Wool hats and cold weather are an iconic duo.
So what’s a vegan to do since wool is not vegan?
Luckily, there are many good substitutes to wool for clothing these days.
Alternative Materials to Wool
Of all the vegan materials out there, 3 are considered the best wool alternatives:
- Synthetic (e.g. acrylic, polyester – derived from oil)
All 3 types of materials make warm and comfortable hats, there’s not a huge difference in the quality.
The best material for you depends on your thoughts on environmental impact (e.g. cotton and bamboo are better than synthetic, which leach plastic into the water supply) and budget.
Synthetic and cotton hats are much cheaper than bamboo hats, at least for now.
Take those factors into consideration.
I’ve spent a few hours looking at different types of vegan alternatives to wool hats (because I needed one), and compiled the best ones I found.
Note that some say “men” or “women”, but they’re all unisex in my opinion.
Synthetic Winter Hats
Synthetic hats are the most common ones you’ll find, mostly made of acrylic, which is quite stretchable. Polyester is the next most common.
These hats are typically warm, soft, and moisture wicking (good if they get wet). But, they come from petrochemicals, and they leach microplastics when you wash them.
Not the worst, but if you’re an environmentally-conscious vegan, you might want to look at the other options first.
In terms of synthetic hats, this was my favorite one of all the hats I found.
- Looks great (unisex)
- 100% acrylic
- Is highly rated
Carhartt is known for their high quality hats, despite being quite affordable.
This is a 100% acrylic hat made in the USA. It’s designed to be stretchable and very warm.
If you just want a plain beanie for a decent price, this is a good option. It comes in many colors, so you have some variety to choose from.
Again, it’s 100% acrylic, that’s the most common synthetic material you’ll find for beanies.
It’s warm, cheap, and decent quality that should last at least a few years.
Cotton Winter Hats
While bamboo hats are my personal favorite, cotton hats come in a close second.
You’ll find 2 different types of cotton winter hats.
Some hats are 100% cotton. These are very warm and comfortable, but if they get wet, well…they suck. So it’s okay if you just need a winter hat for walking outside, but if you plan to wear it in heavy snow or while exercising (hiking, snowboarding, etc.), it’s not the best option to keep you warm.
Instead, you’ll want a cotton blend. These are mostly cotton, but also have synthetic materials in them to provide water resistance.
I’ll show you an option of each type here.
I love the look of this hat, and it comes in several colors.
It’s designed to be warm and fairly stretchable. Revony also has a pretty generous return policy if you’d like to just try it out.
Amazon Essentials 2-Pack Knit Beanie Hat (Cotton Blend)
Amazon Essentials is Amazon’s own brand. They find a reputable manufacturer and put their brand name on it.
Their products are usually high quality, but also affordable, as you’d expect from Amazon.
In this case, you can get 2 hats for cheap.
This is a blend consisting of:
- 57% Cotton
- 28% Acrylic
- 15% Polyester
That makes it better suited to keeping your head warm if it gets wet.
Bamboo Winter Hats
Finally, my favorite material.
Very soft and warm (better than cotton when wet as well), but unfortunately expensive and harder to find. Cotton is more practical for most.
If you really want a bamboo hat, you’ll have to look on specialty outdoor shops.
Here are a few options I came across, but there are others out there if you’re willing to dig around.
This beanie is specifically designed for athletes.
It’s thin, but warm, making it perfect for fitting under helmets if necessary. It’s 95% bamboo and 5% spandex.
The store ships from the U.S. to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
So there you have it, 3 main types of wool hat alternatives for vegans, with my 7 favorite specific hats. If you stumble upon any cool brand that I may have missed, please share it in a comment below.
You might also be interested in my post on the best vegan alternatives to wool socks.