The X factor rating is determined by the materials used to make a felt cowboy hat. It is determined by the percentage of furs used in making the felt western hat. They use beaver, rabbit, mink, chinchilla and other furs to make a felt hat. The mixture of which furs they use and the percentage determines the X's. So basically, the finer and more fur a cowboy hat is made with, the more X’s a hat will be.
Many people don’t realize there is actually no formal industry standard (for example there are industry standards followed for rating the quality of diamonds) when it comes to labeling the quality of a cowboy hat. Most manufactures follow the standard of a 2X hat has the lowest percentage content of fur felt for a cowboy hat - a 100X cowboy hat has a much higher content of fur felt. Since there is no industry rule, they can vary from different manufactures.
Learn how to feel for a good hat. The higher quality a hat is, the smoother and softer it’s going to feel and the more it will cost. For example, a 2X felt will have a rough and stiffer feel and look vs a 100X which will have a soft silky feel and look. Fur felt cowboy hats are also available in 200X and up.
In straw, the X's are determined by how tight the weave and how narrow the straw reed used to make the hat. Therefore, the tighter the weave and the narrower the straw reed used to make the hat; the more X’s a hat will be.
Different woven straws include shantung panama, palm leaf, bangora , Guatemalan palm, and treated Mexican palm .
All natural straw materials are from plants that are grown and cultivated at the proper time. The straws need to be prepared properly before the weaving process begins.
It comes down to, find what you like on you and wear it!