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Fed IV Hat Size: Would you rather shrink? Or stretch?

H Weinstein

One of the Regulars
Messages
223
Location
Maryland
I'm thinking of ordering a Fed IV (standard Imperial fur). Hats Direct (and various Lounge posts) note the Fed IV runs about a half-size smaller than marked. So HD suggests ordering up a size.

I tend to stretch all my Akubras a bit to give them a slightly more oval shape. In view of that, do you guys with Fed IV experience think I should order my regular size 58 or go up to a 59 (which HD says measures at 58.5).

Which do y'all think is likely to give me a better fit -- stretching a 58 a half-size, or shrinking (and padding) a 59? I've done both with previous Akubras and found shrinking to be tougher to do and more frustrating to get right.

But I'm eager to hear any opinions and experiences you guys may have had. Thanks!
 

daizawaguy

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,661
Location
Tokyo
Given that hats shrink naturally, or the leather does anyway, always go for the larger size is my advice...
 

JackieMatra

A-List Customer
Messages
413
Location
Maryland, U.S.A.
My Fed IV came smaller than all my other Akubras, all of which were a little large for me initially and then quickly shrank down to size.
The Fed IV also quickly shrank down to where it was too snug.
I've since stretched it out considerably, several times to where it was loose, but it insists on shrinking back to where it's too tight.
I'd suggest either ordering a size larger, or keeping it permanently on a hat stretcher, unless you enjoy wearing tight hats or like stretching a hat out repeatedly.
 

H Weinstein

One of the Regulars
Messages
223
Location
Maryland
Funny, I've never had one of my Akubras shrink just from wearing them. Could that be because I tend not to wear them when it's hot enough to sweat under the hat?
 

KyleK

One of the Regulars
Messages
172
Location
Philadelphia
I'm with the "Order Up" crowd. Fed definitely runs a little smaller compared to the Campdraft and modern Stetson sizes.
FWIW - my now "beater" Campdraft progressed from too big to perfect to needing a regular stretch. That's with 4-5 years of sometimes hard wear. Soaked with rain/sweat many times! Still looks good.
 

moontheloon

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,586
Location
NJ
my 58 Imperial Fed IV fits perfectly true to size

they do ship with foam sizing tape if needed until the hat adjusts to your head
 

Blackthorn

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,426
Location
Oroville
I am also a 59.5 and I have learned from long experience to order small and then stretch. I have a lot of Akubras, and this works every time.
 

ingineer

One Too Many
Messages
1,088
Location
Clifton NJ
I'm a 60.3. I usually order a 61. Foam for about 6 months to a year, then i have to take it out.
This is with the Imperial sweat, i think it was on this board that someone stated that the Heritage does not shrink so much
 

Fed in a Fedora

Practically Family
Messages
738
Location
Dixie, USA
I'm a 60.3. I usually order a 61. Foam for about 6 months to a year, then i have to take it out.
This is with the Imperial sweat, i think it was on this board that someone stated that the Heritage does not shrink so much

I have no Feds, but do have CDs in Imperial and Heritage - they both shrink if worn in warm situations or if they get even a bit damp.

Fed - without a Fed
 

Bob Roberts

I'll Lock Up
Messages
11,201
Location
milford ct
No size issues with the Delux Fed. Yes it's "roomy" if you're an EXACT size or a little small... But the Deluxe and the Imperial grades BOTH tighten up some.
 

Fed in a Fedora

Practically Family
Messages
738
Location
Dixie, USA
Thanks Fed.
Always wondered about that. never bought the upscale for that reason

There are quality differences, but all 3 of my CDs did shrink to fit. Having said this, I would only pay the extra if that were the only way to obtain the color/style desired. All retain my long oval shape nicely after breaking in.

Fed
 

G MAN

One of the Regulars
Messages
193
Location
Nobleton Ontario
My size is 58.5cm and my first Akubra was size 58 and I had it stretched a few times but it eventually tightens up again and becomes uncomfortable and now I don't even bother to wear it.
Since then I have bought many more Akubra hats in size 59 and let them shrink up a bit, with help from my lamp on a few that were very big and all fit great even after 20 years.
The way I see it is that a hat will only shrink so much and then thats it but if you have to stretch a tight hat it always wants to tighten back up.
 
Last edited:
Messages
11,563
Location
Southern California
My experience with Akubra hats seems to be the exact opposite of everyone else's. I have four Akubras--two Fed IVs, and two Campdrafts, all Imperial Quality (regular) felt, all size 60. As received, both of the Fed IVs fit the same way, and both of the Campdrafts fit the same way, but the Fed IVs were considerably looser out of the box while the Campdrafts were only slightly loose. After the expected "shrink to fit" period, the Fed IVs snugged down to what I consider to be a perfect fit, while the Campdrafts were too snug for my tastes and needed a small amount of stretching. That being said, Hats Direct's claim that the Fed IV runs half-a-size small does not match my experience but, again, my experience is with a sample of only four hats.

Regardless, I would estimate all four hats shrunk approximately one full centimeter. With that in mind, if you're absolutely certain your head measurement is 58 cm, based on my experience I would order that size and stretch the hat a little if need be. Also, I appear to have a "regular oval" head and have never had to stretch my hats to achieve more of a "long oval" shape, so please take that into consideration as well.

I sincerely hope this helps, and doesn't make matters worse. :yo:
 

Bob Roberts

I'll Lock Up
Messages
11,201
Location
milford ct
Did u order up a size Zombie? That I believe is the original question. Gotta order up if u wanna shrink... If so, didnt your Feds shrink "perfect" and the Camp Drafts shrank TOO MUCH? Regardless. Doesnt that still mean to order up and shrink...? If they are running small and shrink down as claimed by Hats Direct and as you said, both shrank down... doesn't it mean to order up and stretch only if they shrink too much and stretch only if you have to? Ordering you proper size and then with the resultant shrinking even tighter, will result in possibly way too much stretching. Guess you can/should do BOTH. Order up then shrink... and stretch if necessary.
 
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