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10 best men’s summer hats for style and sun protection

From visor to bucket styles, complete your outfit with one of these seasonal must-haves

Luke Abrahams
Wednesday 23 June 2021 14:33 BST
Slather on lashings of that essential SPF, for sure, but topping yourself off with a shade-giving hat is an essential line of defence at the beach
Slather on lashings of that essential SPF, for sure, but topping yourself off with a shade-giving hat is an essential line of defence at the beach (iStock/The Independent)

Hats are back in vogue. One might think simply of baseball caps when they conjure up an idea of a summer hat, because they’re generally inexpensive, undeniably universal, and, yeah, they do the job of keeping the sun out of your eyes. Or perhaps a Mafia-style panama hat, because they feel like the quintessential summer chapeau because they look so darn cool.

Anyway, whatever your thoughts on the definition of what a summer bonnet actually is, the point of the matter is, that every bloke should have at least one in his wardrobe.

Why? They are stylish as well as practical. If you are susceptible to sunburn, a good hat will keep your most sensitive bits out of harm’s way. Slather on lashings of that essential SPF, for sure, but topping yourself off with a shade-giving hat is an essential line of defence at the beach, the park, the pub or anywhere else people tend to laze about in the sun for hours on end.

From oversized straw hats to Panamas to caps and visors, there’s a whole world of summer hats out there that will truly leave your head feeling well and truly boggled.

And even if you think you don’t have a head for hats, let’s just say we can more or less guarantee that there’ll be a perfect one for you out there, in our edit especially.

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The best mens summer hats 2021:

  • Best overall – Polo Ralph Lauren cotton cap: £35,
  • Best for upscaling lazy hazy summer looks – Lock & Co St Louis Panama hat: £245,
  • Best for buzzing millennials – Bates hats summer navy hopsack cotton narrow brim trilby: £145,
  • Best for more traditional looks – Christys’ balmoral tweed flat cap: £50,
  • Best for square heads – Gucci Lamé papier hat: £315,
  • Best for teens and most head types – Prada re-nylon bucket hat: £380,
  • Best for summer fuelled joggers – The North Face’s city crush futurelight hat: £40.50,
  • Best for the great big old summer escape – Ysl straw waikiki hat: £565,
  • Best for guys who like a throwback – Prada logo-applique woven visor: £365,
  • Best for men who want UV protection – Cos the skull cap: £17,

Polo Ralph Lauren cotton cap


Best: Overall

When it comes to the classic All-American baseball cap, the more vintage you go, the better. Cool and breezy, and perfect for those who think they don’t look good in a pair of summer shades, you’ll look effortlessly casual whilst protecting your eyes from the almighty sun. This one from Ralph Lauren is as practical as it is stylish and its adjustable buckle means it will fit practically any head, no matter the size or the ego. Oh, and it comes in multiple colours, so even the fussiest of blokes will find a shade to suit his needs and tastes.

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St Louis Panama hat

Lock & Co St Louis panama hat.jpg

Best: For upscaling lazy hazy summer looks

The moment you see a bloke donning one of these bad boys on the street you know summer has well and truly arrived. Hailing all the way from the blindingly sunny shores of Ecuador, a good Panama is designed to keep your head cool and the sun out of your eyes, so make sure you shop around before you type in your card details. Case in point: this one from Lock & Co hatters is truly excellent. A rustic alternative to the classic Panama, it has a slightly darker colour to give it a more lived-in look and has been finished with a sleek navy grosgrain band and bow.

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Summer navy hopsack cotton narrow brim trilby


Best: For buzzing millennials

Is summer even summer without an appearance from the good old-fashioned trilby? We think not. Whether you are off to the beach, the races, or just your local, it looks good, feels good and will protect you from the sun all day long. This one from Bates of London is a particular favourite, not just because it looks good, but because of its narrow brim that makes it stand out from the crowd that little bit more.

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Christys’ balmoral tweed flat cap

tweed flat cap liberty.jpeg

Best: For more traditional looks

It’s one of those iconic British designs your wardrobe can’t go without. Though it might be a little on the unbearable side come those hotter days, the trustee flat cap is all about elevating tailored looks. This classic hat from one of the UK’s great hat makers, Christy’s, will add a touch of handcrafted elegance to heads; plus it’s breathable and weather resistant. Here’s a top tip – pair it with your favourite bomber for a gentlemanly take on athleisure.

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Gucci lamé papier hat

GUCCI Fedora.jpeg

Best: For square heads

Oxbridge Uni types go gaga for these hats whenever they cast their eyes on them. Why? They look good on you whilst they are part-time punting on the weekends. Style statement aside, it’s a great choice for a fun and elegant party outfit, or simply a posh picnic in the park – wine and summery chinos included. Featured in several runway looks, this rather fabulous domed feat from Gucci is made from a special straw effect fabric interwoven with shiny lamé threads. Trimmed with a grosgrain band, it gets major brownie points for the cutesy metal bee detail, too.

  1. £315 from
Prices may vary
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Prada re-nylon bucket hat


Best: For teens and most head types

The bucket may not be to everyone’s tastes, but the trend shows no sign of abating…ever for a matter of fact. Though big, and dare we say, a tad 90s questionable, level up the look with a baggy style number (think skater boy wearing a vest) or a simple pair of chic summer-ready shorts. The must-have? Oh, this blow out Prada one of course. The logo sells it, as does the fact it’s made through a nifty process of recycling and purifying plastics recovered from the ocean.

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The North Face’s city crush futurelight hat

The north face .png

Best: For summer fuelled joggers

Packable, and more importantly, breathable, North Face’s City Crush Futurelight hat was made for city slickers and nature junkies that love nothing more than a run served with a side of adrenaline. The major bonus is that it’s waterproof, so if you sweat, it will retain, plus on those summer days where the weather turns grey, the flexible cap will also protect you from the rain, too.

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Ysl straw waikiki hat


Best: For the great big old summer escape

This one is for all the beach lads out there. Big, floppy and oh such a statement, an overly sized straw hat is a must in any blokes bulging arsenal of accessories nowadays. As it’s such an eye turner, we say go all out and really break the bank with this one from French fashion house Saint Laurent. You’ve got two colours to choose from: black or the classic translucent beige. The centre crease adds a little oomph to heads and the distressed brim a little fash cred. Made in Italy, of course.

  1. £565 from
Prices may vary
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Prada logo-applique woven visor


Best: For guys who like a throwback

Chances are you would have worn one of these as a child. A firm favourite of pensioners (we are not being ageist, it’s just a blatant fact), your noggin’ will give off all the right pre turn of the millennia vibes, plus a dose of Miami beach style. PRADA’s slip-on visor is not only in vogue but also easily adjustable, easy to clean and oozes unrivalled European style.

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Cos the skull cap


Best: For men who want UV protection

You might think this one will keep you hot-headed, but for those who are reluctantly having to say ciao to their locks, the trusty watch cap will save your scalp from the merciless rays of the sun. Another major perk is that it works well as a winter hat, so you won’t have to waste any more of your hard-earned bucks come Christmas time. Our pick of the bunch? The Skull Cap from Cos. Made from pure cotton, the padded-roll up edge is comfortable and adjustable; plus, you can throw it in the washing machine for easy care, too.

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The verdict: Mens summer hats

You can’t go wrong with a classic. For its affordability, iconic design, the wealth of colours it comes in, and of course, the polo pony, Ralph gets tops marks from us for his endless swathe of stylish and very versatile summer caps. But, if you really do want to spoil your head rotten, go total blow out luxe with the classic straw hat from Saint Laurent. Chic and cheerful.

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