Head sweat solutions, part 1: Sweat GUT’R headband

Riding a bike is one of the quickest ways to work up a sweat, especially in our tropical climate. This combination can be a problem. Ride long or hard enough, and it will end up dripping into your eyes after your eyebrows decide they can’t take any more.

While there are sweat wicking foam pads on helmets and tiny toweling surfaces woven into fingerless cycling gloves, I’d guess a good number of people will want a better solution. Today we’ll look at one such solution: the Sweat GUT’R.

Touting itself as the sweatband that never saturates, it’s essentially a silicone strip with a raised gutter on the forward edge – hence the stylized name. The idea is that you wear it like you would a normal headband – the kind so famously sported by many professional tennis players. Unlike a normal headband, there is nothing on the Sweat GUT’R to absorb your forehead sweat – ergo, nothing that will get saturated with a surplus of it. Instead, all the sweat it collects on the gutter will run out the left and right sides, diverting away from your eyes and onto your temples, where it will have less chance of stinging.

At least, that’s the idea.

Because the silicone material itself isn’t the most elastic, the Sweat GUT’R fits around heads by trapping one of three different-sized elastic bands on its Velcro-equipped ends, which you then fold over into loops.

One other touted advantage is how easy this thing is to keep clean. All it needs is a rinse in some water, preferably soapy, then shake it off and let it dry.

The Sweat GUT’R has an impressively svelte, low profile. As far as pure fit is concerned, there’s no problem fitting this under a typical helmet.

The way the GUT’R wraps around my own forehead, at least, the raised gutter portion does clear my eyes. Setting it to a good tightness, the chamfered part of the headband that sits on the head does a good job of collecting sweat and fending off drips into eyebrows. It’s easy enough to think that any sweat it collects will clear my eyes and drain harmlessly off toward my temples.

As I said earlier…that’s the idea.

Unfortunately, the logic behind the Sweat GUT’R works best if you can keep your head in one optimal position. As long as the gutter portion itself remains roughly parallel to the ground, it will work as advertised. The moment you turn your head at too great an angle, or slouch over the handlebars, the gutter concept doesn’t work as well, and the risk of sweat spilling off and into your eyes increases considerably.

This is why this sweatband works great when you’re cranking away at an indoor trainer, but isn’t as effective when you’re in the middle of a tough climb, leaning your body every which way to keep your momentum going.

This smoke gray unit is also my second Sweat GUT’R. The silicone is advertised as being durable, but it can be susceptible to tearing under too much tension. On my first white unit, I noticed that the silicone doesn’t particularly like being stretched too tight across your head, and so I got little rips in it within a year. With the second gray Sweat GUT’R, I have since opted to use the middle of the three sizes of elastic bands, and it seems to be holding up better.

There’s much to like about the Sweat GUT’R. The appeal to me is that the creators were able to innovate on the humble headband and make it better at preventing sweat from stinging in athletes’ eyes. That said, your experience may vary. Actual execution is a little flawed, but if you can live with the design, it’s a good functional piece of apparel.

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