If you are new to the world of baseball caps, this guide will explain the difference between snapbacks and fitteds.
There really isn’t much difference in the general style of the caps, however the key is to look at the back. Snapbacks have a plastic snap closure at the back (hence the name), which allows the wearer to adjust the size of the cap. Fitted caps however, have no closure mechanism, as the circumference of the cap has been selected by the wearer, who already knows their cap size.
The wearer can adjust the size by aligning the nodules (called connectors) of the connector side of the closure mechanism (yes, “connector side” really is the technical term here!), with the holes of the hole side, and snapping the connectors into place through the holes to give the cap the desired size. As a lot of space is taken up by thin air – literally – there is not as much space to customise the back of the cap. The major benefit for end consumers is that there is no anxiety to see if their size is in stock. “One size fits most”, so the main issue for the end buyer is whether they like the design or not. This also makes snapbacks easier to buy as a gift, as the gift purchaser doesn’t have to worry about size issues. One drawback for some (but not all) snapback wearers however, occurs when they want to wear their cap backwards. When the cap is worn backwards, the wearer’s forehead touches the plastic components of the snapback closure, which may cause irritation for the wearer. This potential for irritation is also a reason why some wearers who have low or short hairstyles may be a little weary of wearing a snapback. In their case, even when wearing the cap in the usual way, the plastic closure may be uncomfortable against their scalps.
As the name suggests, the cap size should fit the wearer perfectly. The natural consequence is that there is no longer a gap at the back of the cap, as no closure mechanism is needed. This leaves the crown with a more uniform appearance, and with more space on which the cap designer can unleash their creativity. Also, fitted caps can be worn backwards more comfortably, as the wearer’s forehead will always be in contact with the cap’s sweatband, rather than plastic in the case of a snapback. This makes fitted caps popular with people who generally maintain low or bald hairstyles. One shortfall for the fitted cap owner however, is the stark reality that they are only one haircut away from needing to wear a different size. Furthermore, fitteds are harder to sell online if the buyer doesn’t already know their size. Even if they do know their size, there may be slight but crucial discrepancies between the sizes made by different brands, which would again cause the online buyer to hesitate.
Fitted caps will almost always come with a flat visor, mimicking the style of caps worn by baseball players. Snapbacks have been popular since the 70s, however the style with a flat visor became more prominent in the 1990s due to their presence in the hip hop scene, with the style first becoming popular in New York and LA. With both types of cap, even if the visor is sold flat, the wearer can always manually bend the visor if that is their preference. One consideration that needs to be taken into account is that caps with flat visors are generally made with a high-profile crown, which means that the crown height is higher than that of other caps. If the wearer is likely to bend the visor of the hat after purchasing it, it may perhaps be in their best interest to buy a version of the cap with a pre-curved visor, as the lower profile of these caps is generally thought to look better when paired with curved visors. Of course, the wearer may have a high hairstyle that they are looking to protect – or not squash with their cap – in which case a higher profile cap would be more appropriate.
Even though snapbacks are more mainstream, fitted caps tend to command premium prices for two reasons: Firstly, the fit is personal to the owner; secondly, the fitted cap does not feature plastic, which can sometimes be perceived as “cheapening” the look of the cap. Snapback caps used to command a far greater market share, but fitted caps have grown a core market of collectors who tend to be baseball fans. There are two broad types of collector within this category: One who collects the different caps featuring the logo of their favourite baseball franchise, and the other who collects what they deem to be the best-looking caps across all the teams in the league. There are also baseball fans who collect snapback caps in the same way, however the market for collectors is stronger for fitteds because these fans often want to emulate their baseball heroes by wearing the same style of cap as is worn on the field by the professionals, which is a fitted cap. While snapbacks with a flat visor became popular in the 1990s, at the turn of the millennium fitted caps became more “on-trend”. The tide turned again when, towards the latter end of the noughties decade, snapbacks saw a new resurgence, driven again by the influence of hip-hop culture via music videos.
We have given a little insight into two of the most common closures for baseball cap, however we offer a huge variety, including closures that you might not have seen before. To see the full range of closures that we can offer for your custom caps, check our Custom Baseball Cap Closures.