Dad Hat vs. Snapback: What's the Difference

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Dad Hat vs. Snapback: What's the Difference

Originally used as an accessory to block out sunlight from your face, hats and caps have become a major part of the fashion industry and pop culture. From sports teams to TV shows to high-end designers, hats and caps have become a popular medium for brands to communicate messages. 

Nowadays, there are a plethora of different hat designs and styles, coming in a variety of shapes and sizes. The traditional baseball cap that we’ve become so accustomed to has been modified in several ways. Two of the most popular styles of hats today are dad hats and snapback hats. 

A dad hat is a 5-panel cap that fits loosely and resembles a regular baseball cap. The main difference is the number of panels they contain. Baseball caps usually have six panels. Also, dad hats usually have a strap or metal closure on the back, while baseball caps usually feature velcro closures. 

On the other hand, a snapback is a 6-panel cap with a wide, flat brim and an adjustable snap on its back; this adjustable snap is why it’s called a snapback. 

Dad hats and snapbacks have taken over the hat and cap market in 2021. These days, if you walk into a hat retailer, you’ll likely only see these two types of hats. The days of flat, narrow, velcro baseball caps are gone! Now that we’ve covered the key differences between these two caps, let’s get into the more nuanced contrasts between dad hats and snapbacks. 

The Shape of These Hats

The shape of a dad hat differs greatly from a snapback. The dome of a snapback stands upright, almost at a 90° angle between the cap and the brim. As a result, the front panel of a snapback is usually on full display, clear and very easy to see. The dome of a dad hat, comparatively, has more of a wide, fat angle. The dome is more slouched and relaxed than a snapback. A dad hat might even have wrinkles on the dome. 

The shape of these hats also affects how they feel when worn. Snapback hats typically have a more snug, stiff fit. Imagine how a glove feels when you put your hand in it—tight, secure, and enveloped completely. That’s how a snapback feels on your head. 

On the contrary, dad hats have a much more loose, roomy fit. Rather than being fit tightly onto your head, dad hats kind of just sit on your head. If the feel of wearing a snapback is comparable to your hand in a glove, the feel of wearing a dad hat can be compared to wearing an oversized mitten. 

At Printed Kicks, we offer both dad hats and snapbacks. If you’re looking for a new hat to sport, consider checking out our online shop! We carry over 400 hat designs in a variety of colors. 

Visor

The visor is another differentiating factor of dad hats and snapbacks. A snapback’s visor is completely flat, while a dad hat has a round, pre-shaped brim. Sometimes, snapbacks will have visors that are slightly curved, but they are rarely ever as round as the visors of dad hats. Dad hats have the same visors as conventional baseball caps. 

Panel

Hats are made of different panels that are attached to each other to form a shape. You may not realize it, but every hat has a panel structure for its dome. Each section of the hat, separated by lines of stitching, is a panel. 

Snapbacks have six panels. On snapbacks, the front panels are pre-shaped, usually into some kind of semi-round shape. The front panel on a snapback is also made of hard plastic. 

Dad hats, though, are made of five panels and have front panels that aren’t pre-shaped. Their front panels are soft. 

You can tell how many panels a hat has by its front panel. If the hat is a snapback with six panels, the front panel will almost always be divided in the middle by a line of stitching. Essentially, six-panel hats have two front panels. However, if the hat is a five-panel dad hat, it will just have one front panel with no line of stitching dividing it. 

Closure

The closure of a snapback is probably the most distinguishing feature of all hats. For all adjustable hats, a closure in the back of the dome is necessary to be worn. Closures can come in the form of straps, snaps, metal closings, and strings. 

On snapback hats, as indicated by the name, the closure will be a plastic snap. The back of a snapback will have one snap on its left and right side, coming together to close it. One snap has a line of holes in it, while the other snap has a line of notches to be snapped into those holes. 

Dad hats can have either a leather strap or a metal closing, or sometimes both. The closures of dad hats work in the same way as snapbacks, but they use straps of fabric that tie together to close the hat instead of snaps. 

Both dad hats and snapbacks are fully adjustable and can be fit on any person’s head. Most dad hats and snapbacks will have a “one-size-fits-all” tag. This is another reason why these two hat styles are becoming so popular; people no longer have to get fitted for hats! 

Materials

The materials these two hats are made from also differ. Snapbacks are usually made from suede, while dad hats are usually made of cotton or canvas. Both hats use plastic or cardboard for their brims, though, so be aware of what your hat is made of before tossing it in the wash.

Design

Another huge differentiator between snapbacks and dad hats is the designs they use. Although the design is not a formal part of the dad hat or snapback’s structure, there tend to be differences in how these hats are presented. Snapbacks are known for their provocative, in-your-face designs. Dad hats are regarded for more subtle, simple designs. 

In addition, snapbacks are famous for the shiny, gold or silver stickers they have on their visors. For nearly two decades, this trend has existed for both snapbacks and fitted caps. Some hats have the sticker placed on the top of the brim, and some hats have the sticker placed on the bottom, but either way, it’s considered a fashion statement to leave the sticker on instead of peeling it off when you start wearing the hat. Most of the time, the sticker is placed on either the left or right side of the brim, never centered. 

This trend has become so prominent in pop culture and fashion that people actually view the sticker as a major part of the hat. Many people refuse to take the sticker off when they purchase a new snapback or fitted cap. 

Snapbacks are also known for sometimes featuring a green underbrim on non-green hats. This trend has also become a staple in the hat industry. 

Style

Another contrasting factor between these two types of hats is the way they’re worn and who they’re worn by. Snapbacks, as well as fitted caps, have been popularized by hip-hop artists over the years. As a result, snapbacks are definitely more prevalent among younger people. 

However, dad hats, as implied by the name, are usually worn by older people, like dads. The dad hat is the quintessential cap for parents and middle-aged adults. Only recently have dad hats started to become popular among the youth. 

At Printed Kicks, we have hat options for all ages. Our snapback hats and dad hats are stylish but versatile. No matter what walk of life you’re from, we’ve got something to match your style! 

Conclusion

There are so many different cap styles today, but without a doubt, dad hats and snapbacks are the most popular. A dad hat, a casual 5-panel cap, features a soft, pre-shaped, curved brim. Conversely, a snapback hat, a 6-panel cap with a bit more flair, features a hard, flat brim. 

Both styles of hats are adjustable and one-size-fits-all, but dad hats have leather straps or metal backings, while snapbacks have plastic snaps.  Snapbacks are more of a new, innovative form of hats. Dad hats stay true to the vintage standards of hats. 

Hats and caps were made as a means of protection from the sun. Nowadays, though, hats are a fashion statement.  Hats are a perfect medium for whatever you may want to get off your chest. You can display your favorite sports team, or band, or even a political statement on a hat. And you can wear it every day! 

Whether you like it or not, hats and caps will probably be a major part of fashion for years to come. Don’t get lost in the dust! Buy your next cap from Printed Kicks today!

 

Sources 

Dad Hat Versus Snapback: What's the Difference? | Posh Lifestyle & Beauty Blog 

15 Men's Hat Styles You Need to Know | The Trend Spotter

Everything to know about the history of the baseball cap | Vogue


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