19 Different Types of Headbands for Men

A man wearing a blue patterned headband.

Headbands are not just a clothing accessory. They can be very useful for a number of reasons from keeping hair away from the face and eyes to sopping up a sweat during physically strenuous activities such as tennis, running, yoga, or skiing. They are typically either worn around the forehead or in the hair, depending on the style and function they are meant to serve.

A look at an ancient Greek statue wearing a headband.

Headbands are widely associated with women. However, the origin story of this accessory reveals that it was actually the item of choice for many notable men across the globe. From the Ancient Greeks who wore laurel wreaths around their foreheads as symbols of distinction as early as 475 BC to the Japanese who used it to indicate strength and power, headbands were an important aspect of male self-identity.

Today, they have gone from symbolizing character to a useful fashion statement and/or sports accessory. Here are 19 types of headbands worn by men today.

1. Tennis Headband

Nike Dri-Fit Home & Away Headband (One Size Fits Most, White/Black)
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Tennis headbands are worn by both male and female athletes to help absorb sweat off of the forehead and keep it from trickling into their eyes during the game. It also helps to keep long and stray hairs from hindering their vision.

Headbands are one of the most popular tennis accessories and are worn by world-famous athletes like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. They’re often worn as endorsements for sports brands such as Nike or Addidas.

2. Yoga Headband

Heathyoga Non Slip Headband for Women - Sports Sweat Yoga Headbands & Multi-Style Running Headband, Yoga Bike Helmet Friendly, Perfect for Workout, Cross Training and Fitness
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Yoga requires some serious stretching, which means you will often find yourself upside down and the last thing you would want in such a situation is to be spluttering over wayward hair strands. This is why yoga headbands are so popular.

They come in an array of shapes and sizes and are often made of moisture-wicking material so your hair isn’t wet from sweat by the end of your session.

3. Knitted Headband

HGWXX7 Unisex Men Women Winter Warm Beanie Sport Hair Band Turban Skiing Knitted Cap Ear Warmer Headbands(1PC-Gray)
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Knitted headbands are a great accessory for when you’re going to be out the door. It can be a good way to keep your ears and head warm without needing to wear earmuffs or a hat – both of which can get a little annoying if worn for too long.

In addition to keeping you warm, knitted headbands also provide grip for other accessories such as goggles so that when you’re skiing or snowboarding, your goggles strap doesn’t slip on sweaty hair.

4. Hachimaki Headband

Karate Kid Headband Lotus Flower Hachimaki Daniel Larusso
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In Japanese culture, a ‘hachimaki’ literally means ‘helmet-scarf’ and symbolizes courage and perseverance in the wearer. These headbands are usually made of red or white or a combination of both cloths.

The Japanese wear these on many occasions from sporting activities to students preparing for exams and even going as far as rioters wearing them as symbols of steadfastness. These are also headbands that are popular among those who practice karate.

5. Floral Headband

Oureamod Wide Headbands for Men and Women Athletic Moisture Wicking Headwear for Sports,Workout,Yoga Multi Function (Purple series-6pcs)
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Though floral headbands may conjure an image of a woman because of the stereotypical association, they are equally as popular among men. These headbands are not as heavy on the head and will generally be made of a lighter fabric. As such, they will be much less likely to absorb sweat and are a better option for the summer months when you aren’t sweating as much.

This type of headband is more of an accessory as opposed to some of the other headband types and is often worn by hippies or gypsies.

6. Gym Headband

Mens Headband - Sports Running Sweat Head Bands - Athletic Sweatbands Hair Band for Workout, Basketball, Exercise, Cycling, Football, Tennis, Yoga - Performance Stretch Hairband & Moisture Wicking
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Gym headbands are thinner and lighter headbands that are used in activities like boxing to control sweat dripping into an athlete’s eyes. They’re not as wide as tennis headbands and are often worn pushed back instead of straight on the forehead. These are also great when worn during heavy sweat-inducing activities such as cardio or lifting weights because they do not slip as the grip is tighter.

Some brands such as Adidas also make these interchangeable colors so that you have one color on the outside and another on the inside, depending on how you wear it.

7. Wide Headbands

Temple Tape Headbands for Men and Women - Mens Sweatband & Sports Headband Moisture Wicking Workout Sweatbands for Running, Crossfit, Yoga and Bike Helmet Friendly - Black
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Wide headbands usually start at the forehead and then cover the person’s head more than halfway through. These headbands come in a number of different shapes and colors and are best used for people who have long curly, or dreadlocked hair.

This is because such hair textures and styles require more taming and are difficult to manage on a day to day basis. Using a wide headband to keep your hair up will help give a cleaner, more polished look.

8. War Bonnet Headband

The World of Feathers Medium Indian Headdress (red & Yellow)
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This piece of headwear comes from the native Americans who refer to it as the ‘war bonnet’. The war bonnets are worn mostly on ceremonial occasions but are also meant to protect the wearer as they believe the bonnets have inherent power to help shield them.

The bonnets are characterized by a number of straight feathers. These are not placed there by chance; rather, they are earned by the person who wears them through heroic or brave acts. The feathers culminate into a headband once there are enough of them to bind together.

