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
5 years ago.
I have purchased 2 caps one zoogers. The other silicone and they both let water In. As I don't have much time after swimming I usually end up with walking out the swim club with dripping hair??
5 years ago.
Since there is no cap invented yet that will keep your hair 100% dry, the closest possible thing to do is wear 2 caps. Some of our swimmers says that this works best for them to keep out most of the water. I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Lyn R
5 years ago.
Any rubber swim caps. Would like one that does a fair job at keeping hair dry. Hair medium....not long. Head seems small for adult so what size advised?
6 years ago.
I'm heading to Costa Rica to go surfing. I need to protect my skull from the sun, (no hair) and I think a cap might be the best answer. What would you suggest?
5 years ago.
Hey Dave, I am going to CR in 3 weeks. Same issue, no hair on top and big sun. What did you find out so far? In warm water I find the fabric caps work well. Or look for the guy way out in a straw hat.
5 years ago.
Hi Paul,
We suggest taking a look at the Sunday Afternoons Cruiser Hat (Unisex) as it will provide a UPF 50+ sun protection. If you have any questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Karen Little
6 years ago.
I have very bushy, curly medium-long hair. "Large" swim caps, even those that advertise that they can take long hair, are too tight and give me an almost instant headache.

Currently, I'm doing mild exercise and some lap swimming. I'm looking for a cap that would keep my hair from floating around, rather than 100% dry. I am currently returning a Speedo Silicone Bubble to another online shop. Locally purchased "large" caps all proved useless. Please advise!
5 years ago.
I'm a guy with curly medium-long hair and ALSO do mild exercise and large head wear of any kind can be laughable when you squish curls into them. I would love a response from or other customers as well. Please recommend something for us curly-headed people out there, we like to swim and need to keep our hair out of of our faces as well.
5 years ago.
Hi Alex,

Below is a link to our swim caps that come in a larger size that has extra room for longer thicker hair.

We hope you find one that you like. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
5 years ago.
Even the largest of those aren't large enough for my 24" circumference head. Does *anyone* make anything larger?
6 years ago.
Hi, I am looking for a swim cap for kids aged eight and nine that wont be too small. The reviews for the kids' silicone caps said many of them were too small for their older kids. Is there an adult silicone cap that's considered small enough for kids as well? or a kid cap that's considered big for older kids?
6 years ago.
Hi Viola,

Below are links to some caps that should work for your kids. I hope you find one that works for them. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
6 years ago.
I'm a teen about to start competing again my hair has grown past the middle of my back I don't want to cut it but I cant seem to find a cap that doesn't pull my hair ,keeps coming off,or i cant put all my hair in what would you recommend? (its also pretty thick)
6 years ago.
Hi Lisa,

Have you tried either the Sporti Long Hair Silicone Swim Cap

or the Speedo Silicone Aqua-V Large

Both caps are larger than normal caps for your extra hair. I hope either one of these works for you. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
6 years ago.
I am looking for a swim cap for my 4 year old. She has been giving me a very hard time about getting her hair wet. I understand that no swim cap will keep her 100% dry, but she has long hair and I'm hoping that I can find one that will at least keep her MORE dry than with no swim cap. Could you please recommend one for me? Thanks
6 years ago.
Hi there. I have a massive head and have bought lots in the past 3 months but am still struggling to find one that stays on. I cannot get on with chin strap caps, so any suggestions please ?
6 years ago.
I need a swim cap when I take my grandson swimming and want to know which kind is best if you don't want to wear ear plugs which I have to wear in order not to have severe ear infections. I am 61 years old and really enjoy getting in the water and having fun with my grandson who is trying to learn to swim.
6 years ago.
Hi Debra,

There really isnt a cap out there that will keep 100% of the water out. However you may want to try an ear cap which covers the ears. Or a bubble cap with chin strap. Below are links to both. We hope that you find something that you like and works for you. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
6 years ago.
I have a 6 yr old daughter who doesn't like wearing a swim cap because she states it's tight. I would like her to wear one so that she doesn't fuss with her hair while she's swimming. What would you recommend in swim caps?
6 years ago.
Hi Agnes,

You may want to see if she likes Lycra caps.Lycra is more of a cloth like material that tends to feel more comfortable for some customers. Below is a link to the Lycra caps that we have. I hope this works for her. Have a wonderful day!
6 years ago.
I have hair dyed blue. It would run blue in water if wetted. I plan on keeping my head mainly above water at the indoor leisure pool I take my children to, but I know that I will get somewhat wet. Do you think the best bet for me would be to wear two caps, including the one with the ear cutouts? I have ordered a selection of your caps to try. I just wondered if anyone on your end had any experience with this. I also have longish, thick hair. Thanks.
6 years ago.
Hi Melissa,

Since there is no cap invented yet that will keep your hair 100% dry, the closest possible thing to do is wear 2 caps. Some of our swimmers says that this works best for them to keep out most of the water. I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
6 years 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 ?
6 years 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!
7 years 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?
7 years 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?
7 years 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!
Stacy Mcclinton
7 years 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?
7 years 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

I hope one of these caps works for you. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
7 years 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!!!
7 years 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

Speedo Silicone Aqua-V Large

Sporti Bubble Cap with Chin Strap
7 years 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.
7 years 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?
7 years 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!
7 years 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?
7 years 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!
7 years ago.
How do you choose a swim cap size for my 10 year old daughter?
7 years 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:

Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
7 years 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?
7 years 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:
7 years 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.
7 years 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!
7 years ago.
Is there a cap that fits a lot of hair and doesn't hold a lot of heat.
7 years 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:

I hope this information is helpful. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Al Bacon
7 years 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.
7 years 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!
7 years 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...
7 years 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:

Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
7 years 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.
7 years 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!
7 years 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!
Displaying   76 - 100 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: