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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.

Shop all Swim Caps

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yasming
2 years ago.
Hello,

I started swimming lessons and every swim cap that i have brought still gets my hair wet. I have long hair, which swim cap would you recommend.

Thank you for your help.
swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hi Yasming! We're glad to know that you have started your swimming lessons! We have a couple of swim caps for long hair. Please copy and paste the link below on your internet browser:

https://www.swimoutlet.com/searchresults.asp?Search=long%20hair%20swim%20caps&checkRealSearchInput=Y&sayt#page=1&search=long+hair+swim+caps&catlvl=1&sortby=Relevance&viewall=no

Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions you may have regarding these recommended items, if none of these are to your liking we are happy to keep looking for you our customer service team is happy to help . Have a great day!
Kendall Culpepper
2 years ago.
Hello Yasming,
The point of a swim cap is not to keep your hair dry, but anyone with common sense of a swimmer would know that. The point of it is to bring up your speed and efficiency without the drag of your hair. There really is no swim cap that will keep your hair dry, but if you think about it, you're in the water, so why assume you will stay dry?
Nicole
2 years ago.
Hi Yasming, you might look into swim caps with an adjustable chin strap. I find that they work better at keeping my cap in place. I have tons of hair and it works fine and have never had any water seep through. I swim everyday and want to limit the damage to my hair as much as possible. You have a very legitimate question that tons of people ask about. Good Luck
Sea Swimmer
1 year ago.
Nice answer, thank you; unlike the pr*ck above.
Leah
2 years ago.
My daughter competes on a high school swim team. She has very thick curly hair (and I lot of it). When she dives into the pool, her cap pops off. Which cap would you recommend that will fit her hair AND not pop off diving?
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi! We would recommend the "Long Hair Silicon Swim Caps".

We have them available in different brands but the number one on the list is called the "TYR Long Hair Wrinkle Free Silicone Swim Cap". You may search the item on our site by its name or product code 7534301 or simply click this link: https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/tyr-long-hair-wrinkle-free-silicone-swim-cap-7534301/?color=9325
Anne
2 years ago.
My dermatologist said I need a swim cap that won’t tug at my thinning hair. What do you recommend?
SwimOutlet
2 years ago.
Hi Anne,

When putting on or removing, we recommend silicone caps. It does not pull or tug on the hair as latex will do. Hope this helps!
K
2 years ago.
My husband has a chronic and relatively severe ear condition.

It's critical that his ears stay dry when he's swimming.

He lap-swims at our local Y weekly, and in the summer he's in the water many times each day at out cottage--lake.

Can you recommend a suitable cap?

