Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Hats for Women

Photo: Amber King
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Wednesday November 18, 2020
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Our clothing experts researched over 100 of the best hats for women before choosing 8 to test side-by-side. Seeking the sun, we wore each while hanging pool-side, in the jacuzzi, and at the beach. We tested them while running, paddle boarding, hiking, biking, and simply lounging in the sun. In addition to our field-testing, we also objectively evaluate the performance for each option. We look at construction, material breathability, sun protection, and more. This thorough and unbiased review covers a wide range of options, offering you honest recommendations to help you find the best for your needs.


1

Best Overall for Women


Lanzom Wide Brim Panama Roll-Up Fedora


Weight: 6.85 ounces | Diameter Range: 6.5 - 7.75 inches
Cute design that receives many compliments
Sun protection to the chin
Packable and crunch-resistant
Stays on in the wind
Adjustable to 5.5 inches across
Not suitable for heads greater than 8 inches in diameter
No lanyard attachment point

We found ourselves always reaching for the Lanzom Wide Brimmed Panama Fedora for travel, heading out on the town, and paddling on the lake. We love the fit and style, suitable for a head diameter of 7.75 inches or less. The airy architecture will keep your head cool during the warmest days of summer and stay on, even when a hefty breeze kicks up. We also appreciate that it can roll-up and pack away without getting crunched or deformed. It receives or top accolades for its excellent performance across the board.

Unfortunately, if you're gifted with a large brain (and a large head), this may not be right for you. It maxes out at a 7.75-inch diameter, which is typically a medium. It also doesn't have any attached lanyards or a removable ribbon. If a cute design that'll function for any casual affair is what you seek, this hat is one of our top recommendations.

The Lanzom Wide Brimmed Hat is cute, stylish, and stays on your head...
The Lanzom Wide Brimmed Hat is cute, stylish, and stays on your head in all sorts of conditions.
Photo: Amber King

2

Best Bang for the Buck


Muryobao Foldable Mesh Wide Brim Bucket - Women's


Weight: 3.2 ounces| Diameter Range: 6.5 - 7.5 inches
Quick to dry, light, breathable
Ponytail hole for wearing hair up or down
Protective to the tops of shoulders
Packable and doesn't crunch
Versatile wear options
Style
Not protective from bugs at ponytail hole

The Muryobao Foldable Mesh Wide Brim Bucket for women is for ladies that love to hike, paddle, and explore the great outdoors. It features a solid build with a large four-inch brim that can be folded up, buttoned, or folded down. The top of it uses a multi-layer breathable mesh that provides excellent ventilation, as well as protection from larger bugs like mosquitos. It's lightweight and designed to dry out quickly, so don't be afraid to jump in the water with it on! It is also offered at a low price, making it our favorite deal.

While this is an excellent outdoor choice, the style is a bit too dorky (for some) to wear around town. You can get away with it in a mountain or beach town, but in the city, it may stand out. It's also suitable for small to medium heads best, as the adjustability range isn't large and limited. Finally, while it does offer bug protection, there is a hole in the back of the hole for a ponytail. While we love this function, it also provides an entrance for small bugs, like black flies, to enter and bite the skin, especially if your hair is thin or short. Aside from that, it's an excellent valued option built for water, hiking, and more.

This lightweight, quick to dry hat is a wonderfully breathable...
This lightweight, quick to dry hat is a wonderfully breathable option at a fantastic price.
Photo: Amber King

3

Best for Aerobic Activities


Mission Cooling Performance Baseball Cap


Weight: 2 ounces | Diameter Range: 6.5 to 8.5 inches
Superlight and airy
White color keeps the head cooler while running or hiking
When wet, offers excellent cooling and stays wet longer than other ball caps
Unisex with a wide range of adjustability
Packs away easily and doesn't stay wrinkled
White colors get dirty fast
Not very stylish
Limited sun protection

The Mission Cooling Performace Cap is our favorite for its lightweight construction that'll hold water to keep your head cool longer. At first, we were a little skeptical of its performance. We own several caps for running and notice that most baseball-style options will dry out after just 20 minutes of running in hot weather. The polyester construction used in this hat, however, manages to hold water a little longer, lasting up to one hour on our super hot run (90-degrees). The unisex sizing is versatile and fits the heads of all our testers. It'll pack away easily, without a wrinkle in sight — even after sitting in a backpack for over three days. We also appreciate the full-back design (no mesh used) that keeps your whole head and most of the face (to the chin) protected (with UPF 50) from the sun.

