This is a question we hear a lot of the time about baseball caps:
What is the difference between a snapback cap and a dad hat? A dad hat (or “dad cap”) is a style of cap, whereas “snapback” actually refers to the closure mechanism at the back of the cap (which snaps together) rather than the whole hat.
However, there is a particular design associated with the “classic” snapback, and we can compare its features with those of the dad hat. To first learn about the different cap components, check this article on The Parts of a Cap.
Profile / Crown
The crown of a classic snapback has a high profile, whereas the dad hat is typically a low-profile cap. There are two factors behind this:
1. The panels which combine to form the crown of the snapback are slightly longer, creating a greater height from the bottom to the top of the caps – we call this Crown Height.
2. The front two panels of the snapback cap have a stiff Buckram behind them to give the snapback its signature shape, while a typical dad cap will not have a buckram at all. Notice how the angle between the snapback crown and visor almost forms a right-angle, while the corresponding angle for the dad hat is more obtuse. Without a buckram, the dad cap will not gain its shape until it is worn, with the wearer’s forehead providing the cap with its structure (instead of a buckram).
It should just be noted that a dad hat will always be a six panel cap, while a snapback can come in a variety of shapes (as the term snapback really only refers to the closure of the cap).
The classic snapback will have a flat visor, while the visor of the dad cap will be curved. This doesn’t mean that the snapback cap must be worn with a flat visor however: some wearers prefer the curved style and will carefully bend the visor to their desired shape after purchasing. Also, it is important to remember that we are talking about the visor of the “classic” snapback design; many, many snapback caps are made with curved visors, and even all the snapback with flat visors will not have the same shape of visor: some visors will be slightly squarer in shape, while others will be rounder. This amount of variety does not exist for the dad hat however: If the visor is not curved, it cannot be called a dad hat.
Here, the Closure is definitely more important for defining a snapback than a dad cap. This is where the snapback gets its name: at the back of the cap, you adjust the size of the hat by snapping the two plastic strips of the closure mechanism together. For the dad hat, the closure is a strap which is usually made of the same fabric as the hat panels, and which is fastened with a buckle. Two most common closures are the standard belt buckle, and the clasp buckle (which is usually accompanied
Naturally, it would be presumed that the dad cap would be associated with an older demographic, and the snapback with a younger demographic, but increasingly the opposite is true. The term “dad hat” should be considered a misnomer, as it is becoming more and more popular with the younger crowd. In fact, it is this younger crowd who are driving the exploding popularity of the dad cap style to overtake that of the snapback, and our clients see dad hats as their best-selling style. The snapback trend in fashion originated with the hip-hop scene co-opting baseball “ball caps” as their fashion accessory of choice, with the electronic dance music (EDM) eventually following suit. These music scenes naturally have a younger demographic; however, they are not the core market for the “classic” snapback style. Snapbacks have a loyal group of collectors, who generally tend to be more mature. These collectors typically collect ball caps of either their favourite baseball team, or their favourite designs across all the team franchises. What we are also seeing recently is the encroachment of the dad hat onto the snapback’s traditional stomping ground: the pop music scene. Younger people are showing a preference for lower profile caps, and as musicians progressively monetise their fan bases with merchandise, they are finding huge success with the dad cap as a key piece of merchandise.
While both cap styles can be made in any colour, dad hats are more likely than snapbacks to be made in pastel shades, (think of a “summer colour palette”), and earth tones (the autumn/winter palette). These caps tend to be made with comparatively minimalistic branding and artwork vs snapbacks. Snapbacks tend to go the more traditional route for colours – the best-selling colours being black, grey and navy blue. Of course, both styles of caps come in every colour, though even the best-selling dad hats tend to also be the same three colours as the best-selling snapbacks. The simple reason for this is that it is easier to match these three colours with the rest of an outfit, which tends to include darker colours. Snapback tend to have bolder artwork decorating the cap, and are more likely to incorporate a bold colour scheme if not using the three traditionally most popular colours. It is hard to find companies that produce well-embroidered artwork on the snapback cap, because a lot of these companies embroider onto pre-made blank caps. Using a pre-made snapback, the embroidery machine will have to embroider through not only the front panels, but also the thick buckram behind (which will be extra thick for this style of cap). The usual end result is artwork lacking detail, and a finish which looks untidy and unprofessional. This is why at HYPERSUPPLY we manufacture all of our caps from scratch, allowing us to embroider directly onto the panels only, before then adding the buckram behind. This process creates the highest quality finish.
To see all the different customisations that we offer, check out our page on Customization for Baseball Caps.