5 Best Cowboy Hat Brands: Find Top Quality Hat Companies

A woman wearing a cowboy hat during sunset
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Ori Adler

The right cowboy hat can make or break your western outfit. And by choosing your hat from one of the top companies, you can be sure it will last through whatever you throw at it.

 

True cowboys have three things in common: dedication, patience, and toughness. The cowboy hat brand you decide to go with should also have those three qualities.

 

Whether you’re gardening in your backyard, hitting the hiking trails, heading out to the ranch, visiting the rodeo, or simply want to look your best in western attire, these are the five best cowboy hat brands you should check out:

 

Related: Types of Cowboy Hats: Styles and Creases

 

1. American Hat Makers

 

 

American Hat Makers knows what’s important when it comes to a high-quality cowboy hat — you’ll find every hat made with deliberate effort and attention to detail down to the last stitch.

 

Founded by Gary Watrous, American Hat Makers has been handcrafting cowboy hats in the USA for nearly 50 years. It all began with Gary selling handmade hats out of his station wagon in the ‘70s — now, the company is one of the largest global hat makers in the country.

 

At American Hat Makers, they use only the finest materials to make their hats and hat bands locally in Santa Cruz, California. The company is so invested in the quality of its cowboy hats that every hat they sell is guaranteed to last you a lifetime.

 

American Hat Makers is a family-run business that creates high-quality cowboy hats made in the US and designed to last. You’ll find the company’s hats everywhere, from hiking trails to rodeos and ranches.

 

What does a high-quality cowboy hat look like? View our men’s and women’s cowboy hats and see for yourself!

 

American Hat Makers is the Best Cowboy Hat Brand

 

2. Justin

 

Justin Cowboy Hats

 

If you consider yourself a cowboy boot expert, you might be surprised to see Justin on a list of the best cowboy hat brands. The historic company is most well-known for its boots instead of its hats.

 

However, Justin imparts the same esteemed craftsmanship we see in their boots to their selection of straw and felt cowboy hats.

 

Founded in Gainesville, Texas, in 1879, Justin started out producing cowboy boots but later expanded its catalog to include other cowboy apparel, like jeans and cowboy hats.

 

With tough finishes and sturdy construction, it’s no wonder that you often see Justin cowboy boots and hats on ranches and at rodeos. Their durable construction makes them perfect for cowboys with rambunctious responsibilities — like riding bucking broncos and herding cattle.

 

3. Resistol

 

Resistol Cowboy Hats

 

Resistol is another brand name that every cowboy knows. Everything about the company flows out from its mantra: “We live it every day,” from its longevity and prominence in the cowboy hat market to its base in the heart of Garland, Texas.

 

In a few years, Resistol will turn 100 years old, marking the company’s centennial anniversary with its impressive resume, distributing over a million of its famous cowboy hats each year.

 

Resistol is a Texas icon when it comes to cowboy hats — if you see someone in their home state of Texas wearing a quality cowboy hat, it’s likely a Resistol.

 

The company’s prestigious line of straw and felt cowboy hats have earned respect and admiration from western celebrities and the cowboys we all know and love.

 

A cowboy wearing a white hat during a rodeo

 

Related: How to Clean Straw Cowboy Hats

 

George Strait is a massive supporter of Resistol, and he developed a line of cowboy hats alongside the company. In addition, you’ll often see famous cowboys and western figures like John Wayne and Henry Fonda sporting Resistol cowboy hats.

 

If you’re looking for a new cowboy hat from a company entrenched in American culture, you can’t go wrong with Resistol.

 

4. Stetson

 

Stetson Cowboy Hats

 

Even though Stetson shares a parent company with Resistol, the company’s line of cowboy hats is quite unique.

 

Stetson cowboy hats offer more fashion-forward, modern styles that focus on providing stylish cowboy hats for casual wear rather than on the ranch.

 

The company has been making its famous line of cowboy hats since 1865, when John B. Stetson established it in the cowboy capital of Philly, Pennsylvania. Stetson is a giant in the western industry; it’s not uncommon for the top country singers to be seen touting around a Stetson cowboy hat.

 

In addition to Stetson’s line of felt, leather, cloth, safari, and straw cowboy hats, they also create other cowboy apparel, including accessories, boots, and outerwear.

 

Stetson combines the Wild West’s timeless spirit with modern sensibilities, creating evergreen products for the modern cowboy. It’s no wonder that you’ll find Stetson on any list of the best cowboy hat brands.

 

5. JW Brooks

 

JW Brooks Cowboy Hats

 

If you want a cowboy hat unlike any other, you’ll want to look into JW Brooks. The company is one of a few that works together with its customers to create personalized cowboy hats.

 

You can design your dream hat by adjusting everything from the materials it’s made of to the colors, size, and shapes.

 

JW Brooks — the company’s founder — worked for various cowboy hat manufacturers throughout the ‘90s and started his own custom company in 2000 under the name “Powder River Hat Company.”

 

The company uses high-quality furs to make their handcrafted cowboy hats and gives their customers complete creative control when it comes to designing their hats.