Unfortunately, this hat isn't very stylish, limiting its versatility. After a run, we'd take it off to get a meal in town. Also, it begins to look dirty after being on the trails. Though, if you'll looking for an excellent cap that'll keep you cool in hot weather, this is one to consider.

Looking for a cap that'll easy make your workout outfit? The Mission...
Looking for a cap that'll easy make your workout outfit? The Mission Cooling Performance is our favorite for aerobic endeavors because it reflects UV light, breaths, and when wet, holds water like no other hat tested.
Photo: Amber King

4

Best Large Brimmed Visor


Simplicity Summer Foldable Straw Sun Visor


Weight: 5.5 ounces| Diameter Range: 6 - 7.5 inches
Large brim (2.4 inches) protects face and neck
Stays on in heavy winds
Velcro visor adjustment with a wide range for fit
Wear your hair up or down
Can fit under a helmet
A little floppy and large, limiting peripheral vision
Some minor signs of wear and tear after one-week of wear

When looking to hang in the sun, the Simplicity Sun Visor is an obvious choice. With the top of the hat open, it provides excellent breathability while allowing you to wear your hair up! The Velcro tab makes it easy to pull on, with 1.5 inches of adjustability. It's pretty cute and an excellent option for the beach or sunny public places with its huge visor protecting your face, neck, and upper shoulders. Another odd, but additional plus, is that it can be worn underneath a helmet. If you find yourself hanging out on sunny cliffs in the summer or love to ride horses, this may be a fantastic option to consider. Roll it up, pack it away, and take it out again. Don't worry about crushing it on your vacation, as it'll bounce right back.

While the large brim is quite protective, it is quite floppy when walking. The floppy nature of the brim limits peripheral vision, which for some of our testers was a bit bothersome. As a result, we wouldn't recommend it for hiking or walking in crowded areas. Also, after just two weeks, the bow in the back started to fray, indicating a lack of quality construction. If you're seeking an excellent hat for the beach or protection in the sun, this is one of our top recommendations.

When lounging in our outdoor hot tub in sunny weather, the...
When lounging in our outdoor hot tub in sunny weather, the Simplicity Sun Visor is a favorite for its excellent sun protection and breathable top that'll allow any messy bun or ponytail to poke through.
Photo: Amber King

5

Versatile Summer Style


Furtalk Wide Brim Sun Hat - Women's


Weight: 5.70 ounces | Diameter Range: 7 - 7.5 inches
Deliciously stylish and versatile for wear anywhere
The removable lanyard keeps it on in windy conditions
Excellent depth to the top, which offers a nice fit
Breathable, but gets hot around the head collar
Adjustable Velcro seems cheap, but works

The Furtalk Wide Brimmed will receive compliments from all your friends. It features a super cute and simple stylish flair that can be paired with your favorite white summer dress or worn with your hiking boots. The removable lanyard helps keep it secure, even when battling windy summer conditions at the beach or in the mountains. It features a wide brim (3 inches) that protects the face and neck but isn't large enough to shade the shoulders. It's cute and fashionable, making it a versatile hat option.

Unfortunately, it is a bit expensive. While the adjustable Velcro system allows for about half an inch of adjustable wear, it won't fit larger heads well. It does offer some level of breathability, but on super hot days, we found ourselves taking it off as the collar around the circumference of the head gets sweaty, especially when temperatures rise from hot to scorching. If you're seeking a fashionable choice that'll stay on in windy conditions, this is a good one to consider.

