The 10 Best Men's Sun Hats
This wiki has been updated 39 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Wearing a hat is not only an easy way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but it also helps keep harsh light out of your eyes, making it easier to see on bright days. These men's hats come in a range of styles and materials, from classic straw varieties to those made from advanced fabrics that provide effective sun protection. They are available in a range of colors to suit most tastes. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 10, 2020:
Since the main purpose of these hats is to keep the sun out of one's eyes, as well as protect the skin from damage, we looked for materials that could block out UVA and UVB rays, and large brims to provide sufficient shade. We also aimed to include a range of aesthetics so that most shoppers, no matter their style, could find something in which they'd feel fashionable. Because these accessories are usually worn on hot days, we also looked for features to help keep the wearer cool.
We wanted to include some classic straw options, as these never go out of style, so the Quiksilver Outsider Straw, with its vibrant underbrim pattern options, snagged a spot. We also like that the fabric lining provides extra shade around the face. Though the CTM Lifeguard has the timeless aesthetic we appreciate, its weave is not tight enough, and it allows sun to get through, so it had to go. The Columbia PFG Bonehead earned a place because of its straw-looking materials that have a tight weave that offers great shielding from the sun, and a comfortable stretchy sweatband.
For those needing to stay cool while still shading their faces, there is the Outdoor Research Sombriolet, which has moisture-wicking fabric and smartly-placed ventilation. The Tilley T5MO Organic Airflo also has vents and is made from naturally breathable cotton. With nearly its entire crown made of mesh, the Henschel Hats Aussie Breezer 5310 is another smart pick for anyone trying to beat the heat.
We included some booney-style hats too, for those who prefer that look. There is the Columbia Bora Bora Booney and the Sun Protection Zone Booney. Each of these would make great companions for a day out on the water with your fishing pole.
Ted Baker London Tooslo Reversible Cotton Bucket Hat As its name promises, the Ted Baker London Tooslo Reversible Cotton Bucket Hat can be worn inside out to reveal its fashionable geo-printed side. It's made almost entirely of breathable cotton, with three-percent elastane for flexibility, has a moderately-sized brim should provide decent shade, and the navy blue color is neutral enough to match a lot of apparel. tedbaker.com
Kuhl Sun Dagger Hat With Mesh The Kuhl Sun Dagger Hat With Mesh combines the brand's proprietary Icekuhl technology and ventilation panels to keep you from overheating, and has a brim sized just right so as to provide shade without hindering your view. It has an adjustable buckle at the back to help secure it, and a moisture-wicking sweatband to keep you dry. There are three color options, each of which has a glare-reducing dark grey underbrim. kuhl.com
A Man And His Sun Hat
A brief survey of a few traditional hat types can help to shed light on the conundrum.
The process of choosing a man's hat presents a unique intersection at the crossroads of form and function. Some men couldn't care less what their hat looks like, so long as it keeps the sun off of their necks and out of their eyes. Other men treat a hat as an extension of their overall sartorial style statement, and are primarily concerned with getting a hat that looks great. When you need a hat that will serve a purpose beyond style, as you tend to spend lots of time in the sun, it can be tricky to find the right combination of functional headwear that also fits with your style. A brief survey of a few traditional hat types can help to shed light on the conundrum.
The iconic American cowboy hat remains wildly popular today, specifically in southern and western states. The cowboy hat as we know it can trace its origins to the 19th century, though its specific provenance is impossible to glean. The hats worn by American men spending long hours riding under the sun were likely inspired by hats worn by Mexican Vaqueros. The first regularly produced cowboy hats -- and the hats to which much of the style's legacy is owed -- were made by John B. Stetson in 1865. The cowboy hat's broad brim helps to block the sun, and its high crown provides room for heat to rise away from a man's head. When a design has reached near to perfection, it is seldom changed, thus the cowboy hats of today look much like those worn out on the plains more than 150 years ago.
A Panama hat is the name rather broadly assigned to hats originally woven from the leaves of the toquilla palm but often made from straw, felt, or other materials. These hats have brims slightly narrower than cowboy hats, yet still wide enough to provide shade to the face and neck. They are renowned for being tough and durable, easily rolled up and packed away as needed. Panama hats actually originated in Ecuador, but acquired their name due to the fact that shipments of them would travel to Panama prior to being delivered all over the world.
Straw sun hats are commonly associated both with workers in an Asian rice paddy and with the Mexican sombrero. Straw is a lightweight, breathable, abundant, and affordable material, thus the popularity of these hats with workers spending hours toiling in the sun, often for meager wages. Even today, straw remains a superlative material for a sun hat thanks to the same properties that popularized its use in centuries past.
Choosing A Hat For Outdoor Adventures And Work
When selecting a sun hat you will use while hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, or any other activity that will see you spending long hours outdoors and potentially sweating heavily, make sure you opt for a hat that will serve three primary purposes: it should keep the*sun* out of your eyes and off your neck, it should breathe enough to keep your crown cool, and it should hold back the sweat that will otherwise run down your brow. An outdoorsman's hat need not look stylish -- you likely don't go for a trek into the wilderness hoping to meet a date -- it needs to perform.
The same is true if your work sees you spending long hours outside.
The same is true if your work sees you spending long hours outside. A sun hat is part of your tool kit if you are a farmer, a surveyor (unless you're required to wear a helmet), a field researcher, or any other occupation with outdoor work as a major part of the job description. Again, consider plenty of sun protection, a sweat band, and a hat that can breathe either thanks to mesh, ventilation holes, or due to its material.
If you can choose a sun hat that's washable, so much the better. Chances are good that your sun hat is going to see its share of sweat, sunblock, and other liquids that can stain and saturate it, so choosing one that can go in the washing machine will keep it in better shape and keep you feeling fresher and ready to work each day.
Keep in mind that a sun hat is a purpose-built piece of clothing, and need not also keep you dry in the rain or warm at night. You'll need different headgear for that; the sun hat is only on duty while the sun is shining down on its owner. And remember, while you're out in the sun for hours on end, a sun hat is not a luxury, it's a necessity for your own safety and well-being.
Choosing A Hat For An Afternoon Out
If you're choosing a sun hat to keep the sunlight out of your eyes as you lounge by the pool, enjoy a sporting event, or stroll down city streets, then you have a bit more latitude in choosing your cap. A sun hat worn primarily during leisure time need not be as readily washable, as you won't likely be sweating as much as you would with a hike or a day working in the sun. These hats are also less likely to be exposed to mud, dust, paint, and so forth.
Your primary concern when choosing a stylish sun hat should indeed be how well it will block the sunlight that would otherwise shine into your eyes and onto your face and neck, but secondary considerations can involve appearance and portability. There are several great sun hats that can be packed away in a suitcase and come out holding their shape and looking great, and these are a fine choice for the summertime traveler.