A good winter hat is like a good snowblower — you don’t fully realize how important it is to own one up until you really need it!
Similarly to a snow blower or any other piece of winter equipment, you better get
at least one good warm fur hat purchased way before you may need to use it. As a famous Russian proverb goes: “Prepare your sled in summer, and cart in winter.”
As we head into the colder months, we’ve decided to put together a compilation of the most popular Russian winter hats available out there. For this, we’ve analyzed Winter Hats category’s best sellers at one of the world’s oldest online retailers of all things “Russky” — Russian Legacy. Below you may find our “best of” list for 10 cozy Russian fur hats to keep you warm this winter (whether you go skiing, sledding, snowball-fighting, or just enjoying some winterscapes).
1. “Gorby” Winter Hat
Sometimes called the “ambassador hat”, this fur hat was, actually, loved by quite a number of General Secretaries, including Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev. It is also commonly-known as “gorbachyovka” or a “Gorby” hat. These hats are made from Qaraqul fur which makes them exceptionally warm, regardless of their light(er) appearance. Available in black, brown, and gray colors. Optional foldaway ear-flaps are also available as each hat is made to order. Price range: $180 – $250.
2. Brezhnev Style “Pie Hat”
Unlike the above one, this winter hat does not have a brim. It is commonly called a “pie hat” and besides Leonid Brezhnev and other members of the Soviet elite, Sir Winston Churchill himself was spotted wearing one of these at the 1945 Yalta Conference. The has is made from genuine Qaraqul fur, and comes available in black, brown, and gray. Price range: $170 – $240.
3. Astrakhan Fur “Ushanka” Hat
In Russian “shapka-ushanka” literally means “hat with ear flaps.” Every ushanka may be worn either the ear flaps tied up (as shown in the above picture), or lowered down, or even tied under your chin (for maximum protection from those rough winter blizzards). “Astrakhan” is a Russian way of calling the Persian lamb (also known as Qaraqul or Karakul). What makes this “ushanka” hat unique is that it is made of Qaraqul fur (not your usual, but an extremely beautiful, combination). If you search the web for “K-19: The Widowmaker hat” you’ll most definitely find a top Hollywood actor wearing one of these. While black is the classic color, this hat is also available in brown, gray, and spotted variations. Prices range from $180 to $250, depending on the color of fur.
4. Imperial Army General “Papakha”
This one is a true beauty! Modeled after the fur hats worn by Russian Imperial army generals and Czar Nicholas II’s private Cossack guards, this Karakul “papakha” hat will make a truly unusual (and special) gift for any man. It is by no means an original general hat, but an impeccable reproduction of one. It’s one of the softest and warmest Qaraqul hats available out there. Since every hat is made to order, you may purchase a rare version of this one – in spotted fur. This makes the color options range from black and brown, to gray and even spotted. Prices start at $180 (and go up to $230).
5. Astrakhan Fur “Kubanka” Hat
Kuban’ Cossacks (Russia) who had descended from Zaporozhian Cossacks (Ukraine) have been wearing such Persian lamb fur hats for centuries. Hence, the common name of this fur hat – “kubanka” (or literally: “one from the Kuban’ (River) region.” This hat comes in black, brown, and gray. Price range: $180 – $230.
6. “Doctor Zhivago” Fur Hat
It was this style hat that the main character wore in the 2002 screen adaptation of Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago” directed by Giacomo Campiotti. Originally worn by certain Russian Cossacks, this hat is available in four colors: black, brown, gray, and white. Production time: up to 7 business days. Prices range from $160 to $240, depending on color.
7. Muskrat Fur “Ushanka” Hat
Russian ushankas don’t have to be made of faux fur and cost $19.99. Of course, much depends on whether you’re planning on using it as a part of some costume or to truly wear it. If it’s the latter, consider muskrat fur. It’s not as pricey as mink (which we feature below), and hence its higher “best selling” status. This particular ushanka hat also comes with a convenient size adjustment string. Muskrat’s fur is water-resistant, and exceptionally soft. Color of availability: black and brown. Price tag: $200 – $250.
8. Karakul Shepherd Hat
Throughout the centuries, shepherds have been wearing such hats across Eastern Europe: from Azerbaijan to the Balkans. Even Paul Gauguin was spotted wearing one of these Karakul fur hats. One of this hat’s benefits is that is also partially covers ears, keeping them cozy and warm. Available in black color, as well as brown and gray. Price range: $170 – $210.
9. Rabbit Fur “Ushanka”
This is one of the most classic Russian ushanka hats. Made from 100% authentic hand-selected rabbit fur, it is great for wearing throughout the winter. As any ushanka, it may be worn with ear flaps up (as shown in the above photograph) or tying them under your chin. This fur hat is produced in five color variations: black, brown, gray, spotted, and white. Prices range from $99 to $120.
10. Mink Fur Ushanka Hat
Last, but not least, a luxurious mink fur ushanka! This unisex style hat is the most luxurious one of all ten listed here. It is favored by Russian elites, and rightfully so. It is exceptionally light, soft, warm, and cozy to wear. Even President Gerald Ford was once photographed wearing it (on his 1974 visit to the USSR). As all of the above-mentioned ushanka hats, this one may be worn with ear flaps up or down: depending on your preference and the weather outside. Price range: $499 – $540.
So, there you have it… The 10 best Russian winter hats for men and women, made out of real high-quality fur. Select yours and get ready to, actually, enjoy the cold — the Russian way.