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The best beanies do so much more than just keeping you warm these days. Whether you call them a beanie, knit cap, skullcap or toque (like they say in Canada), these form-fitting, brimless hats add a layer of protection from the elements while also serving up a stylish, streetwear-inspired look.
Originally designed as winter wear, a beanie offers up an easy way to keep your head — and ears — warm. The best beanies are made from heat-retaining materials, and many are lined with fleece for an extra layer of coziness. Spending a lot of time outdoors? Look for beanies with thicker construction and plush fabrics. They’ll not only be more durable, holding up to all weather conditions, but they’ll keep you warmer too.
The best beanies should fit snug against your head, ensuring that they still put, even while you’re in motion. All of the options on our are list are made from stretchy, flexible materials that easily fit over most head shapes and sizes. Keep in mind the fit should be snug, not tight — you don’t want something that’ll feel constricting.
The latest beanies are designed with moisture-wicking properties, so your head stays dry, with less sweat under the cap. This technology makes beanies especially great for athletes who are training outdoors. Prefer something a little more flexible? Pick up a skullcap, which is a slightly thinner and more streamlined knit cap. The best skullcaps can be worn on their own (helping to keep your hair in place, say, on a run), or they can be worn under a helmet, say, when you’re skiing on the slopes, riding your motorcycle, or hitting the football field.
A minimalist beanie is also quickly becoming a style statement too. Rappers like Nas and Pharrell are often seen wearing colorful knit hats as part of their outfit, while singers Justin Bieber and Zac Brown are almost always pictured with a beanie on. In many instances, a well-made and well-tailored beanie can be considered more acceptable than a baseball cap or bandana, helping to dress down more formal looks, or add a subtle accessory or pop of color to a casual outfit. Going for a boho look? Slouchy beanies have been around for decades, popularized by musicians like Bob Marley, who wore a beanie to help keep his hair in place and protect his crown from the sun.
The best beanies are meant to be versatile, whether you’re using them for warmth or to jazz up your festival look. Here are some diverse options that do both.
1. Carhartt Acrylic Hat
You won’t find a more classic beanie than this knit cap from Carhartt. Founded in 1889, the company is known for their hard-wearing workwear, outerwear and accessories, and this beanie is no exception.
Made in the USA, the beanie is made from a super soft and cozy acrylic, with a signature rib-knit construction. The unique knit not only ensures warmth, but durability as well. The acrylic material, meantime, is stretchy enough to fit over most head sizes without feeling tight or constricting.
A core piece in the Carhartt Company Gear Collection, the beanie features a folded hem design, with a subtle Carhartt label sewn on the front.
PROS: More than 30 colors and patterns available, so there something for every style.
CONS: Hand wash only.
2. Tough Headwear Skullcap
A skullcap is a type of beanie, but generally made of a thinner material and designed to be worn on one side (whereas a traditional beanie looks fine no matter how you put it on).
This skullcap is made from a stretchy polyester-spandex blend that sits tighter to your crown. Wear it shallow for a more casual look, or stretch it out and pull it over your ears, for extra warmth. The brushed thermal lining helps to retain heat, while wicking away sweat.
A skullcap is also the most versatile style of knit caps. Because of its light weight and thinner material, it fits easily under a helmet to keep you warm, whether you’re on the slopes or riding your bike. It works as a great helmet liner under a football helmet or skateboard helmet too.
Runners and hikers also use this skullcap to keep their head and ears warm while outdoors. The sweat-wicking material keeps them dry.
PROS: The stretchy, flexible material makes this a one-size-fits-all design.
CONS: Some find the snug fit uncomfortable.
3. PAGE ONE Slouchy Beanie
For a more casual look, we like this slouchy beanie, which comes in more than a dozen colors to match any boho-inspired outfit.
This knit cap is made from a plush acrylic material and lined with a super soft fleece. The fleech lining won’t irritate the skin, while the unique knit allows the beanie to retain warmth while still being breathable (no sweaty heads here!)
The beanie has a slightly rolled hem, with a faux leather PAGE ONE tag on the front.
PROS: The looser style works best for people with larger heads.
CONS: This look isn’t for everyone.
4. KBETHOS Unisex Slouchy Beanie
This stylish, slouchy beanie is great for all ages, genders and personal styles, with an easy-to-wear design and comfortable fit. Wear it straight, slouchy, or fold up the ends for a more traditional look and style.
This beanie weighs less than three ounces, making it one of the most lightweight styles on our list. Its looser fit also means there’s less pressure around your head and temples. The company says its “natural stretch-flex technology,” meantime, helps the cap move more naturally with your head movements.
PROS: Lightweight and loose-fitting, so it doesn’t feel tight around your head. The soft acrylic material is machine-washable.
CONS: Because it’s the loosest fit on our list, some may find that the cap shifts or falls off easier than other models.