The best materials for warmth: Wool is a popular material, of course, but it's generally more expensive and requires more care. Acrylic is a popular synthetic substitute for wool because it’s lightweight and has a similar texture at a more affordable price point (though it's not the most breathable option). That said, if there's one material to absolutely avoid, it's a hat made with cotton. It will hold on to moisture, and a wet head is a cold one.
When it comes to style: A beanie is great for lazy days and layering under hoods during a polar vortex, but perhaps isn’t your best bet when things get truly treacherous. A trapper-style hat, on the other hand, won’t blow away on a gale — but it might be overkill on less extreme weather days. It's also nice to have a dressy option for parties or après-ski events where you want to feel stylish without sacrificing warmth.
Wash and wear: For an item you wear almost every day, you might want to consider care instructions. Hats can pick up oil and sweat, so look for something that’s machine washable if you know in advance you won’t take the time to hand wash it. Likewise, structured hats might need to be spot-cleaned, and faux fur usually requires a little bit of aftercare once it's dry to fluff back up to its full glory.
With all that in mind, it's time to shop for hats. All of picks below are highly rated on Amazon and cost less than $40.
This adorable winter beanie with a faux fur pom-pom effortlessly balances warmth with style — and boasts more than 5,000 reviews. Amazon shoppers report that this hat is incredibly warm and well-made, and it's made of 100% soft acrylic. The only downside is that both the hat and the pom-pom are hand-wash only, and you might find yourself combing out the faux fur if you follow their instructions to the letter. That said, one review called it "the perfect beanie," and added "This is thick and warm. Very soft and stretchy. It covers my ears, and my big head, with all my hair, and still slouches just right. I’m buying more!"
My dad called it his Elmer Fudd hat — but whether you know it as a trapper hat or ushanka, a winter hat with ear flaps is one of the warmest models you can buy because it provides crucial cold-weather protection for your face and ears. This one features a 100% polyester shell to keep you protected during rain or snow, and comes with a cute chin strap for a secure fit. Plus, it's machine washable. One shopper commented, "Hat fits and is Soft too. Lined inside with a soft silk like fabric. Snap works underneath chin area. Warm and cozy."
This cable-knit winter hat with a brim can be worn casually like a beanie thanks to the slouchy acrylic knit, and also pairs well with dressier looks thanks to the smart brim that gives it a bit of a formal edge. It's lined with an extra-plush artificial wool, but take note: All that coziness will require hand washing. One shopper was pleased to report, “It fits as expected, super warm and I get a lot of compliments on it! Also love the fact that the visor helps keep the snow off my glasses!” Another fan noted: "This is really a good hat. It has a lining, fits perfectly, and is toasty warm. If you wear glasses, as I do, the bill helps to keep the snow at bay. Great hat for a small price."
Get the look of high-end milliner Maison Michel for a fraction of the price in this dupe for a designer winter hat. They share many style details including a high-peaked crown with a grosgrain ribbon band, and a wide 4-inch brim. This version from Mix Brown is made from 100% Australian Merino wool which is naturally warm and water resistant. It can be sized up or down via the hidden Velcro tape, too. Ever-chic black-on-black is the most versatile option, but daring individuals might prefer the rich teal or ruby instead. The only downside is that it requires spot cleaning to ensure the shape holds up. One fan gushed, "I love the quality of this hat. The flop is perfect. You will definitely stand out and get noticed whether you're rocking jeans or a cashmere."
This casual winter beanie — with snowflake Fair Isle-inspired patterns and a soft yarn pom-pom — keeps you extra-warm in snowdrifts (real or imaginary) thanks to a shaggy fleece lining. The combined powers of acrylic and polyester make this one hat on the list that actually is machine washable, so take note if that's important to you! You can also get this style with optional ear flaps for extra warmth. A few reviewers mentioned that the fleece lining didn't extend all the way to the top of the hat, but overall agree that it looks adorable and is "super warm and cozy," as one shopper wrote.
An oversize pillbox-style winter hat in imitation fur is a dressed-up alternative to rustic cable knits and sporty fleece. This brand offers a surprisingly comprehensive selection of faux fur “types” including fox, rabbit, and raccoon for an extra-realistic look. Made of 100% polyester, the interior is fully fleece-lined for warmth and, as you might expect, this hat is a little bit high-maintenance: hand-wash only. One fan declared themselves "totally impressed" by this hat, calling it "a real head-turner." Several shoppers called out the quality and softness of the faux fur, comparing it to the real thing. Another shopper commented, "This faux fur hat is gorgeous and feels so soft on your head! It will keep your head toasty warm on a cold winter day!"
The original classic beanie to grace your Instagram feed is nothing short of an Amazon sensation as well, with more than 20,000 customer reviews. The simple go-anywhere style has a low profile that wears well alone and also fits nicely under a hood, with a signature logo patch on the front. Its rib-knit material is naturally elastic, but the 100% acrylic fiber does need to be hand-washed. "This is my favorite hat," one shopper wrote, adding, "I wear it year-round in Dallas or Chicago." It wins points for being nice and thick but still wearable, comfortable, and warm.
Chances are that if you're in the market for a nice winter hat, you might also want a set of gloves and a scarf as well. This bundle has all three: a winter hat, gloves, and scarf set. Made of 100% acrylic cable-knit yard, you get a coordinated look that eliminates the guesswork of matching. Fleece lining on the hat and gloves provides a nice extra layer of warmth, and the gloves feature touchscreen-friendly fingertips which are a welcomely practical detail. Also low-key brilliant: The hat's pom-pom has reflective materials woven into it for nighttime safety (but are invisible in daylight). While care instructions aren't provided, hand-washing is never a bad idea. Fans note this is a "quality" set.
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