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.

 

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14 comments

  1. Cptcrnch

    I have several Walz Caps for both on bike and off bike use. I love every one of them. I completely agree your assessment of the fit and break-in period. Walz may not have the same brand recognition as some other brands but they perform just as well ATMO. I’ll be picking up one of the wool ear-flap models for those cool spring and fall rides when you just need a little something for the ears. The fact that I can support a US company that actually makes its product here makes it even better.

  2. ACF

    I have one that is several years old. I like the fit, feel and most everything you point out in the review, but I have one problem with mine. The rather long (for a cycling cap) bill does not have any plastic or cardboard to give it any structure. So when on the bike at speed, the wind blows the bill down flat against my forehead, obstructing vision and is generally annoying.

    Therefore, it has become only an off the bike cap. Not sure if they have made any design changes since I bought mine. I have heard others have this same problem.

  3. Former shepherd

    Good craftsmanship always starts with great materials. Wool is the original high-tech microfiber. I never buy a jersey (and lately shorts, too) that’s not wool.

  4. Big E

    I concur with all your statements and would love to add one more. For a guy like myself that has a HUGE melon they are one of the very few cycling cap manufacturers that make a size XL. They are a wonderful hat.

  5. blu

    Very much agree with ACF. The brim is very weak, and flops in my eyes. I think I might have one of the lighter weight wools; others might not suffer so much. But it does mean that it’s useless on the bike, which makes me sad.

  6. Keith_in_Chapel_Hill

    I have this cap but with the ear flaps, as well as wool jerseys, jacket, vest, shorts, and socks. One of the most under-appreciated benefits of wool clothing is the stink factor, or lack thereof, as this review mentions.

    Somebody more knowledgeable than me may wish to chime in, but, as far as I know, body odor comes from bacterial excrement. Your sweat is generally not what stinks, it is excrement (go figure) from that vast ecosystem of micro-flora residing on and in you. When they rub off on your cotton and synthetic clothes, these bacteria tend to fare well and continue to excrete as they digest the sweat you left behind as well. But they do not like to live on wool, perhaps because of natural lanolin oil or some other component that makes this fiber intolerable for most species. For that reason, wool does not stink.

    Like the author suggested, you can wear it over and over again, and, if it is a 100% or nearly 100% wool product, it will not stink. I end up washing my wool periodically because of the build up of salt from my sweat but not because it stinks.

  7. Walz Caps Jen

    Hi everyone-

    First, thanks for the great review. As a small company, we always appreciate all the kind words from customers and we listen to any and all feedback. Our business was built on word-of-mouth and customer love and we will never forget that.

    About a year ago, we heard from a few customers about issues with the bill especially with our new lighter weight wicking caps. We wanted to continue to stay away from plastic (it cracks) and cardboard (it falls apart), so we experimented with some thicker stabilizers, had our customers test them out, found one we liked and transitioned all our caps to using a thicker stabilizer in the the bills.

    You still have the option of flipping up the bill and it should now hold up to the sturdier winds on your super fast rides!

    Thanks!
    Jen @WalzCaps

  8. dstan58

    I’ve had a Walz cap for years and have found it great for X-C skiing, too. I am throwing a shameless plug for another terrific small company, in the UP of Michigan: Stormy Kromer. They’ve been making terrific wool hats in Ironwood since 1903. If your significant other gives you the thumbs-down on a Walz, perhaps the Kromer will meet the Style Police’s ok. http://www.stormykromer.com/

  9. Pingback: Caps Not Hats | RKP

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