This hat is super cute and got many compliments on the street. It...
This hat is super cute and got many compliments on the street. It looks neat, sweet, and innocent. We also appreciate the removable lanyard. Wear it from the beach to dinner, or out on your next hike.
Photo: Amber King

6

Great Bargain Bucket Option


The Hat Depot 300N Unisex 100% Cotton Bucket Hat


Weight: 2.55 ounces | Diameter Range: 7.5 inches
Lightweight with a simple look
Many cute color options
Two-inch brim doesn't limit vision
Limited sun protection
Less breathable design for hot days

The Hat Depot Cotton Bucket is a simple and cute contender that comes at a low price. It does the trick if you need a little sun protection and fun color options. We wore it out with friends, camping, hiking, and even paddleboarding. Its lightweight design can be worn all day, while the bucket brim provides a little protection if rain unexpectedly comes showering down on you.

Many of our testers like it, but many don't. The design looks a little childish, reminding some of our female testers of their 12-year old selves. While the two-inch brim allows you to see the world around you with ease, it doesn't provide much sun protection. If you accidentally forget your sunglasses, you'll find yourself squinting, as it doesn't give you the shade that's expected. Plus, the size isn't adjustable. If you like the cute bucket style, this low priced contender is a high-value option that won't empty your wallet.

7

A Baseball Cap for the Ponytail


C.C. Hatsandscarf Exclusives Washed BT-13


Weight: 2.80 ounces | Diameter Range: 7 to 8.5 inches
An awesome hole for high ponytails or buns
Lightweight and somewhat packable
Shorter fit on the head doesn't make ears stick out
Shorter fit on the head doesn't feel super secure
Less breathable then expected
Distressed style isn't for every lady

The C.C. Hats and scarf Exclusives Washed BT-13 is a distressed-style baseball cap with a unique hole for a high ponytail or bun. It looks super cute and features a full mesh back that offers a little ventilation. It has a wide range of adjustability for head diameter, so it is a one size fits all. Wear it while hiking or running, or sport it while having a beer at the bar. The look is versatile and appealing for most. The price is good too.

While many like its distressed look, others aren't too fond of it. It is designed to look worn, with stitching showing. When we used it while hiking in Ouray, Colorado one afternoon, we learned that while the mesh backing offers ventilation, the thick cotton in the front accumulates sweat and fails to vent. As a result, it's not that breathable. Finally, the fit feels shallow. While it keeps your ears from folding down (thankfully), it's hard to make it feel secure as it fits so high on the head. If you wear a ponytail and like ball caps, this is one to consider.

8

A Floppy Hat Best for the Beach


Furtalk Wide Brim Sun Hat UPF 50 - Women's


Weight: 7.45 ounces | Diameter Range: 7 to 7.5 inches
A five-inch brim that provides tons of shaded protection
Cute style with a ribbon that can be worn informally or formally
Removable lanyard system
Breathable
Heavier construction
Can be rolled up, but reshaping takes days
Comparatively expensive

The Furtalk Wide Brimmed is one of the biggest and floppiest contenders that we've tested. If you prefer ample sun protection that extends shade all the way to the shoulders, this is one that'll do the job. This straw weave uses alternating fibers of both white and black, creating a stylish look that is just at home on the beach as it is out to dinner. This is an option we choose when sun protection and lookin' good are a priority.

While we love wearing it at the beach and dinners, we have difficulty finding other uses for it. It blows and flops easily in the wind and limits peripheral vision because of its massive five-inch brim. This isn't an option we'd taking hiking or would wear when on our feet all day. The bow isn't removable, so the style is fixed as well. The fit is adjustable, but only by a half-inch. The medium size option we tested has a diameter of 7 to 7.5 inches, which is true to fit. Just be aware that if it's rolled or crumpled for a long period, it takes days to reshape. If you're seeking a protective and stylish option that'll do well at the beach or in sunny weather, this is a good fit.

We take a little break from paddling to lather up on some sunscreen...
We take a little break from paddling to lather up on some sunscreen. The Lanzom Panama Hat can literally go anywhere. Its stiffer design wards off wind and keep you protected from the sun.
Photo: Amber King

Why You Should Trust Us


This review of women's hat is brought to you by Amber King, a long-time gear tester, teacher, outdoor adventurer, and writer. She's worked with OutdoorGearLab for over seven years, testing over 30 different categories of gear. As a globetrotter, she spends her time traveling across the country and around the world with her laptop and gear in-tow. She seeks out isolated beaches for surfing, high alpine single track for biking and running, and beautiful overhanging rock for climbing. She loves wearing headwear of all varieties on these outdoor endeavors and explorations.

