If you are going to be out in the sun, logging miles on the trails in preparation for a big event, then you are going to need some sun protection. Having a hat that is versatile enough that it can go from a run, directly to a trendy lunch spot, kids sports game, or just around the house makes it easier to log short workouts that are so crucial to keeping up the training hours required.
Since running and hiking is an otherwise relatively inexpensive sport, there is an option to splurge on some of the fashion accessories that can double as training items. That’s where the Melin hat comes in. It is certainly not cheap, a standard hat will run you around $60, but if you are logging hours on Strava and totaling 6+ hours of activity a week then the dollar per hour used may make sense.
The specific Melin Hat review we are looking at is for an A-Game Hydro, one of the most popular styles. They advertise the hat as having a hydrophobic exterior layer, which means that water will bead off of it. This works for the most part, although fully submerging the hat for an extended time will still cause it to retain some water. It does mean that if you pour an aid station cup over your head there won’t be a noticeable wet spot.
Melin Hats Best Features
There are a few things to look for in a hat, although for the most parts hat choice is highly personal. Even so, for folks who are accustomed to wearing a hat most days and through all events, here are a few areas where Melin jumps out as a great hat option.
- Waterproofing: High on the list of marketed features is the “wicking potential” of these hats. They are billed as having the ability to avoid getting ruined when sweaty or wet. I must say, in my experience, this is been mostly accurate. The hat in the picture above has been worn on hundreds of miles of runs in hot weather as well as through full immersion during multiple pool visits with the family.
- Durability: When it was brand new the hat never retained any moisture, although now after almost a year or regular wear it does wind up having some moisture markings over the course of a long day. Even now though it still does not have any of the tell-tale signs of sweat damage, the typical small white outline where the salt content of sweat forms at the edge of a sweat spot.
- Style. Although this is subjective the hats themselves have a simplistic style and fit well. In some circles there premium nature is also a benefit as the tell-tale markings of their brand are subtley place in the plastic markers that sit on the side of the hat and under the brim.
- Material and quality. The hats are durable and each one I’ve seen has been in great shape. Even after logging more than 500 miles of sweaty running, a year plus of pool sessions that include fully submerging multiple times, and plenty of days watching little league games or attending parties, the hat is still in great shape.
Can You Machine Wash Melin Hats?
The short answer is, yes, but it is not recommended. Generally speaking machine washing any hat puts it through a lot of additional strain that is not needed since tumbling around a washing machine is so excessive. There are accessories that make it easy to wash a hat, simple cages that help keep the shape and reduce the effects of a violent washing machine.
If you are going to wash the hat, make sure the water temperature is not too hot and try a gentle cycle. Even though the hats are durable this will reduce the chances that it snags on the moving parts of the washer or that you wind up melting and reforming the snap parts, logos, or bill of the hat.
Mostly though, it is unnecessary to use a fush wash cycle to clean the hats. The official Melin site suggest that you can hand wash the hat with some light soap and rubbing it under running water, just like you would to wash your hands. If you want to be more complete just grab a light brush to rub the soap in.
The Downside and Lesser Used Parts of Melin Hats
There is no doubt about it, Melin is going for a premium luxury brand presence. With that comes a hefty price tag, with most of their hats running around $60 and without much of a place for a sale rack. Some of the Beanie’s and deluxe “Hydro” version run even more, with prices as high as $80 for a single piece. Sure, if someone is in the know about high end gear this makes a perfect gift for them (Think: Father’s day, Birthday, etc.) but otherwise it can seem a bit over priced especially if you are not going to enjoy it in a situation that uses all the style and wicking features.
Melin Besom Pocket
The other feature on the hats that is entirely irrelevant is the hidden “besom” pocket in the lining. A besom pocket is a flapless pouch sewn into the lining and this one is sized for a small key or folded over bill. It is not big enough for comfortable for an actual key fob, credit card, or anything hard so its only functional use is for a small map or maybe a folded up $20.
The pocket is also smushed against the forehead so it will get sweaty and humid, even if the lining is wicking material. At the same time, finding an extra $5 or $20 in a pocket is never a bad thing so sticking some cash in there just in case will not hurt. As long as the bill is folded over you can not tell that there is anything in there.
Are Melin Hats Worth the Money?
Overall these high points mean that Melin lives up to most of it’s marketing claims. You can swim in a Melin Hat and then proceed to wear it to lunch without worrying about how to transition between the two. The style makes them good for the golf course (a popular option now that the company sponsors big names like Phil “Lefty” Mickelson) and they have enough breathability to manage for something more intense like an ultramarathon.
While anecdotally many people have suggested they wanted to hate on the Melin hat due to it’s high cost, in speaking to a number of actual owners they have found that the durability and versatility of the hat really set it apart. No doubt having a status symbol and $80 accessory helps ensure they keep it in good shape and take pride in it, but for the most part you will be hard pressed to find someone who has serious issues with them.