THE ICONIC RED AND BLACK PARTRIDGE PLAID HATS were originally made in 1903 by Wisconsin railroad worker Stormy’s wife, Ida, at his request. Deemed “legendary” on the company website, this wool visored cap was initially designed to prevent the wind from carrying it away, as happened frequently. Apparently, Mr. Kromer asked the Mrs. to create a six-panel, “new-fashioned baseball cap with a higher crown, a pull down earband to keep it snug, and a soft cloth visor”.
A current claim made by the now Ironwood, Michigan-based* company (a shout-out to all you Yoopers) is that the made-in the USA products intend to shield wearers’ ears from harsh weather, noise pollution, and bad hair days. There's an embedded video demonstration on the site, and one on YouTube that is more artsy.
These caps, and some newer styles, look to be perfect for outdoor athletic activities. Generally, in the depth of winter I tend to layer different headgear pieces to achieve complete protection: a wool baseball cap, earmuffs, plus a jacket hood on windiest days. The baseball cap visor keeps falling snow off my glasses and face, and is warm. It’s not as hot as a knit cap, and thus doesn’t cause my head to sweat and my hair to mat down with harder exercise levels. Fur earmuffs keep wind out of my ears better than a knit beanie. I can shed layers as my workout session progresses, but still need to carry the items.
This layered approach definitely involves a lot of gear and the result is not attractive. On some blustery days near Lake Michigan, the whole get-up will be required plus a fleece neck gaiter. Anyway, who’s going to be looking closely at hikers on those kinds of days?
Perhaps wearing just one SK hat, like the Original, or the Rancher (4 x warmer with added ear protection) might be a superior solution. A matching Outsider Bandana in wool might pull it all together, fashion-wise. The Millie allows for ponytails, and might be top choice for my first purchase!
Why is Earned Runs so crazy about SK? Besides being handcrafted in the upper peninsula of Michigan, my home state, there are a number of other unique aspects of SK product lines:
Check out the website even if you don’t need to purchase anything but live in cold weather country, where it’s not unusual to experience significant springtime snowfalls. An SK bumper sticker proudly declares, “Made in a place that gets SNOW DAYS IN APRIL”. Maybe browsing will have you holding your head high and looking forward to enjoying the great outdoors all season(s) long.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*NOTE: The company was founded in Wisconsin. When it appeared production of hats was to cease, rights were purchased in 2001 and manufacturing resumed in Michigan.
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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