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What Hat Should I Pick? A Guide to Different Baseball Hat Styles and Fit

Baseball hats--they're classic, they look good on everyone, and they do a pretty good job of keeping the sun out of your eyes. An easy choice, right? But do you know if you want a low or mid profile baseball cap? What about a structured hat? If you're looking for a snapback, did you know it's technically a type of baseball hat?

Whether you're a life long hat enthusiast or you're a first-time hat buyer, you can soon realize there's a level of complexity behind this seemingly simple accessory that can make it a little harder to pick the right hat for your design.

Lucky for you, we're not only pros at decoration methods like screen printing, embroidery, or digital printing, we're also apparel experts.

We're going to break down some of the most common baseball hat terms you might come across and help you better understand your options so that you can be thrilled with your custom design *and* the hat it's printed on!

Types of Baseball Hats

Trucker hats, dad hats, snapback hats, and FlexFit hats all have unique styles and fits, but they share one thing in common: they are all a part of the baseball hat family. Each type of hat has differences in details like the brim shape, crown height, and fit that make them their own.

What's a hat profile, and how do I know which one is best?

The profile of a hat refers to the height of the crown. Crown height can range from 2 inches all the way to 4+ inches. The crown height determines where the hat sits on your head and it is a factor in how snuggly it stays on.  Picking the right height is partially personal preference, and choosing the right style for the occasion or activity.

Low Profile Hats:

Fit: A low profile hat has the most shallow crown height (usually 2-3 inches tall). The lower profile lets you pull it tightly onto your head with the brim of the hat on your forehead and the sides of the cap sitting above your ears.

Types:  Because they work well in active situations, low profiles are often found in sport, golf, or baseball style hats.

More recently, dad hats have also gained a lot of popularity and a low profile crown is one of the signature details. Low profile hats can have 5 or 6 panels depending on the style.

Mid-Profile Hats:

Fit:  Mid-crown or medium crown hats are a great halfway point. With a typical height of 3-4 inches, they will have a deeper fit and give you some options for how you wear it.

Types: Mid-profile crowns are a popular choice for the traditional baseball hat, but you can also find them on styles like trucker hats.

High Profile Hats:

Fit: At 4 inches and above, high profile hats have the largest crown heights. If you pulled a high profile hat down all the way, you might cover your eyes. That's one reason why this style of hat is most often worn loosely on the top of your head, with space between the top of your head and the hat.

Types: The most recognizable high profile hats are probably snapback hats, followed closely by trucker hats.

Structured vs unstructured hats

Structured hats have built-in support in the front panels to keep the shape of the hat. Buckram, a stiffened cotton fabric, is commonly used to give structure to this style of hat. Low, mid, and high profile hats can have structure. Snapback hats like this one and trucker hats are some of the most recognizable structured hat styles.

Unstructured hats don't have any added support, so the crown of the hat may fall or sag when it's not on your head. Some may find this style more comfortable and a little more casual. Low and mid-profile hats can be unstructured, depending on the style.

What's the difference between 5-panel vs 6-panel hats?

The panels of a hat are the individual sections that make up the crown of the hat. Typically each hat has 1 panel on each side and 2 panels on the back. The variations of 5, 6, or even 7 panels happens in the front, and each layout creates different opportunities to design and customize.

Should I go with adjustable hats or fitted hats?

The type of hat closure you pick can depend on a few things:

1) The number and variety of people (head sizes for men, women, and children can behave a wide range!)

2) The occasion or purpose of your custom hats. Are you using them as promotional items? Are they part of a uniform?

3) How long will people be wearing your hats? If they are part of a required uniform or outfit, you may want to consider the most comfortable closure option for long wear.

4) What kind of activity will your hats be used for? Some closure options will guarantee a more secure fit, especially if your hats are going to be worn during a sport or other active activity.

Types of adjustable hat closures:

  • Snapback: One of the most recognized hat closures, a snapback is a plastic strap with notches to adjust the fit. The snapback closure is popular on high profile, structured hats, and trucker hats. You can get a range of sizes from a snapback, but the hard plastic can also dig into your head and become uncomfortable when worn for a long time.
  • Velcro (a.k.a. "hook and loop closure"): Velcro is a tried and true method for securing a lot of things, including hats! Like snapbacks, you can get a limited range of sizes in one hat. The Velcro may also be a little more comfortable than the plastic snapback, but if you adjust it too much over time the Velcro can lose some of its grip.
  • Buckles, metal sliders, D rings, and other adjustable straps: There can be a lot of variety in this category, but they all follow the same general idea for adjusting and securing a hat.  Straps and sliders will give you some size range options, and depending on the loop or slider used, it can more (or less) comfortable than a snapback or Velcro closure. Also depending on how the slider and strap system works, the fit may not be as secure as one of the other closure options.

Overall, adjustable hats are a great option for groups or teams with a range of head sizes. They can be a good "one size fits most" choice when it's not possible to predict who will be wearing your hats or get everyone's size measurements. They also leave room for adjusting to accommodate hairstyles like ponytails and give the wearer more control over how tightly or loosely the hat fits. 

What are fitted hats?

A fitted hat has no way to adjust the size. You either buy a fitted hat according to your head measurements or try a FlexFit hat that has elastic in the back and usually comes in a standard size range (small, medium, large, etc). 

Each FlexFit size will have a size range (specific to that brand and style), and if you have an idea of what your head measurement is, you can choose the size that best matches your measurements.

Since FlexFit hats have some wiggle room in the sizing, they are a great choice when you want the look and fit of a fitted hat, but aren't able to get individually sized hats for each person.

Because fitted hats don't have an adjustable strap, there is no opening in the back, which can be a downside to someone with a ponytail or a lot of hair.  However, some may prefer the sleeker, less bulky look of the back of the hat and the comfort of the band on your head.

Fitted hats may be a little trickier to find the right sizing, but they can be a worthy investment in a custom accessory that can be worn again and again and still look great.

Have more questions about how to pick the right hat for your custom design? Chat or call for live help with an apparel expert! (800) 620-1233 Did you know you can add custom tee shirts, personalized hoodies and other types of apparel or promotional products to your order too?

Baseball Hats FAQs