Testing women's hats start with the selection. First, we check out which are the best selling options on the market. From there, we research, research, research. For this review, we took about four hours looking over other products before selecting the eight you see in this current review. Then, we buy them at retail price and begin the testing. We wore each for at least eight hours. We took them to the beach, paddle boarded, swam, and kayaked with them on. We also wore them around town, out to dinners with friends, and got all dolled up (even though going out is hard in COVID times). We also wore appropriate options while trail running, biking, and hiking. After our thorough testing period, we evaluate and compare them all. We also identify some "Best for…" awards to help you find the best option that your cranium will love.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Analysis and Test Results


The women's hats we test range in uses. Some you should only wear to the beach, while others are best for dinner, hiking, or running. This in-depth review compares each product and rates them on six important metrics; protection, comfort & fit, wind protection, style, breathability, and portability.

A look at the diverse hat selection we chose. These are the best...
A look at the diverse hat selection we chose. These are the best sellers on the internet with excellent reviews online. What hat do you prefer?
Photo: Amber King

Protection


When the UV is high, and the sun is bright, protection is critical. Bigger, broader brims with UV protection typically do better in this metric. We also consider if a contender protects from small bugs in mossie country. To test it, we simply wore each in the sun and observed how much shade each provided. We also assess materials to see if nats or black flies can penetrate through the mesh and materials.

The Furtalk Wide Brimmed Hat features a UPF 50 level of protection...
The Furtalk Wide Brimmed Hat features a UPF 50 level of protection. It also has a huge brim that boasts superior shade, while even the smallest bugs can't get through the hat material.
Photo: Amber King

The Furtalk Wide Brimmed UPF 50 features the best sun protection with its five-inch brim that provides shade on your face, neck, and shoulders. It features UPF protection of 50 with holes that offer some breathability.

Not only do we take the time wear each hat in the sun, but we also...
Not only do we take the time wear each hat in the sun, but we also measure the brims to make a quantitative comparison.
Photo: Amber King

We also love the Simplicity Sun Visor with its 2.4-inch brim at the front. While it provides protection on the face, the back of the brim tapers so the back of the neck doesn't see as much protection as the front. All are suitable for beachwear and offer the best sun protection of them all.

A look at the different brim sizes of the larger, floppier hats...
A look at the different brim sizes of the larger, floppier hats tested.
Photo: Amber King

The high value Muryobao Brim Beach Fishing offers more functional protection. Its brim is four inches and offers 360 protection from the sun. The upper also features mesh with many layers that are impenetrable for most bugs. The ponytail hole in the back is nice but provides an entrance for small bugs like black flies to get inside. This award winner is one of our favorites for bug and sun protection all around. All straw options also protect from bugs, but none are as light.

The multi-layer mesh of this sun hat offers protection from bugs as...
The multi-layer mesh of this sun hat offers protection from bugs as well as the sun. It also keeps your head nice and cool.
Photo: Amber King

Of the baseball caps, the Mission Cooling Hat is the most protective. The brim is larger than the C.C. Distressed Baseball cap, offering shade for the eyes and half of the face. It also has a full construction in the back of the, meaning that your head is protected from bugs. The C.C. Distressed Baseball Cap, on the other hand, uses a single layer mesh back that'll allow entrance for bugs and other critters in the backcountry.

While the CC Distressed Baseball Cap does have a ponytail hole, it...
While the CC Distressed Baseball Cap does have a ponytail hole, it also has a mesh back that isn't protective on the top of the head. The MISSION performance hat (left) is a thinner option with a full construction with more overall protection.
Photo: Amber King

Comfort and Fit


We wore each product while working, recreating, and lounging around in the sun. When assessing comfort, we note differences in how the materials feel against the skin, especially when wet or sweaty. For fit, we measure the diameter of each and its range of adjustability. We provide insight on which feel small or large and which have a huge range of adjustability. In addition, we weigh each on a scale to compare relative weight, which affects comfort.

