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Sweaty workouts are empowering, satisfying, effective, and perhaps most importantly, good for you. But with perspiring skin, drenched clothes, and body heat through the roof, a cooling towel can help you power through and recover quickly. The innovative fabric provides instant relief for two or more hours, helping to regulate your body temperature while drawing sweat away. Just get it wet, wring it out, and snap it a few times to activate the cooling, moisture-wicking technology—no drips or puddles in sight.
Whether you're into hiking, jogging, yoga, barre, HIIT, cycling, or breaking a sweat in your living room, the right cooling towel might be all you need to step up your fitness regime. They come in various sizes, shapes, colors, and styles and can be used during a workout as things heat up or as a cool-down companion.
These are the best cooling towels for even the sweatiest routines.
Best Overall: Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel
This sizable cooling towel pulls out all the stops. Made from a hyper-evaporative synthetic fabric, it retains an impressive amount of water but stays dry to the touch. As soon as you get it wet, it immediately evaporates and becomes cool and soft—even if you dunk it in hot water.
Measuring 33 x 13 inches, the Chilly Pad is ideal for everyone and every workout. It absorbs as much as eight times its weight in liquid (including water and sweat) and offers up to four hours of cooling relief. When you're done, toss it in your washing machine for easy cleaning.
Best Budget: Tough Outfitters Cooling Towel
On a budget? No sweat! This affordable cooling towel is all you need to beat the heat during your next workout. Just soak it, wring it out, and repeat as necessary to get your chill on.
We also appreciate that it provides UPF 50+ sun protection. And at 38.5 x 12 inches, it's bigger than many others in its category. However, it's comfortably light and conveniently compact, making it a go-to for workouts away from home.
Best for Running: Perfect Fitness Cooling Towel
Runners, listen up—the Perfect Cooling Towel is your new go-to for hitting the track or pounding the pavement. Measuring 29 x 11 inches, it's the ideal size and shape to place around your neck. The special fabric is soft against your skin, relaxed when you need it to be, and evaporates like no other.
Best for Hiking: Kafka Kool Tie Original Cooling Bandana
You'll be glad to have a Kool Tie on hand when hitting the trails in hot, humid weather. Designed to regulate your heart rate and cool down your head, this comfy bandana was made for hikers. Douse it in water to hydrate and activate the cooling crystals, then wrap it around your neck, and be on your way.
Best for HIIT: Balhvit Instant Relief Cooling Towel 2 Pack
For HIIT enthusiasts, we recommend the Balhvit Instant Relief Cooling Towel. The silky-soft microfiber can be slung around your neck during an ultra-sweaty high-intensity interval training or draped over your head during a cool-down. Thanks to its evaporative cooling technology, you'll get instant relief and a long-lasting chill.
Best for Hot Yoga: Chill Pal Mesh Cooling Towel
If you're big on Bikram yoga, reach for the Chill Pal. Evaporative technology is built right into the thin, breathable fabric, keeping your body heat regulated while you sweat your way through a hot yoga flow. This innovative mesh towel measures 40 x 12 inches, making it the perfect size to place over your mat or drape around your neck at any time during your workout.
Best with UV Protection: Mission Original Cooling Towel
We're all about sun protection, which is why we love Mission's Original Cooling Towel. The soft fabric offers UPF 50 protection, even after several cycles in your washing machine. As for its chilling powers, you can count on up to two hours of cooling technology after wetting it, wringing it out, and giving it a few snaps.
Best Post-Workout: The Elixir Sports Cool Towel
The Cool Towel is designed to help you recover from intense workouts faster. Upon wetting, wringing, and snapping the fabric, you'll get two hours of sweat-wicking, cooling relief. We also like that this towel is machine washable and provides UPF 50 + sun protection.
Best Wearable: AlphaCool Cooling Neck Gaiter
Looking for something you can actually wear instead of just draping it around your neck? Your best bet is AlphaCool's innovative Cooling Neck Gaiter. The anti-odor moisture-wicking fabric is designed with four-way stretch to be soft and comfy against your skin. Whether you rock it as a mask, headband, scarf, or bandana, it'll keep your head cool for hours.
Best Portable: Ergodyne Chill-Its Cooling Towel
Chill-Its are perfect companions for on-the-go workouts and outdoor fitness. The super-evaporative PVA fabric absorbs water and then offers instant, long-lasting relief. Toss it around your neck before running or biking, or pat your face dry after a sweaty workout class. When you're done, it rolls up into a super compact shape and can be tucked away in your purse, pocket, or bag without getting anything else wet.
Best Set: Sukeen Cooling Towels
If you work out every day, it's nice to have a set of cooling towels, like this four-pack from Sukeen. Each breathable microfiber cloth draws moisture away from your skin and keeps you chill for up to three hours. Plus, they're machine washable, so you can toss one in the laundry and then grab a fresh one for your next workout.
Best Disposable: Duke Cannon Supply Co. Cold Shower Cooling Field Towels
When you don't have access to running water (or enough to saturate a reusable towel), these disposable wipes will come in handy. Thanks to a cooling blend of aloe, menthol, and jojoba, the toss-away towels deliver a refreshing sensation that mimics a cold shower. Not only that, but they soothe and clean your skin after even the most sweaty, vigorous workouts.
Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel is the best option overall. The hyper-evaporative fabric holds up to eight times its weight in water, and yet it's completely dry, cool, and soft to the touch— even when dunked in hot water. If you're looking for a wearable design, your best bet is the AlphaCool Cooling Neck Gaiter. Whether you wear it as a mask, bandana, headband, or scarf, the antimicrobial fabric controls odors while keeping you cool and wicking away sweat.
What to Look For When Buying a Cooling Towel
While any towel can be wet and wrung out for a cooling effect, true cooling towels are made with a unique super-evaporative fabric. The ultra-absorbent material can hold a substantial amount of moisture while remaining dry to the touch, and it stays cool for two or more hours.
For this reason, all cooling towels are made of synthetic textile (usually microfiber or mesh). Aside from the material's cooling properties, look for something lightweight, breathable, and soft, as this will feel the best against your skin.
Larger cooling towels (measuring 30 or more inches long and 12 or more inches wide) are ideal for placing on top of a yoga mat or draping over your head after a strenuous workout. They're also a good size for wrapping around your neck during or after an intense session.
If you're looking for something to take with you on a trip to the gym or a boutique fitness class, you might want to get a slightly smaller towel. However, most cooling towels are made of a relatively thin, lightweight material, which can be rolled or folded up into a very compact shape.
No matter what time of year it is or where you live, sun protection is a must when working out outdoors. For this reason, we recommend getting a cooling towel that offers UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 50 or higher. UPF is like SPF, only for fabrics. It measures how much UV radiation from the sun can penetrate through a material.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Theresa Holland has been writing for Byrdie since 2020 and has several years of experience covering wellness. She is well-versed in the world of fitness and knows her way around the materials used to make exercise equipment and workout apparel. You can find more of her content on Verywell Fit, MyDomaine, The Spruce.