thanks
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello,
In order to make sure he doesn't get water in his ears, we recommend that he use ear plugs with a cap or head band that will help keep the ear plugs in place. The Sporti Silicone Ear Swim Cap will cover his ears.
Rachel
2 years ago.
Hi I'm looking for a swim cap for my five year old to use during swimming lessons to keep her hair out of her eyes. I prefer Lycra but I'm having a hard time finding kids size Lycra caps. Will an adult Lycra cap work?
Swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello Rachel,
No, the adult will be too large for a 5 yr old. We do have a Jr. nylon cap. You can view it here. https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/arena-unix-jr-nylon-swim-cap-25391/?color=22213
Mel
3 years ago.
Do you sell bullet caps - are they classed as mounded ones?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Mel,
Yes, they are actually classed as dome swim caps.
Rubina
3 years ago.
Looking for a swim cap. I just bought a swim cap and it is too tight..cannot fit it over my 'big' head and when I get it there it gives me a headache. It is silicone which I read it supposed to be the best. I measured my head though some internet site...my head size is 22" and ear to ear is 16". Can you help?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Rubina,
Silicone is the best. We suggest trying a cap for long hair so you have more room.
Raj
3 years ago.
I am looking for 10 year old girl having medium thick hair swim cap in speedo.she is in competition group.which size I need to choose
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Raj,
Any of the adult regular sized caps would work. Something like the Sporti Silicone Swim Cap.
Rooney Smith
3 years ago.
Hi, I have medium length thick hair, I do lap swimming and bought the Speedo silicone long hair adult cap but it is hurting my head, any reccomendations for swim caps that will not hurt my head?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello,
We suggest trying a latex or a nylon cap. These are not as tight fitting.
Carol Bresnahan
3 years ago.
I have very fine long hair and chlorine is making hair brittle is a cap going to help and if so any recommendations?
Thank you
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Yes, a latex or silicone cap will help keep most of your hair dry. You can also use a chlorine removal shampoo.
Crystal
3 years ago.
My daughter says the swim caps I have got her let to much water in an bother her ears an pinch them too
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
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.
Valerie Barroe
3 years ago.
Hi, I need a swim cap (or double swim cap) to protect my hair from chlorine during hydrotherapy sessions. I have shoulderlwngth hair. I would like plain and functional can you please recommend? Thank you
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Valerie!
Any silicone/latex cap should work just fine for you and help protect your hair as well. You can try the Sporti Silicone Swim Cap as it is one of our best sellers. We would also recommend using a swim shampoo to help remove the chlorine from your hair as that could be the cause as well for your hair changing color. The UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo 7oz is among the most popular swim shampoos that we carry as well.
gamatics
3 years ago.
Can you please display me size chart for Speedo fastskin 3racing swim Cap - Product code: 8082160003 -1
Or please suggest me which size should I buy for my cousin whose age is 27 years.He uses Tyr caps in size M...
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Here is the link to the sizing chart. It's been to go by head circumference to determine the size needed.
https://www.swimoutlet.com/sizing_chart_detail.asp?manufacturer=Speedo&brand=Speedo&cat=9618,9633,9643,9644&productcode=7537719&sizechartid=1273
Jake
3 years ago.
Hi, I need a swimming cap for lap swimming. I have shoulder-length hair and an enormous head. Help?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hi Jake!
We do offer the Adidas Silicone 3D Dome Cap (Product Code 8141880) that fits a 21"-25" inch head for the medium/large size.
Dheeraj
3 years ago.
Hi, my daughter is 8 years old and she is level 3 in swimming. I would like to do more classes for her but that's only possible with a cap that can hide her long hair which reaches till her lower back. Can you advise on which one to use please. I appreciate your help
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hi Dheeraj!
We have long hair swim caps on our site but they are all adult sizes unfortunately. There are reviews of 10-11 year olds with long hair who have used the Speedo Long Hair Silicone Swim Cap and it worked well. I hope this helps!
Debbie
3 years ago.
I'm a small woman with a big head. 23" across and I wear a 7 3/4 in regular hats. Also I am 68 with long white hair getting thinner every year. I live in a hot climate and get in my pool or hot tub every day. I have not had my head under water in several years, as nothing fits, it just pops right back off. I don't care about speed, racing, etc. I want something to cover all my hair that stays on and doesn't cut off the circulation
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hey Debbie,
We do offer the Adidas Silicone 3D Dome Cap (Product Code 8141880) that fits a 21"-25" inch head for the medium/large size.
Lea Hong
3 years ago.
For the past year i have always been using latex swim caps that my swim team sells. But the swim caps they sell always last for around 1.5 years. So I want to buy a swim cap that lasts a long time and is good for swim meets and swim practice. Should I stay with latex swim caps or a different material?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Lea!
Silicone caps do not tear as easily as latex. Silicone is a stronger material, therefore will last longer if properly taken care of.
Susan Shepard
3 years ago.
My 7 year old daughter desperately needs a cap to protect her hair from the pool and salt water and I do not know what to buy. I need something that would keep her long hair from knotting up from the the water and goggles. If she could find a cap to keep her hair dry, even better. Please help a desperate mom who doesn't want to have to cut her swimmers lovely locks.
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Susan!
Since your daughter has long hair, you want to go with a silicone long hair swim cap (such as the Sporti Long Hair Silicone Swim Cap- product code 7535890). This will allow room for her hair in the cap while also providing a snug fit. It won't keep her hair completely dry (there is no such cap), but it will definitely help!
Liz
3 years ago.
Hello all,

I'm a lifeguard and come into my local pool for a lap swim twice maybe three times a week. My hair is at a short to medium hair length. I've never worn a swim cap before, but I've noticed that my brown hair has begun to turn blonde at the ends and am thinking it's from the pool. What kind of cap would you recommend I use?

