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How to Choose a Swim Cap


Swim caps make you more hydrodynamic in the water and are a great way to keep long hair out of your face while you swim. Choosing a swim cap is fairly straightforward and usually is influenced by what type of swimming you do, but there are a few considerations you should keep in mind when making a purchase.

Lap Swimming vs. Water Exercise

Lap swimming means head-down, face-in-the-water swimming, while water exercise can be anything from aqua jogging, to water therapy, to aqua aerobics. Water exercisers usually use caps to keep their hair out of their face and dry. Athletes doing water aerobics, aqua jogging, or other forms of gentle water exercise may want to wear a LYCRA™ swim cap. These are soft mesh material and will help keep hair out of their eyes without the tight, heat-retaining fit of traditional swim caps. Lap swimmers more commonly use caps to help them move through the water more efficiently and will prefer the hydrodynamic qualities of latex or silicone swim caps.

Practice vs. Racing vs. Open Water

Swim practice caps are made of latex or silicone. They're simple, inexpensive and quite similar from brand-to-brand, and are also commonly used during meets and competition. Modern racing caps are made of molded silicone, which provides a smoother surface and reduces drag during races. They are a bit more expensive than traditional swim caps.

Open water racers or swimmers may want to opt for a silicone or even a neoprene cap which provide a bit more insulation and floatation than latex caps (although latex caps are equally acceptable and widely used on open water swims). Open water swimmers should also consider buying a cap in a bright color to make it easier for officials and rescuers to spot them in the water.

Lots of Hair vs. No Hair

If you have medium to long hair, then a silicone cap will suit you best. Silicone caps outlast their latex counterpart, are more tear resistant, and don't tug at your hair. Typically softer to the touch, a silicone cap is gentler on the hair and easier to get on and off after a workout. Those with longer hair will need a snug fit to keep their cap from falling off. Silicone caps can provide a contoured fit for your personal head size while keeping everything in place.

If you have little or no hair, a latex cap will provide a better fit. Made of latex rubber, the latex cap tends to stretch more easily so they can be worn by virtually anyone. Regular-sized caps fit most swimmers with average head sizes. If an average-sized swim cap feels loose, try a junior or kids cap for a snugger fit. The cap should be tight enough to remain on your head throughout a race or workout, but not so tight that it leaves a line or begins to hurt your head. If you're worried your cap may not stay on, try a swim cap with a chin strap that comfortably holds your cap into place while you're swimming.

Pick What You Like Best

When it comes down to it, there are no strict rules about swimming headwear. Pick a cap that meets your needs, whether it comes down to comfort, insulation, or just the color. And since swim caps are quite inexpensive, it's a good idea to buy a few. That way you're sure to have one on hand in case one rips.

Also consider buying a fun cap! Many companies manufacture holiday-themed caps, caps with funny sayings, or caps with graphics. You can also purchase customized caps that feature names, nicknames, and logos for yourself or a team. A unique swim cap can make hopping in the water a lot more enjoyable, whether for practice or competition.

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roberta
1 month ago.
is there such a thing, a swim cap that doesnt get your hair wet? i have been exercising and swimming and prefer to keep my head dry ?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Roberta,

There is no swim cap out there that will keep your hair 100% dry. Some customers have tried using 2 caps to better block out the water, but we havent come across anything that will work to keep your hair completely dry. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Kris
2 months ago.
I have long hair and a large head making most swim caps to tight. I tried the speedo long hair, but it is still to tight across my forehead. Will that stretch out over time? Or do you recommend any other silicone caps which are larger?
Ryan
2 months ago.
Hi, I am a competitive swimmer swimming club and high school. I want to buy a dome cap for the championship season. I have purchased the speedo aqua v large and medium, and nike swim team dome. I am a breaststroker and the problem is that the cap, especially the aqua v comes off after a 25, though the nike does also. Would you recommend any dome caps that do not come off?
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Ryan,

