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 best cowboy hat brands you should check out:
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, we use only the finest materials to make our hats in Santa Cruz, California. Our company is so invested in the quality of its cowboy hats that every hat we sell is guaranteed to last you for life.
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 our company’s hats everywhere, from hiking trails to rodeos and ranches.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Tenth Street Hats recently celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary of being open for business. In our opinion, there's a good reason that any company can last that long through the many changes that the hat business has experienced.
And, in the case of Tenth Streets Hats, it's because they offer superior materials and hatmakers. As you can guess, the company was founded on Tenth Street in Oakland, California, in 1921 by Arthur Hyman and Jack Dorfman.
So why can you trust the brand? For starters, there is a family-run company. And we at American Hat Makers know the importance of a tight-knit team. Next, Tenth Streets Hats still uses a rare hatmaking machine on their products.
The result is special touches to the hats you can't find elsewhere. It might make the caps slightly more costly, but it's worth it. Plus, the company can combine classic and modern sensibilities into new styles. Tenth Street Hats might not offer many Men and Women's cowboy hats.
But the two they offer (the 6X Real and the 5X Dorado) are both exceptional. With 100% real felt fur and leather sweatbands, these hats are made to last. Plus, the 5X Dorado features a gold belt buckle that goes around it. It's the perfect accent piece to tie an entire Western look together.
7. Rodeo King
Want a cowboy hat brand that values tradition? Look no further than the Rodeo King brand. The brand, which the W. Alboum Hat Company owns, has a long history in the hat business.
The company started when the current 4th generation owner's great-grandfather, William Alboum, began making hats in Europe. Once WWII happened, the great-grandfather and his son, Albert Alboum, moved to New Jersey.
Albert was tasked with taking a sample case of hats around the company, with the promise that their company would always make high-quality hats at a price that anyone could afford. After landing orders in Rapid City, Denver, and Albuquerque, the business began to take off.
By 1975, they were making quality uniform hats for law enforcement officers. And, when 1993 came around, the Rodeo King brand was launched. These days, each cowboy hat that the company offers is made with natural beaver or rabbit fur.
If you want a cowboy hat that will keep its shape over the years, then Rodeo King is one of your best bets. The exclusive formula they use to blend the furs and finish the products ensures that those crisp lines won't disappear soon.
The establishment of Master Hatters of Texas can be traced back to the beginning of William C. Cook's career. In 1936, Cook began working for the Byer-Rolnick Hat Company in Dallas, Texas. He would stay with the company for over thirty years.
Though William C. Cook started on the product line as a hand finisher, by the end of his time at the Byer-Rolnick Hat Company, he became a master hatter. By 1968, Cook used his title to start his own company: Master Hatters of Texas.
Initially, Cook's business worked with the well-known Resistol Hat Company on a contract basis. However, it didn't take long for Cook to develop his line of iconic Western hats. Unfortunately, William C. Cook wouldn't see his company reach its heights since he passed away in 1977.
Luckily, his two sons went on to continue. The brand has had a lot of high points over the years, including a twenty-year hat development contract with the Wrangler Jean Company.
These days, the company embraces technology to continue making its classic but simple cowboy hat. However, one thing that will absolutely never change is their use of quality fur, straw, and wool.
If you want a straw cowboy hat, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better hat option than the American Hat Company, Inc. Like many on this list; this business was started over one hundred years ago by the Silver Family.
Around 1949, the second generation of the Silver family introduced the first waterproof straw cowboy hat on the market. The product was a game changer, quickly propelling the American Hat Company, Inc. into national recognition.
After Bubba Silver passed away, the company began to experience an economic downturn. It would have gone bankrupt if Western icon Keith Maddox hadn't stepped in. Maddox bought the company and, despite numerous obstacles, got the company back on track, making fine-quality hats in the face of cheap manufacturing standards that were becoming the industry norm.
Sadly, Keith Maddox passed away in 2019. However, his wife, Susan Maddox, has taken over the business and continues to run it with the passion he brought to the table.
The American Hat Company brings durability to their hats that you just aren't going to find elsewhere. These are hats that are actually made to withstand harsh weather like snow, rain, and mud. So if you want something that's going to last, shop here.
Like many people in the 1980s, Master Hatter at Watson's, Eric Watson, was inspired by the classic felt fedora that Indiana Jones. His childhood love of this style quickly transformed into a full-blown career creating and restoring vintage hats.
If you want a brand that understands the intricacies of different cowboy hat styles, you should definitely choose Watson's. Their business can provide custom-made hats in all of the following types:
- Pinched front
- Open crown
So if you like any of these styles, you should check them out. This makes Watson's a great option if you need a cowboy-style hat for historical reasons.
