Performance Hat Trends: Autumn/Winter 2017

September 12, 2016 - By Emily Potter

Welcome to the final article in our four-part trend series. This post will cover performance hat trends meant for an active lifestyle.

The first trend is full of soft pastels and greys with hipster inspiration. The trend has a handcrafted feel at a mass produced level.

The second style consists of deep earth tones, predominately reds, browns, and greens. Earth elements like wood grains, fire, and recyclable materials are used throughout.

The third trend revolves around an active lifestyle and performance fabrics. Reflective and metallic elements on grey-scale garments are common.

The final style also uses a lot of pastels. Retro looks are met with modern technology and bright pops of color and texture.

Over the past month, we have covered hat trends for women, men, and youth. We will continue to keep you up to date with future trends biannually. So keep an eye out early next year for the Spring/Summer 2018 series.

Forecasting for performance hat trends pulls from the athleisure or activewear phenomenon we’ve all experienced in recent years.

For both women and men, performance hat trends call for bonded fleece, suede, velvet, faux fur, golden leather, evening mesh, ribbed and waterproofed fabrics, embossing, quilted structures, rubberized and reflective materials, digital customization and technical sheen.

Performance Hat Trends


Patterns and Graphics

The best way I know to describe the overall look for women’s performance hat trends is whimsical. Everything is either on a grey scale of blacks and whites or bright, bold neons, there is rarely an in between.

There is an underlying feeling of fun in these pieces, which is great because it encourage women to live a healthy lifestyle. Geometric patterns, stripes, and gradients are common, as well as animal prints, tribal prints, floral prints, and generic camos.


Reflective fabrics are imperative for safety. Ventilation and performance fabrics are useful for comfort. Bright colors and patterns remain popular in running styles. Both motivational and de-motivational taglines are used with small hits of branding.

Athleisure and Training

Black, white, and grey are the dominant colors, and are highlighted with bright accents. Lightweight, reflective fabrics are essential for performance and visibility. Floral and geometric patterns are often mixed with motivational taglines.

Performance Hat Trends


Bright colors remain constant as well as all over patterns. We’re seeing small hits of branding in unique positions. High contrasting polka dots and stripes are common.

Outdoor Active

This market consists of some unique sun protection shapes and military styles. There are more earth tones used here than in any other collection. Performance fabrics are used to keep up with vigorous outdoor activities.

Cold Weather

Headbands and ear warmers are popular in addition to both traditional and enhanced beanie shapes. Bright colors are still popular. Reflective and heathered materials and all over patterns are very common. Any branding typically consists of small hits in unique positions and locations.


In the women’s team market, we’re seeing a lot of feminine colors. Often times it is a softer version of the team’s color palette, such as aqua blue instead of royal blue. Other times it blatantly goes against traditional branding using colors like pink, purple, and teal. Another unique option is mixing floral prints with team logos.

For pieces that follow the team’s brand guidelines, trends include very large logos, color blocking, vintage or distressed looks, and metallic elements.

Performance Hat Trends


Patterns and Graphics

Things are much more calm in the men’s performance hat trends than the women’s. There is a lot of black and white and grey. If a pop of color exists, it is typically a single color, perhaps with shade and tone variations.

Graphics consist of simple, clean art with motivational taglines. Geometric patterns, stripes, gradients, and generic camos are very common among men.


Reflective fabrics and integrated lights are important for the safety of night and early morning runners. We’re seeing this type of technology inputted more and more. Runners demand lightweight fabrics with venting and perforation. Geometric patterns and motivational sayings are also popular.


Generic camo is very common in this market. Bright colors lend accents to earth tones, blacks, and greys. Stripes, color blocking, and distressed typography are popular decoration elements.

Performance Hat Trends


Vintage looks are becoming more popular among golfers by incorporating distressed fabrics and leather elements. We’re also seeing bright colors, stripes, plaids, and gradients.

Outdoor Active

This market is also full of earth tones, blacks, and greys. Brim shapes like buckets and boonies are used for sun protection. Foldable visors are common. Performance fabrics are important to keep up with the elements.

Cold Weather

Traditional beanie shapes and beanies with full-face masks are both popular. Colors are mostly black and grey with bright primary colors mixed in. Lightweight performance fabrics are key here. Reflective and heathered elements are used with small branding hits.


The men’s team market has a vintage feel to it. We’re seeing a lot of distressed pieces using retired logos and heavily washed fabrics. You’re going to see large logos in the men’s market as well. Generic camos and stripes are also common.

This is the final article in the A/W ‘17 blog series. We will continue to visit the topic of trend guides twice a year for each upcoming season. As we stated before, we work several seasons ahead so that merchandise has time to go to market.

Let us know what you think about the performance hat trends in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram using the hashtag #hatswork.

Emily Potter

Emily is the Content Marketer for Outdoor Cap Co. She holds an M.A. in AD & PR from the University of Alabama and a B.B.A in Marketing. Emily is an avid Crimson Tide football fan. She has a golden retriever named Opie Winston, and a cat named Tide.


Hatswork Round-Up: September 15, 2016


Hatswork Round-Up: September 8, 2016