The Best Caps for Swimming

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The Athlete Approved Guide to Swim Caps

Swim caps are an important part of a swimmer’s experience, but it can be difficult to find the right one. Fortunately for you, our Athlete Approved team has been wearing caps for decades and are here to help!

Swim caps can protect your hair from chlorine, make you more hydrodynamic, and keep hair contained so it doesn’t get in your face while you’re swimming. It’s important to find the right swim cap that fits your swimming needs.

There are many types of caps for swimming designed for varying purposes. We breakdown each type to help determine which swim cap is the best for you.

Our Athlete Approved Guide to Swim Caps includes:

Best Overall Cap for Swimming: Standard Silicon Cap: Speedo Silicon Cap

The Speedo Silicon Cap is our top overall pick for swim caps. It is an all-purpose cap that can be worn for a variety of swim activities. It’s no secret that this is a top-of-the line product found on pool decks almost everywhere.

The silicon durability helps it withstand the wear and tear from swimming at different intensities, while also remaining lightweight and comfortable for everyday pool use!

You’ll never have to worry about a poor fitting swim cap again with this silicon cap. Its durable silicone will give you the comfort and elasticity, while it prevents chaffing and grips hair so it doesn’t get tangled.

This latex free speedo cap reduces the risk of hair damage and scalp irritation. It is specially designed to stay in place, while also reducing drag on performance.

Not only does it come in an array of colors and designs, but also provides chlorine and UV protection!

Best Swim Cap for Lap Swimming: Arena Soft Latex Unisex Swim Cap

The Arena Soft Latex Unisex Swim Cap is our go-to cap for lap swimming. The soft latex material and design of this cap is somewhat standard compared to our other swim caps on this list, but it gets the job done!

This swim cap is made from 100% latex. Designed with edges that resist rolling or bunching, this cap protects your hair for everyday lap swimming. It will help your hair withstand pool chemicals and UV rays.

It may not be the most durable cap, but it’s lower price tag allows you to stock up on extra caps while still watching your wallet! Take proper care to help it last longer.

With a variety of colors to choose from, you can express your personality or show support for your favorite sports team while you’re in the pool! It can be worn by both men and women of all ages which makes it our best choice for lap swimmers everywhere.

Best Swim Cap for Competitive Swimming: Speedo Aqua V Silicone Swim Cap

The Speedo Aqua V Silicone Swim Cap is a cap designed for speed. It can help competitive swimmers shave time off their personal records by optimizing hydrodynamics and buoyancy.

The pre-formed silicone material conforms to the head of the wearer with an anatomical fit around head and ears.

It is latex free and reduces drag while you’re swimming; perfect for any swimmer from age-group to Olympic!

The logo size also meets requirements for high school and NCAA requirements. Trust us, we know a thing or two about swim caps logos requirements: like when The International Olympic Committee deemed certain logo sizes illegal at Olympic Trials. We provided an Athlete Approved solution for that!

Best Swim Cap for Long Hair: Dsane Extra Large Swimming Cap

Protect your hair with the Dsane Extra Large Swimming Cap. This extra-large swim cap is perfect for you if you have long or high volume hair.

The Dsane swim cap is larger than your typical cap. It is specifically designed for women and men with voluminous hair.

The 100% premium silicon material will protect your hair from damaging pool chemicals while providing a snug comfortable fit.

This is also available in different colors. Check it out now for your best protection against damage!

Best Safety Swim Cap: Hammer Head Swim Cap

The Hammer Head Swim Cap is the only head-protecting swim cap, and it helps you to enjoy better performance in the water with its hydrodynamic design.

Swimmers can now fully focus on their strokes and training without the need for worry about accidentally colliding with others. This patented safety technology is designed to give swimmers a sense of confidence (and parents peace of mind) as they swim workouts and competitions.

If you are not sure why this product is needed, just run a google search on “swimming pool during meet warm up”. Trust us, swimming is a contact sport!

The creators of this innovative Hammer Head Swim Cap believe that one day soon swimmers will have all adopted this product, just as skiers have adopted helmets today.

Best Kid’s Cap for Swimming: Finis Animal Heads Cap

The Finis Animal Heads Cap is top pick for kiddos. These adorable silicon swim caps have ears and fins so kids can turn themselves into their favorite animal during their aquatic adventure.

You’ll make your little one excited to wear a cap with this fun cap design. It comes in polar bear, lion, shark and hippo.

With soft, hypoallergenic material Animal Heads Caps are more than just a fun swimming cap. They are made out of durable material that protects against chlorine and sun damage.

Best Warmth Cap for Swimming: Blueseventy Thermal Skull Cap

The Blueseventy Thermal Skull Cap will help you stay warm during chilly swims!

This adjustable thermal skull cap is an efficient tool to keep your head warm. It is made from premium quality 3mm coated neoprene and features a thermal liner found in Blueseventy wetsuits.

The adjustable chin strap is an important feature that ensures you will have a snug fit and without worry of the swim cap falling off. This cap is comfortable and durable.

It’s designed specifically for cold open water swimming but feel free to also use it in your local ice-cold pool.

Best Comfort Cap for Swimming: Speedo Stretch Fit Swim Cap

The Speedo Stretch Fit Swim Cap is our top pick for a comfortable swimming cap. With this sleek swim cap, you can keep your hair tucked away while it’s still protected and stays healthy!