It sounds like those caps may have been too big. Have you tried the Speedo Racer Dome Silicone Cap or the Dolfin Dome Racing Cap? The links for both caps are below. If those do not work then I suggest you getting just a regular swim cap instead of a dome one. I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/2884.htm?color=9325
http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/7534454.htm?color=9325
Stacy Mcclinton
2 months ago.
Hi, I got a speedo swim cap from Swimco in the mall today. I'm not sure if it's latex or silicone, but it's pink and quite hard to handle for a first-time cap wearer. I have long hair and also thought that swim caps were meant to keep hair dry. Now I know actually wetting your hair helps which is funny to me. Anyway, the cap itself seems too small for me. I'm very average, and I tried it on… it nearly gave me a headache and gave me a temporary "Category 5-face-lift". Plus, I couldn't keep it over my ears… it was just too tight and too small. It's a one size fits all thing, right? The swimco girl just pulled one off the shelf for me. Are there sizes? Do they stretch out? Any way to keep it over the ears? What about headaches? Are swim caps worth it if I'm not competing?
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Stacy,

Most caps do not have specific sizes except they can come in kids and adult sizes. If its the latex one that it will have a stretch to it. he silicone one will not be as stretchy. If you have a lot of hair you may want to try the Speedo Long Hair Silicone Cap (link below) or the Speedo Silicone Stretch Fit Swim Cap

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/3620.htm?color=9325
http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/3621.htm?color=9325

I hope one of these caps works for you. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Jaime
3 months ago.
I am trying to find the best swim caps for my family. We go to our local YMCA and play in the family pool and do a few laps in the lap pool several times a week and it is taking a toll on our hair. They say that it is a saltwater pool, which I can taste the salt, but there is also a small amount of chlorine in it as well. Our hair is getting very dry and damaged from all the time spent in the pool. I am white and my husband and stepdaughter are black and we all have a lot of hair so I need something that is comfortable for us to play in yet keep our hair for getting anymore damage.

Thanks for all your help!!!
Swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Jaime,

Unfortunately they do not make any caps that keeps 100% of the water out but i have heard some customers double up on caps. Not sure how comfortable that would be if you have a lot of hair. We do have a couple caps (links below) that are slightly bigger for people with a lot of hair. I hope this information is helpful and you find something that works for your whole family.

Sporti Long Hair Silicone Swim Cap
http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/7535890.htm?color=9325

Speedo Silicone Aqua-V Large
http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/12665.htm?color=9325

Sporti Bubble Cap with Chin Strap
http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/20738.htm?color=10890
Jovan
3 months ago.
My daughter uses the Water Gear (similar to the Sporti) Bubble Cap for her very thick, waist-length braids, and I use the Creative Sunwear Molded Petal Cap for my thinner, shoulder-length hair. The chin strap helps keep the caps on and less water gets in, and both work well for water play with our African-American hair. Water will still get it, but it is limited to the edges and greatly reduces the amount of "damage repair" after swimming.
Bryan
4 months ago.
I don't have especially long hair, but I use a cap while swimming laps to keep my hair as dry as possible and to keep the chlorine out of it, because it takes a lot more shampoo to clear it out of my hair if I don't wear a cap. I had a Tyr silicone cap and pulled it down over my ears as faar as I could, but it kept slipping upward on my head, allowing water to get in at my ears. I tried sewing an elasytic chin strap to it, but when I tried it on, the cap ripped and is now useless, so I'm searching for another one. What I'd like to find is one with a chip strap to keep it in place. What can you recommend?
Thanks
SwimOutlet.com
4 months ago.
Hi Bryan,

We have a couple caps that have chin straps. Below is a link to those. I hope you find one that you like. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/Specialty_Swim_Caps_s/314.htm
Ruth
4 months ago.
I am an adult with a small head. I am looking for a cap to keep my hair more or less dry, but no one-size-fits-all is small enough and I don't like the flat, close to the head style. I tried (and loved) the Sporti Flower Cap (1 size) but it was too large. Does anyone else make this style in a smaller size?
Swimoutlet.com
4 months ago.
Hi Ruth,

If the one size fits all is not small enough, I would suggest trying a lycra cap or even a kids cap. Those would be smaller. I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any further questions. Have a wonderful day!
Pat
5 months ago.
How do you choose a swim cap size for my 10 year old daughter?
swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Pat,

