Hats, or headwear, are items that can be equipped in the head slot of the loadout screen. Valve introduced the first set of nine hats with the Sniper vs. Spy Update on May 21, 2009 Patch, with one hat for each class. The nine hats introduced were the Batter's Helmet, Soldier's Stash, Pyro's Beanie, Demoman's Fro, Football Helmet, Mining Light, Prussian Pickelhaube, Trophy Belt, and Fancy Fedora. Several updates have since added additional hats, including those designed by members of the Team Fortress 2 community through the Steam Workshop or the former contribution page on the TF2 Official Website.There are currently a total of 268 hats (excluding the 267 Miscellaneous items). 106 can be obtained in Vintage quality, 64 can be obtained in Genuine quality (see item quality distribution), and 225 of the hats can be painted 29 colors using different varieties of Paint Cans.While most hats can be obtained through crafting, the item drop system, or bought from the Mann Co. Store, some hats are only available to players via other means.
Multiple hats can only be obtained by completing in-game achievements. Other hats have been added as promotions for various Steam games and events in the Steam Store. While it is possible to obtain most of these hats via trading with other players, there is no option to buy these hats from the Mann Co. Store (aside from those released with Total War: SHOGUN 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and the QUAKECON Pack). Only players with the premium account type can receive hats randomly through the item drop system.With the release of the Mann-Conomy Update, Unusual quality versions of hats have a 1% chance of being "uncrated" when the player opens a Mann Co. Supply Crate. These hats function in exactly the same way as Unique hats except for the addition of 1 of 31 unusual particle effects, chosen at random when the hat is obtained.Hats are purely cosmetic with the exception of those which are part of the Polycount Pack, which provide bonuses when worn with their associated item sets. Additionally, the Horseless Headless Horsemann's Head and the Saxton Hale Mask make the wearer immune to the Horseless Headless Horsemann's Boo taunt.Some hats have the holiday or event restrictions, meaning those hats can't seen by everyone except in loadout when it's not in holiday or event times. Additionally, Pyroland items can only be seen by yourself and any other people who happen to be wearing an item that allows them to see in Pyrovision.
- On the History page of the official TF2 website and Mac Update page, Valve refers to Team Fortress 2 as the "#1 War-Themed Hat Simulator",
- The Trophy Belt and Football Helmet were first seen in Meet the Spy, which was released before the Sniper vs Spy update.