wicking technology
  • Great for running

While you may know Buff for their versatile neck gaiters, they also produce great headbands like the one we’re introducing to you today. The Buff Dryflx Headband is a warm, moisture-wicking headband for running and other active winter activities.

This running ear warmer may not be the best for the coldest of days or skiing but it does provide excellent protection from wind and cold while running. Moisture-wicking fabric keeps the sweat from detracting warmth, and the material is highly reflective to make you easily visible to cars.

See Buff DryFlx Headband on Amazon

See Buff DryFlx Headband on Walmart

 

Best earmuffs: Degrees by 180s Winter Earmuffs

  • 97% polyester fleece, 3% spandexDegrees by 180s Winter Earmuffs
  • Lick to fit frames
  • Behind the ear style
  • Wind and water-resistant

A classic and beloved model, the Degrees by 180s Winter Earmuffs are warm, comfortable, and dependable. They feature a behind-the-ear fit that keeps hair in perfect shape without sacrificing warmth or functionality. It is made with tightly woven polyester fleece for comfort and maximum warmth in all weather conditions. This product is both wind and water-resistant as well. While these ear warmers can accompany you on hikes and runs, a moisture-wicking product might be a better option.

This product collapses for easy storage when not in use. Click to fit frames ensure a perfect fit for any head shape or size. These can also be worn comfortably with skiing or hiking sunglasses.

See Degrees by 180s Winter Earmuffs on Amazon

See Degrees by 180s Winter Earmuffs on Walmart

 

Most budget-friendly: JOEYOUNG Fleece Ear Warmers

  • Fleece and polyester constructionJOEYOUNG Fleece Ear Warmers
  • Two-pack
  • One size fits most
  • Moisture-wicking

Ear protection for cold weather doesn’t need to break the bank. The JOEYOUNG Fleece Ear Warmers provide a two-pack of warm headband style fleece ear warmers at a budget-friendly price. These products feature a contour for full ear coverage and protection from wind and cold.

The fleece and polyester construction ensures warmth no matter the temperature. This band is also great for cold weather athletic activities like running or skiing, and nestles easily under a helmet for biking, skiing, or snowboarding.

See JOEYOUNG Fleece Ear Warmers on Amazon

 

Why trust us

The Pacific Northwest is the backdrop for the creation of this guide. Snow is a quick drive away, if it isn’t in your yard, and 40°F and raining is the norm. Winter weather tends to keep us indoors, but we all need to go outside sometimes. As an avid outdoorswoman who enjoys skiing, running, hiking, and walking, I need ear protection and have spent a lot of time finding out what works and what doesn’t. My extremities tend to get cold fast and are prone to Raynaud’s Syndrome. Keeping them warm is an absolute necessity.

Who this is for

This guide is for anyone who needs their ears insulated from the cold. Whatever you are doing, protection from the cold is essential in winter. Our selection of winter accessories for the ears includes products for runners, skiers, and other athletes, as well as folks just headed outside for a walk or some yard work.

How we picked

When picking ear warmers, I focused on curating a diverse selection of materials and purposes, while also considering cost and quality. Big budgets and small budgets should all have products to choose from because warmth shouldn’t break the bank.

How we tested

Product testing took a variety of forms. I took these products sledding, skiing, and hiking in the snow, to ensure they could tolerate the coldest weather. To test water resistance, I also took these products for walks and runs in the rain. On drier days, these products also joined me for rock climbing, walks, and runs. I tested each pair in temperatures as low as 10°F, but most tests occurred in the 30˚ to 45°F range.

woman wearing ear warmers

 

Features to look for in ear warmers

Material

When perusing the selection of ear warmers available, you will notice a wide variety of materials, including wool, fleece, acrylic, and synthetic materials. Each type of fabric has its benefits. The outer layer of your ear warmers should be a water-resistant material for snow or rainy days, and the inner fabric should be something warm such as acrylic, tight-knit fleece, or wool. Lastly, if you opt for a headband, make sure your product stretches. This usually means nylon, spandex, or polyester, is vital.

Size

Most ear warmers, muffs, and headbands are either adjustable or stretchy to accommodate the various head and ear sizes. Therefore, ear warmers are generally a one size fits all product. If you are concerned about sizing, most companies provide a size guide to determine if the product will fit correctly.

Warmth

When looking into the warmth levels of ear warmers, you will want to consider the climate you intend to wear them in and your activity. If you will be cross country skiing or running, you will generate quite a bit of heat, and you may not need the warmest versions. Alternatively, if you will be dealing with significant wind chill, low temperatures, or more static activities, you will want much warmer ear muffs or a wool product.

Bandless vs. standard

Bandless ear warmers and ear muffs provide a compact and highly portable product. If you’re as forgetful as I am, you’ll be lucky to make it through a week with both ear warmers. Standard ear warmers may take up more space but provide the peace of mind that you’ll never have to walk around with a single ear warmer should you misplace part of your set.

Color

Ear warmers are available in nearly every color and style imaginable. With ear warmers being reasonably affordable, you could even keep a few on hand to match your outfit of the day.

Design

Not a fan of solid colors? No problem. Ear coverings come in hundreds of designs.

wearing ear warmers

 

Ear warmer FAQ

Q: What are ear warmers?

A: Ear warmers are headbands, ear muffs, or other products that insulate your ears from cold wind and air. The fabric used for these items varies, as does the warmth of each product. You can find ear warmers in all colors, many shapes, and sizes. Warm headbands are great for cold weather, skiing, running, and other activities.

Q: Are ear warmers in style?

A: There are ear warmers that seamlessly blend into your outfits but are also fashionable. Fashion trends are endlessly changing, but warmth is always in style.

Q: How to wear ear warmers?

A: For headband-style ear warmers, slide the band over your head and secure it over your ears. If you have long hair, you may want to slide the band over your head, down to your neck, move your hair out of the way, and then slide the headband into place over your ears. Earmuffs can be placed on top of your head and positioned on your ears. Lastly, our list also includes behind-the-head ear warmers, which function similarly to ear muffs but sit on the back of your head.

Q: How do you wear a headband with an ear warmer?

A: Some headbands function as ear warmers as well. If you want a double layer of protection from the cold, you can position your ear warmer or earmuffs, then place your headband on top to hold them in place. This combination may become uncomfortable if the headband is tight-fitting, so ensure that your headband is loose enough to fit over your earmuffs comfortably.

Q: Can you sleep with ear warmers?

A: In theory, you could sleep with ear warmers, but it may be uncomfortable to do so. If you are sleeping with ear warmers, ensure they are not so tight that they hurt your ears.

Q: How do you clean ear warmers?

A: When cleaning your ear warmers, refer to the cleaning instructions provided with your product. Some may be safe to throw in with the laundry, while others may need to be hand-washed.

Sources:

  1. History of Earmuffs – Yankee Magazine
  2. The story of the modern-day earmuff and its inventor, Chester Greenwood – Washington Post
  3. Earmuffs – Wikipedia.org
Tuesday Kahl

Tuesday Kahl Tuesday Kirby Kahl is a contributor at ExplorersWeb. Her fierce love for the outdoors fuels everything she does. Her professional pursuits include writing, creating art, and photography. These professional passions allow her the time to live life outside as a rock climber, skier, runner, backpacker, paddle boarder, swimmer, and explorer. When Kirby is indoors, she enjoys tea, whisky, old films, cooking, and baking. Her product testing and feedback have shaped the design of everything from climbing shoes to candles.

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