Are Straw Hats Good Protection From the Sun?

On hot summer days, it is important to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. There are a number of different measures that can be taken in order to keep yourself safe. One of the most popular and fashionable ways to protect yourself from the sun is by wearing a straw hat. 

Straw hats are good protection from the sun, as the straw creates a protective layer between the sun and your skin. However, it is important to wear sunscreen as an extra layer of protection since many straw hats have spaces between the material that let sunlight through. 

This article will evaluate just how effective straw hats are at protecting your face from harsh direct sunlight, as well as the materials used to make straw hats. Let’s get started!

When Was the Straw Hat Created?

In parts of Asia and Europe during the Middle Ages, the demand for a shield between the skin and sunshine during the summer months quickly grew. 

The straw hat was created to combat this issue, while still providing cool air to the head. In fact, the straw hats that were created during the Middle Ages are not all that different from the modern straw hat. 

The original straw hat would have been worn by male members of all social classes. 

What Are Straw Hats Used For?

As mentioned previously, the straw hat was originally created in order to protect the wearer’s eyes and face from the sun, but now, it is often worn simply as a fashion statement. This style of hat is unique in the sense that it has remained popular among all social classes throughout the course of history. 

What Materials Are Used To Make Straw Hats?

Originally, straw hats were made with actual straw. However, today there are several materials that are used to create straw hats, such as:

  • Synthetic straw: Synthetic straw is a type of plastic material made to replicate real straw. In fact, it appears and behaves in the same way that real straw behaves when it is being shaped into a straw hat. For those reasons, synthetic straw is a strong alternative to using a real straw to craft hats.
  • Wheat straw: Wheat straw is one of the most commonly used materials in crafting straw hats. As the name suggests, wheat straw is derived from dried material from the wheat plant. 
  • Rye straw: Rye straw behaves in a very similar manner to wheat straw. The main difference between wheat straw and rye straw, however, is the plant that the materials are derived from, as Rye straw is derived from dried fragments of the rye plant.
  • Braided hemp: The hemp plant is an excellent source of material for making straw hats. Dried strands of the hemp plant are braided together to form a tightly bound material that will be used to construct a straw hat.

Check out this very popular Havana hat on Amazon.

How Are Straw Hats Made?

While there are several variations of the straw hat, all straw hats share the fact that they are crafted from some sort of plant fiber or synthetic straw-like material. Felt hats are formed in a similar manner to that of straw hats. 

Steaming or submersion into hot water is used to soften the hat before it is shaped over a hat block. Due to the time required to weave a large straw hat by hat, prices are much higher for large straw hats. 

In What Countries Are Straw Hats Most Popular?

Where can you find straw hats, besides in the United States? Here are four countries where straw hats are the most popular:

  • Ukraine: In Ukraine, the straw hat is just one example of the many traditional accessories that are still popular today, as the traditional Ukrainian straw hat is similar in shape to that of the boater hat. Rye straw is often used to craft straw hats in Ukraine. 
  • Japan: Japan is just one of the many Southeastern Asian countries where the straw hat is very popular. The conical hat is typically worn as part of the traditional dress in many parts of Japan by Buddhist monks. 
  • Ecuador: In Ecuador, toquilla straw is often used to craft straw hats, which is the source of a durable and flexible material that is the primary material in creating the Panama hat. 
  • Philippines: The buntal hat is a very popular traditional hat in the Philippines. Much like the straw hat, it is woven from fibers extracted from plants and is worn in both formal and informal situations. 


While the straw hat is an excellent summertime fashion statement, it is not the most effective source of protection from the sun. Most straw hats have numerous small spaces between the material, allowing sunlight to shine through. If you plan to wear a straw hat in the sun, apply a layer of sunscreen as extra protection.

There are several ways to protect yourself from the harmful effects of UV rays. A number of different types of straw hats are rated on a scale in order to determine just how effective each hat will be at protecting you from the sun.

Read more intriguing facts about straw hats in this article.

Read more about pros and cons of straw hats in this article.

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