Akubra Hats® have been Australia’s quality hats since the early 1900’s, ever since Arthur P. Stewart set up to make a hat to meet the needs of this bustling new colony. Australians in the earlier days, much like the Americans of the West, needed better hats than the usual, and, like the Americans, they had to make them for themselves. Akubra hats stood the test of life on the cattle stations and droving routes. Akubra hats still stand the test, not only in Australia, but throughout the world. We have been bringing Akubra hats to the United States since 1965, at prices other brand names cannot match, in a quality they envy. We offer a wide range of Akubras including the Heritage Collection, Akubra’s premium quality hats, open crown hats, classic pre-creased styles such as the Snowy River Hat, Akubra’s Lifestyle Collection of crushable hats and Akubra’s Hemp Hats.
About Akubra Hats
Australians needed hard wearing hats with wider brims than the usual European brims, to protect them from the sun and rain. Akubra soon became known for the durability and comfort of their felt hats, and recognized throughout the world for the Australian styling with a flair that reflects the independent, confident, and sometimes adventurous spirit of the dinkum Australian.
Akubra is the only major hat company making fur felt hats from start to finish, beginning with the raw skins through all the processes of preparing the fur, forming the hood, dyeing, blocking and pouncing the hat to the final trimming. Their control of the entire process allows them to produce an exceptional quality of fur felt. The quality of Akubra’s felt is attested to by the fact that they have no need for the colored powders used by many manufacturers to even out the color and hide flaws in the felt. The reputation of Akubra hats is built on the long lasting quality of their fur felt and the comfort of their reeded leather sweat bands.
For over 147 years Akubra has been owned and operated by five generations of the Keir family. In November 2023 Akubra joined Tattarang, an Australian investment group owned by Andrew and Nicola Forrest. The Forrests are committed to enhancing Akubra’s legacy, ensuring that Akubra remains Australian owned and Australian made, with an up-to-date plant, and a long term dedication to quality.
Some of the distinctive features of Akubra hats are described below.
The prime factors in the quality of felt hats are the quality of the fur used and how tightly it is worked together in the felting process. Fur felt is one of the strongest natural fabrics produced, with every fiber in it interlocked in every direction. This interlocking creates a very strong, smooth, lightweight fabric. Felt made from animal fibers is more impervious to water than any other fabric because of the closely interlocked fibers and the natural resiliency of the fibers.
Akubra manufactures the fur felt for their hats from a mixture of furs – rabbit and hare, selected and used to suit the specific hat. The fur used is the downy-under-fur of these animals, not the long, coarse hair commonly called fur. This under-fur has tiny barb-like projections on the surface of each fiber and these barbs lock the fibers to make strong felt. Akubra has more than 130 years’ experience in creating the best fur felts available for their hats.
The quality of the felt in American hats is often designated by a number of X’s, an arbitrary value differing between manufacturers. Akubra does not use X’s. They produce a number of different felt types, all of high quality. Their standard felt, with a world-wide reputation for durability, is offered in two finishes, the Imperial Quality, used in most of the standard hats we offer, and the Superfine, used in the Slouch hat. The Sydney is made from a lighter weight felt, using a finer fur, with a finish similar to the Imperial Quality. Their premium quality, developed for the Heritage Collection, is very much in the Akubra tradition, a stronger, more dense felt for even greater durability, which also allows a finer pouncing for a superb finish. Pliofelt is the pliable fur felt used in Akubra’s crushable Lifestyle Collection.
Reeded Leather Sweatbands
The leather sweatband inside the hat is the only part which touches the head and hence is the key to a comfortable hat. Good leathers are breathable, soft and absorbent. In the best hats the leathers are “reeded” in order to conform better to the head. A reed, once a thin piece of rattan, but now commonly a plastic fiber, is encased in an impervious ribbon of oiled silk or synthetic material, and attached to the bottom of the leather. The ribbon helps to keep perspiration from staining the body of the hat. The reeded leather sweatbands used by Akubra are made of the finest roan sheepskin, specially tanned to ensure comfort. Roan leather is also used in Akubra’s Hemp Hats, a luxurious feature not usually found in straw hats.
Great Australian Style
These hats are genuine Akubras, made in Australia and built for durability. Australians spend a lot of time outdoors. To protect themselves from the harsh sunlight they wear hats as a matter of course, and they expect their hats to last. Australians give hats rough treatment – fan the fire, water the dog, or gather the chooks’ eggs, an Akubra is expected to handle it all, day in day out, year in year out. You can wear your Akubra with confidence, knowing it’s quality and style are top-notch.