skip to main content

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.

Shop all Swim Caps

Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: xx@yy.zz
marnie
1 month ago.
i have arthritic fingers and getting my swim cap on feels like trying to fit a balloon over my head, the stretching is painful and then it slides off in the pool anyway. My hair is medium and thick and i wet it first. looking for help and advice
SwimOutlet
1 month ago.
Hi Marnie!

You can try the TYR Long Hair Silicone Comfort Swim Cap with soft, brushed polyester interior for a snag-free fit.
Ollie
8 months ago.
I want my 10 yo daughter to wear a swim cap. What swim cap I should get? It needs to be silicone because she has long hair. I also want that the cap covers her ears. Should she use two caps that the goggles don’t fall off. Can you use ear plugs while wearing a swim cap?
Shop@SwimOutlet
8 months ago.
Typically, swim caps do not fully cover the ear. Regular swim caps will only cover the top of the ear so it does not stick out from under the cap. We do offer one swim cap that covers the ear and is silicone. You can view it using the link below:

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-silicone-ear-swim-cap-26593/?color=10770
Ollie
8 months ago.
Thanks! Speedo long hair silicone swim cap and pair of ear plugs feel the best option for her. That should protect her hair and ears. I think I will double cap her for better hair protection from chlorine.
Bill K
12 months ago.
This 71 year old male has tried two silicon swim caps for my 4 days per week hour long lap swim workouts. Both caps with time tend to slide off my head during my workouts. I’ve got curly 3 inch long max hair length. I initially tried starting with a dry hair, and recently tried wetting my hair first to may be get rid of any remaining conditioner, but either way the cap slides up my forehead and off my ears. Any suggestions?
SwimOutlet
12 months ago.
Hi Bill!

We recommend the Speedo Silicone Aqua-V Large that has a depper coverage on the back of your head adding more grip.
Bill K
12 months ago.
Thanks for the recommendation. A large sounds like it could be to big, as I don’t have a large head and I’d like to wear the cap only covering about 1/3 of my ears.
Albert
1 year ago.
Are there swimming caps made of very bright material for safety during ocean swimming?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Albert!

There is no such specific swim caps. But, you can choose for neon colors. Here's the list of our swim caps: https://www.swimoutlet.com/swim-caps-c9633/?rd=N&Search=swim%20caps
Angela
1 year ago.
I have a very small head and dyed blond hair. I have been swimming daily for sbout 1 month and my hair is really dry even though I’m protecting with coconut oil before swimming. I have tried caps but my hair still seems to get wet. I need a hat to keep my hair ideally dry. I do swim quite fast and tumble turn so need something also that can cope with that. Something feminine would be nice. Any recommendations please?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Angela! Please try the Speedo Silicone Swim Cap.
Debby
1 year ago.
My 3yr son is in swimming lessons and he swims in a heated pool but he still gets very cold is there a cap that will keep him warm.
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Debby!

We have the Sporti Thermal Swim Cap - https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-thermal-swim-cap-8173800/?color=9325.
Lynne Holtry
1 year ago.
I am looking for a swimming batting cap In perple
phoebe
1 year ago.
I am looking for a comfortable yet effective swim cap for a competition I have a big one coming up but my usual one just broke and I wanna try something new any thoughts?
Swimoutlet
1 year ago.
We recommend these three swim caps best sellers for competition:

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/mp-michael-phelps-compression-swim-cap-8143563/?color=9325

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-fs3-competition-swim-cap-7537719/?color=10890

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-dome-silicone-swim-cap-8119490/?color=9325
Mareisha Montford
1 year ago.
Join the discussion...
Mareisha Montford
1 year ago.
I need a swim cap for very long big braids. Wanting to keep my hair dry . What do you recommend. If it covers my hair water still gets in
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Mareisha!

We recommend the Speedo Long Hair Silicone Swim Cap (https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-long-hair-silicone-swim-cap-3620/?color=10890).
Mareisha Montford
1 year ago.
I need a swim cap for very long big braids. Wanting to keep my hair dry . What do you recommend. If it covers my hair water still gets in
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Mareisha!

We recommend the Speedo Long Hair Silicone Swim Cap (https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-long-hair-silicone-swim-cap-3620/?color=10890).
Mareisha Montford
1 year ago.
I need a swim cap for very long big braids. Wanting to keep my hair dry . What do you recommend. If it covers my hair water still gets in
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Mareisha!

We recommend the Speedo Long Hair Silicone Swim Cap (https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-long-hair-silicone-swim-cap-3620/?color=10890).
Judith
1 year ago.
My 7 yr old son has a hole in his ear and dr tried patching but it didn’t take. He’s a swimmer but every swim cap we have tried leaks and we wind up in the ER. Do you have any suggestions?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Judith!

The "Sporti Youth Ear Band" https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-youth-ear-band-48649/?color=10904 may be an answer to your concern.
Judith
1 year ago.
No that is more to keep his ears warm not keep the water out of them which is extremely important.
Paul
1 year ago.
That’s what ear plugs are for... You could find them here on Swimoutlet.
Gretchen
1 year ago.
I have been doing lap swimming the past few weeks. I am using my boyfriends swim cap (I believe it is latex) and it gives me bad headaches during and after swimming. I swam last year without a cap and I didn't have much for headaches. Are there any other types I should try?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Gretchen!