Most swim caps do not have sizes. She's at that age where she would fall between kids and adult caps. I would say if she doesnt have a lot of thick long hair then the kids caps would work for her. Below is a link:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/Kids_Swim_Caps_s/498.htm

Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Diane
5 months ago.
I use a silicone cap for lap swimming and after swimming my forehead at the hairline is very red and my scalp is also very red. I believe I must have a sensitivity to the silicone. Should I wear a lycra cap? I am hesitant to use the latex cap due to possible allergic reaction to latex with continued exposure.
I like the swimpro lap swim suits. Do you sell a lap suit that has more coverage at the breast area?
SwimOutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Diane,

You may want to try applying vaseline around hairline and see if that helps. But if your whole scalp is red then you may want to avoid silicone caps. And with a possible allergic reaction to latex, your next best option would be lycra. Lycra is more of a cloth like material.

Our conservative suits have a higher neckline. Below are some links to some of these suits:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/22933.htm?color=26997

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/44573.htm?color=210
Georgia
5 months ago.
I have a 13 year old daughter with thick shoulder length hair. She currently uses TYR Wrinkle Free Silicone Cap (one size) but it keeps slipping off. Can you please recommend the best size and type of cap for her?
By the way, thanks for the detail and the comments, quite helpful.
swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Georgia,

Has she tried the Speedo Silicone Aqua-V Large or the Speedo Long Hair Silicone Cap? Both are large swim caps for long hair. The links to the products are below. I hope this information is helpful. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/12665.htm

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/3620.htm
Stephanie
6 months ago.
Is there a cap that fits a lot of hair and doesn't hold a lot of heat.
SwimOutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Stephanie,

We have the Speedo Silicone Aqua-V Large and Speedo Long Hair Silicone Cap that works for long hair. Below are links to both:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/3620.htm

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/12665.htm

I hope this information is helpful. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Al Bacon
6 months ago.
You say your are so happy to be sending items to Canada and then the one I want is NOT available for shipping to Canada. What's up with that?
Not impressed.
AB
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Al,

I sincerely apologize for the late reply and our availability of items shipping to Canada. We have restrictions from certain manufacturers on which items we can ship outside the US. I hope you were able to find something that you did like that we can ship to you. Please contact us again if you have any further questions. Have a wonderful day!
Patricia
8 months ago.
I am looking for a cap for scuba diving.. I want to keep my hair from getting tangled in the mask.. it will need to allow the water to saturate the material so it won't come off underwater...
SwimOutlet.com
8 months ago.
Hi Patricia,

We have Lycra caps that are more cloth like and should allow the water to saturate. Below is a link to all our Lycra caps:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/Lycra_Swim_Caps_s/294.htm

Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
erin
3 months ago.
Also patriicia. Just an idea, but if you spray in leave in conditioner then saturate the ends with a thick conditioner that will also help with the tangles.
Brenda
8 months ago.
Hello! I just ripped my basic speedo (one-size) cap by continually trying to pull it lower over my ears. Can you recommend a cap that is larger and will come lower over the ears? I have ear problems and am trying to avoid getting water in them. I also have long hair that I pull back in a bun. Would the Aqua-V or the Long Hair Silicone cap be appropriate? And which is more likely to cover the ears? Thanks so much!
SwimOutlet.com
8 months ago.
Hi Brenda,

I am sorry to hear that you ripped your cap! I would recommend going with the Speedo Aqua V cap because its a bigger cap all around. The Speedo Long Hair cap is slightly bigger in the back for long hair. I hope the Aqua V cap works perfectly for you. Have a great day!
Constance Aulenti
9 months ago.
My son swims almost daily and because of this has developed "cauliflower" ears from his arm brushing against the lobes of his ears. I suggested a swim cap that will cover his ears but he has a very large head and is convinced that there won't be a cap large enough to fit.
Please advise.
Thank you
Connie
2 D A 5
SwimOutlet
8 months ago.
Hi Connie,