For example, you might be in a play or a Civil War reenactment. Because they're custom-made with attention to detail, these hats are not cheap. But they make up for it with quality that you'll need help finding elsewhere.
It's true that Cavendar's is mainly known for its Western-style boots. But it's important to note that they also offer an exceptional line of cowboy hats. In our opinion, anyone that sells cowboy boots also has a great handle on other Western accessories, like hats.
Funny enough, Cavendar's started their business after buying a whole cattle trailer full of cowboy boots from a supply shop going out of business. From these humble beginnings in 1965, they've quickly become a western clothing staple.
This is evidenced by their partnership with country music icon George Strait. And while their boots are great, their impressive cowboy hat line shouldn't be ignored.
There is plenty of options to choose from. Want a classic, plain-colored felt or wool hat in your choice of color? They've got it. Or, maybe you want something more practical, like a straw model with an attractive vented top.
What's more, these products don't need to break the bank. They're certainly not cheap. But, for the quality that you get, it represents an accurate value for working-class people. In that way, Cavendar's never strays too far from their origins.
We've featured a lot of cowboy hat brands that have been around for one hundred years or more. However, they need help to beat the Burns Cowboy Shop. According to their website, this is the oldest Western clothing, family-owned retail business in the United States.
The company was started by Miles Lamonie Burns in the year 1876. Over thirty years, Burns and his son Viv would sell high-quality riding saddles. In fact, Viv invented the packing arrangement knowns as packing bags which the United States government later adopted.
Over the next hundred years, the business would pass from generation to generation. The Burns would continually make innovations to saddle technology. However, it wasn't until the 1970s that Danna Burns began to introduce items other than saddles.
Specifically, she started to sell cowboy hats, boots, accessories, and different types of riding gear. The Burns company continues its proud heritage of selling horse saddles. But they also offer an exceptional array of Cowboy hats.
As you can imagine, from a business that has been open for over a century, Burns doesn't stray far from tradition. But their rich heritage in cowboy culture means their products are especially suited for people that ride horses. So if you fall in this category, check them out.
Greeley Hat Works is another business with a rich legacy from 1909. Originally founded by two Greek immigrants in Greeley, Colorado, the shop was first called the Shining Parlor. However, when the business expanded to Fort Collins in 1928, it changed its name to the Greeley Hat Shop.
As the decades moved along, the company adapted to a changing that landscape. They saw their cowboy hats turn from functional usage to fashion purposes and back to functionality. In 1985 Susie Orr took over the shop and shifted the business back to its custom-hat-making roots.
Though she closed the storefront, she kept the hat business going through her ranch. By 1993 her apprentice Trent Johnson, convinced her that she should open the storefront again. By 1996, Johnson purchased the company from Orr.
He changed the name to the Greeley Hat Works that we know today. Greeley Hat Works prides itself on the fact that they haven't changed its formula for hatmaking much since it started in 1909.
In fact, the company still uses the traditional hatmaking tool they picked up in Paris all those years ago. Is it the most efficient way to make a cowboy hat? No. But does it create an incredible product? Absolutely.
If you want a traditional American cowboy hat, Outback Trading Company might not be for you. That's because this company offers oilskin dusters that are popular in Australia. So how did they end up in the United States? Thanks to a man named Wilson King.
After visiting Australia, King brought the oilskin dusters that he loved so much out there and brought them back to the states. He started selling them out of his Jeep and never looked back. These dusters have been beloved by everyone from ranchers to Crocodile Dundee. Why?
Because they're exceptionally proficient at keeping the rain out of your eyes while you work. Indeed, this cowboy hat might not be for you if you want to style it. But if you're looking for functionality and rugged individuality, you're hard-pressed to find a better option.
What's more, the Outback Trading Company keeps its prices reasonably low compared to some of the other options on this list. So, if you're on a budget, you can't go wrong with this option.
15. Charlie 1 Horse
Sadly, many cowboy hat brands put women's hats on the back burner. That's a problem because gender norms have changed since the good old days. Now women are wearing cowboy hats both for daily outdoor work and for fashion reasons.
That's why finding a cowboy hat brand that caters to this market is refreshing. Charlie 1 Horse is a relatively recent addition to the hat-making market since it started in 1978. But they understand that people wear cowboy hats for various reasons.
So if you want a wide variety of cowboy hats that are equally appropriate in the country as they are on the red carpet, then this is the brand for you. Don't worry; every hat is handmade by professionals. And we're not alone in our respect for the company.
Numerous celebrities have worn Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hats over the years, including Kid Rock, Hank Williams Jr., Eddie Montgomery, Tracy Lawrence, and Gretchen Wilson.
If you want a hat rooted in tradition, then Charlie 1 Horse might not be for you. But if you want a bold hat that catches the eye of everyone in the room, then you can't go wrong with it.
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.
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.
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.
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 New High-Quality 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.