Saddle up, partners! I wrangled some deep insight on the top cowboy hat brands for riders and wranglers alike. These 12 brands clicked their spurs to earn a spot in my line-up.
I’ll highlight key deets on materials, manufacturing, price ranges and more so you can select your perfect Western topper. We’ll mosey through proper care and hat etiquette too. Before riding off into the sunset, I’ll share trends and innovations in Stetson styles across cinema and pop culture.
So hold onto your hats and let this ex-ranch hand help you find your ideal cowboy lid!
Leather vs Straw: How to Choose the Best Cowboy Hat Material
Cowboy hats come in a variety of materials, most commonly leather or straw. But how do you pick which is best for you and your needs? Here are some key considerations:
- Straw breathes better and stays cooler in warm weather
- Leather insulates heat better for cold climates
- Straw is more resistant to rain, but can become misshapen
- Leather handles rain and snow but shows wear over time
- Straw has thick weaves that cushion more
- Leather is slightly more durable against bumps
Looks & Style
- Straw has a bright, rustic style well-suited for summer
- Leather has a classic, timeless Western vibe year-round
- Straw tends to be cheaper in most cases
- Leather has premium pricing for higher quality
- Straw requires reshaping after water contact
- Leather needs condition treatment to avoid cracking
Now that you know the core differences, consider your personal needs and style preferences. Both materials make excellent cowboy hats with the right care – so start by determining if heat regulation or rugged durability is more vital for the activities you have in mind!
12 Best Cowboy Hat Brands, Reviewed
Based on craftsmanship, authenticity, value, and customer satisfaction, here are my picks for the 12 top cowboy hat makers of 2023:
With well over 150 years of hatmaking under its belt, Stetson is the undisputed leader of cowboy hat brands. Their designs outfitted legendary folk heroes like Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley with hats still emulated today.
Modern Stetsons use premium finishes like hand-pressed fur felt or rich top-grain leathers. Beyond their legendary cowboy styles, they also craft fashion-forward dress hats perfect for a night out on the town after a long day wrangling doggies!
Price Range: $100 – $500+
Manufacturing: Garland, TX, USA
Best For: Iconic, luxury cowboy hats with a mix of classic and modern styles. Top choice for collectors.
Operating since 1889, Scully sticks to its roots crafting authentic Western wear staples. Their diverse lineup caters to cowboys and cowgirls with hats, clothing, boots and accessories.
Scully uses detailed techniques like perfect creases, custom curling and careful hand-shaping to produce sleek cowboy hats ideal for an evening concert or weekend rodeo. You‘ll also love their heritage Straw Collection for breathable warm weather wear.
Price Range: $40 – $200
Manufacturing: Notre Dame, Indiana USA
Best For: Casual and professional cowboy hats for men, women and children. Great quality-to-price ratio.
Fellow Texans can’t get enough Resistol hats! As one of the largest domestic hat suppliers around, Resistol has graced the heads of many a bullrider and country superstar like George Strait.
Each Resistol hat gets handcrafted and inspected at their factory in Garland, TX. They use advanced techniques like steam-shaping to lock in that perfect cowboy contour your granddaddy would be jealous of!
Price Range: $90 – $250
Manufacturing: Garland, TX, USA
Best For: Premium modern & vintage inspired cowboy hats made the Texas way
4. Stacy Adams
Most know Stacy Adams for their sharp dress shoes, but did you know they also craft suave chapeaus? Their specialty lies in fashion-forward twists on traditional silhouettes.
So whether you need a breathable seagrass ranch hat or a charcoal rabbit felt topper, Stacy Adams puts out luxe lids no cowboy would kick to the curb for a Saturday night dancehall affair!
Price Range: $60 – $150
Manufacturing: China & Vietnam
Best For: Fashion fusion cowboy hats with refined modern style
As a family-owned business since 1938, Silverado has decades of expertise to share. Their artisans handcraft each hat from premium North American and European materials.
In addition to their extensive cowboy catalog, Silverado makes prim dress hats and casual caps to top off any outfit with flair. So don your best denim and make their distressed brown leather Rancher your signature look this season!
Price Range: $70 – $250
Manufacturing: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Best For: High quality, unique leather cowboy hats for men and women
6. Bullhide Hats
For hats tougher than an ornery bull, mosey on over to Bullhide Hats! Starting in the 1990s, Bullhide aimed to make long-lasting cowboy lids for hardworking Western folk chasing doggies dawn ‘til dusk.
Their go-to material? Rugged yet supple premium leather from Brazil, Argentina and the good ‘ol US of A. It takes around 3 days for their skilled leather craftsmen to shape each hat into a downright decent dome topper.
Price Range: $57 – $250
Best For: Affordable yet durable leather cowboy hats
7. American Hat Company
With deep roots dating back to 1915, American Hat Company still handcrafts quality cowboy hats tailored to your unique noggin.
Their skilled artisans steam and shape each hat multiple times until that perfect custom fit and contour emerges right before their eyes. Beyond their stellar construction, American Hat Co stands out with their variety of colors sure to suit any cowboy or cowgirl!
Price Range: $100 – $250
Manufacturing: Bowie, TX, USA
Best For: Custom-shaped fitted cowboy hats in vibrant colors
8. Twisted X Boots
Best known for their comfy cowboy kicks, Twisted X also whips up Ray Failure panama straw hats for breezy shade when wrangling cattle across dusty plains.
Their casual cowboy lids come with leather banding and that unmistakable X-shaped leather patch Twisted X emblazons their entire line with. Paired up with their popular driving mocs, you’ll be the sharpest rancher striking fear into the hearts of ornery critters everywhere!
