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Blog / Style & trends / Types of Baseball Hats: Your Ultimate Cap Guide

Style & trends

Types of Baseball Hats: Your Ultimate Cap Guide

Types of Baseball Hats: Your Ultimate Cap Guide
Pauls Smiltiņš

By Pauls Smiltiņš

8 min read

Are you looking for custom hats to sell? Then look no further than the timeless classic—a baseball cap.

The baseball hat, once a humble component of traditional baseball uniforms, has evolved into a global cultural icon. Renowned as the most popular hat type worldwide, its journey from the ball field to mainstream fashion has been truly remarkable.

Types of baseball hats, also known as dad hats, can be categorized by many aspects, such as the material, shape, back closer, panel count, and much more. 

Today, we’ll look into the distinctive characteristics of each type to help you decide which baseball cap suits your business needs. Whether you prefer a classic look or a more contemporary style, we’ve got you covered.

Are you ready? Let’s play ball!

Types of baseball hats by material

Nowadays, baseball caps are crafted from a diverse range of materials to provide comfort, durability, and style. Some of the fabrics used are cotton, cotton blends, canvas, jersey mesh, wool, acrylic, polyester, and other fast-wicking materials. 

Does this sound like every possible fabric? Well, it pretty much is.

a woman pointing at her hat

Source: Printful

Here’s a breakdown of some key materials commonly used for baseball caps:

  • Brushed cotton: This involves brushing cotton repeatedly, imparting a soft and fuzzy texture to the fabric.

  • Cotton twill: A common material for a baseball cap, cotton twill offers a slight sheen and a durable texture. It’s lighter compared to brushed cotton.

  • Corduroy: Known for its raised parallel ridges, corduroy offers a unique tactile quality, bringing a sophisticated and vintage charm to baseball caps. Favored for casual and semi-formal settings, corduroy caps make a statement with their distinctive texture and refined aesthetic.

  • Denim: Well suited for a laid-back style, denim finds its place among baseball caps, merging comfort with a timeless and rugged appeal. The durable nature of denim ensures longevity, and its ability to fade over time adds character.

  • Brushed canvas: Increasingly popular, brushed canvas strikes a balance between durability and a soft texture. The brushed finish adds a touch of sophistication, ensuring that the hats feel great and look stylish.

  • Wool blend: A classic moisture-wicking material is combined with modern blends to enhance durability, making wool blend baseball caps ideal for various weather conditions.

  • Color dyed/fabric dyed: The manufacturing process of fabric-dyed materials results in textiles with a soft, faded, lived-in appearance and feel. Whether it's the gentle fading of colors or the vintage look achieved through fabric dyeing, these caps exude a laid-back charm that complements any casual outfit.

  • Polyester mesh: Often used in the back panels of trucker hats, polyester mesh makes the hat breathable.

When deciding on the fabric of your baseball cap, consider your brand vision. Whether it's the timeless appeal of denim, the sophisticated touch of corduroy, or the modern blend of wool, select the material that resonates with your aesthetic.

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Types of baseball hats by shape

As you’ve probably noticed, baseball hats come in various forms and styles. The two primary categories are structured and unstructured shapes, each offering distinct characteristics.

Structured caps

 

The structured cap has a supportive material known as buckram, strategically positioned between the two front panels. This feature allows the cap to maintain its shape, even after it’s taken off or subjected to pressure.

Initially worn by baseball players, these caps are available in many colors and fabric choices. An excellent example of a structured hat is the Adidas Dad Hat, which you can customize with an embroidered text or logo using Printful’s Design Maker. The snapback closure ensures a snug fit, and the 6-panel design contributes to shape retention.

Structured hats provide a sophisticated silhouette that stands the test of time, remaining an everyday essential.

Unstructured caps

 

In contrast, unstructured caps employ limper and softer fabric that lacks the support to maintain its shape once taken off. The absence of backing for the two front panels results in a flat flop when placed on a surface.

Unstructured caps are a great choice for casual wear. If you prefer this type of look, check out our Vintage Dad Hat that’s made of 100% brushed-washed cotton and has a fashionable faded look.

Which one to pick?

When considering the shape, remember that structured hats, made with buckram, retain their shape even after removal, offering a more polished appearance. On the other hand, unstructured hats, lacking support, collapse and become floppy when taken off, providing a softer and more casual aesthetic.

Both structured and unstructured hats can be embroidered and cater to individual preferences. Some may prefer the structured cap for its defined shape, while others opt for the unstructured one due to its softness and comfort. Whether you prioritize a crisp form or a relaxed feel, the choice between structured and unstructured hats ultimately depends on personal style preferences. Consider offering both to your customers to see which sells better.

Printful offers a wide range of baseball cap styles in all shapes and forms. Check out our catalog to customize your own.

Types of baseball hats by back closure

If adjustability is a priority for you when it comes to baseball caps, pay attention to the closure types. Some might not be adjustable. 

Let’s take a closer look at a few main ones:

Metal buckle

Utilizing a simple metal push-down/pull-up buckle mechanism, metal buckle closures provide a classic look and allow for easy adjustment. Often, these hats feature a leather strap held in place by the buckle, contributing to a timeless aesthetic and making it easy to dress up or dress down. 

