Authentic Panama hats are made from dried Toquilla palm tree leaves found in Ecuador. There are also imitation Panama hats which are much more affordable. Read on to find out their differences and similarities to decide which one is for you.
Types of Panama Hats
Kinds of Panama Hats include the following:
Real panama hats
Real panama hats are made from the genuine leaves of the Toquilla palm tree, which are soaked and bleached for several days to achieve a creamy white color.
They are difficult to make, oftentimes taking a whole week.
They are made in major Panama hat manufacturing countries like Peru and Ecuador.
They come with leather sweatbands and outer satin strips.
Imitation Panama hats
Imitation Panama hats are mostly made in Japan.
They are more affordable than authentic Panama hats as can be artificially stiffened.
However, they usually have rough patches, split leaf straws, and knots – something that you won’t find in genuine Panama hats.
Choosing Panama Hats (Buying tips)
Interior lining: Choose a Panama hat with a satin interior lining to keep your head cool if you intend to wear it for a long time. You can also choose one with a leather sweatband that can prevent sweat from trickling down your forehead to your face and eyes.
Quality: Beware of some sellers trying to pass off fake Panama hats as real. Inspect the hat thoroughly – it should not have broken or split straws and knots in the weave. Also, a real Panama hat is naturally stiff due to the complex drying and molding process involved in making it.