From the Australian bush to the sidewalks of a city near you, Akubra hats seem to be more popular than ever.
Movie stars wear them. Princes wear them. An increasing number of Wei’s customers wear them, in Canada, the US, and around the world.
We take a look at why these Aussie icons are experiencing a climb to the pinnacle of fashion.
Different From American Cowboy Hats
Akubra hats do a great job of expressing the Australian culture of wild and wide open spaces, while being down to earth, informal, and straightforward. Wei’s stocks their “country” collection of hats that fit with similar American and Canadian values.
Akubras are Australia’s version of the cowboy hat, so they have to do a good job of protecting from the sun and rain. But aside from that basic functionality, Akubra hats give out a different look and a different vibe.
- The overall shape is more relaxed than most American cowboy hats.
- The crown is usually pinched a little deeper than an American cowboy hat.
The brim is often slightly downturned on the front and back, providing more sun protection.
The wide-brimmed Akubra Territory hat has a flat 4” wide brim that’s turned down at front and back.
- The brim tends to be flat at the sides, rather than rolled up, providing more sun coverage. A rolled up brim can seem more structured and formal, yet functionally, a rolled brim provides less coverage. When an Akubra style has a wide brim that’s also flat, the brim can seem more flexible.
- The feel of the fur felt is generally a bit softer and more flexible, not quite as “starched” and rigid as an American cowboy hat.
City Style and Country Style
The differences between Akubras and American cowboy hats add up to a softer look with a more casual style. This in turn means they go with more outfits. Because the hat looks less structured than most cowboy hats, it’s also less formal-looking.
This means Akubras are right at home in the city. They don’t look out of place, and don’t make you look like you’re trying to draw attention. They’re simply fashionable!
As with most fashion elements, you can dress them up or dress them down/casual, depending what you want to emphasize.
Yes, you can wear an Akubra hat in the city.
Akubra’s flexible style works with jeans and t-shirts, and adds to any wardrobe upgrade, up to and including formal wear.
Akubra hats make fantastic hats for Western weddings or outdoor weddings, too.
Let’s take a tour through some Akubra styles in more detail below.
Celebrities Love Akubra Hats
Australian media stars all love their Akubra hats. Nicole Kidman, Chris Hemwsorth, Hugh Jackman and others are proud to show their Aussie cred by wearing Akubra hats on-screen and off-screen.
In the 1970s, the movie Crocodile Dundee became a hit, featuring Paul Hogan in his Akubra Snowy River hat, adorned with a hatband made from crocodile skin and crocodile teeth. This movie introduced Akubra to a worldwide audience and this hat became a bit of a “craze”.
Crocodile Dundee actor Paul Hogan in a much-used Snowy River hat from Akubra. The crocodile skin/teeth hat band is available separately.
The Snowy River has a pinched telescope crown and a brim with rolled sides with front and back turned down, meaning it does an excellent job of protecting your head from the environment.
In the picture above, the front brim has been flattened out a little. Below, you can see the true Snowy River silhouette, and of course you can flatten the hat brim if desired.
Akubra Snowy River in profile
Actor Hugh Jackman - the silver screen’s Wolverine - is often photographed in his dark fawn-coloured Akubra Cattleman hat.
Hugh Jackman wears his Akubra Cattleman
The Cattleman is currently Akubra’s best-selling hat, offering lots of style but with a moderate brim, so the overall effect is not flamboyant. The edge of the brim is bound, so the hat may be able to take some extra roughhousing. A 4 inch crown has eyelets to help provide ventilation.
On-screen, in the movie Australia, Jackman wore a custom-made Akubra that is very similar to the Kiandra hat. The Kiandra has a shorter 3 inch brim that is slightly rolled up, providing more structure. A contrasting hatband also defines the shape.
Actor Chris Hemsworth, who landed the role of Thor on the big screen, was pictured by the paparazzi at the beach wearing an Akubra hat. Yep, gotta love that 50+ sun protection factor!
Chris Hemsworth at the beach. Clearly the hat goes with all kinds of attire.
Hard to tell from this distance, the hat could be a Cattleman like Hugh Jackman has, but the brim seems a little more narrow. We’re guessing this hat is an Angler.
Aussie Quality, From Bush to Broadway
Of course, Akubra’s status and popularity are not all due to celebrities. The hats had to prove themselves with years of consistent quality first.
Akubra hats have been one of Australia’s most popular brands since the 1880s, when they were crafted as a “bush hat” for early adventurers and farmers to combat the punishing Aussie heat and sun.
Like many hatmakers, as Akubra grew it was awarded government contracts for the military. This experience also helped prove the resilience as well as the comfort of the hat. Akubra has also created hats for Australian athletic teams to wear as they enter Olympic and other venues to represent the country. Truly, Akubra style is Aussie style.
Protection from Sun and Rain
Akubra hats are lightweight and rated at 50+ SPF (sun protection factor) so when worn correctly they will protect you from the environment wherever you are. Wei’s customers in sunny and areas like the Canadian Prairies or American midwest can see the Akubra as an ideal hat.
Akubra hats can also stand up to some rain. The hats are treated with shellac to help raindrops bead and roll off. Some people call them waterproof. They’re not necessarily guaranteed to withstand a tropical downpour, but rest assured they can stand up to light rain.
Akubra aficionados claim there’s no other hat so sturdy and strong as an Akubra that stands up to these disparate elements.
Akubra factory in Kempsey, Australia. Photo credit: Sydney Morning Herald
The hat’s strength comes from the time-consuming skill of interlocking fur fibres in every direction, producing a hat that is strong, and resistant to tearing. This process takes several steps and produces dense, smooth, and surprisingly lightweight hats.
The proprietary process, including the method the felts are pieced together, the amount of waterproofing shellac and the timing of each step, produces hats that are soft and flexible, too. Not rigid, not “starchy”. Akubra gets it right.
Where Can I Buy an Akubra Hat?
You can’t find an Akubra hat just anywhere. Distribution is limited to authorized and vetted dealers, where employees typically have a better standard of product knowledge compared to a department store.
Wei’s Western Wear is an authorized Akubra dealer.
Good news, Wei’s Western Wear is proud to be an approved Akubra dealer in Canada, and has a good selection of Akubra hats for you. If you are looking to buy an Akubra hat in Canada, this is the place for you.
Even though Wei’s is located in the heart of Canadian cowboy country, we ship Akubra hats across Canada, and around the world.
Shipping a hat correctly takes care, and we make sure to pack them properly in a protective deep box meant for hats. We want your special hat choice to arrive in perfect condition.
Since Akubra hats are from Australia, it takes time for them to reach North America. Added to that, the wave of popularity Akubra is enjoying means there’s a backlog of orders for them to make. And since the hats are handmade, there’s just no rushing a quality item.
Note: Like every other company in the fashion industry, Akubra changes styles from time to time, retiring some hat styles and creating new hat styles.
Wei’s may carry some hats that are no longer available in every size; we may also be expecting some new styles that are currently on the ocean on the way to our stores.
Wei’s orders Akubra hats several times a year, but if you know you’ll want an Akubra in the next season, it doesn’t hurt to contact us this season to let us know.