Probably 99% of trail runners know that burning sensation in their eyes… that potent mix of sweat and sunscreen! The general “slower” speeds of trail running means that there’s not sufficient airflow on the forehead to evaporate sweat before it starts to drip down into the face and eyes. Enter the Halo Headband HALO Pullover II. Its thin construction means that it fits under any peak, cap, beanie or hood so that it can go to work, wicking sweat from your skin and channelling it down the silicone strip so it stays out of your eyes and sunglasses.
Out of the box
Initially I had my reservations as to how well the HALO Pullover II is actually going to perform. Many times in sporting products there is a big disparity between how a piece of gear is purported to work and how it actually ends up performing under real world conditions. Mainly I was not sure if it would keep its shape (and not stretch out), how it would fit under caps and visors and then obviously if it would actually absorb and divert sweat from my forehead like it should. However these worries were soon put to bed once I handled, fitted and used the actual HALO Pullover II while trail running.
Looking at the design of the actual headband, the HALO Pullover II is very basic and is simply two thin layers of Dryline fabric stitched together in a pullover design, together with their patented SweatBlock silicone strip that is attached to the inside of the HALO Pullover II. While it may be a very basic design, it is made in the USA and the quality of construction really is visible, both in the stitching and in the way that the SweatBlock strip is attached to the HALO Pullover II. The construction is perfect, with no loose stitches or glue smudges being visible. The HALO Pullover II thus carries a one year warranty against manufacturing defects, which I doubt you will ever need to use.
The HALO Pullover II is made from two basic materials as mentioned above, the Dryline fabric and the SweatBlock silicone strip. The Dryline fabric is a high performance antimicrobial moisture wicking material that quickly evaporates moisture from the forehead as you sweat, so it takes a long time to become saturated and even then it still dries quickly after use. The Dryline fabric is lightweight, durable and has not faded or lost its shape after many run and wash cycles. The Dryline fabric includes VisaEndurance, a microfiber polyester that has been embedded with Silver Ions. These Silver Ions help to prevent the growth of bacteria generated during sweating from trail running. No bacteria means no smell, which I found to keep the HALO Pullover II from smelling, as we trail runners like to call it, funky.
The second (and key) material in the construction of the HALO Pullover II is the SweatBlock strip. Made from non-alergenic silicone, the SweatBlock strip has never iritated my skin, but because of the design needing the strip to sit tightly against the forehead in order for it to achieve a proper seal, it does leave an imprint in my forehead each time I use it. This does make one look a bit silly when appearing in public after a trailrun, but then again if you wear Crocs and compression socks while doing so the imprint on your forehead will be the least of your worries.
As the HALO Pullover II is around 5cm wide in the front part, it does a good job of covering most of the forehead and tapers back for good ear clearance. I did find that on the odd occasion it does slide down and that one then needs to adjust it so that the Pullover doesn’t “eat” into the area where the ear meets the head, even though the material is very soft against the skin. But for the most part the pullover design is very comfortable and the one-size-fits-all size stays in place during during trail running. I have used it successfully underneath a variety of hats, caps, visors, beanies and the like.
Because of the Dryline fabric’s polyester composition, there is no Lycra or elastic to wear out over time, form or stretch, so the fit has stayed the same over the whole period that I have been trail running with the HALO Pullover II.
The magic however lies in the patented SweatBlock silicone strip that is attached via glue to the inside of the HALO Pullover II. The SweatBlock strip forms a water tight seal that channels sweat back and away from the eyes and face across the brow so that it drips down the temples of the trailrunner and not into their eyes or sunglasses.
The strip comes into play as soon as the Dryline fabric in the HALO Pullover II becomes saturated with sweat. The sweat then starts to drip out of the material and is caught by the SweatBlock strip and directed around the brow of the trailrunner as explained above.
In practice I found it to work just as described (although I was very sceptical at first) and it has kept working like that for a long time now. So much so that I don’t even attempt short runs without it, even at night. The HALO Pullover II is always positioned around my cranium. Under a visor the black colour is not really visible so it does not heat up unnecessarily in our hot African sun and keeps looking good as the dark colour does not dirty easily nor has it faded from repeated washing and drying. The saturated HALO Pullover II can become a bit hot as there is not really cool air circulating onto the forehead, but atleast it does not leave one feeling wet or clammy after wearing one and sweating in it for a few hours on the trails.
The HALO Pullover II is a delicate little piece of trail running gear and it’s advisable to look after it properly to ensure that it keeps working away the sweat like it’s supposed to. The best way to ensure this is to machine wash the Headband on gentle or even better yet to hand-wash it and then to hang it out to dry naturally. Using a special detergent like Penguin Sportswash will ensure that the Headband is properly cleaned and that it retains its wicking properties. As with most trail running gear items, fabric softener is best avoided as it compromises the breathability and wicking properties of the Headband.
Thus if you are tired of having to constantly wipe sweat from your brow or having your glasses getting dirty and full of sweat droplets on the lenses, I can wholeheartedly recommend the HALO Pullover II as your best and only solution to this problem. It really makes trail running in our toasty weather so much more comfortable. Who wants to smear Vaseline on their forehead anyway!?
Where to buy
The HALO Pullover II is available in a range of colours, both online at www.haloheadband.co.za as well as at most leading sportswear retailers, for an RRP of R175.00.