Few things are more synonymous with cold weather than hoodies. Originally invented in the early 20th century to protect laborers who worked in cold conditions, the hooded sweatshirt was a workwear staple for decades before eventually crossing over into the mainstream in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Today, the hoodie is a foundational piece of casual menswear—no different, really, than the T-shirt or jeans.
With the hoodie’s ever-increasing popularity—especially as people stay home and practice social distancing during the rise of the COVID-19 coronavirus—it’s even more important to have a hoodie that doubles as loungewear and workplace attire (even if your office is currently doubling as your kitchen table).
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While there is a plethora of different brands providing their own spin on the hoodie, these brands ought to cover the bases for most.
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Known for: Full Zip Shark Hoodie
Few brands are more synonymous with a singular garment than A Bathing Ape (BAPE) is with the Shark Full Zip Hoodie. First introduced in 2004, the hoodie features a bevy of distinguishing features: lettering, camo, military-inspired shark detailing and a zippered hood. The Shark Hoodie was extremely limited, with NIGO keeping drops few and far between—the combination of the scarcity and popularity sparked a wave of imitations, but none of them came close to equalling the original’s fame.
While the Shark Hoodie is BAPE’s best-known hoodie, it’s also the garment that best typifies the BAPE aesthetic: garish, undeniably BAPE, but, somehow also timeless. Even the BAPE hoodies that don’t feature the iconic shark design take their cues from it, though—covered in bright First Camo, or oversized logos. There’s no such thing as an understated Bathing Ape hoodie, but that’s what makes them covetable.
Known for: Heavyweight Logo Hoodie
Aimé Leon Dore is, arguably, the brand that best embodies the concept of modern luxury. Teddy Santis’ New York-based brand dabbles in equal parts vintage-inspired streetwear and luxury tailoring, collaborating with the likes of New Balance and Drake’s.
Aimé Leon Dore was launched in 2014 and from the outset the brand made a name for itself thanks to its fleece casualwear. It was among the first to popularize the jogging pant, as part of a wider tailored and “elevated casual” aesthetic. The brand’s logo has figured prominently on heavyweight, Canadian-made French terry hoodies over the years. Like almost everything else Aimé Leon Dore puts out, the slim-fitting hoodies are an elevated take on a menswear classic informed by New York’s 1990’s streetwear.
Known For: Midweight Logo Hoodie
The beacon of American workwear, Carhartt has been a staple in hard-working closets since 1889. While the brand is a more common sight on construction sites, its big “C” logo has become a statement in its own right, thanks in part to pieces like its Michigan chore coat, watch cap logo beanie and, of course, it’s logo hoodie.
With a well-earned reputation for hard-wearing goods at reasonable prices, Carhartt stands apart as a brand that crosses the fashion spectrum—despite the brand’s blue collar origins. In the case of the brand’s most common logo hoodie, you can rest assured that this piece is ready for work—whether that means hitting the shop floor or flipping through tabs on your web browser. Made with a midweight, meant-for-layering fabric, Carhartt’s hoodie is perfect for three seasons of wear. Keep in mind: Carhartt’s items tend to run a little big—if you like a roomier fit, then shop true-to-size. If you like things to be a little more “fitted” (and, when it comes to Carhartt, we say that term loosely) then consider going a size down.
Of course, an icon like Carhartt isn’t blind to its crossover appeal. Operating a more fashion-forward sublabel—Carhartt WIP—over the last couple decades, if you’re looking for Carhartt toughness with a focus on fashion collaborations or modern fits, that might be more in your wheelhouse.
Known for: Reverse Weave Hoodie
While Champion only came into being in the 1930s, the company’s history dates back to 1919, when it did business under the Knickerbocker Knitting Company—a dated, mouthful of a name if ever there was one. From the outset, Champion thrived as a purveyor of athleticwear, providing the uniforms to the University of Michigan.
Unlike Reigning Champ, Champion’s fleeces feature brushed interiors that add a softer on-body feel. But Champion’s distinguishing trait isn’t the brushed cotton, but, rather, it’s hallmark Reverse Weave. Essentially, Champion’s hoodies and crewnecks are crafted using cotton that is woven horizontally, rather than vertically, to minimize vertical shrink. Over the years, it’s grown from being a novel feature to an entire line of goods within the Champion offering.
So ubiquitous is the Champion Reverse Weave Hoodie that it’s often used by third parties as the base for logo hoodies, with no more notable example that the Museum of Modern Art’s use of it to create merchandise for the exhibit chronicling the most influential fashion items.
Known for: Heart Logo Patch Hoodie
While Comme des Garçons PLAY might not be the crown jewel of Rei Kawakubo’s Comme empire, it might very well be its cash cow. It’s the entry-level brand that introduces many consumers to the avant-garde Japanese label and its stable of brands. First introduced in 2002, Comme des Garçons PLAY is light-hearted and mainstream, compared to other Comme des Garçons lines. Rather than focus on reinvention and trends, a considerable chunk of the PLAY collection is comprised of more pedestrian pieces—basic pieces built to round out the core of a wardrobe—with some seasonal exclusives sprinkled in.
