person weaving white straw

4 Best Panama Hats: Quality, Handmade and Handwoven

Last updated by Ori Adler on

The Panama hat is a legend. With its unmistakable profile and sleek simplicity that complements a multitude of looks, it is no wonder this legendary accessory never goes out of style.

It can be dressed up or down and gives the wearer a subtle sense of panache. And like most timeless items, this one too has a story behind it.

Best Panama Hats

We have taken the time to find and review what we feel are the best panama hats on the market. Here is our review.

Caracas Mens Panama Fedora



Let’s start with a classic. The Caracas Panama fedora from American Hat Works is a stunner that combines the best of both worlds. Available in natural, which is more of an off-white, accented with a black band, this is one elegant hat.

It is a true Panama style as it is handcrafted in Ecuador from pure toquilla straw. It is cooling, comfortable, and lightweight yet can go from the beach to an upscale seaside dinner with ease.

The Caracas features a 2 ¾” brim, a 3 ¾” crown, and a swen-in sweatband to wick away moisture. Priced at $97, tt runs true to size and is available in small to 2x large.

Shop the Caracas Mens Panama Fedora now.

Original Panama Hat - Handwoven in Ecuador by Ecua-Andino



Designed by Ecua-Andino, this Panama hat  is a striking style. Available in the colors natural and white, this is an Ecuadorian-woven headpiece with a wide brim and a tall crown.

It is accented with a braided jute band and a concealed twill sweatband. In addition to providing sun protection, the original is water-repellant thanks to its coating. The hat fits true to size and is available in small to XXL. 308 reviews rank this hat 4.4/5 stars and it retails for $115

Shop the Original Panama Hat by Ecua-Andino.

Scala Men's Paper Braid Safari Hat with Black Band



An upscale safari hat, this will definitely make an impression. When someone walks into a room wearing this hat, others will remember.

This premiere option is assembled in the United States but comprised of Grade 8, hand-woven Ecuadorian straw.

Perfect for a classy daytime setting, the Paper Braid boasts a 2 1/2” brim with a antique black band. Under the exterior is an effective sweatband and the Teflon-coated hat is water-resistant.

Available in a natural cream color, the hat fits slightly large hence it is available in medium, large, and extra large with a price of $40.

Shop Scala Men's Paper Braid Safari Hat with Black Band.

ULTRAFINO Genuine Havana Retro Panama Straw Hat Classic Lightweight



Get acquainted with your inner Havana style when you don the Panama hat by ULTRAFINO. This showstopper will have you sun ready in an instant thanks to its bold design wide crown and brim.

Also assembled in the United States from hand-woven Ecuadorian straw, the Panama is available is a cream color accented with a black, 12-ligne grosgrain hat band.

It boasts a twill sweatband and a Teflon coating makes the it water-repellant. Offered in a range of sizes, the price for this handsome headpiece is a modest $100.

Shop ULTRAFINO Genuine Havana Retro Panama Straw Hat Classic Lightweight.

Buyers Guide

Colorful Panama Hats

A Panama hat is defined by its material. As Ecuadorian straw is easy to dye and shape, the aesthetic possibilities of this style are nearly limitless.

While beautiful in its natural creamy color, that doesn’t mean a person cannot truly express themselves with an equally unique piece. Think a purple fedora a la Prince, a green outback number, or a bright blue wide brim.

In fact, you can have hats that coordinate with an array of outfits matching not just styles but your wardrobe colors! Above all else, do what works for you.

The History of the Panama Hat 

The Panama hat has been described as a “go-to” style. Deemed a classic that looks great on most men, it adds a Gatsby-esque touch to almost any outfit ranging from casual to formal. What constitutes a Panama hat is not the shape but the straw weave.

A fedora, planter, and trilby can all fall under this category. And the hat has its origins in Ecuador. In the 17th century, the accessory was first exported from Montecristi to Panama, where it caught the eye of nomadic American gold rush miners.

As the hats served a dual purpose of looking sharp and offering sun protection, workers on the Panama Canal were quick to start donning them.

The U.S. government ordered the hats from Ecuador in bulk in the 18th century, and the style soared in popularity in 1906.

That was the year Roosevelt paid a visit to the canal’s excavation, and a picture of him wearing a Panama hat was run in the New York Times. By 1944, these hats were Ecuador’s top export. 

Panama Hats That Fit Your Personality

Remember, it is the material, not the silhouette, that defines a Panama hat. Specifically, Ecuadorian toquilla straw that comes from a palm plant. These hats are very versatile in their style, meaning there is one to fit almost every personality.

If you go for classic clean lines and tailored fits over trends, a Panama fedora is an ideal choice. For those who are more adventurous, consider a design with a vented crown and wide brim for added sun protection.

If you have discerning tastes, a sophisticated safari-inspired Panama is a must-have. For those who identify with a low-key and comfortable lifestyle, you will get plenty of wear out of an outback-style hat.

For the bold ones who like to make a statement, go with a headpiece featuring an extra-wide brim to capitalize on looks and function.

variety of Panama hats

Best Panama Hats - Final Thoughts

Hats are a great way to express one’s style and self. They are a perfect blend of form and fashion as they make a striking accessory while keeping one cool and protected from the sun.

The Panama hat especially excels at this due to its construction and rich history. Another plus is you never have to worry about this timeless classic going out of style.

If you are looking for the perfect staple to add to your accessory collection, you cannot go wrong with a Panama hat.

For hiking or dining, day or night, casual or formal, this is one of the most versatile items you never know you needed.

Related Link: Trilby vs Fedora - What's The Difference?

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