Price Range: $25 – $45
Manufacturing: Unknown, likely overseas
Best For: Value-focused straw cowboy hats perfect for rugged daily use
The Frye boot company lassos in hordes of loyal devotees with its top quality leatherwork across all products. Their small yet mighty cowboy hat line lives up to expectations beautifully.
Frye’s artisans hand-stitch braided leather bands and shapely brims worthy of a high noon quick-draw duel! With proper care, your Frye felt or straw hat will hold its structure and look spiffier than Hank Williams Sr riding into the great beyond.
Price Range: $158 – $248
Manufacturing: China & Vietnam
Best For: Luxurious leather & straw cowboy hats complementing Frye‘s iconic boots
Known for pioneering the original “gambler” crease, Bailey keeps cranking out dapper cowboy hats since back in 1922! Every last Bailey gets handcrafted and molded from premium wool, fur wool and blends.
With nearly 20 crease options alone, they empower gents and ladies to design the ideal cowboy contour to offset their facial features and stature.
Price Range: $195 – $450+
Manufacturing: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Best For: Fine vintage-inspired & custom cowboy hats made in America
Hailing from the land down under, Akubra makes hats tough enough for harsh Aussie elements since the early 1900s! Made famous by iconic explorer Phar Lap and Crocodile Dundee himself, Akubras still hold up to heavy ranch use today.
Using premium rabbit and hare fur felt, Akubra steam molds their band-less cowboy lids into the ideal crease. The resulting hat resists rain better than a dingo in a thunderstorm!
Price Range: $145 – $200+
Manufacturing: New South Wales, Australia
Best For: Water-resistant rabbit felt cowboy hats made for adventure
12. Laramie Western Wear
Last but not least, family-owned Laramie Western Wear has supplied cowhands with durable cowboy gear since 1948. For traditional no-frills Stetsons without the premium price tags, Laramie delivers.
Every Laramie hat gets hand-molded using custom steam boxes before finishing and shipping out from their Texas factory. With over 20 felt colors and plenty crease options, you design the quintessential cowboy lid the big Texan way.
Price Range: $70 – $130
Manufacturing: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Best For: Classic affordable cowboy hats made entirely in Texas
Finding the Perfect Fit: Measuring Tips for Cowboy Hats
Cowboy hats ain’t no one-size-fits-all gig. For ideal comfort and that Western silhouette you covet, accurate hat sizing is key. Here’s how to measure your head to find your perfect match:
What You Need
- Soft measuring tape
- Helper or mirror
- Paper and pen
- Wrap the measuring tape comfortably around your head about 1/2 inch above your ears and eyebrows.
- Note where the tape overlaps forming the full circle around your crown.
- Record this measurement in inches or centimeters. This is your hat size!
Most quality cowboy hats include specific sizing info. If buying in-store, try on different sizes and brands until the hat fits snugly but not painfully tight. The hat shouldn’t sag or fall off when gently shook. Don’t size up more than 1/4 inch for a proper fit.
For ordering online, reference websites’ sizing charts to find your size. If between, size down for a more secure fit.
Cowboy Hat Etiquette & Care Tips
If you decide to don a stylish new rodeo lid, adhere to proper cowboy hat etiquette out of respect for Western tradition:
- Remove hat indoors/during anthem, prayer, meal
- Never place directly on bed or chair (hold or use stand)
- Tip hat downwards to politely greet ladies
- Let children try on your hat if curious
Care & Cleaning Tips
- Store shape-side up on wide brim hat stand
- Spot clean stains gently with damp cloth
- Seek professional steam cleaning when needed
- Apply conditioner to leather hats 2-4 times per year
Following these guidelines preserves your prized cowboy cover and communicates respect to your fellow countrymen. It ensures the spirits of historic Western icons like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood smile down brightly upon that noble crown!
Evolution of the Cowboy Hat in Cinema & Pop Culture
The cowboy hat continues making its Hollywood rounds from classic Westerns to neo-Westerns like Yellowstone keeping Western fashion trends alive. Let’s mosey through a cattle trail of cowboy hat highlights in popular films and culture:
1920s-1940s: Felt cowboy hats enter cinema via stars like John Wayne and Gary Cooper setting quintessential standards.
1950s: Tall 10X beaver felt “Montana peaks” trend after appearing in Western series like Bonanza.
1960s-1970s: Country music artists like Johnny Cash bring black cowboy hats into the mainstream with his folk hero allure.
1980s-1990s: Tom Mix-styled flat brimmed cowboy hats take over thanks to Indiana Jones and urban fashion trends.
2000s: Resurgence of wide-brim cowboy hats inspired by a young Brad Pitt in The Mexican.
2010s: Faded and distressed straw cowboy hats gain popularity thanks to boho-chic fashion trends.
2020s: The cowboy hat resurges with neo-Westerns like Yellowstone, country trap music and American pride.
In recent years, cowboy hats of all breeds make appearances across media – from music videos to runway fashion. Cowboy culture continues capturing imagination well beyond the Wild West!
Hopefully this deep dive helps wrangle your inner maverick towards the ideal cowboy hat brand for all your Western wanderings! With knowledge of quality materials, proper fit, care and culture, your newlid will serve every hoedown hootenanny or doggy drive admirably.
Just don‘t let it overshadow that iconic face it’s resting upon, ya hear? Now get on out and make John B. Stetson proud wearing your new crown! Catch ya on the dusty trails, partners!