Montecristi vs Cuenca Weaves and Quality of Authentic Panama Hat

Montecristi vs Cuenca Weaves and Quality of Authentic Panama Hat

The two most common and classic types of weaves used for Genuine Panama Hats handwoven in Ecuador are the Herringbone (Llano) and Brisa.

💡 Expert note: A fine Montecristi hat is more natural straw colour. Even some of the finest hats will have some red and greyish straws. All hats darken slightly with age. A consistent, yellowish - ivory colour throughout the hat is ideal, and preciously rare.

Herringbone weave and grades

This design is since always traditionally used for Montecristi hats, characterised by its impeccable herringbone shape, employs more straw (the double than a brisa weave) to make a hat. This weaving type allows the hat to be more robust while best quality, resulting in a more durable, flexible and smoother surface finish. Due to its characteristics, this particular design takes longer to produce and this is one of the reasons why these hats are more expensive than the other kinds of hats and weaves. The grades (count per inch) can vary from fino to ultrafino weave. Since this type of weave is more resistant ii can be rolled.


Montecristi weave herringbone Panama Hat



Superfino Montecristi herringbone pattern

Brisa Weave and grades

This design is the most used in Cuenca hats, this type of weave is rollable only if the weave is superfine, otherwise it is not recommended to roll the hat. It takes less time to produce, as it is a less intricate design resulting in a low-end cross woven hat, it is very flexible since it is made with less quantity of straw than the herringbone weave type, resulting in a less durable quality as the straws are more prone to crack over time. This flexible weave looks like little irregular diamonds/squares and the artisan normally takes 2-3 days of weaving for a fino grade. Brisa weave is the most common around the market and it allows to those with modest budgets to afford a Panama hat. The grades (count) can vary from fino to ultra fine.

Brisa weave diamonds panama hat

 Panama Hat weaves and qualities


Other type of weave:

Crochet Weave

This design is also handmade in Cuenca like the brisa one, but this one employs the crochet technic, resulting in a more robust and hardy finish. This type of weave is still flexible and it would be perfect for active lifestyle gardeners, surfers or people who is looking for a low maintenance Panama hat.

Crochet Panama Hat weaves

Click here to learn more about the Grades of Quality of Panama hats