10 Best Tennis Headbands
Stylish Options for Men & Women
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Practical and stylish, headbands for tennis are an increasingly popular accessory for men and women, especially on the pro tours.
This guide will review my picks for the best headbands, but I’ll also dive into some finer details. From how they found their way into tennis fashion to why players wear them, the different types available, and famous players who sport them on the court.
|Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie||Tie|
|adidas Alphaskin Tie||Tie|
|Emporio Armani (EA7) Tennis Pro Headband||Tie|
|Nike Skinny Headbands||Skinny|
|Nike Fury Headband||Traditional|
|Underarmor Performance Headband||Traditional|
|Nike Home and Away Headband||Traditional|
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Tennis Headband Inventor
Photo Credit: Fred Perry
British Hall of Famer, Fred Perry, isn’t directly responsible for creating the tennis headband, but his influence is undeniable.
As a hack of sorts, Fred Perry initially wore white gauze around his wrists while playing at Wimbledon to prevent sweat from dripping down onto his wrists, which would make it difficult to maintain a solid grip.
Later in the 1940s, Austrian football player Tibby Wegner approached Fred with an antiperspirant device to wipe sweat from an athlete’s forehead while competing.
Together, they refined Tibby’s prototype, and shortly after, the sweatband as we largely know it today was born. Of course, companies eventually adapted the sweatband to the headband.
Why Wear a Headband
Tennis headbands are, first and foremost, practical. However, as tennis fashion has evolved, they’ve become equally a core tennis accessory worn by players for their style as their functionality.
One of the main reasons tennis players wear headbands is to absorb sweat on their forehead so it doesn’t drip into their eyes.
Although seemingly unimportant, if you get sweat in your eyes while playing a point, it may distract you and cause you to lose focus. In the worst-case scenario, it can even obscure your vision.
In addition to wiping your face with a towel between points, a headband is a simple solution to controlling obtrusive sweat.
For the best results, players will keep a few in their bag so they can swap them out for a fresh one during a changeover.
Another reason men and women will wear headbands on the court is to control their hair. Although typically more obvious a benefit for women, there are more than a handful of men sporting long locks.
When playing, getting hair in your face or eyes can be problematic, even more so when sweating heavily. Once again, a headband is a practical solution to keeping your hair out of your face and eyes.
If sweat isn’t much of a problem, but your hair is, there are thinner headbands that work great for keeping your hair in place without the bulk of a typical headband. We’ll cover those in the next section.
As an individual sport in singles, tennis players have a lot of flexibility regarding their appearance. Beyond their use for absorbing sweat and controlling hair, many players where them because they like the style.
Whether your favorite player wears one or you enjoy the look, there’s nothing wrong with wearing one if you like their appearance.
To that end, headbands come in various styles and colors to match nearly any player’s preference and their kit, a.k.a, outfit.
Brands & Styles of Headbands
Headbands have come a long way. If you’re in the market for one, it’s helpful to become familiar with all your options to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
The following are the top brands offering tennis headbands that I’d encourage you to explore if you’re looking for a new one.
- Emporio Armani (EA7)
- New Balance
- Sergioo Tacchini
A handful of these brands carry a variety of styles.
There are a handful of different style headbands you’ll find tennis players wearing these days, which I’ll outline below.
It’s worth noting that virtually all tennis headbands are one size fits all, so most players won’t need to worry about sizing.
Many will be familiar with the traditional headband, especially if you grew up in the 80s. They’re clean and simple elastic bands that don’t need to be tied. Pull them over your head, and you’re ready to roll.
These aren’t super popular on the pro tour these days, but they’re some of the most convenient. American Frances Tiafoe, pictured above, is one player who rocks a traditional headband.
Easily the most popular headband for men and women is the tie headband. It comes as a single strap or piece of cloth that you place on your forehead and then wraps around your head and ties in the back.
If you prefer how long or short the pieces hang down behind your head after tying them, keep length in mind.
You’ll find more men on the ATP tour wearing them than women, but they’re still plenty of ladies who use them, like Victoria Azarenka in the photo above.
Skinny, Thin, or Mini Headbands
Although generally more popular for women, a handful of men wear thinner headbands on the pro tour, most notably Dominic Thiem and Sebastian Korda.
These headbands offer little sweat protection, but they are plenty effective for keeping your hair in place, and they’re not nearly as bulky. They’re also easier to wear. Like the traditional headband, they don’t require you to tie them.
It’s also worth noting that many come with rubber or silicone strips or pieces on the headband’s inside for a secure fit.
If you don’t mind a bit of extra work putting on your headband, then a folded bandana like Rafael Nadal has used over the years is another perfectly suitable option, especially if you’re looking for a bit of extra material to absorb sweat.
Here’s a video showing how Rafa folds his bandana if you’re curious.
Pros Wearing Headbands
If you’re curious about the different players wearing headbands or looking for some style inspiration, this section is for you.