Either you are not used to using one or the cap is too tight. You can try our large swim cap - Speedo Silicone Aqua-V Large or if you have a long hair, try TYR Long Hair Wrinkle Free Silicone Swim Cap.
DD
1 year ago.
Hi, I am wanting to get a swim cap that is good for both water aerobics & swimming right after. I have medium length hair that is very thin and I would like to keep my hair as dry as possible. Can you recommend a swim cap?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi DD,

Swim caps are not guaranteed to keep your hair dry, as they are designed to reduce drag in the water and increase speed, not for keeping water out. You can help keep water out by layering a latex cap over a silicone cap (or vice versa), or by lining the very edge of the cap with petroleum jelly to create a seal.

Please check these: https://www.swimoutlet.com/silicone-swim-caps-c9634/

https://www.swimoutlet.com/latex-swim-caps-c9635/
Gosia
1 year ago.
I just stared my swimming classes and I want to go the the pool few days a week to practice. My problem is my hair. I have short and curly hair and hate the chemicals in the water. Besides the health of my hair, my scalp is supper allergic to chemicals to the point I cannot even dye my hair.
I would need to find a fully waterproof silicone cap.
What would you recommend in my situation?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Gosia!

This is one problem of the most swimmers. Actually, to solve this problem depends on the fit of the swim cap to you. We suggest to buy few of silicone swim caps and try them on or you may pair with ear bands: https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-youth-ear-band-48649/?color=10904
Debbie
1 year ago.
Hi I have psoriasis on my scalp and medium length hair I’m looking for a swimming It will keep the water out and away from my hair and scalp what swimming Do you suggest
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Debbie!

We recommend having 2 layers of swim cap like two silicone swim caps to keep your hair and head fully dry.
He Ren
1 year ago.
Hi i’m looking for a swim cap which is durable and can be a racing cap as well
swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi He Ren! I am happy to make some recommendations for you to fit your needs, I will go ahead and include a link for some of our best selling racing swim caps. Please copy and paste the link below on your internet browser.

https://www.swimoutlet.com/racing-swim-caps-c9639/?Search=sayt
Lisa
1 year ago.
Hello, I am looking for competition caps for my 8yo daughter. What is the difference between the Speedo Junior Silicone Swim Cap and the Speedo Youth Elastomeric Silicone Cap? Thanks
Swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Lisa,

The Speedo Youth Elastomeric Solid Silicone Cap is the standard size cap for youth while the Speedo Junior Silicone Swim Cap is 1/8" smaller on each side to create tighter fit for smaller heads.
Bill Fuller
1 year ago.
Which caps are best if you are bald and worried about skin cancer?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Bill!

If you have no hair, a latex cap will provide a better fit.
Peter Sundell
1 year ago.
Hi. Does silicone caps go with saltwater?
swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Peter! Yes, silicone swim caps can be used in salty water.
Shannon
2 years ago.
Hello I have a 3 year old daughter in swimming classes. What type of swim cap would you recommend for her? She does have thick hair.
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi Shannon!

We recommend a junior silicone swim cap for her:

Speedo Junior Silicone Swim Cap
TYR Wrinkle-Free Silicone Junior Swim Cap
Nike Junior Solid Silicone Swim Cap.

Thanks!
Joe
2 years ago.
Hi ! My head is big (24”). What brand would you recommend that can provide a comfortable fit ? I have tried a few and they were all too tight.
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello Joe,
We carry the Adidas Silicone 3D Dome Cap (Product Code 8141880) that fits a 21"-25" inch head for the medium/large size.
Meaghan
2 years ago.
Hi there,

I have an 8 year old son who has many sensory issues. He HATES swim caps and swim goggles yet LOVES to swim and desperately wants to join a swim team. We are in need of a swim cap that will NOT pull his hair/be too tight. Any suggestions for good swim caps AND goggles? Thanks SO much for your help! ; )
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi Meaghan!

We recommend the lycra swim caps. We have several brands that you can choose from. For the goggles, any of the Speedo Vanquisher goggles may work for him.
Meaghan Monk
1 year ago.
Thank you! ; )
Leslie Lam
2 years ago.
I am a 65 year old woman with thinning, easily breakable hair. We are going swimming in La Paz, Mexico and snorkelling with the whale sharks (I hope) this December, but I get cold easily and have to get a cap that I can wear with my snorkel mask and will keep me warm.
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi Leslie!

We do have thermal swim caps that can keep you warm. Please use this link to view them - https://www.swimoutlet.com/searchresults.asp?Search=thermal+swim+cap&checkRealSearchInput=Y#page=1&search=thermal+swim+cap&catlvl=1&sortby=Relevance&viewall=no
Displaying   1 - 25 of 118
Add a Comment
Name * Your Email (will not be displayed) *
To prevent automated bots from spamming, please enter the text you see in the image below: