9 Best Cowboy Hat Brands
Being a cowboy isn’t as easy as wearing chaps and listening to Florida Georgia Line. Not everyone can herd cattle day in and day out without complaints. It’s a demanding profession that requires dedication, toughness, and patience.
Those qualities are evident in each of the best cowboy hat brands I’m going to cover today. I’ll tell you about why each one is special, what informs their vision, and what you can expect from their hats.
So hold onto your horses, partner, cause I’m taking you on a promenade today.
Table of Contents
The 9 Best Cowboy Hat Brands
My first entry in this list of the best cowboy hat brands is a company that operates under the mantra, “We Live It Everyday.”
Everything about Resistol flows out from that mantra, from their base in Garland, Texas to their longevity in the cowboy hat market.
They’ll turn 100 years old in 2027, and they can celebrate their centennial birthday with an impressive resume. Resistol reportedly distributes over a million cowboy hats every calendar year.
They’re apparently so iconic in their home state that you can assume most people wearing a cowboy hat are wearing a Resistol.
Their prestigious line of felt and straw cowboy hats have earned the admiration of Western celebrities and tentpole figures.
Country-music legend George Strait is such a large supporter that he’s developed his own line of hats with Resistol. Famous film cowboys like John Wayne and actor extraordinaire like Henry Fonda chose Resistol as their go-to brand.
So if you want to buy a cowboy hat from a company with a history entrenched in American culture, then you should select a Resistol item.
- Hats are nearly ubiquitous in Texas
- Manufacture all their felt hats in the United States without outsourcing labor
- Free shipping on US orders over $100
Cowboy boot experts might be surprised to see Justin on my list of the best cowboy hat brands. After all, this historic company is best known for their boots rather than their hats.
They impart the same esteemed craftsmanship found in their boots to their selection of felt and straw cowboy hats.
Justin was founded in 1879 in Gainesville, Texas. They started as a cowboy boot producer before expanding their catalog to include apparel, jeans, work boots, and, of course, cowboy hats.
Their products are usually found in rodeos or on ranches. Their sturdy construction and tough finishes make them an ideal option for rambunctious responsibilities like herding cattle or riding a bucking bronco.
Here are some of the best-selling options that you can find on the Justin website:
- Justin Men’s Rodeo 3X Wool Felt Cowboy Hat – $99
- Justin Men’s 2X Gallop Fawn Wool Felt Cowboy Hat – $93
- Justin Men’s Smoke 3X Wool Felt Denton II Western Hat – $99
- Great selection of durable hats for rodeo cowboys and cattle herders
- Make hats for men, women, and children
- Can ship their products to countries across the globe
Stetson is actually owned by the same parent company as Resistol. However, their hats are anything but a retread compared to their contemporary’s.
Their style is more modern and fashion-forward, meaning their target audience is more for the cowboys frequenting the saloons rather than gunslingers.
They’ve also been around longer than Resistol. Stetson founder John B. Stetson established his namesake company in 1865 in the cowboy capital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
They’re considered giants of the industry with their brand’s name gracing the lips of many country singers.
Their diverse catalog is partially the reason for their outstanding reputation. Stetson makes fedoras, baseball caps, boots, denim, outwear, and accessories in addition to their esteemed cowboy hats.
You can buy felt, straw, safari, leather or cloth hats. They combine the timeless spirit of the Wild West with modern sensibilities for evergreen products. Their approach has helped them maintain their place in my list of the best cowboy hat brands.
- A modern approach to cowboy hat aesthetics
- One of the oldest cowboy hat companies in America
- Free ground shipping on all US orders over $175
#4: JW Brooks
JW Brooks is the company to turn to if you want a hat unlike anyone else’s. They work alongside customers to develop personalized cowboy hats. Buyers can build their dream hats and adjust everything from the colors to the materials to the shapes.
The company’s founder, JW Brooks, cut his teeth working for other cowboy hat companies throughout the 1990s. He gained enough recognition to start his own line of cowboy hats in 2000 using the name Powder River Hat Company.
Their personalization touches extend to their available flourishes. You can add custom embroideries to really make your JW Brooks cowboy hat your own.