9. Bandana

American Flag Bandana Headband USA Bandana USA Flag Apparel Men USA Clothing Men
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Bandanas are often very colorful and have vibrant prints. They are worn both as an accessory and to keep hair out of your face but unlike other headbands that you slip on, this one is usually tied at the back of your head.

This is good for a number of reasons. It means that you can adjust the size of the band depending on your head and it won’t be too tight or too loose. However, it can be a little slippery if you knot loosens up during the day due to activity or sweat. These do not have the same grip as other types of bands.

10. Thin

Nike Swoosh Sport Headbands 2.0 (Black/White/Grey)
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This headband also falls into the category of an ‘accessory’ rather than a piece of clothing that has an explicit purpose. Because these headbands are so thin, they are rarely able to push back thicker or longer hair. Nor do they have any capacity to absorb sweat for long periods of time.

However, they do add volume to the hair by pushing it up just a tad bit and when worn properly, can elevate someone’s fashion sense to look chicer than it would have otherwise.

11. Ribbed

Headband Hair Band Head Wrap for Fashion Men and Women Ear Warmer Black
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Ribbed headbands are similar to sports headbands like the ones used for tennis or for yoga. The difference is that instead of a smooth texture finish, these headbands have ridges along the length of the band.

These are there for a number of reasons. First off, it’s a simple design. The ridges look nice and fresh when compared to other boring, plainer bands. Secondly, if you are an athlete and are not wearing wristbands to absorb your sweat from your arms, then this may be a quick fix. The ribbed edges allow you to quickly wipe off your palms or the back of your hands on the band as you go.

12. Pirate Headband

Halloween Pirate Medieval Renaissance Linen Triangle Bandana [Red]
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A pirate headband is classified by the symbolic skull right in the center. The colors of pirate headbands are usually red or black and are worn as part of a costume, or on its own to look edgy.

These headbands are usually worn in a bandana like style, tied at the back with a long strip of cloth hanging off the side.

13. Wreath

elope Gold Roman Laurel Leaf Wreath
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These wreath headbands may look feminine because of how decorative they are. But like we mentioned earlier in the article – they originate from Ancient Greek. If you look through some pictures of Greek Gods and their statues that are prevalent throughout the world today, you will notice how their heads are often adorned with wreaths.

These were meant to symbolize status in Greek society. Today, they are often worn as mindless pieces of head jewelry by both men and women but they can also be worn as part of a Greek costume.

14. Festive

amscan Multicolored Diva Headband | Christmas Accessory
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Nothing says Christmas quite like reindeer. Festive headbands usually have antlers coming out of the top and serve to accessorize a costume or just add a festive touch to the person who is wearing it. It goes great with themed parties or holiday activities. These headbands usually come with a slide-on style. This makes wearing them easy and also helps to keep hair out of your face.

One problem with them, however, is how the weight of the attached antlers can sometimes make the headband slip and over time, the antlers can end up drooping.

15. Karate Headband

Karate Kid Mr Miyagi Daniel Movie Headband
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Karate headbands are usually black or white; however, they can be other colors too. These are also tied bandana style as opposed to being pushed back like tennis bands. The karate headband is similar to the Japanese style of hachimaki. They are meant to symbolize bravery, strength, and courage.

16. Stretchable Headbands

ERAN8 Multi-Pack Bandanas, Multifunctional Headwear, Stretchable Headbands, Buff Hairbands
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Sometimes, you want your headband to be firm so it can grip your head and hair, and sometimes, you want to have something that fits snugly but is stretchable and breathable so you can wear it comfortably without it tugging your hair.

That is where stretchable headbands come in. If you are looking for something that is going to keep your hair out of your face but not make your head feel like it’s being gripped, these are the kind of headbands you want to invest in.

17. Devil Headband

Anna Belen"Devil" Horns Halloween Headband O/S Red Glitter
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Like the reindeer headband, this one is a great idea if you want to wear something to a costume party. It has the classic devil’s horns poking out from either side and usually comes in a comfortable slip-on style. Because the horns are short, unlike the reindeer ears, the headband is easier to wear and stays in place easily.

18. Arabic Headband

KINGREE Modern Black Arab Agal Desert Cord Ring, Arab Aqel Rope (Arabic Egal Headband Keffiyeh/Shemagh Wrap)
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The Arabic headband is worn as an addition to their head cloth in order to secure it in place. It is usually characterized by two rope-like bands that are placed over the cloth to keep it from slipping throughout the day. These headbands are almost always black.

19. Running Headband

Lauzq Fleece Ear Warmers/Muffs Headband for Men & Women & Kids Perfect for Cycling Skiing Workout Yoga Running & Riding Motorcycle in Winter - Stay Warm & Performance Stretch
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Headbands that used to hold hair back during running are some of the most durable and absorbing headbands out there. This is because running is usually done outdoors and the speed at which you run can make even the shortest hair a hassle. Especially if the hair gets sweaty and starts flicking sweat across your face.

This is why a good running headband will be absorbent so the sweat isn’t a hindrance, and at least moderately wide to keep your hair pushed back.

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