Men all over the world have been wearing straw hats for decades to keep cool. Straw is a durable and lightweight material, making it ideal for protecting your head during the summer.
Today, there’s a wide variety of men’s straw hats made from different materials, making them vary in quality, feel, and style.
Read on to learn more about straw hats for men, including what they’re made of, if they provide adequate sun protection, the different types of straw hats, and what to look for in a straw hat.
What Are Straw Hats Made Of?
Straw hats are made of natural or synthetic straw materials tightly interwoven and brimmed to shield one against the sun.
Interestingly, they come in many different styles, and people in Europe and Asia have worn them since the Middle Ages. It’s amazing, but these hats have never lost their appeal to many who use them for protection against the sun’s glare.
Straw hats are loved for their durability and lightweight, thanks to the material used to make them. In addition, the hats are woven, leaving small openings that allow for cooling and ventilation even on the hottest of days. These hats are also ever trendy. To learn more about size, read our guide on hat size chart.
Do Straw Hats Provide Sun Protection?
The effectiveness of a straw hat primarily depends on how tight the weaving is and hole sizes. These determine the sun rays the hat allows through, making it either excellent at protecting you against the sun or very poor.
Therefore, when shopping for a straw hat, it’s advisable to hold it up to see how much light it lets through. Straw sun hats usually come with a UPF factor (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating. We recommend you buy a hat with a UPF factor of around 50 for maximum sun protection.
In addition, the tighter the weave, the less the amount of sunlight a straw hat will allow through, and the more the protection it offers. Tighter and finer weaves reflect how much effort is put into constructing the hat. Subsequently, this makes such hats more expensive as you’d expect.
Types of Men’s Straw Hats
Straw hats, usually woven from synthetic or natural thin straw material, are trendy, comfortable, and extremely lightweight. Moreover, the hats provide excellent protection from the sun while ensuring your head can still breathe.
The most popular men’s straw-hat styles include:
- The boater style– Popular with travel bloggers on gondolas
- Lifeguard straw men’s hat
- Fedora style straw hat
- Panama style straw hat
1. The Boater Straw Hat
The boater straw hat is one style men have worn for much of history.
Traditionally, it is worn as a formal hat during warm weather. Interestingly, there was an official calendar day (every second Saturday of May) when men would officially begin wearing summer boater hats in place of their winter hats. They even had a name for the day— Straw Hat Day.
Boater straw hats, typically made of stiff straws, look unique with their stiff, flat brim and crown. Interestingly, in many boys’ schools in Australia, UK, and South Africa, the hat is still a part of the school uniform.
Although these hats are worn primarily for men, they’re unisex, so ladies are not left out in this excellent piece of accessory. What’s more, it’s timeless yet fashionable although not the best for sun protection due to its short brim.
2. Panama Straw Hat
Are you planning to go on a vacation? The ideal hat for vacationers is the Panama straw hat. That’s because it’s breathable and easy to wear.
Panama straw hats are popular with men who enjoy linen or light silk suits. Traditionally, it’s made of light-colored Toquilla straw.
These hats consist of tighter weaves. Hence they require more work to make them, which makes them more expensive. Many tourists and vacationers wear them for a classy look and excellent sun protection.
Here’s an interesting tidbit about Panama straw hats. President Roosevelt had a number of them, and he wore them on several occasions while visiting the Panama Canal in early 1906.
3. Fedora Straw Hat
The fedora and Panama hats are pretty similar. In fact, most people have a hard time telling them apart.
So what’s the difference between a fedora and a panama hat?
While the Toquilla straw material is what defines Panama hats, the shape is what defines the Fedoras. Additionally, while Panama hats are strictly made from straw, Fedoras can be made from other materials such as felt.
To make it easier for you to tell the two hats apart, here are characteristics of a fedora:
- Low crown
- Pinched front
- Moderately wide bream
These features make the Fedora stylish and very effective in sun protection. They’re a favorite choice of many men tourists due to their lightweight and excellent sun protection. What’s more, the hats can match just about any outfit without drawing away from their style. We love fedora hats more on men with long hair!
4. The Lifeguard Straw Hat
The lifeguard straw hat is a popular hat whose fame can be attributed to its naming after lifeguards along the California coast. To date, the hat is popular with not only lifeguards, but fishers and gardeners alike.
These hats are made of thick straws that are loosely woven. They have an adjustable chin strap and a unique high crown.
In terms of sun protection, Lifeguard straw hats are not the best. However, they provide cover from harsh sun rays and are stylish.
Features of the Best Straw Hats for Men
The best straw hats for men have the following characteristics:
- Excellent sun protection
- A wide brim to shield the eyes and the face.
Look for these features on your next shopping trip to get a stylish hat that also effectively protects you from UV rays.
Men’s straw hats are an excellent summertime accessory for most outdoor activities. They’re designed to keep your body cool and protect your face against the harmful UV rays from the sun. Whether you’re basking at the beach, gardening, fishing, or traveling, a good straw hat is necessary to keep you cool all through.