The Walz Wool Cap
The world is full of cycling caps, and they are not all created equal. Walz makes their hats, by hand, in the USA. Whether or not their handmade-ness or their USA-ness are behind the quality and comfort of the final product is not for me to say. What I will say is that Walz makes a great cap.
Let me start by saying what I appreciated most about this four-panel hat, is that it didn’t require breaking in. It was comfortable from the first wearing, and by the third or fourth already seemed like an old friend. I have owned all manner of cycling head wear, cotton, wool and synthetic, and without exception it takes time to break in. Not Brooks saddle time, but time. My Walz cap did not.
My wife approved it for off-bike wear despite violation of the strict prohibition against wearing cycling caps whilst not cycling. Her approval is a big deal, since any other time I summon the temerity to keep my hat on in a restaurant or at the grocery store she flashes me that reproachful glance that says, “Really? Must you?”
Another plus for this cap is that its fit is not tight/not loose, so you can fit a beanie underneath when it’s really cold, but then not end up with a distended pancake on your head when the weather warms up enough to allow for wearing it on its own. I have an average size head, and the small/medium was just right.
I also appreciated the minimal but highly effective sweat band around the interior, which kept the sweat-wet wool from irritating my forehead. At the same time, this cap breathes extremely well. The wool manages to be both thick and airy at the same time. I have not in 30-40 wearings been able to make this hat stink, which is saying more than you can imagine.
Above and beyond the quality of the hat though, I appreciate that someone makes hats that I want to wear regardless of what might be printed on the brim or the side panel. Sure, I have a collection of cycling caps that broadcast my brand preferences and all the subtle, inside jokes that mark me out as an annoying cyclo-dork, but Walz gives me the option of just wearing something for its pure function, a function it serves very well.