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Baseball Caps vs Dad Hats: What Is the Difference?

Cotton dad hats with custom logo on a white background

These popular headwear styles are often confused with one another: baseball caps and dad hats. At first glance, they have so much in common; however, key differences distinguish them. Generally, baseball caps have a stiff brim, structured crown, and a snapback. They are usually worn by athletes and have become a vital accessory in fashion over time. 

In contrast, dad hats are low-profile caps that assume a more laid-back fit and a curved brim. They also have a strap or buckle closure at the back. These unstructured caps are made from softer materials like canvas and cotton. 

Both baseball caps and dad hats seem interchangeable, but each can be appropriate on certain occasions. This article will help buyers understand the critical differences between the two styles for purposes of choice. It will also explore their history, popular uses, and design. 

Table of Contents
What are baseball caps?
What are dad hats?
Key differences between baseball caps and dad hats

What are baseball caps?

Baseball caps have complemented the baseball uniform since the mid-19th century. Their design consists of a structured crown attached to a stiff brim and an adjustable strap or a snapback. The brim design shades the wearer’s eyes from the sun and provides clarity in line of sight.

The caps were initially made of wool, but presently they are created using materials like polyester, cotton, and nylon. They have various patterns and colors, often featuring a logo, design, or emblem on the front. Originally, baseball caps were worn by athletes during games. Nowadays, baseball caps are part of fashion as they are worn by people from all walks of life with various outfits. 

What are dad hats?

Dad hats take up a more relaxed fit with a curved brim. They are also called low-profile or unstructured caps. Dad hats have a vintage-inspired and casual look with a worn-in feel. They have a strap closure or buckle at the back to adjust to different head sizes. 

The name “dad hat” is associated with middle-aged men’s preference for practicality and comfort. Nonetheless, dad hats have gained popularity among younger generations and are considered versatile and trendy accessories. Added to the minimalistic and simple look, dad hats have various patterns, colors, and designs. The front can be embroidered with logos or graphics. Interestingly, these hats can match various outfits, including streetwear and dressed-up ensembles.  

Key differences between baseball caps and dad hats

1. Material

The materials used in the production of baseball caps and dad hats differ. Sturdy materials like nylon, wool, and polyester create baseball caps with a durable feel and a structured look. This maintains the shape of the cap for extended periods of use. In addition, some baseball caps feature a mesh backing that offers ventilation during outdoor activities. On the other hand, dad hats are created with softer materials such as cotton and canvas for a relaxed and comfortable look. These materials are easily foldable and can be packed for outdoor events. Buyers have a choice over materials based on their preference and intended use. 

2. Style

There are distinct styles that differentiate baseball caps from dad hats. The athletic or sporty look achieved by baseball caps is due to the structured crown and stiff brim. The front features logos, and the back has an adjustable strap or a snapback. In contrast, dad hats exhibit a trendy style as a versatile accessory for casual outfits. This is because of the relaxed feel of a curved brim and a strap closure at the back. Generally, the styles of baseball caps and dad hats are unique and suitable for various occasions. Buyers should understand their needs and style to make the appropriate choice.   

3. Branding

Dad hats and baseball caps differ based on the logos or branding that are featured on them. Baseball caps are adorned with team logos, brand names, or emblems on the front. The design is usually eye-catching and bold, with the logo occupying more space. Baseball caps are also branded with a sponsor’s logo or team name at the back. Dad hats, on the other hand, have more understated branding. The subtle designs and logos embroidered on the hat are smaller in size. Similarly, the choice between baseball caps and dad hats based on branding comes down to buyers’ preference.  

4. Closure

The closure systems in baseball caps and dad hats are different. Baseball caps have an adjustable strap or a snapback to achieve a customizable fit. The snapback is made of a metal or plastic snap, adjusted for various head sizes. A band of fabric makes an adjustable strap closure and is adjusted through a hook-and-loop or buckle closure. On the other hand, dad hats have a strap closure or buckle at the back. The closure comprises a fabric strap or metal buckle with a slide mover that offers a customizable fit. These closures are common in sports and outdoor activities for a secure fit. Buyers’ needs determine the choice between snapbacks and buckle closures, which offer specific benefits. 

5. Adjustability

The adjustability options differ between baseball caps and dad hats. The adjustable strap or snapback on the baseball cap allows the wearer to adjust the cap size to fit the head. In contrast, dad hats have a more limited adjustability range. In this case, the strap closure at the back can only be adjusted to a certain extent and may not accommodate all head sizes. Generally, the buyer’s adjustability choice reflects the intended use of the cap and personal preference.  


Baseball caps and dad hats have a rich history and have evolved to retain relevance in today’s fashion. While baseball caps are athletic and sporty, dad hats have a more casual look. Generally, dad hats are commonly worn as accessories, while baseball caps represent a brand or sports team. Buyers should understand the above-mentioned differences to make the right choice based on their needs, outfit, and occasion. To find trendy baseball caps and dad hats, visit Alibaba.com.   

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