Has he tried the Speedo Silicone Aqua-V Large? That cap is larger than normal swim caps. Below is the link:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/12665.htm?color=9343

I hope this helps him.
Jessica
10 months ago.
I lap swim 5/times a week. I have a short haircut and am looking for a cap that doesn't slip off of my head every 5 minutes. I was thinking of buying a cap with a chin strap but I don't like the look. Any suggestions?
SwimOutlet
10 months ago.
Hi Jessica,

Are you using a silicone or latex cap? You may want to try different ones to see which one fits you the best . If you're finding the regular caps are still loose, you may even want to try a jr cap to see if that fits tight enough. I've heard some customers double up on caps and this may help you as well. Hope this info is helpful. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Victoria
10 months ago.
Hello,

I do laps in an indoor salt water pool. The band from my current speedo silicone cap leaves an impression on my forehead that takes about 12 hours to go away. It's the right size, but can you recommend another swim cap that will not leave impressions on my forehead and keep the water out so that there is less damage to my long hair?

Thanks,
Victoria.
SwimOutlet.com
10 months ago.
Hi Victoria,

Usually a good fitted swim cap will leave a little bit of a mark but one trick some swimmers use is they rub vaseline around the cap. Some wear a headband under their cap. We also have a cap that has an inner band. You can view that by the link below:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/25361.htm?color=31993

I hope this info helps!
Hilda
8 months ago.
Just viewed this cap but shows not available. When will it be back in stock?
Thanks,
Hilda
Liz
1 year ago.
I recently got a sillicone cap and love it. However, it is thick, and fits very tightly, and often gives me a headache. Sometimes it gets so bad that I have to remove my cap half way through a 1-hour practice. My old latex cap didn't give me a headache, but stretched out in weeks, and pinched my hair. Do you have a sillicone cap that's a bit thinner, or stretches out better? The one I've got is driving me nuts. If this helps, my current cap is TYR's breast cancer awarness cap.
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hey Liz -

We would suggest trying a few other brands until you find the one that makes the most comfortable cap for your head, it might take some time but I'm sure it will be worth it!

You can shop for silicone caps here: http://www.swimoutlet.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=silicone caps&checkRealSearchInput=Y&Search.x=-450&Search.y=-183

We hope this helps!

Thanks,
SwimOutlet.com
marti mccloy
1 year ago.
What is the best cap for keeping water out? The other problem is the way caps pull hair out. I am trying to put it on carefully, but it seems to be pulling at my scalp and I'm finding hair inside the cap.
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hey Marti -

We would suggest purchasing any silicone cap, unlike latex caps, silicone doesn't pull your hair as much and they do a fairly good job of keeping water out. No cap you purchase will be able to keep the water out completely.

You can shop our selection of caps here: http://www.swimoutlet.com/Swim_Caps_s/288.htm

Hope this helps!

- SwimOutlet.com
Lawrence
1 year ago.
My 6-year old wears ear plugs in the water. He currently uses a swim band to keep the plugs in place, but I've never been happy with the bands (we've tried several) because they slip. Are there alternatives? Perhaps a swim cap? The only requirement is that it cover the ears (and hence the plugs) snugly. Thank you!
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hey Lawrence -

Sorry to hear that band isn't working, but I would definitely try a swim cap instead. That should work well and most caps do fit over the ears if you pull them down. Here are some options for caps: http://www.swimoutlet.com/Swim_Caps_s/288.htm

Let us know if you need any further assistance.

- SwimOutlet.com
Julia
10 months ago.
I used to wear plugs and the band around my head, and compete on a swim team. First, I would put all my hair in a swim cap. Then, I'd tightly wrap the band around my head. Both of them together healped and I never got any water in my ears. I hope this helped :)
Re
1 year ago.
I am looking for a mesh swim cap - I heard it referred to as a Japanese swim cap
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hey Re -

We don't currently sell any mesh swim caps.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

- SwimOutlet.com
Julie
1 year ago.
Hello there,

I am beginning to train for the open water swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco. Presently I am in Austin and swimming in 60 degree water. I am trying to decide between a thermal swim cap and a regular one and I am wondering if you have an advice concerning the two? Thank you!
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Julie,

Are you wondering if you should get a thermal cap for your Alcatraz swim or for your training? Please let me know so that I can give you a better answer.

