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A Panama hat is traditionally made from Ecuadorian toquilla straw. Most Panama hats resemble a fedora and have a wide brim that protects your face from the sun.
Because toquilla straw is naturally lightweight and breathable, you don’t have to worry about trapping heat and sweat under your hat. Whether outdoors at a summer barbeque or sitting at a beachside cafe sipping mojitos, these light-colored straw hats are ideal for keeping you cool. And they easily match the rest of your summer outfit – from a relaxed linen suit to shorts and sandals, topping off your look with a Panama hat is the best way to beat the summer heat.
Thanks to a depleting ozone layer and global warming, men’s sun hats are more important than ever! When searching for the best Panama hat, look for one made from real Ecuadorian straw. These are the only straw hats that can be called Panamas. While you can find straw hats in shapes like pork pie hats, the traditional Panama has a wide brim, a ribbon around the base and a taper in front – similar to a fedora.
Panama hats originated in Ecuador, not Panama. They got the name ‘Panama Hats’ in the 1850s when Ecuadorian hat makers moved to Panama to sell their handmade items. Here, hats were sold to men on a quest for gold during the California Gold Rush. We guess ‘Panama hat’ was an easier name to remember than ‘jipijapa’ or ‘toquilla hat’ as they were referred to throughout South and Central America.
While the traditional art of weaving the Ecuadorian toquilla hat was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists in 2015, all of our men’s Panama hats are handmade in Italy. With time-honored Italian craftsmanship, each hat is carefully blocked into the perfect shape and left unlined for maximum breathability and comfort – making it the perfect sun hat for men.
While similar in design and style, the main difference between Panama hats and fedoras is the material used to make them. Panamas are made of toquilla straw, while fedora hats can be made from felt, cotton or even polyester. Panamas are also almost exclusively designed for warm weather, making them the ideal sun hat for men around the world. Can’t decide between a fedora or a Panama? Shop our expanding selection of men’s hats and see which hat is right for you.
When choosing a classic fedora Panama hat, remember that the brim should be in proportion to your shoulders. Narrow brim for a slender frame. Wider brim for broader shoulders.
How to Measure Your Head for the Right Size Panama Hat
1. Place a tape measure around your head where the hat’s inner band will sit.
2. Let the ends meet on your forehead.
3. Make sure the tape measure is not too tight.
4. Read the circumference from the tape measure and choose your size.
If you prefer to tilt your hat in a certain way, measure so that the tape measure falls where the hat’s inner band will sit – usually 1 cm above the ears. If your head circumference is in the lower end of a size, a pair of hat sizers will give you a better fit.