Best Cowboy Hats Review

Last Updated on February 8, 2022 by Cinthia

Saddle up, cowboy! The image of cowboys galloping across the west in straw hats is a timeless one, and it’s a fashion statement that has withstood the test of time! Cowboy (and cowgirl) hats are a staple in today’s western riding community. 

While hats are never required for Western riders, as helmets are for English riders, they are commonly seen used for practical uses, like keeping the sun out of one’s eyes, and for competitive uses, like matching the rest of an outfit in a pleasure class.

In this article, I’ll be discussing some of the most renowned cowboy hat manufacturers in the USA, as well as reviewing some of their top products.  These companies include Ariat, Sheplers, Stetson, and Pinto Ranch.

Cowboy Hats Brands
Best Cowboy Hats Review
Best Cowboy Hats Review

As times have gone on and technologies have increased, cowboy hats are no longer the one-size-fits-all straw hats seen in paintings and pictures of the old west.  Today, there are sizings for them the same way there are sizings for helmets.

Cowboy hats can also come in many different colors, made out of many different kinds of materials.  There are straw hats, suede hats, leather hats, felt hats, and so on.

Anyone can wear a cowboy hat, not just western riders! They can be comfortable accessories for anyone spending time outside; their wide brims protect all areas of skin on your head and neck, and they can complete the look on any “western” outfit.

  • Ariat

While relatively new to the western world, Ariat is a renowned equestrian clothing manufacturer.  The name “Ariat” comes from the last syllable of the name of the famous Triple Crown-winning racehorse, Secretariat (i.e.- Secretariat).  

Ariat was known for making quality English riding boots, breeches, shirts, and show coats at affordable prices.  A few years ago, the company decided to enter the western market, the outdoorsman’s market, and the working market.

Today, Ariat makes English riding clothes, western riding clothes, outdoors clothes (such as hiking boots and trail shoes), and working clothes (steel-toed boots, fire retardant shirts, and pants, etc.)  

Ariat stepped into the western ring, so to speak, nearly overnight.  One day they were only making tall boots, and the next day they were sponsoring bull riders in the PBR.  Today, Ariat’s name and logo can be seen all over the place at competitive western riding events.

Ariat makes quality hats at reasonable costs, as is their mantra with English riding gear.  While Ariat doesn’t sell them directly from their website, their hats are sold at many western wear retailers and online shops.

Read more about How To Shape A Cowboy Hat

  • Shelpers

All western riders know the name Sheplers.  Shelpers has the biggest variety of western wear available on the internet!  If you know exactly what you want- Shelpers is the place for you.  

They specialize in only western riding gear and clothing, and they have more of it than any other online or in-store retailer.  Shelpers carry cowboy boots, hats, shirts, western-style jeans, and work boots.

They carry these products for men, women, and children, and offer huge varieties of colors and sizes. Because there is such a large variety of products, there is also a large variety of prices.  Some items from Shelpers can be reasonably affordable, and others can be a bit pricey.

But, the pricey items are made with the highest quality.  It really depends on what you are looking for and how much value the product has to you.

  • Stetson

It’s best to think of Stetson as the Mercedes of the western wear industry.  Stetson produces the very best and the very highest quality hats and boots.  Based in Colorado, the heart of the western world, Stetson produces western products enviable around the world.

Stetson has also been a reliable western brand for decades, producing products for both men and women.  Stetson’s brand sells not only products but a lifestyle. Their website, graphics, and marketing ventures depict an aesthetic, refined, western lifestyle.

Stetson sells itself as a high-end way to enjoy western life.  Yes, they sell products intended for outdoor use and work, but they spin it into a beautiful, sophisticated look.  For this reason, it’s surprising that Stetson can offer the best prices out of all three brands reviewed.

Learn How To Wear A Cowboy Hat

Best Cowboy Hats Reviews

1. Ariat Men’s Wool Cowboy Hat

One of these online retailers is Amazon! Amazon carries the Ariat Men’s Wool Cowboy Hat.  This cowboy hat is available in sizes 6 ¾” through 7 ⅝,” and comes in both “Chocolate (dark brown) and Black.  

It features the traditionally shaped cowboy brim with a leather braided rope or “hatband” around the top portion of the hat.  This cowboy hat has an absolutely timeless look. 

As we will see through further reviews, this is about as low of a price as cowboy hats come! Especially if you are looking for a cowboy hat for casual and practical use, this would be a great hat for you. 

Ariat’s Wool Cowboy Hat will protect your face from the sun, while also giving you the look of a genuine western rider or western worker.  It can be worn casually, on the ranch, or in the competition ring.

Best Cowboy Hats Brands
Pros Cons
-Affordable -Not many color options
-Classic look  
-Reliable brand  


2. Shelpers Resistol Men’s Sage 6X Midnight Western Felt Hat

A great example of this is the Shelpers `Resistol Men’s Sage 6X Midnight Western Felt hat.  This is an extremely popular cowboy hat form Shelpers.  While this isn’t an unreasonable price for professional hats, it is significantly more than the Ariat hat observed earlier. 

