As I’ve mentioned several times on our blog, I’ve had a few separate cases of skin cancer in my family over the past few years. Because of that, I’ve started taking sun protection much more seriously and now always wear tennis sunglasses, sunscreen and a good quality sun protection hat with UPF rating of 50 (UPF is the clothing sun protection rating equivalent of SPF for sunscreen).
I’m personally a fan of this hat by Outdoor Research since I’ve used their hats and other clothing (as well as given it as gifts to friends and family) but they are somewhat on the expensive side so you may also want to continue reading below to check out my other reviews for other top picks, some of which are more affordable.
Understanding UPF Ratings for Hats and other clothing:
|UPF Rating||Protection||% UV radiation Blocked|
|UPF 15 – 24||Good||93.3 – 95.9|
|UPF 25 – 39||Very Good||96.0 – 97.4|
|UPF 40 – 50+||Excellent||97.5 – 98+|
Our Top Picks for Best Men’s Sun Protection UPF Hats
Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat Review:
This sun hat by OR is the one I personally wear, and not just on the court! I originally bought this one a few years ago for a week-long camping trip where I was going to be hiking in full sun for hours every day and also kayaking on the water for part of it (reflection off the water can be brutal). I liked that the hat has a very wide brim but it’s a really lightweight fabric and it’s got UPF 50+ which was one of my top priorities.
**This hat is really a unisex design, there is nothing particular masculine (nor feminine) about it and my wife has borrowed it more than once (she now has her own). Because of that, we mentioned it as the best pick on our sister page for woman’s sun protection hats– but please click to head over there if you are looking for specific recommendations for women.
The brim has just enough stiffness to keep it from flopping down without being too stiff or bulky. The underside of the brim is dark grey, which helps reduce the glare (from the sun reflecting up under the hat- reflection off water or surface you are on).
The brim on this hat actually reminds me a little bit like of the edge of those foldable pop-up kids’ tents (that you can bend and fold back on itself) but softer. Here’s a quick visual. It may not be the best thing to do for the lifespan of the hat – but just trying to show you the feel of the fabric.
The other nice thing about this sun hat from Outdoor research is the venting all around the crown. It has vents on both sides, front and back of the hat. This makes a huge difference if you are playing in the sun since it really helps keep your head cool. The crown also has an adjustable drawcord to help get a better fit. The hat also comes with a chin cord and cord lock (to cinch up tighter around your chin/neck).
I have left the chin cord on for kayaking/canoeing since the wind can blow it off your head but I generally leave it off. The hat has two small fabric loops sewn in along the brim, just above your ears where you can easily remove the chin cord and reattach if you want to put it back in.
I bought mine at REI, I just popped into the store on my way out as last-minute purchase but you can also check the price here on Amazon. I really didn’t research it much at the time, just tried it on in the store and it was comfortable and had 50+ UPF which was what I was looking for but this has become my “go-to hat” for any outdoor activity not just for the court but anytime I am outside (gardening, yard work, etc).
It comes in three color options: “Sand” (the one I have in the photos), “Dusk” blue and “Pewter” dark grey. I didn’t go for either of the darker ones because it seemed like it might get hot in full sun.
Sizing comes in S, M, L, XL. I’m a pretty big guy (with a big head 🙂 but I ended up going for the Large. It’s snug and I do have the drawcord totally open…it’s as loose as it gets. It fits me comfortably but I wouldn’t be able to loosen it anymore even if I wanted to since the drawcord is at its max. I should point out I don’t have much hair left- I think that makes a difference since it gives my head more room.
I probably could have gone for the XL and used the drawcord to cinch down the crown to make adjust the fit. But I’m happy with it and use it all the time.
Coolibar Men’s Reversible Bucket Hat
Coolibar makes a variety of quality sun hats in different styles and is a very trustworthy brand when it comes to protection from the sun and this hat is made to their usual high standards. The material is rated as UPF 50+, so you are protected from UV when you are wearing this hat.
Although they have several different styles, some of the bucket style hats do not have a stiff brim and maybe a little floppy, this is something that some people may find unappealing for playing active sports.
If you are looking for a hat to play tennis or pickleball in you may want to select one of their hats with a stiffer brim to prevent it from flopping down and impeding your vision. It is just something to be aware of before you buy a hat like this one. The brim is a good size though so it will offer excellent protection from the sun.