- The company makes all their hats by hand
- Customers have complete creative control over their hats
- Use top-of-the-line fur
#5: American Hat Company
You know exactly what you’re getting with American Hat Company. They don’t beat around the bush, their name says it all. They create hats of all manners and styles in a multitude of materials.
American Hat Company is a family-owned business that has been passed between a few hands since their inception in 1915.
Sam Silver opened the first retail store that year in Houston, Texas. His son succeeded him decades later and eventually sold the company to Bill and Billie George. Today, the brand operates out of Bowie, Texas under the guidance of the Maddox family.
They’re one of the best cowboy hat brands for their intentional design process. They craft all of their hats by hand and then inspect them before sending them to customers.
American Hat Company hats encourage user personalization by shipping with a flat brim that customers can bend, fold, and modify to their desires.
Their hats are made to endure the toughest of horses found at rodeos. They double press their straw hats and give a measured finish to every American Hat Company felt hat. These bad boys are more durable than a bicycle helmet with more personality than a John Prine song.
- Offer hat refurbishing services
- Handcraft all of their hats
- Family-run business
No, this isn’t Mr. Burns’ secret marketing scheme to invade the cowboy hat market. Actually, this brand is older than the Springfield billionaire. Burns is the oldest family-owned cowboy hat and western apparel brand in the world.
They’ve stayed under Burns family ownership since Miles Lamonie Burns established the company in 1876 in Salina, Utah. Their current company goal is to marry fine production, lifestyle needs, and the wild West’s allure.
Such a lofty vision means that their hats retail for higher prices than some of the other best cowboy hat brands. For example, the Burns Rancher Charcoal 4.25” costs $845 and the Burns Cowboy Hand Curl Distressed Champagne costs $505.
However, each of these products is available in a multitude of materials. These fabrics are made from pure fur from hares and beavers.
While you’ll probably end up paying more for a Burns hat, you may find that you reap more rewards too.
- Discounted products are regularly sold on their website
- Longest-running family-owned cowboy hat company in the world
- Hats are available in a variety of pelts
#7: Watson Hat Shop
This is the first company I’ve featured in my ranking of the best cowboy hat brands that comes from Arizona. Watson Hat Shop uses the same business model they had when the company first came into existence in 1860.
They claim that at that time hat shops were focused on the relationship between customers and craftsmen. Buyers gave the hat manufacturers specific requests and the hat maker would turn their dream into a reality.
Watson Hat Shop provides the modern alternative to that philosophy. That means you won’t have to fly out to their headquarters in Cave Creek, Arizona to buy a hat.
A custom hat at Watson Hat Shop costs as low as $599. From there, the customer can select from a variety of leathers, furs, colors, and ribbons.
The workers at the Watson Hat Shop sew every hat by hand to give them each a clean presentation. You shouldn’t find any loose stitches on any Watson Hat Shop product.
- Can ship items to customers in 48 hours
- Buyers can custom design their own hats
- Uses 100% American-made raw materials
- Offers a 10% discount for firefighters, police officers, and military personnel
Not all horse shows are the same. Equestrian shows are usually more polished than cowboy shows. However, there’s no reason why the two can’t co-exist. That’s why you’ll find cowboy hats along with more regal products like riding hats and saddles on Ariat’s shelves.
The brand began in 1993 as an equestrian company (hence the name Ariat, which comes from the prized racehorse Secretariat). Not to ignore their cowboy brethren, they added felt and straw cowboy hats to their product catalog.
Their cowboy hats are usually fairly priced and easy to find. The good thing about Ariat is that their products are available through a wide variety of retailers.
You can find their cowboy hats on websites like Amazon, Hat Country, and Horse Loverz. This is a big advantage that makes up for the fact that it’s not always easy to order directly from Ariat’s website.
- Free shipping and free returns
- International shipping available
#9: Outback Trading
The final company I’ll highlight in my list of the best cowboy hat brands is this Australian brand.
Outback Trading is a company that embraces the outdoors but demands preparedness. There’s no telling what could happen in the outback, so you’d better come prepared with the best clothes.
Outback Trading makes more than cowboy hats. They create apparel for men and women, duster coats, bags, and other accessories. All of these products are made with rugged intentionality. Outback Trading’s goods are built to withstand the elements.
The brand says that they were founded on the back of one man, one horse, and one duster jacket.
