What Are Snapbacks?

Hats have always played a significant role in streetwear. They are a fun fashion accessory that can be tacked on to any outfit to give it more personality. For instance, a beanie can dress down a pair of jeans and a tailored jacket, giving it a more urban vibe. Another example is a cap, which is not only functional at shielding you from the sun or the rain but has become almost synonymous with skater culture.

There are various cap styles, most of which belong to the baseball cap family. You may have heard of anything from trucker hats to dad hats. Snapback is another hat style that was popular in the 1990s, thanks to famous rappers like Ice Cube and Tupac. It has recently come back to style, bringing hip-hop vibes along with it.

What does snapback hat mean?

People often confuse baseball hats with snapback hats, and for a good reason. They both have similar features, such as a front brim and a round crown that fits neatly to the wearer’s head.

Both baseball hats and snapback hats can typically have words written on the front or a logo printed on them. On top of that, much like the baseball cap, the snapback also originated from the beloved American sport. It is, in fact, a modified version of the former.

The Brooklyn Excelsiors was the first baseball team to use the snapback hat in 1958. They modified the original design and presented a new type of cap with a wide, flat brim. The style started gaining traction, and the company New Era began replicating it for teams such as the Cleveland Indians, the Brooklyn Dodgers and Detroit Tigers.

Around the 1970s, the snapback somehow got forgotten when people started wearing baseball hats outside the court. People almost wholly deleted it from the collective consciousness until hip-hop artists from the 1990s began embracing it.

What is the difference between a baseball cap and a snapback?

With all of that said, what is the difference between a cap and a snapback? There are subtle distinctions in the shape of the two types of caps that contribute to the snapback’s popularity.

Front panel

A baseball hat is usually a soft canvas hat. It is a fitted hat that takes up the shape of the head of the wearer. On the other hand, a snapback has a hard, pre-shaped front. It is made of six stiff ridges that give it a dome-like form.

People don’t need to wear it all the way down on their scalp. In fact, the fashionable way to wear it is by leaving space between the head and the hat.

Flat brim vs curved brim

One of the most noticeable differences between the hats is how the brim is shaped. A baseball cap has a pre-curved brim that provides more shade around the eyes. Often you’ll see baseball players even bend the brim further to help protect their vision from the sun.

A snapback is the exact opposite. It is a cap with a flat brim meant to stay that way. It is also broader and firmer than its baseball counterpart. It is much bolder and attestation-grabbing.

Adjustable size

Often, a baseball cap will be a specific size, which cannot be changed. This means that you have to shop for a hat according to your particular head dimensions. In other instances, a baseball hat can be adjusted with two velcro strips on the back of the head. Different styles of baseball hats have an adjustable strap with a metal slider.

Snapbacks are always one size fits all hats, with the help of two plastic strips at the back of the hat. This is the reason why snapbacks are called snapbacks. One plastic strap has holes in it, while the other has a row of raised plastic dots. The two parts snap onto each other to fit around your head perfectly.

How to wear a snapback hat

This type of hat is a true fashion statement, but it only works with some clothing styles. For instance, business or elegant clothes should usually leave the snapback out of the equation. But smart casual outfits can really benefit from a snapback cap.

For example, you could pair a long sleeve shirt with a snapback hat to create a clean look. With this style, it’s best to wear the hat facing forward.

In general, wearing the snapback facing forward creates the sleekest look. It conveys a sort of seriousness mixed with a down-to-earth attitude. For people with longer hair, it’s best to forgo the ponytail sticking through the back. Instead, wear your hair down and loose around the hat to avoid looking too sporty.

If you want to wear the snapback backwards, it’s recommended to pair it with hip-hop fashion. However, ensure you wear the brim low, almost touching your neck, with more of the forehead exposed. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking outdated.

No matter what, do not wear the hat sideways. People may have been able to pull this look off in the past, but it does not work at all in the 2020s.

Mix and match to showcase your personality

Now that you know the difference between a baseball hat and a snapback and how to best wear the hat, it’s time to use it to spice up your outfits. Check out our collection of hats for men and women, and start building a wardrobe that will set you apart from the crowd.