Last Updated on February 27, 2023
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! There is no more iconic sight than a cowboy galloping across the plains, wearing a cowboy hat of course! But if you’re on the lookout for a new hat, what are the best cowboy hat brands to look for?
Cowboy (and cowgirl) hats are a staple in today’s western riding community. Whilst hats are not normally compulsory for Western riders, as helmets are for English riders, they are commonly used for practical reasons. They help to keep the sun and dust out of your eyes, shelter you from unexpected rain, shade you from the sun, and hold your hair away from your face. Cowboy hats are often also required for competitive uses, such as matching the rest of an outfit in a pleasure class.
Today we’ll be reviewing some of the best cowboy hat brands in the USA, as well as picking out some of their top products. The best cowboy hat brands include Ariat, Sheplers, Stetson, and Pinto Ranch.
Best Cowboy Hats Brands
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 different-sized hats, in the same way, there are sizings for safety helmets, and different cowboy hat shapes for face shapes, such as the iconic heart-shaped cowboy hat.
Quality 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.
And, it goes without saying that cowboy hats are not just for boys! There are some great cowgirl hat brands out there, designed to suit any women who need a practical yet fashionable hat for a hard day out on the ranch.
While there are many different cowboy hat manufacturers out there, some brands come recommended time and time again. Here are some of the most famous and best cowboy hat brands found around the world:
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 has long been 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, outdoor 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
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 supply all of these products for men, women, and children, and offer vast 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.
However, the pricey items are made with the highest quality and may be more durable and long-lasting. It really depends on what you are looking for and how much value the product has to you.
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 them 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
So, now you know the best cowboy hat brands to look for, it’s time to pick out our favorite products! Sometimes the range of products available can be overwhelming, so we’ve got some great suggestions to get you started. Here are our top picks for the products to look for from the best cowboy hat brands:
The Ariat Men’s Wool Cowboy Hat 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 style and 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.
This cowboy hat is available in sizes 6 ¾” through 7 ⅝,” and comes in chocolate (dark brown) and black color options. The leather sweatband will keep your head cool and comfortable, even after long hours in the saddle.
When it comes to value for money, this is very reasonably priced for a good-quality wool hat. So, if you are looking for a cowboy hat for casual and practical use, this would be a great choice to make.
The sizing for this hat does tend to run small, so if you are ordering online, we’d suggest getting a size larger. A better option would be to try one on in a store before you purchase to make sure you get the perfect fit.
|Affordable||Not many color options|
|Classic look||Sizing runs small|
If you’re searching for a top-of-the-range cowboy hat, then look no further than the Shelpers Resistol 6X Midnight 4 1/4in. Brim Felt Cowboy Hat. This is an extremely popular cowboy hat amongst professional riders, due to its comfort and durability.
This cowboy hat doesn’t come cheap, but a good cowboy hat should last you for many years, and this one certainly will. You are paying for the quality and years of experience of the Shelpers brand, which have proven itself to be a quality western manufacturer for several decades.
This hat features a leather sweatband to keep your head cool and comfortable, and the 6X rating means it can withstand a light shower or snowfall without losing its shape.
The Resistol Midnight range comes in several different colors to suit all tastes. All the hats feature a matching felt hatband and discreet yet stylish silver-colored buckle adornment. This is a beautiful hat, and would be a great fit for anyone looking to own a Shelpers piece!
|Top quality hat|
Stetson’s Bozeman Wool Felt Crushable Cowboy Hat stands out in a crowd of cowboy hats for a few reasons. Not only is it available at a very reasonable price for a Stetson, but it is also “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 without crushing them!
Cowboy hats often have to be thrown to the wayside due to being folded or bent and rendered unwearable. But, thanks to new, innovative technologies, the Bozeman will bounce back from being bent or folded and reform its original shape.
This hat is classed as an ‘outdoor hat’, meaning it is intended to be worn for all outdoor pursuits, not just horseback riding. It is naturally water resistant and the wide brim will keep your head and shoulders dry in the event of an unexpected rain shower. The lightweight and comfortable sweatband will mean you quickly forget you are even wearing a hat!
The Stetson Men’s Bozeman Wool Felt Crushable Cowboy Hat can be purchased in black, light brown, and mushroom beige. It comes in sizes extra small through double extra large.
If you’ve dreamed of owning a Stetson hat but always assumed they were out of your price range, this could be the hat for you!
|Reliable, high-quality brand|
Summary – Best Cowboy Hat Brands
As we have learned, there are many cowboy hat options on the market and many competitive brands! The western riding wear industry has been a staple of American clothing since the settlement of the west. You will find many bespoke riding wear manufacturers in small American towns, as well as larger manufacturers who supply cowboy hats to riders around the world.
The iconic image of a cowboy riding across the plains in a cowboy hat, button-up shirt, and leather boots has withstood the test of time and continues to inspire both consumers and manufacturers to emulate this style.
We hope that this article has helped you learn about some of the best cowboy hat brands on the market today, and given you some ideas of the best products to look for! If so, please share this article, and tell us about 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 that cowboys wear, a good place to start 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, and Resistol hats are designed to be practical, durable, and very stylish.
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, they have a function and are not intended to be a fashion statement. A good cowboy hat protects the face from wind, rain, sun, and dust, and also keeps the sun out of your eyes. Some cowboy hats are also water resistant, perfect for if you get caught out in a rain shower.
However, if you are not a ranch hand, cowboy, or rancher there is no real reason why you couldn’t wear a cowboy hat. Many cowboy hat brands, such as the Stetson Bozeman hat, have been rebranded as outdoor hats – this means you can wear them for any outdoor pursuits, even walking the dog! So, if you fancy wearing a cowboy hat, don’t let the fact that you’re not sitting on a horse put you off.
What does 100X cowboy hat mean?
The X rating 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 higher the “X” marking for that hat is.
A hat that is 2X rated 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 felt is high – these hats often use a blend of wild hare, wild rabbit, and beaver fur as wool blends. A 100X hat will have a soft and silky look and feel and is considered to be the ultimate luxury in cowboy hats.
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 being a woman. If you are entering someone’s home, talking to an elder, or having dinner in a private home or restaurant, remove your hat.
#2. Make sure you wear the right cowboy hat for 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. Set your hat down correctly. When you are not wearing your hat, hang it on a hat rack, place it upside down on a flat surface, or in a hatbox. You set your hat with the brim up or upside down to allow it to air out and maintain 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?
The shape of a cowboy hat is a result of how they have been used and adapted over the years. It is possible to buy a cowboy hat that has not been shaped, although many now come ‘pre-curled’! The good thing about a brand-new, unshaped cowboy hat is that you can shape it exactly as you want it.
Years ago, cowboy hats took shape on how the owner handled and wore their hat; over time this has become the classic, iconic cowboy hat shape. The curved-up brim on both sides of the cowboy hat is so that it will stay out of the way of a rope that is swinging, and the pinched crown makes it easier to put on and remove the hat with one hand.
Michael Dehaan is a passionate horse owner, horse rider, and lover of all things equine. He has been around horses since he was a child, and has grown to become an expert in the field. He has owned and ridden a variety of horses of different breeds, and has trained many to compete in shows and competitions. He is an experienced horseman, having worked with and competed many horses, including his own. He is an active member of the equestrian community, participating in events and teaching riding lessons.