The difference between a just-ok sun hat and one you’ll run back to get if you ever forget it at home or a hotel room is in the details. A high-quality option offers the right UV protection, fit and breathability. On top of all that, it should be comfortable and stylish to wear—making you look casually cool in those vacation photos. Ahead, we consulted the experts about which features to prioritize and which brands stand out in the market. Here are nine of the best beach hats that we highly recommend.
Best Sun Hat For Women Overall
Henschel: Breathable And Durable
Best Beach Hat For Men Overall
Columbia: High-Performance And Sweat-Resistant
Best Wide-Brim Beach Hat
Brixton: As Chic As It Gets
Best Oversized Beach Hat
San Diego Hat: Extra Coverage That Comes In Multiple Colors
Best Packable Beach Hat
Madewell: Easily Collapsable To Fit In A Suitcase Or Bag
Best Beach Hat For Small Heads
Wallaroo: Petite Sized So It Won’t Blow Away
Best Bucket Beach Hat
Athleta: Sporty And Machine Washable
Best Fedora Beach Hat
Pineapple & Star: Stylish Yet Refined
Best Baseball Cap Beach Hat
J.Crew: Soft And Broken-In
What To Consider When Buying A Beach Hat
- Material: Summer’s warm temperature means that traditional hat materials such as wool are off the table but there are several other options. “I would look for a straw hat with natural fibers that are weather resistant and offer maximum sun protection,” says hat and accessories designer Janessa Leoné. “My go-to hat for days out in the sun is our Tinsley because it’s handwoven from sustainable raffia palm and is water resistant, durable and offers maximum 50-plus UPF protection.” Beyond straw, you can also go for something like a cotton-canvas that will deliver on breathability and can dry quickly if it gets wet.
- Shape: There are few styles or silhouettes that are off limits when it comes to the best beach hats. “I think it’s all about comfort and wearability. Having a hat you love and feel confident and protected in is a must,” says Lack of Color co-founder Tess Corvaia. “A bucket or straw style with a chin strap is super versatile and perfect for the beach or any adventure.” The size of the brim is also worth paying attention for sun protection. “At the beach, I always go for straw styles that are wide brimmed but flexible,” Leoné says.
- Sun Protection: No matter your age or skin tone, sun protection should be a priority for all beach goers, and a hat can help with that. “A thick weave of the straw or material is essential as it’s what dictates the UPF rating,” Corvaia says. “The tighter the weave, the better sun protection, since there are fewer spots for the sun to penetrate.”