I’ve pulled together some of the best-known tennis players who wear headbands on the pro tour so you can explore them yourself.
Earlier in his career, Roger Federer didn’t always wear a headband, but it became a staple of his attire for most of his time as a pro.
Federer uses a tie headband, which used to be Nike. However, in 2018 he joined the Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo.
Rafael Nadal has used a Nike headband for the vast majority of his career, and typically he’s folded a bandana to be used as a tie headband.
However, looking closely at photos throughout his career, he sometimes uses a tie headband that’s not a bandana.
At one time, Alexander Zverev wore Nike headbands, but these days he’s sponsored by adidas, so you’ll find him wearing their tie headbands instead.
Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas is an adidas athlete, so you’ll see him using their tie headbands to keep his long hair in check.
Austrian Dominic Thiem is one of the few male tennis players to wear thinner headbands to hold his hair out of his face. However, he will switch it up from time to time and wear a thicker tie headband.
Like Zverev and Tsitsipas, Thiem is an adidas athlete, so he wears their headbands exclusively.
Up-and-coming Russian tennis star Andre Rublev also wears a tie headband to help control his hair. He’s a Nike athlete, so you’ll find him wearing their headbands in various colors.
Fognini used to rep luxury Italian sportswear from Hydrogen, but he switched to Emporio Armani’s athletic clothing line, which has the EA7 logo you may have seen him wearing. The ‘7’ in the logo is a nod to their Ventus 7 technical fabric. Fabio wears a tie headband from the brand.
Like many other players on our list, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov hasn’t always worn a headband, but he does most of the time these days.
Grigor is a Nike athlete, so he wears their headbands in competition.
Known for her foray into fashion as much for her success on the court, Serena Williams often wears a headband but often switches up the style.
The two most common headbands you’ll find her wearing are skinny headbangs and tie headbands. However, regardless of the style, one thing that is always consistent is the brand, which is Nike.
You’ll virtually always see Victoria Azarenka wearing a tie headband from Nike when she hits the court. However, one unique thing about her style of wearing them is that she usually wears them longer.
Tie headbands can be shorter, so there’s not much extra length in the headband once tied. However, you can purchase some that are longer, so the headband hangs down in the back once secured.
Belarusian tennis player Aryna Sabalenka is a mixed bag when it comes to headbands. She often wears a tie headband when playing, but she’ll often opt not to wear one in her matches.
As a Nike athlete, Aryna wears its headbands exclusively.
Hailing from Tunisia, the northernmost country in Africa, you can always spot Ons Jabeur wearing a headband in her matches. Her clothing sponsor is Lotto, so you’ll see her wearing their tie headbands.
Like Azarenka, she prefers to wear a longer headband, which hangs down further once tied back.
Although she mixes it up between tie headbands, visors, and hats, Sloane Stephens is another player to check out for style tips.
Nike sponsors Sloane, so she’s always wearing their gear. I’ve spotted her wearing a skinny headband on a few rarer occasions.
Earlier in her career, Coco didn’t always wear a headband. She’d often opt for a visor or nothing at all. However, since her debut on the WTA tour, she’s regularly worn a tie headband.
New Balance sponsors Coco, so you’ll find her sporting their tie headbands, which feature an ‘NB’ on the front.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova is a Nike athlete who you’ll frequently see wearing a tie headband, but not always. She regularly switches it up, so you may see her wearing one or nothing at all.
Caroline Garcia of France used to wear a visor, but she’s wearing a tie headband more often than not these days.
She prefers hers longer, so it hangs down in the back, and although she used to wear Nike, Asics now sponsors her, which she wears regularly.
Best Tennis Headbands
The best headbands I’ve worn have three essential qualities:
That last point on durability refers to the headband’s ability to withstand many wash cycles while retaining its color if applicable.
The following selection is a handful of my favorites from brands that I’ve tried and found to offer quality performance. I explored and tested various types to provide a varied selection.
All of the headbands that I’ve listed below are unisex.
Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie
Nike’s Dri-Fit fabric is a classic that works well across a range of apparel applications, and their headbands are no exception.
Nike’s Dri-Fit Head Tie is super comfortable and breathable. Like the adidas Alphaskin Tie, it’s one size fits all, so the length is a bit longer to accommodate various head sizes. It also comes in different colors.
adidas Alphaskin Tie
This tie headband from adidas uses their unique two-layer Alphaskin material composed of 91% polyester and 9% spandex for a mildly stretch that’s super soft and absorbent.
I found the material to be breathable, which is a nice bonus. Also, this headband is a bit longer, so it will hang down slightly after tying unless you tie an extra knot or two to shorten it up.
Emporio Armani (EA7) Tennis Pro Headband
Composed of 90% polyester and 10% elastane, the EA7 tennis headband from the Emporio Armani headband is super comfortable and stretchy.
Featuring Ventus 7 tech, the headband offers excellent breathability and feels comfortable on your head. Plus, it’s lightweight. It’s one of my favorites, but the logo is a bit large for me. Despite that, it’s one of the best.