Our main tester a 7.5 inch (diameter) head with normally fits a small to medium. All hats ordered fit into this size range.

We like the CC Distressed Baseball cap because it has a hole for...
We like the CC Distressed Baseball cap because it has a hole for your high ponytail. We just wish the fit was a little more specific and not so floppy and shallow feeling.
Photo: Amber King

Our favorite hats are light enough to wear all day, don't affect peripheral vision or flop around, and stay in place while in motion. Our favorites are the MISSION Cooling Performance and the Lanzom Panama. The MISSION weighs only two ounces and fits like a dream. The bucket depth is great but doesn't force your ears to fold down when wearing it. The interior polyester material is soft and stays comfortable, even when wet. Of all options tested, it's one of the most comfortable for all-day wear. It also has an incredible range of adjustability, making it a nice fit for craniums of any size.

Photo: Amber King

The Lanzom Panama is another surprisingly comfortable contender. While its adjustability range is small, a size medium will go between 6.5 and 7.75 inches in diameter. It's heavier (6.85 ounces) but comfortable enough to wear all day. The brim is also quite stiff and doesn't flop around or blow in the wind, allowing you to see all around with an issue. Other floppier options, like the Furtalk contenders, are both comfortable, but the floppy nature of the brims is annoying after wearing for long periods — especially in the wind.

When buying clothing online, a versatile and adjustable fit is key...
When buying clothing online, a versatile and adjustable fit is key. That's why we love the huge amount of adjustment in the MISSION performance cap.
Photo: Amber King

The Muryobao Foldable Wide Brimmed Fishing is another comfortable contender. It has a smaller fit, so make sure to size up if you're unsure about size. It's comfortable as it's light and simple. We also like that the brim (even though large) is stiff and stays out of sight when hiking or playing in the sun. The Hat Depot Bucket Hat is similar in its functionality.

Wind


A hat that'll stay on during a windy day at the beach or in the mountains is truly superior to others. Fit is a large part of ensuring that it will stay on your dome, but additional features like lanyards and other materials are also appreciated. So, if you're in a windy environment, first, make sure it fits!

While the Ridgway Reservoir looks calm now, it was blowing with...
While the Ridgway Reservoir looks calm now, it was blowing with small white caps just before this picture was taken. It stayed on our heads the whole time. It doesn't billow or catch because of its stiffer construction and excellent fit.
Photo: Amber King

Of all tested, the MISSION Cooling and Lanzom Panama offers the best performance in wind. The MISSION is a standard ball cap with a highly adjustable fit that can be cinched down on your head. When running over windswept tundra landscapes, it didn't budge. The Lanzom Panama is also quite impressive. Maybe it just fits our main tester the best, but the stiff, less sloppy brim doesn't pick up with wind gusts. In fact, it stayed on our head while paddleboarding on our local Ridgway Reservoir, a place notorious for windy conditions. It doesn't have a lanyard or any features…it just fits well.

The Lanzom Panama hat is one of our favorites to wear...even when...
The Lanzom Panama hat is one of our favorites to wear...even when windy.
Photo: Amber King

We learned that big floppy hats typically catch wind easily, even though they offer better sun protection. Of the floppy options, the Simplicity Straw Visor and Furtalk Wide Brim Sun are our favorites. The Simplicity Visor Velcros around the head and stays in place easily. The fact you can cinch is down is a nice feature when faced with windy conditions. The Furtalk options have removable lanyards. Even though these typically get picked up in the wind, they stay on your head as the lanyard keeps them in place. The Muroyabo Fishing Hat also has this feature, making it suitable for all weather conditions.

Style


Rating a hat's style is incredibly subjective, as so many women have different tastes. To try and assess this, we talked to many friends and family members, asking their opinions on each. Those with a stylish flair that could be worn practically anywhere are awarded the highest accolades, while those that seem childish, dorky, or specific to a certain liking score a little lower.

