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Battle of the Dad Hats

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It’s like an Oklahoma drill, but with dad hats.

If trucker hats and snapbacks are like the Miami Hurricane teams of the ‘80s and ‘90s — brash, loud, super fun — dad hats are like the Alabama teams of the last two decades — down to business, classy, always winning. And like ‘Bama, they keep coming back to the front of the pack, staying relevant year after year. Dad hats are modest, low-profile caps that ideally fit your head as soon as you get one home. They’re one of very few types of headwear that work well in almost any situation. But which dad hat brands would we consider the blue-chip prospects? Below, we’re throwing three of our favorites into our version of an Oklahoma drill to see who comes out ahead. First, we’re recounting the history of the dad hat, then sizing up our recruits, before giving you some tips on how to design a custom dad hat with CapBeast, and then finally declaring a winner. *Nick Saban voice* Hustle up, let’s go…

A Concise History of the Dad Hat

Back in the day, baseball caps weren’t often worn outside of baseball games. It really wasn’t until the ‘70s and ‘80s that trucker hats and baseball caps started to become popular in everyday life. Then in the ‘90s, ’47 Brand introduced an unstructured, 6-panel cotton hat with a slightly curved bill. It was understated, easily customizable, and incredibly comfortable. In short, it was the perfect hat for fathers — hence the name. The hats took off, embraced on college campuses, golf courses, and little league diamonds everywhere. Around the beginning of the 2000s, however, fitteds, trucker hats, and snapbacks started to take over the market, and dad hats dwindled in popularity. 

Much to the delight of fathers everywhere, though, the dad hat has come roaring back, showing up on the domes of rappers, athletes, supermodels, and your hypebeast best friend. Maybe it’s because of their accessibility and subtle style, or maybe it’s because of the throwback vibe they give off. No matter the reason, there’s no denying that the design is hot right now. And with CapBeast, you can hop on the trend in a completely unique way, creating a custom hat that dads everywhere will be jealous of. 

The Contenders

Now that you’ve passed Dad Hat 101, we’re going to introduce you to the finalists. Forget just dad hats — these are three of our absolute favorite hats period: the ’47 Dad Hat, Champion Dad Hat, and Yupoong Strapback Dad Hat. This is like when we found out Germany, Portugal, and France were all in one group in the Euros. 

’47 Brand Dad Hat

’47 is the brand often credited for bringing this particular style into the mix. The fit on the ’47 Dad Hat is right in the middle of our three players, deeper than the Yupoong but shallower than the Champion. The 100% cotton fabric and perfectly curved bill on this one make for a crazy smooth fit. And we’re big fans of the faded, distressed look of the colors ’47 offers, with a full spectrum of options to make the perfect base for your custom dad hat. We also like the ’47 Dad Hat’s clasp in the back that snaps on and off for easier adjusting. Trust us, it’s worth a lot more than its price tag. 

Score: 4.7

 

Champion Dad Hat

 

There’s a lot going for the Champion Dad Hat. For one thing, if you hadn’t noticed, Champion has been having a moment lately. Then there’s the fact that this hat is not only a head-turner but also sooooo incredibly soft; so Champion’s version of the dad hat is definitely the top seed in our little competition. The crown on this one is by far the deepest, with plenty of room for any size head. And like we said, the 100% cotton is pure luxury. The materials, including the sturdy buckle in the back, and the classic colorways (a royal blue custom Dad Hat with the Champion logo in the back is unbeatable), make this a statement piece. The Champion is the priciest of our contestants, but it’s an absolute banger. 

Score: 4.8

 

Yupoong Strapback Dad Hat

 

Yupoong makes solid headgear that never goes out of style, and their Strapback Dad Hat is no exception. This one has a super lightweight 100% cotton material, so it definitely earns points with its breathability — you’ll barely feel it. The Yupoong certainly has the shallowest profile, though, so those with larger domes might need to loosen the strap or go with one of the other dad hats on our list. A huge plus for the Strapback is the number of colors it comes in (we’re partial to the khaki and navy options, but you can’t miss). And the low base price makes it a fantastic value. 

Score: 4.5

 

How to Design a Dad Hat

Understated style is the hallmark of the dad hat. With an unstructured front that provides a shorter profile and less space for graphics, you’re going to want to go with something low-key. Try using a wider graphic or sticking to simple horizontal text on the front. Remember, CapBeast lets you customize the sides of the dad hat too, so you’ll have the option to add logos and/or secondary text.  

CapBeast’s hat customizer couldn’t be easier to use. Just choose which dad hat you want, select a color, and start uploading and arranging your designs. CapBeast gives you tons of font and formatting options so that you get exactly the text style you want. We like the Playball and Domine fonts for dad hats, but you can play around with the customizer to see which one works best for your designs. 

Be sure to choose bold graphics that are going to show up as clearly as possible when stitched onto your cap. Thick lines and uncluttered visuals are going to be your best bet, especially with the slim profile of a dad hat. Have a look at our design guidelines and do’s and don’ts for some tips on customizing your hat so that it looks as fresh as possible.   

The Winner

This one is tough. If these hats were actually recruits, Saban would’ve had them signed by the 8th grade. The ’47 is the OG, the senior that’s the leader in the locker room, and the Yupoong is the DB that can play on both sides of the ball; but we’ve gotta go with the Champion as, well, the champion. The Champion Dad Hat is just so incredibly soft, the fit is perfect (it’ll be completely broken in as soon as you’re done customizing it), and it looks dope backward and forward — a five-star recruit for sure. All three of these caps are amazing, though. And your dad hat is only gonna get better after CapBeast’s embroidery experts have designed it to your specifications. Hit up CapBeast today to start customizing your dad hat masterpiece — and watch your top recruit turn into a first-round pick. 

- Christopher Adair

Tagged Dad hat comparison