Hydrogen’s tie headband is another unisex option that’s super comfortable and breathable while offering plenty of absorption for keeping sweat out of your eyes.
The headband comes in three colors, white, black, and fluorescent yellow. Paired with the brand’s distinct skull logo, it offers a refreshing option for those looking for something unique.
Nike Fury Headband
If you like the look of the Nike Dri-Fit tie headband, but don’t want to deal with tying it, then the Nike Fury Headband with Dri-Fit Technology is worth considering.
It’s 79% polyester, 14% silicone, and 7% spandex, which gives it a bit of stretch, making it easy to pull over your head. Plus, it has silicone strips on the inside to help avoid slipping and keep the headband fixed in place.
An iconic tennis brand, Wilson offers a traditional style white headband that provides comfort with cotton and delivers plenty of sweat absorption. However, the headband is stretchy despite its cotton material, so it’s easy to pull on and off and stays snug.
Nike Skinny Headbands
If you’re looking for a thinner headband that won’t absorb much sweat but will help keep your hair out of your face and eyes, the Nike Skinny Headbands are excellent.
If you’re not a fan of the silicone strip for extra security on your head, then these are an excellent option. However, if you prefer the added grip of silicone, check out Nike’s printed headbands.
Underarmor Performance Headband
Another traditional style option, the Underarmor Performance Headband, is 96% polyester and 4% elastane. It comes in a handful of colors and fits tightly enough, so you don’t have to worry about it slipping.
Nike Home and Away Headband
If you want a more classic look, check out the Nike Home and Away Headband, that’s a traditional style headband.
It’s a nylon headband that’s thicker than some of the performance materials on the list, and I found it to be warmer on my head. With that in mind, I wouldn’t opt for it on a hot day, but it’s perfect when it’s cooler.
One of the biggest names in tennis racquets, Head’s is a one-size-fits-all headband that offers a traditional style in several colors. The headband fits snug and stays put, and its thicker material does an excellent job absorbing sweat.
Headbands are an excellent option if you’re looking to manage sweat and keep your hair out of your eyes and face, but they’re not your only option.
A hat will serve the same functional purpose on a tennis court as a headband by absorbing sweat and keeping your hair out of your eyes, and they’re popular from the pro tour down to the recreational level.
As a bonus, hats have a brim, which can be helpful in tennis to help keep the sun out of your eyes. In particular, a tennis hat can help protect your eyes when serving, which can become especially problematic.
Hats tend to be warmer as they keep heat in, which can be good or bad for players depending on the conditions. Of course, some hats offer better ventilation than others.
The pros are accustomed to playing in warmer climates throughout the year, so this is one of the primary reasons you’ll see many opting for a headband instead of a hat.
One prevalent option on the WTA tour is the visor, which provides the best of both worlds between hats and headbands.
You’ll get plenty of sweat absorption with a visor’s material that wraps your forehead, and they can help keep your hair out of your eyes and face. However, a visor’s brim also keeps the sun out of your eyes without covering the top of your head, keeping you cool.
Although you won’t find as many men wearing them these days, they’re unisex and perfectly well-suited for men.
How to Tie a Headband
I see many people online asking how to tie headbands for tennis, which is understandable. You want it to fit comfortably and stay put.
However, it’s easier than you might think. To tie a headband, you simply need to double knot it. Here are a few quick steps:
- Hold both sides of the headband with the logo facing forward
- Apply the middle of the headband to your forehead
- Pull the headband gently back, then tie the first knot
- Adjust the knot so it’s snug but not squeezing your head too hard
- Tie a second knot, so the headband stays put
Although it’s understandable why players might think there is a unique way to tie headbands, it’s super straightforward.
To untie the headband, pull it off your head first. Doing so loosens the tension on the headband and makes it easier to undo the knots.
A Note on Uniqlo Headbands
Roger Federer moved from Nike to Uniqlo in 2018, and with the change, many of his fans started using the gear.
Unfortunately, it can be tricky for players to get their hands on Federer’s gear and headbands because it sells out quickly once it drops.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on a Uniqlo headband, you have a few options. First, you can try to track one down on a consumer-to-consumer website like eBay or Craigslist.
However, if that doesn’t pan out or you’re not willing to pay a premium someone else is charging for theirs, then your best bet is to wait patiently and keep an eye on the next release from Uniqlo.
To ensure you don’t miss out, I’d follow Uniqlo and Federer on social media and check his dedicated landing page on their website every once in a while to see what’s new or if anything has changed.
Without a doubt, tennis headbands are here to stay and have become an essential accessory for many players.
If you’ve never used one before, I’d encourage you to give them a try. Headbands are reasonably affordable, and their practical use can help eliminate distractions and help you stay focused on your match.
Hopefully, this guide has helped provide some helpful insight for you, but if you have any questions I didn’t answer, don’t hesitate to comment below.
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