Thank you!
SwimOutlet.com
Julie
1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply. I guess my question is pertaining to both. I am mostly swimming in Barton Springs for training which is about 68 degrees. Recently I have been feeling pretty chilled so I thought a thermal cap would be a good idea. Interestingly stores in the area do not sell them as there does not seem to be a need. I am thinking I would undoubtedly need one for San Francisco. Anyways, I hope that helps! Thank you!
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Julie,

Thanks for the info. Thermal caps are great if you're getting chilled while swimming. They can be really warm, though (for some, too warm). It all just depends on what you prefer. I know that some people can feel overheated in a thermal cap, but others run cold and appreciate any warmth they can get. Something you could try first before purchasing a thermal cap is doubling up on swim caps. Wearing 2 caps (especially silicone) is a good middle-ground. The only thing with wearing two caps is that the caps can feel tighter and be less comfortable - and can even cause headaches. For Alcatraz, you might want to consider the thermal cap if you're feeling chilled when you're training now. The temperature of the water around Alcatraz is usually around 55 degrees (60 degrees tops). Note that they usually supply caps for the Alcatraz swim. If I remember correctly, the caps are latex, though, and I think you'd definitely want to wear something under that cap since the latex caps are so thin and not very insulating. Hope this helps!

Thanks!
SwimOutlet.com
Kris
1 year ago.
I have tried both the standard latex and silicone swim caps, but neither fit well at all, I have dreadlocks most of the way down my back. Recommendations?!?! I swim laps 2-3x per week during the cooler months and on rainy days
Tracey
1 year ago.
I'm a black woman and I have shoulder-length braids in my hair. Is there an extra large swim cap I can purchase to protect my hair? If not, what do you recommend?
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Tracey,

We do sell long hair swim caps. Try this out and let me know how it goes: http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/3620.htm?color=9325.

Thank you,
SwimOutlet.com
ANNA
1 year ago.
HELLO,MY 5 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WILL START SWIMING LESSONS ,IT'S PART OF THE SCHOOL PROGRAM. PLEASE I NEED HELP WITH SIZING AND WHAT KIND IS BEST FOR CHILDREN. (SHE'S 5 BUT SHE'S A TINY ONE,AND VERY ACTIVE) THANKS
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Anna!

I would suggest trying a junior swim cap and see how that fits for her. If those seem a little too tight try a regular latex swim cap. You can find our collection of junior swim caps here: http://www.swimoutlet.com/Kids_Swim_Caps_s/498.htm. I hope that helped!

Thanks,
SwimOutlet.com
Nancy Ventura
1 year ago.
Two issues - I am a 60 year old large headed woman, with colored hair (that's not the issue!!). First Issue - I swim laps almost daily and have struggled to keep my cap on with conditioning on my medium-length hair. I have a large speedo, which I anchor with my goggles, and I still swim right out of my cap. I'm ready to give up and get an old fashioned chin-strapped swim cap - any suggestions?
Second Issue - My eyelashes are, apparently, longer than the average persons. When I use my goggles, I usually have to close my eyes so that I don't squish my lashes.... I need some more room between the lash and the glass - any suggestions on this?
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Nancy,
From what I'm reading, my guess is that your swim cap isn't staying on due to your hair conditioner. Have you tried doubling up on swim caps? Sometimes this can help the cap stay on better - and the outside cap grips to the inside cap instead of your head. Also, do you wear latex or silicone caps? If switching your cap doesn't help, maybe you could try a conditioner that doesn't leave your hair as slippery.

As for your eyelashes hitting the lenses, what type of goggles do you currently wear? The Speedo Vanquishers are very popular with women, as well as the Sporti s2s. This leads me to believe they might be better for long lashes. Goggles with bigger lenses tend to stick further off your face as well, like the TYR Racetechs. These are also very comfortable goggles and last a long time.
Check them out here:
http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/1399.htm?color=210

Thanks,
SwimOutlet.com
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