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Leather vs. Cloth Sweatbands

Submitted by on August 27, 2011 – 10:46 pm 9 Comments

What's the difference between leather and cloth sweatbands? It's a matter of personal preference.

In the epic history of rivalriesÔÇöAthens vs. Sparta, Union vs. Confederacy, Red Sox vs. YankeesÔÇöthe style of your hatÔÇÖs 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 whatÔÇÖs the fuss between leather and cloth sweatbands? It really is just a matter of personal comfort and preference. Some people get extra picky because thatÔÇÖs 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┬ásweatbands often feel lighter and possibly more conforming to oneÔÇÖs 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.

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  • jocuri 3d says:

    Hello, Thank you just for that nice article! I must bookmark Hats Plus Chronicles » Leather vs. Cloth Sweatbands. Regards.

  • Mike says:

    I have a light brown leather hat, with a leather sweatband. The sweat has gone through the sweatband, into the leather of the hat itself, darkening it across the front. Is there any way to clean that, and then maybe waterproof it so that doesn’t happen again? Thanks.

    • Nathaniel Cerf says:

      Hi Mike, I’m afraid the leather is stained for life. Think of it as character. If that doesn’t work, you can always fashion a bandana or hat band around it. For future hats, there’s not a lot you can do, either. The trick is to keep the hat dry. If you carry a bandana or handkerchief around with you, you might want to mop your brow and the inside of the hat every so often when it gets really hot. Make sure the hat can dry out over night, too. Once the sweat soaks in, there’s not much you can do.

  • Bill Manns says:

    I’m looking for a few dozen leather sweatbands to repair some older cowboy hats. Would you have a source?

    • Nathaniel Cerf says:

      Hi Bill,

      Great question. Something like that is going to have to be custom made. You need to find someone with the special machinery. We don’t do any major repairs like that, but I’m sure someone out there has the capability to make them. Perhaps you could start with the major brands like Stetson or Biltmore. Best of luck on your quest.

  • Fred Klug says:

    I would like to see an article about what to wear with a dress hat. I also would like to know if there are any bowler hats made of straw?

    • Nathaniel Cerf says:

      Hi Fred,

      I do not know of any bowlers made of straw, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. As for what to wear with a dress hat, I’ll definitely start working on that project. Thanks for reading.


  • scott chambers says:

    I am afraid I have sweated thru the leather band inside my straw hat, and of course now it’s dried, and the hat is too tight .. any solutions or home remedies?


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