Different Types Of Swim Caps: How To Choose The Best One For You

Woman wearing googles and swim cap swimming on pool

You might be lucky enough to swim regularly, but are the types of swim caps in your extensive swimming knowledge? Some may consider swim caps to be a nuisance, but they're actually a necessity when you’re in the pool.

When you wear the right kind of swim cap, you can actually get more out of your swimming experience.

A swim cap, first off, keeps your hair out of your face (if it's long enough for that to be an issue). It will eliminate any drag, enabling you to focus on swimming in the best manner. What’s more, a swim cap will keep your head a bit warmer when swimming in cold water.

Plus, most types of swim caps serve to protect your hair. A lot of swimming pools have chlorine in them, and you don’t want that to damage your lovely locks! Finally, a light-colored swim cap will help boaters and fellow swimmers to see you easily.

While swim caps may not be absolutely required for swimming well, it’s a highly recommended accessory. That’s especially true for those who have more than six inches of hair.

Whether you’re male or female, knowing about the right types of swim caps will help you choose the one according to your swimming style and preferences.

The Types Of Swim Caps 


Though you might think of swim caps as rubbery, stretchy things that pull your hair, there are actually a few types. You can choose the best one for yourself in terms of function, form, and fit.

Silicone Swim Caps

These are the types of swim caps that are usually the most common as well as the most popular. Elite swimmers prefer this kind, especially the competitive ones having long hair.

Why this popularity? Silicone is a common material and is extremely strong. It’s durable as well, so you won’t have to look for another swim cap anytime soon. It’s guaranteed not to lose much elasticity even with regular use and will give your head a sleek look.

What’s even better is that silicone won’t pull at the hair much or cause it to snag. However, it may cause a slightly painful moment if you’re not careful enough.

One slight downside is that silicone is a slippery material. If you dive or swim too roughly, it might easily slip off your head.

Latex Swim Caps

Latex is probably the best option if you’re one of those competitive swimmers who live for variety. It’s almost as common a material as silicone and definitely a favorite in the swim cap industry.

The material might not be as durable as the other options, as it's both lighter and thinner. While some might prefer the feel and the fit of latex, it’s usually useful for warmer climates. What’s more, latex swim caps are a relatively cheaper option so that you can get one as a spare.

If you have latex allergies, this option is obviously not for you.

Rubber Swim Caps

Admittedly, rubber and latex might be the same material, if you want to get technical about it. However, rubber is a thicker option than latex. If you love going wild in the cold water, a rubber swim cap is the best option for you.

When it comes to the production of swim caps, rubber is actually among the first-ever materials that came into use. It’s not as pliable as latex, though definitely thicker.

There are also some styles of rubber caps that make them stand out in a crowd. Bubble caps are one of these, which are great for those who catch chill easily. The same goes for when you have to swim in cold bodies of water.

There are also several varieties of rubber swim caps that come equipped with chin straps. That will help to keep your swim cap in place, no matter how intense the swimming or how deep the dive you prefer.

Lycra Or Spandex Swim Caps

We usually think of Lycra or spandex as the material we wear for exercising yoga. However, these stretchable, elastic materials are great when we talk about the types of swim caps too. In fact, Lycra can be a comfortable choice for your swimming needs.

What’s even better is that Lycra and spandex are both durable materials so that you can be sure of the lasting factor. If you're a recreational swimmer seeking comfort from your swim cap, these are among the best choices.

You should also keep in mind that you have to take care of your Lycra swim caps in order to make them last. But Lycra is porous and will let the water through to your hair. It also won’t streamline your head as properly as thicker options.

Neoprene Swim Caps

Neoprene is a good choice for those who like swimming in open waters. When taking on such excursions, you need some extra protection from the cold.

If you like swimming in the lakes, the sea, or the ocean, a neoprene swim cap will keep you a bit warmer. In fact, endurance swimmers rely on neoprene swim caps as a necessity.

Since neoprene also has a thick feel and heavy seams, it might be a while before you get used to it. The smell will also be a bit different.

Funny Swim Caps

Lastly, we have some bubbled swim caps that have shark fins or flowers in their design. These could be made from any material, but are obviously only for fun, not serious training. You can pop these on when you want to protect your hair while swimming.

