Ball Cap Features Explained

Ball caps are more than just a fashion choice, for some they’re a necessity. Whether blocking the sun so work can be done safely, or quickly covering a messy head of hair, ball caps are an important part of a worker’s toolkit. But as ball cap popularity has grown, so too have the different kinds of hats to choose from. High profiles, flat bills, trucker styles, snap backs. There seem to be an endless number of hat types out there, but not every style may be suited to fit your head or help you get your work done.

Ball Cap Fasteners/Closures

Unless you wear a fitted cap, getting a hat to fit your head just right requires adjustable fasteners on the back of the cap. Here are the most popular fastener types:
Different ball cap closure types.

Products featured above (from left to right): Carhartt Force® Kingston Cap, Carhartt Dryden Cap, Carhartt Cedarville Cap, CAT Americana Cap


Fitted: As mentioned above, fitted caps do not have a closure and must match your head size exactly or else they won’t fit.

Plastic snap backs: This closure type features two strips of plastic – one strip with tiny holes, the other with tiny nubs – that fasten together to a specific hat size. Snap backs are the sturdiest closure type.

Strap backs: This closure type features one or two fabric or leather straps. While there are a variety of closure types with strap backs, the two most common are two hook and loop strips that fasten together or a strap with buckle.

Ball Cap Profiles

The Crown is the top of the hat.

As the image above illustrates, the tall part of the hat above the bill is called its “crown”. Profile simply refers to the height of a hat’s crown. While brands use different terminology to describe a hat’s profile, they generally fall into 1 of 4 categories — high profile, medium profile, medium to low profile, and low profile. Each style is pictured below.

Different ball cap profile types.

Products featured above (from left to right): Carhartt Ashland Cap, Carhartt Silvermine Cap, Carhartt Buffalo Ball Cap, Carhartt Force® Griggs Fleece Visor Cap

Ball Cap Structures

Different ball cap structure types.
Structure describes the shape of the hat. A hat’s structure is most obvious when it’s removed from your head. If it retains its shape, it’s considered a “structured” hat. If the crown of the hat collapses into loose fabric, then it’s an “unstructured” hat. The image above illustrates how structured (left) and unstructured (right) hats sit on the head. Structured hats are usually reinforced with a rigid material known as buckram. This fabric is usually placed behind the front crown of the hat and will help maintain the hat’s shape over long periods of use.

Ball Cap Bills/Visors

Different ball cap bill types.
 Products featured above (from left to right): Carhartt Bryam Cap, Carhartt Silvermine Cap, Carhartt Camouflage Ball Cap


The bill or visor is the part of the hat that keeps the sun out of your face and eyes. Beyond its functional use, a hat’s bill is often a “make or break” feature for many shoppers. Styles range from flat bill ball caps, to gently curved bills, to heavily “creased” or “bent” bill caps that are contoured to fit around a wearer’s face. Ultimately, it’s up to the wearer which bill style they prefer.

Ball Cap Sweatbands

A sweatband inside a Carhartt ball cap.

An often-overlooked hat feature is its sweatband. This is the band inside the hat that fits up against your head. If keeping sweat and perspiration off your face and out of your eyes is important, then look for hats with absorbent band materials that will wick away sweat while you work. Typically, the lighter and thinner the band material, the less absorbent it is.

Other Popular Ball Cap Styles

Other popular ball cap styles.

Products featured above (from left to right): CAT Americana Cap, Carhartt Dunmore Ball Cap, CAT Logo Cap


Distressed: A distressed cap is typically an unstructured hat with a curved bill that gives the appearance that it’s been worn for a very long time. The hat’s fabric is often faded and the material around the bill is typically torn and/or tattered. The overall look of this hat makes it look old and vintage.

Trucker: A trucker style cap features plastic mesh panels in place of solid fabric behind the crown. Because the mesh panels improve air flow and do not absorb as much sweat, this style is a good choice for hard labor in hot weather.

Foam crown : A variation on the trucker style cap, this style features foam at the front of the crown in place of fabric. Like trucker style caps, the back panels sport a plastic mesh that increases ventilation.

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