The best beanies check two crucial boxes: they must be both ultra-stylish and supremely cozy. The right beanie is the gloriously steezy accessory that keeps your ears toasty and your head warm (well, depending on how you choose to wear it) while also making you look like a rugged L.L. Bean model. But don’t be mistaken: Not all beanies are created equal—and trust us when we say that a great beanie will be one of the most crucial pickups you can make this season. (So, yes, the right one is worth the splurging on.) To help you out, we’ve done the work of narrowing down the best beanies—in a variety of styles, fabrics, and colors—to ensure that your hat game will be second to none this year. Below are our picks for the best beanies on the market for every budget, plus a handful of others worth adding to your rotation.
The Best Beanie, Period
Here’s what you want in a beanie: warmth, softness, a length that’s neither clownishly slouchy nor impishly short, and a little visible luxury for good measure. That’s exactly what this Industry of All Nations number delivers in spades. It’s crafted from sustainably-sourced Bolivian alpaca wool, which feels like a newborn kitten against your skin, will keep your noggin toastier than a fresh mug of cocoa, and simply looks well-made and expensive. At $80, it’s not the cheapest beanie out there. But for a material that is rarer than cashmere and just as soft, it’s a worthy upgrade from the big box brands.
The Best Budget Beanie
When Uniqlo first landed stateside in 2007, the biggest draw to its sparkling NYC flagship was the towering wall of preposterously affordable cashmere sweaters. While we’re sad that their formidable and affordable cashmere beanies have gone away for the season, their all-cotton ribbed beanies are just as great and even more wearable year-round. The cotton is smooth, soft, and breathable (a godsend for those of us with sensitive skin), and they come in a great range of neutral tones that pair easily with any color palette. And for just $15, you could grab a few to have on hand when you inevitiably leave one in the back of an Uber.
The Best Beanie to Splurge On
While brands like Uniqlo are busy democratizing cashmere, The Elder Statesman remains focused on using it in the most opulent ways possible. We’re talking $1,700 sweaters, $3,000 sweaters, and, yeah, $506 beanies. What are you getting for all that dough? 100% of the finest of the fine cashmere anywhere, all hand-dyed in a swirly vibrant blue palette. Laidback never looked so luxe.
The Best Recycled Beanie
Recycling is good for the planet and your fits. This no-brainer beanie from Patagonia uses a fully-recycled blend of cotton and polyester to keep your noggin toasty but not suffocated.
The Best Non-Wool Beanie
Wool too itchy for your skin? Give an all-cotton joint a shot. They’re softer than most wool beanies and more breathable, too. If you run a little hot, this one’s all you.
The Best Throwback Beanie
As per usual, the best available version of a classically American thing—in this case, the old-school ribbed watch hats you’ve seen on WWII naval officers, Boston dock workers, and every third person in every Rocky movie—comes from Japan. RoToTo’s traditional fisherman beanies are knit from a tough-as-nails acrylic blend, and will look best paired with a peacoat, some ruddy cheeks, and an overall gruff attitude.
The Best Buy-in-Every-Color Beanie
Looking for a rock-solid basic beanie—thick rib knit, comfy fit, logo-free—in a not-so-basic colorway? Head to Bricks & Wood, where you’ll find their $40 caps in every hue imaginable, from forest green to melon pink to the perfect shade of sky blue we put Tyler, The Creator in on the cover of GQ Style.
The Best Cable Knit Beanie
The U.K. knitwear savants behind our favorite chunky cable knit cardigan also apply their untouchable cable-knitting prowess to headwear. Chances are, if something is warm enough for a Scottish fisherman battling before-dawn winds on the North Sea, it’s warm enough for your 40-minute commute.
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