When choosing your riding outfit, safety should come first. Head protection when riding isn’t just nice-to-have, it’s a must. Choosing a riding hat that combines safety and style can be a challenge. We’re here to help with our article on the five best riding hats, followed up with some helpful buying tips for the perfect fit.
1. Charles Owen AyrBrush Reflection
Charles Owen is renowned for high levels of safety combined with stunning style. The AyrBrush Reflection is no exception to their usual offerings.
Designed for competition riders, this stunning low-profile, aerodynamically designed riding hat is both stunning and safe.
The exclusive outer has a stunning pairing of gloss and matt finishes. Optional crystal piping, pinstripe in chrome or rose gold embellishment offer a sophisticated look.
The AyrBrush offers a superior fit for both oval and round head shapes. The design incorporates a GRpx® harness to “ensure stability and provide greater safety to the rider.” This soft harness has a lace up section to the back for adjustability and to make it easy to wear if you have longer hair too.
Ventilation is a welcome addition to this helmet as the vents do not take away from the riding hat’s good looks, but only enhances them further. Ten ventilation slots are designed into the outer shell, across the front and back of the helmet. The outer includes Charles Owens’ innovative leather-look, vegan, flexible peak too.
With a luxury cushioned headband and an anti-microbial lining infused with silver ions, keeping the washable luxury inner clean is a dream.
2. Gatehouse Conquest MKII Riding Hat Rose Gold
The Conquest MKII Riding Hat from Gatehouse has been “designed to offer the best in comfort, design and protection.” Conforming to high standards of safety, the Conquest MKII Riding Hat conforms to PAS 015:2011.
Even with such a high standard of safety, the Conquest MKII retains a beautiful slim, flattering profile. For comfort, the design is kept incredibly lightweight and looks elegantly styled.
Taking safety further, Gatehouse have introduced a new flexible peak. This means whilst the hat retains all the look of a fixed peak riding hat, it comes with extra safety, built right in.
The Conquest MKII Riding Hat has incredible ventilation. Using well-placed ventilation panels, the helmet offers a cool and comfortable ride. On the inside, the Conquest MKII has a fully removable wicking and padded liner. This quick dry material ensures your hat stays fresh.
3. Samshield XC Collection
If you ride cross country and need protection to suit those environments, you need not look much further than the Samshield range of XC Riding Hats.
The outer shell of Samshield XC Hats is made up of pure carbon fibre. Offering an unrivalled strength/weight ratio, this material is premium level protection. To level-up the protection, Samshield have an inner shell that is made of polystyrene with “variable density”. Combined, this design ensures that energy is quickly dissipated upon impact.
On the inside a “shape-memory” lining maintains constant thickness throughout years of use. This lining is designed to retain its shape over time. This internal comfort system is fully removable through a clip system. This allows the liner to be washed frequently so riders can keep their helmet clean.
Externally the Samshield XC Hats have incredible ventilation from an innovative air-flow design. The outer is fitted with front air inlets which allow fresh air to channel through the hat. The ventilation ensures that air can move from the front entry points through to rear extractor panels. This concept keeps your head cool, while you’re working hard.
4. Samshield Premium Riding Hat
Another stunning and well-designed riding hat from Samshield made our list.
Just like the Samshield XC Helmets, washable, comfortable liners are fitted inside the hat. On the outer shell, the Samshield Premium Riding Hat is equipped with beautiful original Alcantara®. This suede-like finish of the Premium Riding Hat is smart and polished.
Not just a great looking riding hat, the shell utilises polycarbonate. This material is used in high-end motorcycle helmets and offers ultimate safety protection.
The incredible airflow found in the Samshield XC Helmets crosses over into the design of the Samshield Premium Riding Hat too. Two front air inlets channel air through the helmet to back extractors, set around comfort foam.
According to Samshield, this design makes sweating impossible.
Samshield have incorporated many functional additions within their designs. The Premium Riding Hats are available with a dressage chin strap as an additional extra. This innovative option allows the riding hat to be worn easily with the riders hair in a bun.
5. Champion REVOLVE Radiance Vent-Air MIPS Peaked Helmet
Champion has a slogan of “A Reputation Built On Safety”. Premium riding hats built and designed with safety in mind but offering flattering and attractive styling.
The Radiance Vent-Air MIPS Peaked Helmet has a low-profile shell that is crafted from lightweight fibre glass. Build into the helmet is a highly ventilated airflow system to keep your head cool.
The design of the Radiance Vent-Air MIPS Peaked Helmet includes a shaped peak to flatter the face. The four-point harness is fully padded with a lacing system to the rear for adjustability.
A centre ventilation panel on the Radiance Vent-Air MIPS Peaked Helmet is surrounded by a subtly glittery material. This sits beautifully against a synthetic leather covering.
How to Choose the Right Riding Hat
Helmet Safety & Fit
Horse riding is a high-risk sport. With head protection being important to ensure your safety, choosing the right riding hat is a key decision.
To be sure that riding hats offer high protection, there are regulations and standards in place to recognise their safety features. Within the UK market, as a minimum your riding hat should have a Quality Assurance Mark. These are marks such as the BSI Kitemark or an SEI Mark.
Some European carry only the CE Mark. This is purely to declare compliance with safety regulations in the EU for the European Directive 89/686/EEC on Personal Protective Equipment. The CE Mark is not a mark of safety and is not classed as a hat safety standard.
Another important factor in choosing the right riding hat is to get your hat professionally fitted. Measuring your head correctly for the perfect fit ensures both comfort and optimum safety. Not only the size of your head matters, but the shape does also.
Manufacturers tend to make hats in slightly different shapes and fits. This means that there is something for everyone but trying a few out with a trained fitter is always the best option.
Riding Hat Style & Features
Of course, safety is not the only deciding factor when opting for your riding hat of choice. Looks and features are incredibly important.
Designs now include crystal embellishments, shiny reflective outers, vegan leather, and cool and comfortable linings. All our choices of riding hats include fully removable, washable and comfortable liners. After all, keeping your hat clean is important to improve its longevity.
Features may well depend on what you’re using your hat for. When riding cross country, a flexible peak is absolutely essential for extra safety.
However, if you’re riding on the flat and practicing your dressage, you may prefer a more sleek and polished finish with the addition of some sparkle.
To help improve the comfort of riding hats, many manufacturers have now included well designed ventilation throughout the shell of all their riding hats. Some have sophisticated built-in ventilation systems that draw air from front to back. Others choose for ventilation that complements the design.