The hat is secured by the use of a drawstring in the headband, which can easily be adjusted to give you the fit that you want depending on the situation.
Because this hat does not have a fixed brim that does mean that it is really easy to shove into your sports bag, there is no need to try and wedge in your hat, it can just be tucked into a pocket ready for when you need it.
The hat is washable, but hand washing is advisable or it can shrink if exposed to too much heat while in the wash.
The hat also includes the added bonus of a hidden pocket for valuables and built-in ventilation in the form of air holes and perforated panels. It is also reversible which gives you two color options in one so you can choose the color that best suits you at the time.
Adam’s Headwear Extreme Condition Hat
If you are looking for quality protection from the sun for your neck and ears then you can’t go wrong with this Adam’s hat. The hat comes in 6 different colors, giving you plenty of style options and it is also packed with tons of extras.
There is a metal clip on an elastic cord that you can use to attach the hat to your shirt. This means you don’t need an uncomfortable chinstrap to know that your hat will remain with you even as you make a dive to hit the ball!
The hat has several mesh panels stitched throughout which allow for airflow which will prevent your head from becoming overheated in the summer sun.
The material is rated as UPF 45+. This means you can wear it safe in the knowledge that you are well protected from the damaging UV rays of the sun.
You should take care when purchasing this product that you buy from a licensed Adam’s headwear reseller, or you may find yourself in possession of a Chinese replica instead of the quality hat you were hoping for.
Nike Golf UV Sun Bucket Golf Hat UPF 40+ Rating
This is a bucket hat is designed for working out under the heat of the summer sun. The material is super lightweight, so you don’t feel like you are wearing anything too restrictive, and the fit is comfortable. The wide 360° brim helps protect you all around, including your neck which a regular baseball hat or cap would leave exposed. It’s slightly larger in the back (4.5″ vs. 3.5″ on the front) which helps protect your neck.
The hat provides UVA and UVB protection from the sun and has a UPF 40+ rating.
Nike’s “Flex fabric” is designed to stretch, giving an optimal fit and the 88/12% polyester/spandex mix provides a comfortable blend that giving it enough stretch to adjust to your head size/shape.
The material is designed to wick sweat away so it keeps your head dry and prevents your skin from becoming irritated as you play. As the material is double layered it is able to absorb a large amount of moisture which is a real plus. It also washes easily which is important for a sports hat. This Nike hat is manufactured in Vietnam and comes in the following color options: White, Black and Dark Grey. I personally like white (since it’s cooler than dark colors) but it will get dirty more easily.
Under Armour Men’s UA ArmourVent Bucket Hat
This hat is a great choice if you want a hat with a 360-degree brim to protect your neck and ears, but you don’t want to brim to be too obtrusive. The brim is just large enough to provide cover and no larger. Which is good for playing tennis, as you have the sun protection without having to sacrifice your ability to see the ball.
This is a bucket hat, which does mean that the brim is not fixed or rigid, so if you are not a fan of ‘droopy’ brims then you will probably want to keep looking. This hat by Under Armour has a UPF rating of 30+, while this is still considered “Very Good” on the rating scale, it is a lower level of sun protection that the other hats we’ve reviewed above.
The material is very breathable, and vent much more than you would imagine from looking at it. The metal grommets that are arranged around the back of the hat also provide extra airflow which helps to keep your head nice and cool.
There is a drawstring in the headband of the hat, which can be adjusted at the back of the hat. This means that you can tighten it up while you are playing to help keep it in place and then, when you have finished, easily loosen the strap to give you a more relaxed fit.
Our Budget Pick for Men’s Sun Hat:
Outdoor Boonie Sun Hat: If you are looking for a hat with a chin strap then this is a good option. It has both a chin strap and a drawstring in the headband so you can feel safe that this hat is not going to fly off your head as you move around the court.
The material is lightweight so you can easily forget you are wearing it. It is also very breathable, with no inner lining to prevent airflow along with well-placed ventilation holes.
Despite the lightweight of the material it is rated as UPF 50+ so it will keep you safe from the majority of the harmful UV rays.
It absorbs sweat well, but if you go for the lighter color option it will show, so you may be better off selecting the darker option.
Here is a quick video from the Mayo Clinic, explaining the UPF rating on clothes and why it’s important:
Sun protective clothing ratings