This hat looks extremely similar to the Ariat Men’s Wool Cowboy Hat, so why is it so much more expensive?  The simple answer is the name and quality. When you buy a Shelpers hat, you’re buying a brand that has proven itself to be a quality western manufacturer for decades.

You’re buying the quality that people in the western community know to be one of the best.  While Ariat does make high-quality products, Shelpers has the experience of decades to back their products, while Ariat has the experience of a few years.

The Resistol Men’s Sage hat comes in a classic dark brown color and also features a matching felt hatband wrapping around the upper portion of the hat.  It is a beautiful hat, and would be a great fit for anyone looking to own a Shelpers piece!

Best Cowboy Hats Reviews
Pros Cons
-Reliable brand -Expensive
-Quality hat  

3. Men’s Bozeman Wool Felt Crushable Cowboy Hat

Stetson’s Bozeman Wool Felt Crushable Cowboy Hat stands out in a crowd of cowboy hats for a few reasons.  While looking almost identical to the Ariat Men’s Wool Cowboy Hat and the Shelpers Resistol Men’s Sage 6X Midnight Western Felt Hat, the Bozeman is sold at a cheaper price point, and it is “spring-loaded.”

In other words, the Bozeman hat can get crushed or smashed or folded the wrong way, and still bounce back into its original, intended shape.  This is one of the hardest parts of owning a cowboy hat; they are difficult to store.

Good, new cowboy hats often have to be thrown to the wayside due to being folded or bent and rendered unwearable.  But, due to new technologies, the Bozeman will bounce back from being bent or folded and reform its original shape. 

The Men’s Bozeman Wool Felt Crushable Cowboy Hat can be purchased in Black, Light Brown, and Mushroom (a beige-type color).  It comes in sizes extra small through double extra large.

Product Review- Men’s Bozeman Wool Felt Crushable Cowboy Hat
Pros Cons
-Reliable, high-quality brand  
-Affordable price  
-Bounce-back technology  


There are many cowboy hat options on the market and many competitive brands!  The western-wear industry has been a staple of American clothing since the settlement of the west.

The image of a cowboy riding across the plains in a straw hat, button-up shirt, and leather boots have withstood the test of time and continues to inspire both consumers and manufacturers to emulate this style.

I hope this article has helped you learn about some of the best cowboy hats and cowboy hat brands on the market today! If so, please share this article, and share with us your experience purchasing a cowboy hat!

Learn about Cowboy Hat Shapes


What hats do real cowboys wear?

If you are looking for a specific brand of hat cowboys wear, it would be Resistol. Ranch hands, cowboys who work on the range, and rodeo cowboys have been wearing Resistol hats for over 90 years. A real cowboy hat is worn to provide shade from the hot sun and to add extra warmth in the colder weather.

Can you wear a cowboy hat if I’m not a cowboy?

Yes of course anyone can wear a cowboy hat. Cowboys look at their hats as a tool, it has a function and is not a fashion statement. If you are not a ranch hand, cowboy, or rancher there is no real reason for you to wear a cowboy hat. If you choose to wear a cowboy hat and are not a cowboy you may be considered a poser and to some that is something they prefer not to be called. In the end, it is all personal preference and you feel that wearing a cowboy hat is something you would like to wear, then wear it.

What does 100X cowboy hat mean?

The X on a cowboy hat tells you what the fur content of the hat is. The more fur that is in the fur blend that is used to make the cowboy hat the height the “x” marking for that hat is. So a hat that is 2X has the lowest amount of fur felt in a cowboy hat and will have a stiff feel and look to it. A hat with 100X means the fur content of the fur felt is high and will use be a blend of wild hare, wild rabbit, beaver fur as wool blends. A 100X hat will have a soft and silky look and feel. 

What is cowboy hat etiquette?

Cowboy hat etiquette is compiled of some very simple rules to follow. 

#1. Know when to take off your hat. Always remove your hat for the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, passing of the flag, church, during church, prayer, and religious services and funeral procession. Take your hat off and hold it with one hand when being introduced to be a woman. If you are entering someone’s home, talking to an elder, having dinner in a private home or restaurant, remove your hat.

#2. Make sure you wear the right cowboy hat of the season. Felt hats were designed to be worn in the winter. They were intended to keep your head warm on cold winter nights. Straw hats are for summer. The straw hats are much lighter and allow airflow to keep you cool when it is hot out. 

#3. Handing your hat. It is important to hold your hat by the crown so the lining cannot be seen by others. 

#4. How to set your hat down!  When you are not wearing your hat,  hang it on a hat rack, or place it upside down on a flat surface, or in a hatbox. You set your hat with the brim up or upside down to give it the opportunity to air out and maintains its proper shape. 

#5 Hat tipping. Tip your hat the right way. Use your hat to acknowledge a group of people and to get the attention of someone when in a large group.                                                                                      

Why do cowboy hats curl up? 

Years ago cowboy hats took shape on how the owner handled their hat and over time that is how the shape of the cowboy hats we all know today got their shape. The curved-up brim on both sides of the cowboy hat so it will stay out of the way of a rope that is swinging, and the pinched crown of the cowboy hat provides an almost custom-like fit.