Our clothing experts researched over 100 of the best hats for women before choosing 8 to test side-by-side for our updated review. Seeking the sun, we wore each while hanging poolside, 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 of 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.We've tested an impressive array of hiking gear over the past decade+, including women's clothing staples like the best hiking pants and women's fleece jackets. If you're looking for a dedicated sun hat, check out our review for men's and women's models alike.
$13.99 at Amazon
$25.99 at Amazon
$14.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Lightweight, simple look, cute color options, brim doesn't limit vision||5 inch brim offers lots of protection, cute style that can dress up or down, removable lanyard, breathable||Ponytail hole, lightweight|
|Cons||Limited sun protection, not super breathable||Heavy, can get misshapen if packed wrong||Not great in winds, not very breathable, distressed style isn't for everyone|
|Bottom Line||This bucket hat is affordable and simple but lacks in its stylish luster and sun protection||A super floppy hat with a huge protective brim but lacks in functionality||A distressed-style baseball cap with a unique ponytail hole|
|Rating Categories||The Hat Depot Bucke...||Furtalk Wide Brim S...||C.C Washed Denim|
|Comfort & Fit (20%)|
|Specs||The Hat Depot Bucke...||Furtalk Wide Brim S...||C.C Washed Denim|
|Weight||2.55 oz||7.45 oz||2.8 oz|
Best Overall for Women
Lanzom Wide Brim Panama Roll-Up Fedora
The Lanzom Wide Brim Panama Roll-Up Fedora was the hat we found ourselves reaching for most when traveling, heading out on the town, or paddling on the lake. We love the fit and style, which is suitable for a head diameter of 7.75 inches or less. The airy architecture will keep your head cool during the warmest summer days and stay put 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 top marks for its excellent performance across the board.
Unfortunately, if your head is bigger than average, this may not be the right fit 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 rises to the top of our recommendations.
Best Bang for the Buck
Muryobao Foldable Mesh Wide Brim Bucket - Women's
The Muryobao Foldable Mesh Wide Brim Bucket hat is for the ladies who 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. Its top is comprised of a multi-layer breathable mesh that provides excellent ventilation, as well as protection from larger bugs like pesky mosquitos. It's lightweight and designed to dry out quickly, so don't be afraid of rainstorms or lake dips. Its price is also hard to beat — it's our favorite deal in this lineup.
It's a great outdoorsy option, but some may find the style a little dorky for wearing around town. You can get away with it in a beach or mountain town, but it may stick out like a sore thumb in the city. Adjustability-wise, this hat is suitable for small to medium heads. It offers bug protection, but there is a hole in the back of the hat for a ponytail. We love this function, but it also provides an entrance for small bugs, such as black flies, to enter and bite the skin, particularly for those with thin or short hair. Aside from these gripes, it's a great value option built for water, hiking, and more.
Best for Aerobic Activities
Mission Cooling Performance Baseball Cap
The Mission Cooling Performance Baseball 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.
On the downside, this hat isn't very stylish, which limits its versatility. After a run, we'd take it off to get a meal in town. It also started looking dirty after being on the trails. Still, this is one to consider if you want a great cap to keep cool in hot weather.
Best Large Brimmed Visor
Simplicity Straw Sun Visor
When looking to hang in the sun, the Simplicity Straw 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.
The large brim is protective, but it is rather floppy when walking. The floppy nature of the brim limits peripheral vision, which some may find a little bothersome. As a result, we wouldn't recommend it for hiking or walking in crowded areas. Furthermore, the bow in the back started to fray after just two weeks, indicating an issue with the quality of construction. If you're shopping for an excellent hat to wear at the beach or for protection in the sun, this is one of our top recommendations.
Why You Should Trust Us
Testing women's hats starts 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 dedicated several hours of research to looking over products before selecting the eight test models. 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, swam, and kayaked with them on, and used them while researching our our favorite SUP boards. We also wore them around town, out to dinners with friends, and got all dolled up. 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.
This review of women's hats 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.
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.
While none of these hats will set you back a ton, we found some to be higher value than others. Our favorite value is the Muryobao Foldable Mesh hat, which is comfortable and affordable and packs well, but it may not suit everyone's style. The breathable and stylish Simplicity Straw Sun Visor will only set you back a few dollars more and allows you to rock an updo if you want.
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 gnats or black flies can penetrate through the mesh and materials.
The Furtalk Wide Brim 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.
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, meaning 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.
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.
Of the baseball caps, the Mission Cooling Hat is the most protective. The brim is larger than the C.C. Washed Denim, offering shade for the eyes and half of the face. It also has a full construction in the back, meaning that your head is protected from bugs. The C.C. cap, on the other hand, uses a single-layer mesh back that'll allow entrance for bugs and other critters in the backcountry.
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 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.
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 without 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.
The Muryobao Foldable is another comfortable contender. It has a smaller fit, so make sure to size up if you're unsure about size. It's comfortable, 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.
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.
Of all tested, the Mission Cooling and Lanzom Panama offer 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 floppy brim doesn't pick up with wind gusts. In fact, it stayed on 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.
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 with Lanyard are our favorites. The Simplicity Visor Velcros around the head and stays in place easily. The ability to cinch it 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.
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.
By far, the Furtalk Wide Brim with 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.
A hat that breathes well in hot weather is important. Our favorites are light with lots of opportunities for ventilation. Those that dry quickly are even better, as they don't leave your hair and neck feeling hot, wet, or sweaty.
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 is 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 Denim 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 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.
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. Some manufacturers claim they can roll up and pack away, but many simply don't stand up to this claim when packed for long periods. To test this, we rolled up each option and stuffed them inside a backpack, leaving each there for two days. Then, we took them out and unrolled them 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.
The most portable options are those that don't stay wrinkled or crunched. The Furtalk Wide Brim with 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 C.C. Washed Denim 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 Hat and Simplicity Sun Visor. The only option that stayed deformed for days was the Furtalk Wide Brim Sun Hat 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.
Testing hats for women has been a real treat. Hours in the sun, from town to beach to trail, were spent evaluating each product. 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, you'll be sure to find a hat in our lineup.
— Amber King