A Panama hat by Montecristi is the product of months of weaving by expert Ecuadorian hatmakers and precise shaping by our own craftsmen. Each is a masterpiece that can last a lifetime.

Your hat begins its journey in a small village near Ecuador’s Pacific coast. Expert hatmakers harvest leaves from the paja toquilla plant, then work them again and again to create fine straw fibers of uniform width and color.

These are woven in an extremely tight and even pattern to create the body of the hat — a process that can take months.

The final step is the precise shaping of your hat to fit your exact measurements. This is performed in our Santa Fe shop by craftsmen with decades of experience.

The fineness and evenness of a Panama hat’s weave are the most important factors in determining its quality.

A hat made for daily wear may have 350 to 400 weaves per square inch, while the most expensive Panamas may have ten times that number. The consistency of the width and color of its fibers also contributes to a hat’s value.

Many so-called Panama hats are machine-made. They aren’t from Ecuador, or are made of lesser fibers than that of the paja toquilla.

Such hats may be adequate for some wear occasions. But they’re not hats by Montecristi. Each of our Panama hat bodies is sourced from that same Ecuadorian village. And, alone among even luxury hatters, we work exclusively by hand — which ensures that each Panama we create is unique.

Montecristi Staff

Montecristi takes equal pride in our fur felt hats, which we craft from blended fur felts, pure beaver, and the finest beaver and mink. Like our Panamas, our fur felt hats are hand-blocked in our Santa Fe shop to your unique measurements.