Thank you very much, much appreciated
SwimOulet.com
3 years ago.
Hi liz,
Any silicone/latex cap should work just fine for you and help protect your hair as well. You can try the Sporti Silicone Swim Cap as it is one of our best sellers. I would also recommend using a swim shampoo to help remove the chlorine from your hair as that could be the cause as well for your hair changing color. The UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo 7oz is among the most popular swim shampoos that we carry as well.
Nancy (nanny)
3 years ago.
I am having hair breakage along the faceline and starting behind ears. I just started wetting my hair and applying leavin conditioner before applying my cap. My cap is silicon (speedo). So is there a cap that would not pull on my hairline?
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hi Nancy!
The best cap to use without pulling your hair is going to be a nylon/lycra cap. The only downfall to these is that they do not keep your hair dry at all. An option is the Sporti Nylon Spandex Swim Cap II. Another option would be a latex cap, these will still pull your hair a little but are not as tight as silicone caps are.
Dorothea Stewart
3 years ago.
Here is a quote from the text above: Typically softer to the touch, a silicone cap is gentler on the hair and easier to get on and off after a workout.

What is it now?
Ellen Lucas
3 years ago.
I noticed that too. Plus it doesn't mention Lycra or nylon at all. Confusing.
Jess
4 years ago.
I'm a female and looking for my first dome/bullet cap because I recently qualified for a national level meet. Some of the girls on my team have women's ones. Do those really exist, or are they just L/XL dome caps? I've heard a rumor that there's a thin part where hair can go that settles at the nape of your neck? I prefer arena as a brand and I'm looking for a black one. Thanks!
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hi Jess,
The dome caps we carry are unisex and come in one standard size.
Bob G.
4 years ago.
I need caps for a bodysurfing contest. This means chin straps. Anyone know where to find these?
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hi Bob,
We have a few caps with straps that are suitable for surfing. Check out the Zone 3 Neoprene Swim Cap, ROKA Sports Neoprene Hood with Strap, or the DeSoto GreenGoma Rubber Swim Cap.
Joe
4 years ago.
My son just joined the swim team. He has short (military style) hair. They said he needed a swim cap. Where can we go so he can try on caps to see what size he needs? Also what material is best?
swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
Hi Joe, Silicone caps tend to last longer than latex. You can usually find these at your local sporting goods store, for example Dick's Sporting Goods or Big 5 Sporting Goods. Generally caps are available in kids or adult sizes as one size fits all.
Nancy R
4 years ago.
Hi..I'm having trouble findinga cap that is large enough..I dont have a long hair style..just a big head! Any brand/style suggestions?
swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
Hi Nancy, Please check out the Speedo Stretch Fit Swim Cap (Product Code 3621). It's available in a L/XL which fits a Head Circumference of 20"-21". We also offer the Arena 3D Ultra Swim Cap (Product Code 33977) which is available in a medium (21.7"-22") and large (22.8"-23.2").
arron
4 years ago.
i have a 60 inch head are there any sizes for me
swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
60 cm would equal 23.6 inches. We do offer the Adidas Silicone 3D Dome Cap (Product Code 8141880) that fits a 21"-25" inch head for the medium/large size. I hope this helps!
monu
4 years ago.
Which cap should i purchase so that my hair remains dry after swimming?
swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
Hi Monu,
We do not offer any swim caps that will keep your hair dry. Swimming caps are meant to keep hair out of your face and by keeping it in place will reduce drag. We apologize for the inconvenience!
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