Source: Printful

Here's a list of hats with metal buckle available at Printful:

  1. Organic Baseball Cap | Econscious EC7000
  2. Corduroy Hat | Beechfield B682
  3. Classic Dad Hat | Yupoong 6245CM
  4. Vintage Cap | Otto Cap 18-1248
  5. Vintage Dad Hat | Beechfield B655
  6. Denim Hat | Otto Cap 18-204
  7. Pastel Baseball Hat | Beechfield B653

Snapback

Renowned for its adjustable strap at the back, typically made of plastic with snap buttons, a snapback offers a customizable fit. Originating from hip-hop and urban fashion, snapbacks gained popularity for their flat brim and embroidered logos, becoming a symbol of street style.

Source: Printful

Here's what Printful has to offer:

  1. Retro Trucker Hat | Yupoong 6606
  2. Classic Snapback | Yupoong 6089M
  3. 5 Panel Trucker Cap | Yupoong 6006
  4. Snapback | Otto Cap 125-978
  5. Flat Bill Cap | Yupoong 6007
  6. Mesh Back Snapback | Otto Cap 154-1124

Velcro

Velcro closures are similar to snapbacks, with the main difference being that Velcro fabric replaces the plastic closure. Velcro closures employ two soft cloth straps with hook-and-loop self-fasteners, allowing for easy opening and closing. While practical, these closures are considered less elegant. Also, regular cleaning is necessary to prevent the fastener from catching in the strip.

Source: Printful

For now, Printful offers two velcro options:

  1. Distressed Dad Hat | Otto Cap 104-1018
  2. adidas Dad Hat

Closed-back

Also known as one-size hats, caps with closed-back closures can’t be adjusted and must be purchased in the correct size for the best fit. This fitted cap offers a sleek and fitted appearance, more popular for fashion rather than sports.

Source: Printful

These are the options Printful currently has:

  1. Closed-Back Structured Cap | Flexfit 6277
  2. Closed-Back Trucker Cap | Flexfit 6511

In addition to the highlighted closure styles, it’s worth noting that baseball hats offer even more variations to cater to individual preferences. Other closure styles include nylon straps with plastic clips and cloth straps with buckles, each bringing its distinct blend of comfort and aesthetics.

Types of baseball hats by panel count

Baseball hats are constructed from panels—individual pieces of fabric stitched together to form the crown of the hat. The number of panels, often five to seven, is a crucial characteristic influencing the hat’s design and functionality.

5-panel caps

 

The 5-panel cap, often called a camp cap, stands out for its unique design consisting of five panels of fabric. The front part, or crown, is a single panel, creating a sleek and shallow profile. This distinctive construction creates a relatively flat surface, making 5-panel caps an excellent canvas for screen printing or custom embroidery.

Initially rooted in the ’80s skater culture and embraced by Brooklyn hipsters, the 5-panel cap has evolved into a versatile accessory suitable for surfers, city dwellers, and anyone seeking a laid-back yet stylish look. Unlike other hat styles, the 5-panel cap effortlessly carries bold patterns or all-over prints without appearing overly busy.

6-panel caps

 

The 6-panel cap, distinguished by its crown divided by a seam down the middle, brings a sporty and structured aesthetic to the table. With six triangular panels sewn together, these caps offer a wider brim than their 5-panel counterparts. While not recommended for screen printing due to the central seam, the 6-panel design allows customization with embroidery.

While most 6-panel caps feature panels of the same color, consider customization options with different-colored panels for a personalized touch.

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7-panel caps

The 7-panel hat combines the best features of 5 and 6-panel caps. The crown consists of six triangular fabric pieces reminiscent of the 6-panel style, with an additional larger front panel. This larger front panel provides an uninterrupted canvas for designs and logos, adding to the cap’s visual appeal.

This makes 7-panel caps an excellent choice for showcasing logos and graphics. Enjoy a balanced structure that combines the wider brim of a 6-panel cap with the design advantages of a 5-panel hat.

The choice between 5, 6, or 7-panel baseball caps extends beyond mere aesthetics, delving into personal expression and practicality. Each style has distinctive characteristics, catering to different tastes and fashion preferences. Whether you opt for the simplicity and versatility of a 5-panel cap, the sporty appeal of a 6-panel design, or the best-of-both-worlds structure of a 7-panel hat, understanding these distinctions allows you to make a statement with your headwear designs.

Which dad hat are you rocking?

a pair of hats with a logo on them

Source: Printful

Not surprisingly, the timeless baseball caps have become a popular choice for stores using the print-on-demand fulfillment method, where the product is made only once a customer makes an order, eliminating the need to keep stock. Using dropshipping services, the product is then shipped directly to the customer.

As you enter the world of selling baseball hats, remember that each hat makes a statement. Knowing the nuances of different types of baseball hats is your key to creating curated experiences, providing more than just headwear but a reflection of an individual’s personality.

Every detail, from the material to the closure style, matters when it comes to selling baseball caps. Create your unique designs and start selling today—with Printful it’s just that easy.

That’s a wrap. Happy hat hunting!

author

By Pauls Smiltiņš on Jan 26, 2024

Pauls Smiltiņš

Guest author

Pauls is a content writer with a background in the radio. He has a degree in communication sciences, and in his free time, Pauls loves to entertain crowds by playing live music on stage.

Pauls is a content writer with a background in the radio. He has a degree in communication sciences, and in his free time, Pauls loves to entertain crowds by playing live music on stage.