Not only is this true literally – Wilson King conceived the idea of Outback Trading while riding through heavy downpours in the Brandywine Valley with only his Australian duster to keep him safe – but it reflects the company’s concept in its entirety.
Some of their hats have a more antiquated appearance, like the leather Outback Trading Wagga Wagga ($80). Others, like the Outback Trading Bootlegger ($75), have more of an edgy vibe to them.
Their items are made to help those who crave adventure answer the call of the wild. Their philosophy necessitates survival, so they make their hats strong enough to survive whatever perils their wearers must overcome.
- Nearly 4,500 5/5 star customer reviews on their website
- Many clearance items are available on the Outback Trading webpage
How to Shop for the Best Cowboy Hat
Now that you know which companies are among the best cowboy hat brands, it’s time for you to decide which hat is the best for you. To make that process easier, I’ve written this short list of considerations to help.
The first factor that should guide your decision is which brand entices you the most. I’ve outlined my favorites and why I respect each one.
Find the company whose products match up the closest with your desires, or can help you identify your wants, and go on from there.
Cowboy hats have the inherent advantage of being versatile thanks to their earthy color scheme. However, a black cowboy hat can give off an entirely different vibe than a brown hat. Think about how the color you choose will reflect your intentions.
Some cowboy hats are as yeehaw as a Garth Brooks song while others are a bit more reserved. Picking the right style will affect how you come across in your hat, so make sure to check through the available options.
If you don’t know which size of cowboy hat you should buy then here’s a quick way for you to measure your head size:
- Grab a measuring tape
- Wrap it around your head about half an inch above your ear
- Write down the measurement where the tape starts to overlap
It’s that easy. From there you can decide if you want a larger hat or a smaller one.
Straw cowboy hats are better for sunny days when the heat just doesn’t let up. Felt hats are suited for cold regions or windy treks. Other materials like leather have their own purposes, but the point is that every material has a place and time.
There is a multitude of creases that each reflect a different personality. An open crease will come off much differently than a Gus crease, for example, even if the base hat is the exact same. The crease plays into your reason for wanting to wear a cowboy hat.
Are you wearing your hats at a rodeo, or just to impress a lovely little lady at a square dancing event? What you are planning to do with your hat is almost as important as which hat you buy. Aligning your purpose with your purchase is the key to finding the right hat.
Some hats are easier to care for than others. It’s as simple as making sure you take them off by the brim and don’t lay them upside down.
Other hats require more care but have better materials or a more sophisticated appearance. You need to ask yourself if that required maintenance is worth the hat.
A hat’s price can be seen as an encapsulation of everything I just spoke about. It should represent a combination of the hat’s brand, quality, material, and durability. Don’t skimp out on the cheapest hat just to save a few bucks.
What hat does Tim McGraw wear?
Tim McGraw’s famous black hat makes would-be cowboys green with envy. Many try to emulate his look but most look like they couldn’t lasso a pony if it was glued to the ground.
If you don’t want to look like that, then you should pick up a black straw hat from Resistol. That’s the brand and style that McGraw favors, as he told interviews from Esquire in their 2021 piece on the country singer.
What does 10x mean for cowboy hats?
A cowboy hat’s x measurement refers to how much fur it contains if it’s a felt hat.
A hat that holds a 10x rating is made from 100% beaver fur.
This is different for straw hats. The x measurement refers to how tightly woven it is and whether the reeds are narrow or thick.
A higher x rating (i.e. a 10x score) means that the hat is woven tight and made of narrow reeds.
What should you not do with a cowboy hat?
Cowboy hats are as much about respect as they are about freedom. This means that they come with their own set of practices and traditions. Some of them are to preserve the hat’s integrity while others are about etiquette.
Here are some practices to follow if you wear a cowboy hat:
- Remove your hat during the National Anthem, at church, or during a prayer
- Remove your hat while eating in a restaurant
- Remove your hat when in the presence of an authority figure
Remember to take the hat off of your hat by the brim, not the crown. That will help preserve the hat’s shape.
You can now journey into the great outdoors with the knowledge of the best cowboy hat brands. You’re all set to kick down any saloon doors or eat beans and coffee en route to Mexico.
Whichever path you take with your hat, just know that I’ll be seeing you around, space cowboy.
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