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6 Ways to Spot a Fake Panama Hat

There’s a certain art to selecting the perfect Panama Hat; one must consider the shape of their face, the type of occasion, and most importantly – whether or not it’s a fake. With so many counterfeits on the market, it’s getting harder and harder to spot a real Panama Hat. Fear, not intrepid traveler! We’re here to help you separate the wheat from the chaff with these 6 fool-proof ways to spot a fake Panama Hat:

1. Look for the label – a genuine Panama Hat will have a label that says “Made in Ecuador” or “Hecho en Ecuador”

Trying to tell the difference between a Panama Hat and one made in Ecuador is not always easy, but here’s a trick – look for the label! If it is indeed a genuine Panama Hat, it will usually include a label that proudly states either “Made in Ecuador” or “Hecho en Ecuador”. Of course, if the label is there, then you have the first clue that your hat was crafted south of the border. No matter which one you choose, remember the importance of authenticity when selecting any style of headwear.

2. Inspect the weave – a genuine Panama Hat will have a tight weave

If it’s the real deal you’re after, make sure that your Panama Hat isn’t just some cheap knockoff, a few moments of close inspection could save you from any weave-related embarrassment. A simple visual inspection is all it takes to capture the craftsmanship of authentic headwear. A fake Panama Hat will have a machine-made weaving pattern, while a real one will be hand-woven with intricate detail. Inspect the weave carefully before buying.

3. The Circular Rose – spot a fake Panama Hat by looking at the top of the hat

if you see a circular rose in the center of the crown then there is no doubt that your potential purchase is authentic! This signature mark can only be seen on original Panamas because that is where the weavers start the weaving process with a few straws, which makes spotting fakes even easier! 

4. Smell the straw – if it doesn’t smell like nature, it’s likely not a real Panama Hat

A Panama Hat is truly a unique product. It’s made from natural straw materials and each one looks, feels, and smells distinct from the other. But how can you tell a real Panama Hat from a fake? Simple – just give it a smell! If it doesn’t smell natural, but rather like chemicals, then you know for sure that you’re looking at an imitation. Remember – natural materials smell natural! So the next time you get your hands on a Panama Hat, take an extra moment to smell the straw before making your purchase. Nothing beats the honest authenticity of a genuine Panama Hat smell.

5. Feel the material of the hat and its weight

Due to its natural materials, a genuine Panama Hat will be lighter than its counterfeit counterparts. If you pick up the hat and give it an honest heft before making your purchase, it should feel light and soft to the touch, if so, chances are it is made from toquilla straw. Additionally, hold it up to the light and you should also be able to see it through.  

6. If in doubt, ask an expert

If you’re still not sure whether or not your potential purchase is genuine, ask an expert! There are plenty of people who can spot a fake Panama Hat from a mile away – Let us know if you have any questions and we will be happy to help.


When shopping for a Panama Hat make sure you look out for these six points that can help identify if it’s genuine or not! With these tips in hand, you’ll be able to tell if what you’re buying is worth investing in or just another cheap knockoff. Remember that quality matters when purchasing any item—especially something as unique as an iconic Panama Hat! So don’t settle for anything less than genuine quality when making this special purchase. Good luck out there!

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