 

Cowboy boots, a rope, and a cowboy hat

 

High-Quality Cowboy Hats: Honorable Mentions

 

While we recommend the five brands listed above over most other cowboy hat companies, there are a few others you can look into if you can’t find the right match for you on our list:

 

  • Ariat: As a newer company, Ariat introduced itself to the market in 1993 and has since sold straw and felt cowboy hats across the country. The company’s cowboy hats are typically priced fairly, and you can find them at retailers across the country.
  • Burns: As the oldest family-owned western apparel and cowboy hat brand in the world, Burns was established as a company in Salina, Utah, in 1876. While the quality of Burns hats is exceptional, the company’s prices are quite steep, which is why they didn’t make the top five list.

 

Related: The Rules of Cowboy Hat Etiquette

 

What Makes A Superior Hat Brand?

 

While the brands on our list have a reputation for making high-quality hats, it’s important to understand why they have this reputation. After all, you want one that actually lives up to what people say about it.

 

A superior hat brand uses superior materials. This will help the hat last for years to come with proper care.

 

After all, hats are meant to be worn. You don’t want one that will have the finish rubbing off after a few wears. Instead, it should be able to stand up to the elements. Premium materials also lead to more comfortable and better-looking hats. 

High-quality construction techniques are also key. If seams and details break and fall off easily, you’ll soon be left with a skeleton of a hat.

 

For example, you can trust a hand-made product to hold up well, as someone had to spend a great deal of time and effort ensuring that it was made right. It also allows the maker to produce a better fit. They can hide seams while still keeping everything comfortable.

 

The brand should also back up its products. You want a company that stands behind what it makes and will fix it if something goes wrong. For example, American Hat Makers offers a lifetime guarantee. If there are any defects in the workmanship or materials, we’ll take care of them.

 

A guarantee like this shows that the company trusts what it is creating and, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, that it will fix problems rather than leave you with them.

 

Finally, you want to go with a brand that offers a good selection. This allows you to choose exactly the hat that works for you. Some only offer one style or maybe a few variations of it.

 

But nothing really sets them apart. Instead, opt for a brand that gives you a choice. Even a difference in color or decoration can make an impact. 

 

What to Consider When Choosing a Cowboy Hat

 

Figuring out which brand of cowboy hat you want greatly narrows down your choices. But, once you do this, you still need to choose a specific hat. This means there are a few more specifics to consider to make the best decision.

 

Your Face Shape

 

There is a wide variety of styles of cowboy hats. Not only are the styles of creases different, but so are the shapes and sizes of the crowns and brims. These different characteristics lead different styles to work better or worse on certain face shapes.

 

Those with an oval or round face shape should opt for a medium to tall crown. A curved brim is also best. This type of shape helps elongate the face, making a nice contrast to the curves of the face.

 

If you have a longer face, choose one with a wide or curved brim. A medium-sized crown and cattleman’s crease are also beneficial. The wideness ensures it won’t make your face look too long.

 

Hats with wide brims and open creases are perfect for those with square-shaped faces. Meanwhile, pinch creases and a flat brim work particularly well for people with a heart-shaped face.

 

It’s important to remember that these are just guidelines. The specific way your features are laid out will look different in different hats. Take the time to consider different styles and what will best accentuate your features.

 

Material

 

Most cowboy hats are either made of straw, felt, or leather. Each of these materials works well as a hat but does so in different situations.

 

For instance, if you plan on wearing your hat on sunny, warm days, go for a straw hat. This will prevent you from getting too hot as straw releases heat and aids in ventilation. Straw is also lightweight and feels light on your head.

 

This makes straw hats ideal for active pursuits or while on vacation. However, most people don’t prefer to wear straw cowboy hats in formal events unless they are specifically created with formal events in mind.

Felt usually works better for occasions when you want to dress up more. The material lends itself to a clean, sophisticated look. Plus, you can usually find felt hats in a variety of colors.

 

Felt also works ideally for windy and cold weather, as it provides substantial insulation. On top of all of this, felt is wonderfully soft and comfortable. You won’t have to worry about a felt hat bothering you, so you can wear one for long periods of time. 

 

Leather cowboy hats are a little less common but offer a unique look. This material looks a bit more formal than straw but has a bit of ruggedness that works on a variety of occasions.

 

This ruggedness extends beyond looks, as leather hats are durable, and a little care will allow them to last for a lifetime. Plus, many people love the comfort leather hats provide.

 

Fit

 

A hat is practically useless if it’s uncomfortable to wear. In fact, one of the biggest reasons people end up disliking a hat is because they have the wrong size. Because of this, it’s critical to choose the best fit for your head. 

 

When looking at the fit you need, you are looking for a happy medium. You want it to be snug but not too tight. The hat should sit on top of your head and just come down a little bit onto your forehead. You also don’t want it to be too big for your head in general. Otherwise, it will feel unwieldy when you wear it. 

 

Most reputable hat manufacturers and retailers offer their cowboy hats in various sizes. Start by measuring your head and using the size chart to find the size that lines up the best. If the company offers a sizing guide, make sure to use it, as this will give you the best insight into how their hats will fit. 

 

If you need to adjust the fit slightly, you can. A hat stretcher tool and some steam can gently give you more room. Meanwhile, adjusters can make the fat fit a little closer if needed.

 

Enjoy Your High-Quality New Cowboy Hat

 

Now you’re ready to journey into the great outdoors, armed with the knowledge of the top cowboy hat brands and high-quality companies.

 

Is it time to add a new, high-quality cowboy hat to your western apparel collection? Whether it’s for a night out, working on the ranch, or staying cool in the summer, we’ve got the right hat for you.

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