Cowboy hats have a long and rich history, making it one of the most iconic pieces of headwear in the United States. Genuine ranchers regard these as an essential functional piece, seeing as they help keep not just the sun, but perspiration, debris, and even insects at bay. Although they have gone a long way from being purely functional to being a fashion statement for many, you’ll still find manufacturers of authentic and high quality Western and rodeo clothing, footwear, and accessories today. However, choosing the perfect hat for your needs require a little more knowledge, seeing as they have evolved significantly over the years.
Choosing the Hat Material
Since cowboy hats are a crucial piece of daily Western and rodeo wear, it’s vital to take into consideration the climate. For instance, a straw cowboy hat for men or women is a much better option for the hotter days of the summer season, while those made of leather or felt are smarter choices for the colder months. Keep in mind that the composition and quality of hat materials also vary. For instance, your options in a straw hat include the higher-end, hand-crafted lacquer, which offers greater durability, protection, and comfort, and the more basic straw or palm. As for leather and felt, you’ll find hats available in a range of options, including wool felt, animal hide and fur, as well as synthetic materials.
Cowboy hats come with a material-quality grading often referred to as the “X Factor.” You’ll usually find this on the label inside the hat or indicated on the product listing, denoted as a number right beside the letter X. The higher the number, the better the quality is. As with any other product, the better the quality, the higher the price. It pays to invest in a higher material grade now, as this means longer-lasting protection from outdoor elements and harsh weather.