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Difference Between a Toque and a Beanie

By Taylor James


Updated on

Wearing a cozy winter hat can both keep you warm and make you look fabulous. Since there are several hat types to choose from, knowing the differences is essential. But what is the difference between toques and beanies?

The main differences between toques and beanies are toques typically have  pom-poms and are slightly larger than beanies. Also, toques are generally made of thick wool and similar materials, whereas a beanie is somewhat lighter and is made of cotton, acrylic, wool, or fleece.

However, the two words are sometimes used interchangeably, depending on who’s speaking. You can learn more about toques and beanies by reading the comparison below and choose which suits you better.

Toque or Beanie: How To Tell the Difference

Both types of hats are trendy and will look amazing on your head. But to tell which is which can be very challenging. After all, both are soft hats that are close to your head. So, how can you know for sure?

As a general rule, you can tell that it’s a toque if it has a small fluffy ball on the top and if it’s thick and cozy. Beanies are typically much thinner and don’t have a pom-pom. Both are stylish options that will keep your head warm, but a toque is the better choice for freezing temperatures. Read about why hats have pom poms in this article.

Neither has a brim by default, but you can easily find models with an added visor to keep the snow out of your eyes. One example that I recommend using is Home Prefer Men’s Winter Beanie Hat from Amazon.com.

The toque is often mistakenly called a beanie, but toques are knitted, whereas beanies are typically not. The two are very different in that regard, but beanies have become an all-encompassing synonym for all types of hats.

Girl wearing a red winter toque hat
Winter toque @breezyjohnsonphoto via Twenty20

Both beanies and toques can come in thousands of unique colors and patterns, but toques often have bolder designs. A prevalent design choice is to have the word “Canada ” spelled on the toque. You can find one like Artic Zoom’s Canada Toque Hat from Amazon.com that I also recommend.

Toques and Beanies: A Difference in Language

On a basic level, toques and beanies aren’t so different after all. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, both toque and beanie are a type of hat that closely fits the head. However, the word “toque” is more common in Canadian English. Also, the term “toque” can mean chef hat.

If you are an American and hear a Canadian say, “Look at this beautiful toque!” chances are the person will show you a beanie. The opposite is true when an American mistakes your new toque for a beanie.

Either way, you will know what the other person is speaking about because you have read this article.

Final Thoughts

Toques and beanies used to mean two different types of hats, but it is common to hear both terms used interchangeably. As a general rule, toques are typically a knitted hat with a pom-pom, whereas beanies are thin and light enough to be worn in summer as a fashion piece.

Neither hat has a brim, but you can easily find some that have a visor to protect your eyes. Both are meant to be worn close to your head for the best comfort and looks.

Read more intriguing facts about beanies in this article.


About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.