Shantung Panama straw hats are made from a high quality paper which is rolled into a yarn to imitate straw. This paper is very similar to natural panama straw that is harder to come by. It was also very durable, light weight, and cost effective. You will see that the paper comes in degrees of quality that are usually expressed with an X scale – the higher the X the better the paper. Shantung panama is by far the largest segment of the straw hat market.