Of course, the PLAY line is best known for Filip Pagowski’s now iconic heart logo. PLAY hoodies, like the rest of the collection, are otherwise simple, crafted from cotton and offered in classic colors like heather grey, black, blue and red.
Known for: Pouch Pocket Hoodie
Haider Ackermann is a bit of a fashion chameleon. Not because the Colombian designer changes his aesthetic, but because he manages to make formalwear look incredibly casual and casualwear look incredibly luxurious.
Besides his love of layering, silky fabrics and what can only be described as unique tailoring, Ackermann is probably best known for popularizing the luxury velour sweatsuit for men. Before Timothée Chalamet was a muse for the brand, Kanye West was among Ackermann’s biggest fans, with West famously taking the stage in a burgundy Haider Ackermann sweatsuit at the 2015 Grammys. Unlike the Sunspel, Stone Island and John Elliott hoodies, Haider Ackermann’s lean into the oversized silhouette, which may have been what accounted for their popularity within the luxury landscape.
Known for: Hooded Villain
John Elliott established his eponymous sportswear company in 2012 and, almost immediately, established a signature aesthetic to match—best described as something between chic athleisure and casual menswear. Based out of Los Angeles, it’s not surprising that John Elliott has come to be known for its denim. But the fact that his hoodies are so well-known and sought after, might raise some eyebrows for a company based in sunny California.
But, weather notwithstanding, John Elliott’s hoodies typify the best of Los Angeles style. They’re simple, well-cut—with straight lines rather than a billowing silhouette—and outfitted with a bevy of small details that set them apart, like the crossover collar or kissing zippers. Throughout the 2010s, the brand has graduated from a niche, internet-based brand to a critically-acclaimed powerhouse beloved by the likes of LeBron James, stocked by Kith and working on seasonal collaborations with Nike.
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Known for:* Moon Hoodie
There’s few brands on Earth quite like Kapital (and the adjacent Kapital Kountry). In a sea of top-notch Japanese brands—especially those focused on the —Kaptial’s homespun approach to garment design has propelled it from cult favorite to a modern must-have in men’s style circles. Founded in 1984 by Toshikiyo Hirata in Kojima, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, the brand earned its name from the city in which it was founded—as Kojima is colloquially referred to as the “denim capital of Japan.” Kapital as we know it was transformed after Hirata’s son, Kiro, settled into the family business in 2001, following a stint working for another prestigious denim producer—45RPM. Less than a decade after Kiro’s arrival, Kapital Kountry was founded in 2010.
The offbeat, “craftsy” aesthetic that surrounds Kapital and Kapital Kountry is the physical manifestation of both Hiratas perspectives—a blend of Americana influences with traditional Japanese techniques like boro patchwork and the concept of “wabi-sabi.” The Moon Hoodie is an example of this combination. Taking the loungewear staple and injecting it with a homespun twist, it’s important to note that not two Moon Hoodies are exactly the same. Dyed, distressed and repaired (in some cases rebuilt) all in-house before it reaches the shelves, Kapital products—especially the Kapital Moon Hoodie—appear nothing short of lived-in and well-loved.
While Moon Hoodies do appear in a variety of different colors and boasting different detailing, the most famous is easily the one worn by John Mayer in his “New Light” music video. Featuring a purple base, paint splatters and faded stars and numbers, it’s perhaps the best encapsulation of one of Kapital’s most beloved products.
Known for: Tech Fleece Full-Zip Hoodie
It stands to reason that Nike, arguably the biggest sportswear brand in the world, would create one of the world’s best hoodies.
Nike has long dabbled in hooded fleeces, whether as part of its casual offering, its team uniforms and merchandise or its subsidiary lines—like Nike SB. But it was with the introduction of Nike’s innovative Tech Fleece, in 2013, that the Portland-based company made its indelible mark on the garment. The new material saw a thin layer of foam placed between two pieces of fleece to create a garments that were lightweight, but warm.
Since then, Tech Fleece has become a favorite of athletes, sneakerheads and streetwear aficionados alike. Leave it to Nike to take athlete-inspired tech and make it a staple of the street.
Known for: Core Logo Hoodie
For those unfamiliar with the New York imprint, we’ve already chronicled Noah’s prowess when it comes to incorporating graphics. But Noah is more than just a graphics brand—for all of the appeal that its deeply researched and thoughtful graphics have, it’s the quality of the garments that keeps people coming back to Noah. Since the brand’s reentry on the streetwear scene in 2015, hoodies have been at the fore of Noah’s offering.
