Cowboy Hats – Should You Get Felt, Straw or Leather?


It has been almost 150 years since John Stetson sold the first cowboy hats. Their appeal was instantaneous, primarily because these hats filled a need. Or several needs actually. They offered protection from the elements like bitter cold wind, rain, or the suns burning rays. If the campfire was dwindling, their large brims could easily be used to fan the flames. And for the thirsty cowboy, he could carry water from a nearby stream in the crown. And while the times have changed, the popularity of cowboy hats has only increased, but for different reasons.

It's not about keeping the fire going or even protection from the elements for most people anymore. It's about fashion. These hats are a popular culture hit. Check out the latest gossip magazines and you'll see celebrities of all kinds wearing a cowboy hat. Hollywood actors, fashion models and rock musicians can all be seen sporting this piece of headwear. Of course as the popularity of cowboy hats increases, so too does the number of styles and choices. The kind of cowboy hat you choose should rely heavily on its function.

When most people think of cowboy hats, they think of felt. These hats look good and with proper care, can last a very long time. These provide all the benefits people needed in the old west, and come in enough colors and styles and adorned with enough accessories to make even the most fashionable conscious individual happy. On a hot summer day, these hats are great for protecting you from the suns rays. But that comes at a cost. These hats are hot. A lot of heat, as you well know, escapes from your head. These hats will trap that heat in, and when the temperature climbs into triple digits, it can be somewhat uncomfortable.

Thus the increase in the popularity of straw cowboy hats. Chances are you've seen your neighbor wearing one as he or she mows the grass and works in the yard or garden. The brim still keeps the sun out of your eyes, but the air is able to circulate through the weave in the straw. They're a bit more comfortable in the heat, but do not do much in the cold or rain and will not keep the suns harmful rays off your head, which can be a drawback if your hair is thinning. Another bonus of straw cowboy hats is they are generally less expensive, although some can still be quite expensive depending on the kind of straw that is used. If you're looking for something to wear while working outside, you can typically pick one of these up at your local discount store for a very low price. If fashion and quality is your aim, then you'll probably have to look elsewhere and expect to pay more.

Leather cowboy hats are typically worn by those looking for the best. These can be very pricey, depending on course on the quality of the leather. But they are more durable than felt or straw. If a cowboy hat is something you'll wear every day, for both work and play, it makes sense to get something that's made from a higher quality material. A leather cowboy hat certainly fits the bill. Wait for a sale and you'll find one you like at a reasonable price.

One other cowboy hat that is making its way to the scene is the foam cowboy hat. You've seen those jumbo things worn by fans at sporting events. These serve no other purpose other then to say "Look at me, I'm goofy." Nothing more needs to be said about those.