When it comes to men's hats, there's only one style that could give the baseball cap a run for its money as the epitome of easy-breezy headwear. Of course, we're talking about the beanie, also known as a knit cap, sock hat, stocking cap, skull cap, ski hat, burglar beanie, and watch cap. Beanies blend style and comfort in one classic package.
Although there are variations from fabric to fit, the basics of this versatile cap remain the same: It's a soft, close-fitting, crownless, visor-free knit hat. While beanies are a no-brainer for covering up bad hair days or keeping your head warm in cold weather, they have become an increasingly popular year-round accessory.
Get the lowdown on everything you need to know about men's beanies, what to look for when shopping for one, and how to pull off the look with aplomb.
Different Beanie Fabrics
Knit beanies come in a variety of fabrics, both natural and man-made. They can range from ultra-luxe cashmere, alpaca, and soft merino wool (which comes from merino sheep) to less expensive fleece, cotton, and wool blends that include nylon, acrylic, and other fibers.
Beanies made from fine natural textiles such as cashmere and cotton are soft to the touch and tend to breathe well, which makes them ideal for a number of climates. Thicker synthetic materials such as acrylic do not breathe well and might make you sweat, but they're a viable option for those who are allergic to wool or other animal hair.
Because of their warmth, wool beanies and fleece hats make great winter hats. There are also beanies made especially for water sports. These include caps made from synthetic rubbers such as neoprene, which is commonly used to make scuba-diving suits.
Top Mens Beanie Styles
Whether you want to stay warm or keep cool, these beanies will take you to next-level style status.
Named after the fishermen who wear them while working the docks or out at sea, fisherman beanies are made from thick, chunky ribbed material and feature a cuff. You can wear this cuff beanie on top of your head without even touching your ears, but it looks best when at least partially covering the ears.
Opt for a dark or neutral color when going for a more dressed-up approach — say, layered with a fitted T-shirt, button-down oxford, and charcoal-colored overcoat. For a trendier look, go for a shocking yellow, orange, or neon green. The North Face's jersey-lined Salty Dog beanie is a popular version of the fisherman style.
With its soft droop, loose fit, and amorphic silhouette, the slouchy beanie is definitely the most laid-back member of the knit cap family. A longer style with more fabric that can extend over the entire head and ears, slouchy beanies don't have a cuff and come in a variety of fabrications. Heavy-knitted wool works great for winter, but for summer you can't go wrong with a stretchy, moisture-wicking jersey cotton. Take a look at more of the best slouchy beanies and how to rock them the right way.
Pom-poms add a pop of fun to the basic beanie. While they've long been a common sight on the slopes and on the trail, pom beanies are becoming a serious fashion statement for city dwellers who have a sense of humor. More than just a winter hat, these playful headpieces come in lighter fabrics that can be worn anytime of year. To pull it off successfully, make sure the rest of your outfit is rooted in classics so you don't end up looking like a confused man child.
Whether it's a logo from brands like Nike, The North Face, Patagonia, your favorite sports team, or simply USA across the front, logo beanies are a popular choice for game day or just hanging out with the guys. There's nothing wrong with indulging in full-on fandom with a matching jersey, jacket, and face paint when heading to the sports bar or stadium. But when you're out grabbing lunch, running errands, or heading to the airport, consider keeping the rest of your ensemble toned down so you don't suffer from logo overload.
Beanie hats are already easy-breezy, but one that's reversible is even better. It's like getting two caps for the price of one. Not only does it give you an extra option for your wardrobe, but it also provides a fallback in case you sweat through, stain, or otherwise mess up one side of the beanie. NEFF Daily's reversible beanie is a popular pick for both men and women.
Cap It Off
Whether you're in the warm climate of Southern California or harsher temps of Northern Canada, a beanie hat can be your best fashion accessory. Easy to grab and always ready to go, it's probably the easiest mens hat in any situation no matter where you're headed. Unlike baseball caps and other hat styles, beanies can be crushed, stashed, smashed, rolled, folded, and packed in seconds; they take up virtually no space; and they disguise bad hair days quite nicely.
Once you know the key elements to consider and how to style these versatile headpieces, you'll consider a beanie as much an essential for your lifestyle as your phone, laptop, and favorite pair of sunglasses. For more hat-wearing inspiration, take a sneak peek at our new arrivals and bestsellers for men. Remember: If you don't love your first order, it's on us. Return your hat within 30 days of receipt for a full refund. That's just our way.