4 Materials to Look for in a Cowboy Hat

Cowboy posing with his arms crossed
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The key element when putting together a cowboy outfit is the hat. A cowboy hat is, however, not any simple headgear; it rather represents the American tradition, heritage, and culture. Thus, it is easy to automatically assume that a cowboy hat should be exclusively worn in the West, particularly in Texas. Nonetheless, these hats suffice for all regions of the world and match different types of outfits.

There are different types of cowboy hats, which include straw cowboy hats for adults and kids.  In terms of colors, you’re not running out of options anytime soon (pink cowboy hat, anyone?).  Plus, there are many materials to choose from, which is a factor you shouldn’t overlook when shopping for a cowboy hat. But with so many options on your cowboy hat rack, how do you know which material suits you best?

Common Cowboy Hat Material Options

Here are the material options for cowboy hats.

1. Fur Felt

This is the primary material used for cowboy hats. There are different fur types used for cowboy hats, including milk buffalo, beaver, and rabbit fur. If you choose fur felt hats, pay attention to the X’s specification. A high number of X’s on your hat generally denotes that it contains a high amount of fur; thus, it is of a higher quality. For instance, if your hat has 6X, this means that it contains 60% of fur and hence is more expensive compared to a hat with a 5X rating.

2. Straw

Most people settle for straw cowboy hats primarily because they are cheap. Though a large number of straw hats are inexpensive, their prices still depend on their quality. High-quality straw hats are not so cheap. They are the best choice for summer events since they will keep your head cool in the sweltering heat. Straw cowboy hats also contain X’s in their specification. This X denotes the tightness of the fabric weave and the thickness of the straw reeds. A high number of X’s means a high-quality straw hat.

3. Wool

Wool in the shelvesThis material is not as premium as fur felt for the making of cowboy hats. Unlike other hats, you cannot shape wool cowboy hats by steaming them. Instead, they are folded and crushed, which will make it easier for you to pack into your bags for storage. They are your ideal choice if you travel frequently or if you do not want to have a separate bag for your hats.

4. Suede and Leather

When you think of a ‘cowboy hat,’ you think of leather or suede. After all, these materials are common options for cowboy hats.

Though water-resistant and very durable, leather cowboy hats are very hot in the summer. Suede cowboy hats, on the other hand, are stylish and unique. They also come in many colors only available in suede and leather.

The above materials for your cowboy hat come in varied styles. The styles for the brim and crown are the primary ones that will determine the shape of your hat. The brim is the top section of your hat while the crease is the indent that shapes your crown. The popular crease styles include the cattleman’s, pinch front, Dakota, and open crown creases. The standard brim options include the flat, low rodeo, and tracker brim. Taking this into consideration, you can buy the perfect cowboy hat for a Western-themed party. With your color options, the sky’s the limit. Go for that pink cowboy hat now.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Cowboy Hat

When buying a cowboy hat, there are many factors to consider. This includes the following:

  • Material
  • Cost
  • How firmly it fits
  • How comfortable it feels
  • Protection from the sun
  • Style

When it comes to choosing your hat, consider the event, occasion or the time of the year, too.

Should You Buy an Expensive Hat or an Affordable One?

Some people think that you have to spend tons of money on cowboy hats while others think splurging is not an option with this fashion statement. So, if you had to shop for yourself, which option is the wisest one?

Start by figuring out the type of hat you want. If you want an authentic Western hat, this could be pricier compared to the mass-produced ones. Also, when shopping for a hat, consider how much use you’ll get out of it. If you’re just using it for a costume, don’t spend more than $20 on one.

Shop for more affordable options at any store instead. As long as the hat keeps your head cool and completes your look, you should be fine.


Cowboy hats aren’t exclusive to horseback gatherings or Halloween parties. You can wear them whenever you want. Just make sure you buy a good quality hat made from quality material so you can enjoy it longer.

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