Runs and Places

Running Gear Review: UV Buff

Disclaimer: I received a free UV Buff to review as a BibRave Pro. Check out to learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and also to find and write race reviews!

UV Buff

Like the disclaimer above says, I received a UV Buff from Buff USA to review.  What’s a UV Buff you ask?  Honestly, I didn’t know either.  I mean I had seen runners wearing them before but I never really thought about what they were or why wearing one might be a good idea.

So I did a little research and here’s the deal:

A UV Buff is a piece of tubular headwear that’s made with Coolmax® fabric.  Coolmax®, as you may know, is a polyester fabric that draws perspiration along its fibers away from the skin.  It’s what a lot of higher end running clothes are made from (and a variety of other sportswear as well).

So essentially: A UV Buff keeps sweat off of your head and helps you stay cooler while you run.  Good stuff.

Before we go any further, I’d like to point out that as a science geek, while I was doing my research, I became a bit fascinated by the technical details around how UV Buffs and Coolmax® fabric are made and why they work the way they do.  So that’s what I’m mainly going to write about in this post.

If you’re not interested in that but you’d like to read about other peoples’ experiences with UV Buffs, feel free to click on any of the links below.  These are all posts by other runners who are also friends of mine, so if you’d like to go read their blogs instead of this one, go for it.  You have my blessing:

You’re still here?  Seriously?  You rock….

Ok, so the first thing that really intrigued me about Coolmax® fabric is that it’s made from recycled plastic.  So your water bottle from your last run might actually become part of someone else’s UV Buff in a few months (assuming you recycled it, which I hope you did).

How does that work?  Check THIS out:

Aside from their moisture wicking benefits, another cool thing about UV Buffs is that the materials they’re made of help to reduce landfill waste and incineration.

Coolmax® fabrics are made by threads that are created through processes similar to the ones in the video above, but specially arranged into multiple cross sections which meet INVISTA quality standards for moisture management (these standards include things like air permeability, planar wicking, absorbency and a bunch of other measurements that are required to meet a set of minimum values).

Coolmax® also provides certified UV protection, blocking 95% of UV rays.  This is important.  As runners, we spend hours at a time outside when we train for longer races and the more options we have available to protect ourselves against UV rays, the better. I know runners who have had to have precancerous cells removed after spending too much time in the sun without adequate skin protection.

So that’s some good information about CoolMax® fabrics, but what about UV Buffs themselves?

UV Buffs use a double layer of CoolMax® fabrics that are sewn together in a way that creates a “semi-seamless” effect.  What this means is that there’s no need to worry about about seams that can rub against your head and irritate and chafe your skin while you run.

UV Buffs also include Polygiene®, which is a long-lasting treatment that gets applied to each piece of fabric and introduces silver ions into the material to stop bacterial growth.  This eliminates the root cause of a lot of odors, which means that even if you sweat a lot, your Buff won’t smell disgusting after you’re done running in it.  (That said, UV Buffs are machine washable – just don’t put them in the dryer.  Lay them out flat after you finish washing them and the fabric should dry pretty quickly on its own).

Sara UV Buff Stretch

Lastly, the thinness of each fiber in a UV Buff is less than 1 dtex (a dtex is a unit of measurement for textiles that defines their mass in grams per 10,000 meters).  What this means is that a UV Buff is extremely stretchy and flexible.  You can take a UV Buff and pull it, twist it, tie it in knots, wrap it around stuff and do pretty much anything else you can think of to it and it’ll still bounce right back to its original form when you’re done.

The flexibility means that a UV Buff can be worn in a variety of different ways depending on what you’re specifically using it for.  Buff USA has a video that shows some options:

So what was my personal experience like?  Anytime I test a product like this, I like to make sure that I really test it thoroughly.  So I wore my UV Buff while I did an 11 mile run along the Chicago Lakefront during the middle of a day when the temperature was 94 degrees with about 80% humidity.

And ya know what?  It held up great.  My Buff still got wet from my head being sweaty but it also dried really quickly (definitely a lot faster than a baseball cap would have).  And even though I had a layer of fabric on my head, I still felt cooler than I would have if I wasn’t wearing it.  And after I finished my run and my Buff dried out, it didn’t smell like sweaty running gear.

My dog Lucy also approves of my UV Buff:

UV Buff - Lucy

Like I mentioned earlier, I got my UV Buff for free.  The retail price is around $20.  So if I had to actually pay for one would I still have forked over the 20 bucks for it?  Yeah, now that I know a little more about the benefits, I definitely would.  I’ll probably buy another one when this one wears out.  If you’re interested in buying one yourself, you can use discount code bibrave10 to get ten percent off of your order through September 30.

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