Noah’s hoodies are made in Canada from heavyweight brushed back cotton fleece. That makes them both extremely comfortable and durable. It makes for a perfect canvas for Noah to push its unique aesthetic, whether with recognizable graphics like the brand’s core Templar cross logo and Jolly Roger graphic, through seasonal exclusives like the recent rose logo, or with more subtle tweaks like the logo-less reverse fleece hoodie that featured contrast stitching.
Known for: French Terry Pullover Hoodie
Since 2007, Reigning Champ has produced some of the most comfortable and popular fleecewear in the world. Based in Vancouver, Reigning Champ’s garments are almost misleadingly simple, but therein lies Reigning Champ’s guiding principle: master simplicity while paying attention to the details.
In addition to being made from supremely comfortable and durable French terry, Reigning Champ’s fleeces pre-shrunk, which means that they can be put through the dryer without cause for concern. Over the last decade-plus, Reigning Champ has gone from a niche Canadian fleece brand to one stocked by dozens of the world’s premier stores, while collaborating with the likes of New Balance, adidas, Major League Soccer and the NBA.
Still, despite the glitz and glamor, few things typify Reigning Champ better than the brand’s classic French Terry Pullover Hoodie—simple, comfortable, timeless, and built to last.
Known for: Dri-Power Fleece Hoodie
While not the most fashionable option on this list, Russell Athletic is among the most well-known and well-respected manufacturers of fleece, writ large, in the world. (https://zipit.vn/drycleanonly/best-hoodies-men, Russell Athletic has been making athletic gear since the 1920s.
Like Champion, Russell made its name—and its fortunes—thanks to sports and team uniforms. But, like Champion, it also stood to gain from the spread of team wares into casual wardrobes. The brand’s most popular hoodies emerged in the ’80s and ’90s, and featured a considerably lighter cotton than other competitors, with a brushed fleece lining to not sacrifice comfort or warmth.
Known for: Fleece Hoodie
Stone Island might be best known for its highly-technical garments, unique textiles and innovation under Massimo Osti, but to ignore the brand’s basic fleece pieces would be to do yourself a great disservice.
Stone Island is revered for offering myriad versions of a specific silhouette and the Italian brand’s approach to hoodies is no different. From pullovers to full-zips and from fleece to towelette, there are hoodies for every need, desire and curiosity in the brand’s storied archives. But none of them are more timeless than the simple fleece pullover and zip-up versions, equipped, of course, with the tell-tale compass badge on the left arm.
Known for: Cotton Loopback Overhead Hoody
Sunspel has something that no other brand on this list can lay claim to: 150 years of history. Sunspel was founded in 1860, as a textile factory in Nottingham. There, the brand made tunics and other undergarments, and is believed to be one of the first companies to manufacture T-shirts. Sunspel’s history is the stuff of legend and the brand is revered in the realm of T-shirts, boxer shorts and polos.
Not to be outdone, Sunspel’s hoodies are available in a range of textiles that put comfort first: cotton loopback, merino wool and cashmere. Like the T-shirts and boxers that made Sunspel famous, there’s nothing unnecessary adorning them—just drawstrings and the occasional zipper. It’s the type of hoodie you wear to a country house, or the morning after a wedding. There are few brands that can touch Sunspel when it comes to crafting what amounts to the most (aesthetically) mature adult hoodie available.
Known for: Box Logo Hoodie
Unlike the rest of the brands mentioned on this list, Supreme is consistent in its inconsistency when it comes to hoodies. While so many other brands have built their reputations on the back of distinct fit and craftsmanship, Supreme has made a name for itself by finding different ways to display its one-of-a-kind attitude and persona through streetwear staples like… well, hoodies.
Over the years, Supreme has dabbled in Canadian-made hoodies (including those manufactured by CYC Corp—the operation behind brands like Reigning Champ), Chinese-manufactured ones, and, of course, collaborations with the likes of The North Face, Louis Vuitton and Champion. Supreme treats hoodies like statement pieces, offering a healthy mix of timeless takes and unique designs. While the offerings change weekly and seasonally, there’s no mistaking that its signature Box Logo hoodie isn’t just Supreme’s most iconic hoodie—it’s practically the most infamous hoodie in the entire fashion industry.
Known for: Season 3 Hoodie
Yeezy is the subject of much debate. Is it a billion-dollar company or not? Does the name still carry the clout that it did when the brand launched in 2015? Do the clothes actually sell well? Is it just a subsidiary of adidas?
The one thing appears everybody seems to agree on, though, is that Yeezy knows how to make comfortable hoodies. Cut with a more relaxed fit and crafted using heavyweight cotton, the brand’s oversized hoodies have become one of the most popular Yeezy garments—if not the most popular. Like almost everything else Yeezy, the hoodies are regularly available in earth tones and the seasonal variations offer only slight changes and modifications; for example, some have kangaroo pockets, some have drawstrings, others don’t.