Instead of streamlining your performance, though, these caps will probably just slow a swimmer down. Plus, they won’t withstand the chlorine for too long. But when it’s fun time with friends, funny swim caps will definitely come in handy.

Your Swim Cap Is Your
Swimming Partner: How To Choose The Right Swim Cap

Now that you know about the types of swim caps, it’s time to consider which type is the best for your swimming needs.

Consider The Length Of Your Hair

Woman in the swimming pool is wearing a goggles and swim cap

Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

Do you have long hair flowing down your back? The length of your hair will determine which of the types of swim caps is perfect for your swimming experience.

For medium or long hair, the best way to go is traditional silicone. It’s a long-lasting, tear-resistant swim cap that won’t tug too much at your hair. It also has a soft feel, which won’t be too rough on your hair.

You can also take silicone caps on and off without too much trouble. Plus, you need that tight fit to keep all your hair under control. The contoured fit it gives to your head will help you out while swimming.

For those with short or no hair, the latex option will be best, provided there are no allergies. Latex rubber gives you a lot of stretch, which means anyone can easily wear it. In fact, you might find the regular size a bit too big. Therefore, you can try the junior sizes to get a tighter fit.

Whichever cap you end up choosing, you should make sure that it's a snug fit. That way, you can be sure that the cap stays on during all the dives and strokes. Such a consideration is especially important if you’re swimming in open water, as you have the currents to contend with.

It’s wise to get a swim cap with a chin strap for extra stability when swimming in open water. That will ensure that your cap stays firmly on your head and does its job even when you’re in particularly rough waters.

However, you also have to strike a balance when choosing between types of swim caps. The fit should be snug, but not so tight that it hurts your head or leaves behind lines.

Assess Your Swimming Style: Are You Good At Water Exercise Or Lap Swimming?

Swimmer is wearing a swim cap while swimming in the pool

The kind of swimming you’re going to do will be a major influence in choosing the right types of swim caps. With lap swimming, you’re going to have your face in the water most of the time. With simple water exercise, you might indulge in aerobics, therapy, or even water jogging.

If you’re going for water exercises, you want your hair out of your face, and your face should be as dry as possible. These are usually gentle water tasks so that a Lycra cap will serve best. You can usually find it in a sort of mesh material that won’t be a tight or heat-retaining fit.

For lap swimmers, you’ll need a silicone or latex swim cap in order to swim efficiently. These will give you the hydrodynamic quality you need to slice through the pool or water body.

Analyze Your Level Of Expertise

Girl swimmer is wearing a goggles and a swim cap while swimming at the pool

If you’re going for practice in a pool, the wiser options will include latex and silicone swim caps. These are simple and inexpensive. Plus, they’re mostly the same no matter what brand or store you buy from.

The more modern kind of swim racing caps is somewhat more expensive than the traditional ones. On the upside, they're constructed using molded silicone. That gives a smooth surface to your head and speeds you up during the races.

If you're swimming in open water, you’ll need a neoprene or traditional silicone cap. These will give you that coveted insulation. Plus, they can even provide you more flotation than other options.

When braving the open waters while using your swimming earplugs, you should preferably get a cap in a bright color. It will make you stand out against your surroundings, making it easy for rescuers to spot you if anything goes wrong.

Try Out The Swim Caps Your Friends Already Have

Stroking swimmer is wearing a goggles and a swim cap

Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

At the end of the day, you want to enjoy your swimming skills. When you’re done with your practices and laps, you can simply chill in the pool with friends.

You can also take it as an opportunity to wear their swim caps and check if one of those is the right type of swim cap for you.

Time To Choose The Best One: It’s All About Making A Logical Decision


Swimmer is wearing a goggles and a swim caps while swimming

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

At the end of the day, we can't pretend that it’s impossible to swim well without the proper types of swim caps. For the sake of hygiene and streamlined performance though, they’re a must-have.

Whichever type of swim cap you choose, you should make sure that it gives you the insulation, coverage, and smoothness you need. The color is also important in certain cases, while comfort is a major factor.

In any case, we highly recommend buying a few types of swim caps instead of just one. While most of the materials are long-lasting, it’s always best to have at least one spare on hand.

We’re sure that the perfect swim cap for you is out there. Which one are you looking for? Let us know all about your experience!

Featured Image: Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

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