The Best [Sports] Headwear You’ve Never Heard Of

March 6, 2017 - By Emily Potter

When most of you think of sports hats, you probably think of the traditional baseball cap or maybe a knit. But did you know there are so many more styles gaining popularity than just ball caps and beanies?

Today, we’re going to look at 6 alternative styles I like to call sideline casual. Any team and its fans can wear these hats both on field and in the stands.

These hats are perfect for coaches, trainers, managers, and parents. There are options with sun protection, sweat management, cooling technology, and more.

Whether you’re a player or a league director, let me encourage you to seek out alternative shapes out and make requests of your local team dealers.


A boonie is a wide-brimmed hat that was made popular by soldiers during the Vietnam War. It has a stiff brim and the crown is vented with eyelets or mesh panels. They can be made with performance fabrics just like your favorite on-field styles.

In recent years, the boonie hat has become popular with coaches. Its wide, 360° brim provides more shade and UV protection for the wearer’s ears, neck, chest, and shoulders than a baseball cap does.

When coaches spend long hot summer days at tournaments and 2-a-days, it’s important that they stay as cool, dry, and protected as possible. Boonies help to do that.



Although not as wide as a boonie’s, the brim on a bucket is still more effective at shading the ears and face than a ball cap.

Also known as a fisherman’s hat, the bucket is designed with a downward sloping brim. It is made of a thicker durable fabric, like denim or canvas, but it can also have performance technologies like a cooling sweatband. It has eyelets on the crown for ventilation.

They were used as a statement of status or high-fashion piece in the 1960s.

These are a great option for traveling teams, as they can be worn off the field during down time or at practice.


This is another category that coaches especially love. Straws block the sun just like boonies do, but they’re much more breathable. They have a fabric band that can be decorated with the team logo or mascot.

Floppy, straw sun hats have gained popularity in the women’s market in recent years. Female athletes, coaches, and moms should be encouraging their team dealers to offer a straw option.


Speaking of women, ladies­– I don’t know about you, but I love headbands. It’s a quick, stylish alternative to spending a half hour on my hair. They’re also great for keeping your sweat and hair off of your face and neck while playing sports.

With the rise of the man-bun trend, they’re gaining traction in the men’s market as well.

JUNK Brands is blowing up the CrossFit and women’s lacrosse markets. Check them out, you won’t be sorry.


Traditionally, visors have been used for sports like golf, tennis, and softball.

Visors are less cumbersome than a baseball hat. They stay cooler and feel more secure on the head.

Bows are big in softball, so a lot of girls prefer visors so that the bow is highly visible. It also allows them to wear a ponytail whichever way is most comfortable for them: either high on the crown or low at the nape of the neck. With caps, there is only a small open area for the ponytail to fit through.

Additionally, people like Lane Kiffin have helped to make them a staple in football as well.


Last but not least, we cannot forget about the sports officials! Referees and umpires need specific headwear to fit their needs. If dealers aren’t helping to outfit them along with the rest of the league, we need to change that.

Lots of officials volunteer their time and have to use their own money on the uniforms. The very least we can do is make it easy for them to have access to the full uniform.

There you have it — the 6 best athletic headwear styles you didn’t even know existed! What do you think, are there any nontraditional shapes we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below, we love hearing your feedback. To keep up with us, follow us 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.


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