Most caps are made from latex or silicon which can snag and pull hair. This one has a soft fabric interior and an elastic band that secures this cap in place.

Featuring a lightweight and comfortable design, this cap is perfect for recreational or beginner swimmers. It is built for comfort, not for speed!

Best Budget Cap for Swimming: TYR Latex Swim Cap

The TYR Latex Swim Cap is a solid standard swim cap that is perfect for swimmers on a budget. This cap does not have the bells and whistle of the others on this list, but it gets the job done!

The double ribbed edge provides a secure fit that won’t slip off when wet and can easily stretch. The fit is slightly larger, but can fit both adults and children.

It has average durability, but the lower price point makes it easy to stock up on a few extra.

This cap comes in just about every color imaginable.

What are Swim Caps?

The best friend of a swimmer’s hair is the swimming cap. They are typically made of silicon or latex. When fitted properly, they fit snuggly around your head.

Swimming with long hair can be a challenge! It can be hard to see and your hair is likely to end up all over your face! The worst part is that every time you try to take a breath, your hair ends up in your mouth. Caps are an effective tool to use to keep your hair contained and in place.

We don’t know about you, but we do not want the infamous green tinted swimmer hair. This happens when swimmers expose their hair to chlorine and sun damage without the use of a swim cap.

swimmer hair

While nothing can provide total protection against pool chemicals, wearing a swim cap will help tremendously.

One thing to note: You do not have to wear a swim cap! If you have shorter hair and do not need any of the benefits, then it is totally okay not to.

Will a Swim Cap Keep My Hair Dry?

A popular misconception about swim caps is that they can keep your hair dry. In reality, you will not find a swim cap that will be 100% able to protect it from getting wet when submerged underwater.

Caps can provide a tight seal, but a little water will seep in.

If you need to keep your hair dry, swim with your head out of the water and a cap on. Try treading, kicking with a kickboard, or water walking.

You still may be splashed by swimmers around you, however, a cap provides the best possible protection from that.

Check out this guide for more Athlete Approved tips on hair care.

Athlete Approved Guide to Chlorine Removing Shampoo

Why Do Some Swimmers Wear Two Swim Caps?

When watching elite level swimmers, you will notice that many of them wear two caps: first a latex cap, then a silicon cap (most often a dome silicon cap).

Swimmers are always looking for any way they can to shave milliseconds off their time. Wearing one cap makes swimmers more streamlined, allowing them to swim with less resistance and more buoyancy. Doubling up caps gives this effect even more.

Swimming with two caps can keep your head warm! Open water swimming can get chilly (as can pools with no heaters). If you wear two swim caps, you will retain a little extra body heat.

While doubling up caps is a great option, for max warmth, our top pick is the Thermal Skull Cap. Adding earplugs helps retain warmth too.

Open Water Swimming Guide

Silicon vs Latex Swim Caps

The two primary materials swim caps are made from are either silicon or latex. (There are a few swim caps made of soft fabric, but they are rare.)

One is not better than the other, they just have different uses. Below are the benefits of swimming with a silicon and latex cap.

Silicon Swim Caps

  • Extremely durable and rarely rip
  • Great for competition
  • Easy to put on and off
  • Ideal for swimmers with latex allergy
  • Provide more warmth

Latex Swim Caps

  • Less expensive
  • Great for everyday use
  • Tighter grip on scalp
  • Fit almost any sized head
Silicon Swim Cap
Silicon Cap
Best Budget Cap for Swimming: TYR Latex Swim Cap Black
Latex Cap

How to Put on a Swim Cap

There are a few different techniques swimmers use to put on swim caps. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Your swim cap should cover the upper half of your ears. Do not put over ears to prevent water from getting in. This will only make matters worse by trapping water in your ears. Use earplugs if you need to prevent water from getting in.
  • Keep the logos on the sides of your head.
  • Advanced swimmers should keep goggle straps under their swim caps to reduce drag.
  • Ask a friend for help: Step 1: Put the inside of cap up to forehead. Step 2: Friend pulls it over your head!
  • Watch the below video for swim cap 101 from our friends at masters swimming:

Or if that doesn’t work for you, try it this way! #AthleteApproved

How to Care for a Swim Cap

The best way to care for a swim cap is to rinse it in non chlorinated water. Then dry it off the inside and outside with a towel.

Sprinkling some baby powder inside of them can also work wonders for all you overachievers! That will absorb moisture and prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.

While those are great practices, in reality most swimmers just toss there cap into their bag or locker when they finish swimming.

If you do this, the insides of your cap may stick together overtime. Peel it apart to open – we have done this hundreds of times without a problem.

Just be sure to keep your racing cap in top shape!

Conclusion on the Athlete Approved Guide to Swim Caps

Not all caps are created equal. There are different materials, shapes and sizes for various hair types. It pays to do some research before purchasing one – which is why you are reading this Athlete Approved Guide.

This simple swim tool provides multiple benefits, but be sure to find the right swim cap for you!

We would love to know if you have a cap to recommend to us. Let us know if you agree with our Athlete Approved swim cap picks. Post in our comments and on social media!

See our Athlete Approved Buying Guides for:

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