The hats by Furtalk seem to be quite stylish. We love this huge...
The hats by Furtalk seem to be quite stylish. We love this huge floppy hat that looks great when wearing at the beach.
Photo: Amber King

By far, the Furtalk Wide Brimmed Sun with removable lanyard receives the most "oohs" and "ahhs" from our testing pool. The continuous straw-like exterior looks charming, cute, and suitable to wear with a pair of hiking shorts or a long flowing summer dress. Many love the simple style of the removable lanyard that can easily be changed by adding your own bow or features. The Lanzom Panama is a fedora that also receives snaps from our testers. Many love it because it lacks a lanyard and goes nicely with a bathing suit, skirt, or pair of jeans. Both are excellent options for travel or wear around town or to the beach.

Breathability


A hat that breathes well in hot weather is important. Our favorites are light with lots of opportunity for ventilation. Those that dry quickly are even better as they don't leave your hair and neck feeling hot, wet, or sweaty.

The Mission Performance Hat was the one we reached for when we felt...
The Mission Performance Hat was the one we reached for when we felt like running out all our worries and stresses of the day.
Photo: Amber King

The most breathable stylish option is the Simplicity Sun Hat Visor. Since it has a large hole at the top, it easily vents heat on the hottest days of summer, but it lacks protection for the top of your head. The materials are "holey", which promotes even more ventilation. When sitting out in the hot tub in the summer, this is the option we typically chose to wear. Other paper-based contenders like the Lanzom Panama and Furtalk options are quite breathable but don't have as much ventilation.

The MISSION Cooling Performance excellent for running or hiking because of its lightweight nature and cooling nature. While it's a fully enclosed design (no mesh used), it's incredibly thin and has terrific breathability right through the fabric. If you wet the cap, it provides even more cooling. The C.C. Washed Distressed Baseball Cap is another with a mesh back. It's less breathable than the MISSION but still suitable for wear while traveling, hiking, or bumbling around town on hot days.

The Simplicity Sun Hat Visor has a large hole in the top, which...
The Simplicity Sun Hat Visor has a large hole in the top, which helps keep us dry and cool in hot, sunny conditions.
Photo: Amber King

The Murayoba Wide Brimmed Fishing is another to be considered. The materials are completely breathable and light, all the way around. If you get hot, simply dip it in the water, and you'll instantly cool down. We appreciate the mesh ventilation at the top of it, which is also protective of bugs.

Portability


How well does your hat travel? If you don't live close to the beach or you love to travel, portability is imperative. A contender that folds up and doesn't crush or deform is a huge plus. While many manufacturers claim they can roll up and pack away, many simply don't stand up when packed for long periods. To test this, we rolled up each option, stuffed them inside a backpack, leaving each there for two days. Then, we took them out, unrolled them, just to see which bounced back and which stayed deformed. All hats tested can roll up inside a beach bag or backpack with ease. Not all bounce back, though.

Can your hat roll up and travel well? We tested this by rolling each...
Can your hat roll up and travel well? We tested this by rolling each up, then checking to see which pop back into shape. Surprisingly, most of the contenders in this review did well in this test.
Photo: Amber King

The most portable options are those that don't stay wrinkled or crunched. The Furtalk Wide Brimmed Sun with removable lanyard performs the best. It is quite flexible and immediately unwrinkles, and is ready for wear. In our tests, all other contenders had wrinkles out of the bag.

Baseball caps like the MISSION Cooling Performance and CC Distressed both had a few wrinkles after our test, but after wearing for about 15 minutes, these wrinkles disappeared. This is similar to the Hat Depot Bucket Sun and Simplicity Sun Visor. The only option that stayed deformed for days was the Furtalk Wide Brimmed UPF 50, which hasn't been the same since our test. All others did a good job and can easily be packed away in your luggage for travel and adventure worldwide.

Mr. Jack the dog doesn't need a hat, but you do...especially when...
Mr. Jack the dog doesn't need a hat, but you do...especially when the sun is out and you want to stay protected. Which hat do you prefer?
Photo: Amber King

Conclusion


Testing hats for women has been a real treat! We hope that our extensive hands-on research and advice helps you find the best option for your needs. Whether you're hiking, boating, running, or simply lounging around this summer, we have an excellent recommendation for you!

Amber King