Leather vs. Cloth Sweatbands
In the epic history of rivalries—Athens vs. Sparta, Union vs. Confederacy, Red Sox vs. Yankees—the style of your hat’s sweatband is pretty high up there. However, in the event you are one of the few who remains undecided about such a controversial subject, let us help you navigate the facts in as nonpartisan a fashion as we can.
The basic purpose of a sweatband is to serve as a layer of protection and comfort between the hat and your head. A good one should keep the oils and perspiration in your skin and hair from damaging the hat. A sweatband also will keep the wool, straw or fur felt of the hat from feeling itchy.
So what’s the fuss between leather and cloth sweatbands? It really is just a matter of personal comfort and preference. Some people get extra picky because that’s the only part of the hat they can feel when wearing it, so they want to make certain if feels good.
As a rule, a leather hat band will be a much more protective hat band. It will better help a hat hold its shape, while better keeping oils and sweat from damaging the hat. Your high-end hat manufacturers such as Borsalino use extra light-weight, soft and supple leather. Some customers feel that other leather sweatbands can feel a little too stiff or heavy. These folks tend to prefer the cloth sweatbands.
Cloth sweatbands often feel lighter and possibly more conforming to one’s head. Some people also like the fact these sweatbands are more absorbent. The drawback to that is that the added absorbency might be more prone to soaking into the outer layer of the hat, permanently staining it or shrinking it.
If you are looking for an inexpensive straw hat to knock around in at the beach one summer and throw out at the end of the season, this might not be a problem for you at all. However, if you are looking for a straw of fur felt hat to last you many years, a perfectly sized leather sweatband is probably your best bet.