The material used to make a beanie is critical in finding optimal comfort and ease of wear. Over the course of history, textile science has shifted massively, increasing the types of fabric drastically. Considering the fact that beanie fabric is next to facial skin (some of the most sensitive skin on the body), factoring in the material of the hat is an essential step in healthy and comfortable wear.
Textile science has grown drastically over the last century, with increasing demand specifications sparking innovative new methods of fabric generation. The easiest way to break down fabric specifics, and find the cool beanie hat best for you, is to first separate the artificial from the natural.
|Wool (sourced from animals)||Kevlar|
While each fabric has its own merits, the needs of the individual vary based on skin type, hair needs, allergies, and general environmental sensitivities. The best beanies are made of fabrics that consider these specifics and are engineered for optimal wear. Specifics of the fabrics used to make beanies are as follows:
DETAILS OF ARTIFICIAL FABRICS
|Acrylic||Durable, simulates wool, a good alternative to animal sourcing of popular material. Mimics the natural water resistance of organic wool.||Can be scratchy, due to polymer content, is subject to melting at high machine-dryer temperatures.|
|Nylon||Stretchy, tight-fitting material provides firm wear that keeps beanies sitting properly on the wearer. Most common in costume beanies.||Bad for vascular health as can be restricting. The tightness can be unforgiving and restrict blood flow.|
|Kevlar||An environmentally resisting option, sturdy and durable||Difficult to process, generally high cost, heavy material|
|Spandex||Elastic material providing a tight fit often used as added fabric in beanies. Most often seen as the band inside of a cuffed beanie.||Environmentally detrimental due to the high energy demands of manufacturing. Tightness can cause vascular restriction (limit of blood flow)|
|Polyester||Sturdy and long-lasting fabric, a low-cost alternative to cotton and linen fabrics. Most frequently used in panel beanies||High energy required to make and low biodegradability. Being a petroleum product, popularity has lessened.|
DETAILS OF NATURAL FABRICS
|Rayon||Uses innovative resources in its manufacturing. Repurposed cell walls of wood fibers make this material sturdy and durable. Though not frequent, this fabric can be seen in panel style beanie hats.||Due to manufacturing necessities, this material is able to create toxic chemical dioxin when in contact with household bleach|
|Cotton||Lightweight option sourced from plant material. The soft choice that is eco-friendly and hypoallergenic. Most frequently seen in infant beanies.||Subject to shrinking at high temperatures, though an increased thread count can mitigate this|
|Linen/Flax||Durable, sturdy, absorbent and generally long-lasting material with broad applications. Most common in beanies of a tweed style.||High consumption of energy required to manufacture the product. Often found to be scratchy, especially near facial skin.|
|Hemp||Most often seen in hipster beanies, this naturally sourced material is a sturdy choice, free of animal byproducts.||Often deemed as a control substance. Requires a great deal of water to farm and is environmentally demanding to manufacture. Can be scratchy and heavy.|
|Wool||An organic fabric, this naturally sourced material is a sturdy option, offers water resistance, quick to dry, high insulative value||Can be scratchy, sourced from animals, naturally sourced wool generally is of higher cost due to increased demands of sourcing|
|Bamboo||Extremely breathable, temperature regulating material, lightweight, easy to maintain||Sourced from a limited resource essential to the Panda bear population (a species just removed from the endangered species list, though still at risk of bamboo diminishment)|
|Silk||World-renowned for its soft nature, lightweight and breathable material, positive for hair and skin health||Animal rights groups contest its use as the source is from silkworms, overall higher cost|
Natural fabrics with limited dyes tend to be the most allergy and eco-friendly. Generally, the lighter the color of fabric, the less added chemicals were required. This is good both for delicate skin and hair, as well as reducing bleeding during the washing process.
Artificial fibers are generally more durable and cost-effective. Depending on the budget and values of the person seeking out the beanie, fabric needs will vary. Some materials are higher in cost due to restrictions on sourcing of raw material or because of high manufacturing expenses.
Of course, finding the proper beanie size will be a key factor in comfort, regardless of the material. A well-fitting hat ensures hair stays in place, and that insulation is maximized. Once the best-suited material is identified, and you know what size will fit well, finding the right beanie type for you is the next step to top-quality beanie fashion.