Wearing a Swim Cap makes you smile!

The Benefits of Swim Caps

Swimming caps are designed for competitive swimmers in order to reduce hydrodynamic drag while swimming. By creating a smooth surface area for the water to flow over, caps allow swimmers to move more quickly and fluidly through the water than they could without a cap. This, in turn, improves mobility while swimming – helping you to perform better in competition.

In addition to their performance benefits, there are many other reasons to wear a cap. Some people use swim caps to help keep water out of their hair, which helps to reduce the damage that chlorine and other pool chemicals may cause. Unlike shower caps, however, swim caps are not designed to keep the water out. Thus, there’s no guarantee that your hair will stay completely dry. Swim caps can also be used to help cover your ears while swimming, retain heat, and keep hair out of the pool.

Swim Cap Materials – Let’s see what you’re made of!

Swim caps are made from a variety of different materials. The most common are silicone, latex, and lycra/spandex, but you may also come across caps made from rubber, neoprene, and polyurethane.

Silicone Caps
Silicone is one of the most ubiquitous materials used for swimming caps. Additionally, it is extremely durable. Silicone caps will last for years, when cared for properly. As a competitive swimmer, silicone is definitely my favorite cap material. Not only is it long-lasting, but it also lends itself well to slipping on and off without pulling hair (a plus for both men and women!).

Latex Caps

Latex is a far thinner material than silicone. It is also less durable. Latex swim caps rip more easily especially if you do not put them on properly or fail to take proper care of them. Since they are lighter than silicone, latex caps allow for more “breath-ability.” Retaining less heat, these caps may be better suited for warmer climates in which heat loss is not an issue. Latex caps are also generally much cheaper than other types of swim caps. So if you’re looking for a cap that won’t break the bank and durability isn’t a concern, then latex is the way to go.

Rubber Caps

Rubber is a common elastic material that is made from latex. Rubber caps are slightly thicker than their latex counterparts and, because of this, are usually not as stretchy. Similar to latex, rubber swim caps are also light weight and relatively inexpensive. However, if you have a latex allergy, a rubber cap would not be an ideal option due to the fact that it is derived from latex. Also made from rubber are crepe bubble swim caps. This style of swim cap is particularly well-suited to swimming in colder conditions. Because of its heavy-weight rubber and air bubble insulation, crepe bubble caps hold in heat in order to keep swimmers warm and tend to block water entry better than any other style. Crepe bubble caps are also known for their durability and longevity because of the thickness of the material.

Lycra and Spandex Caps

Lycra™ is a trademarked name for a synthetic fiber commonly known as spandex or elastane. Swimming caps made of spandex are very durable and will typically last for a long time if rinsed of chlorine after every use. Lycra swim caps are known to be very soft and will never catch or pull your hair. Since Lycra is a fabric, however, these caps will allow water to flow through the material while swimming. A permeable cap material is not as efficient as silicone or latex, but will still reduce drag to a greater extent than wearing no cap at all. Because of this, Lycra swim caps are not ideal for use in competition. They should primarily be used for practice or sun protection. Wearing a higher resistance cap during practice will actually help you perform better when wearing your silicone race-day cap. Getting your body accustomed to a higher level of resistance will allow for better performance when it comes to competition.

Neoprene Caps

Neoprene is a synthetic rubber, commonly used for wet suit material. Just like wet suits, the purpose of a neoprene swim cap is to keep a thin layer of water close to your body to act as insulation. This makes neoprene caps an excellent choice for people who swim in cold pools, lakes, rivers, or the ocean. You will still need to wear a wet suit though: contrary to the popular myth that 45% of heat loss is through your head, the head actually only accounts for 10% of your body’s surface area. So a thermal swim cap will only help you if the rest of your body is covered as well. Since they do not efficiently reduce drag, neoprene swim caps are more suited for open-water swimmers and triatheletes than for competition swimmers racing in heated pools. In addition, neoprene caps do not pull hair.

Ouch! Swimming Caps That Won’t Pull Hair

Caps made from softer fabrics like Lycra and neoprene won’t pull your hair at all. But, as discussed above, these materials are not the best for reducing drag. If you need to swim with a rubber, silicone, or latex cap for competition, try using baby power, talcum power, or corn starch in the cap while in storage, making it easier to put on without snagging.

How Water Temperature Can Effect Swim Caps

Although neoprene and silicone swim caps are very durable, they are a thick material and tend to hold heat. If you’re swimming in a pool that is 80 degrees or warmer, a cap made of a thick material like neoprene can cause your body to overheat quickly. A better choice for warmer water is a latex cap. The thinner material will not hold heat as well, making your swim more comfortable.

How to Put On a Swimming Cap

Before you put on the cap, you will want to make sure that your fingernails are not long or jagged to avoid snagging or tearing the material. Also, be sure to remove any jewelery such as sharp rings that may catch the cap. If you have long hair, you’ll want to put your hair up in a tight bun and secure it with an elastic hair band just as you would for competition. Then, hold the swim cap wide open with both hands ensuring that your fingers are on the inside of the cap and thumb is on the outside. Starting at your forehead, pull the cap over your hair and down towards the nape of your neck. The cap should be tight, but comfortable when you have successfully put it on. Any stray hairs can be tucked under the cap.

Sizing Swimming caps

All caps are different, especially depending on the type and elasticity of the fabric. For the most part, you should be able to find a cap that is a one size fits all. But, sometimes you may have to order caps in sizes. If this is the case, the chart below should help you size your cap perfectly to your head.

Small 20 ½ to 21 5/8 inches

Medium 22 to 22 3/8 inches

Large 22 ¾ to 23 1/8 inches

*Measure the circumference around your head with the tape measure above the brow ridges.

Swim Caps That Keep Your Hair Dry

Finding a cap that keeps every drop of water out is going to be difficult since swimming caps are meant to reduce drag – not keep your hair dry. Oftentimes, swim caps are confused with shower caps or bathing caps (which are designed to keep your hair dry while showing or taking a bath). Shower caps work because the head is rarely fully immersed in water. Rather, the cap blocks splashes and droplets of water. Conversely, most swimming caps will keep a small amount of water out, but they won’t keep your hair completely dry. A swim cap, worn in the shower, will keep your hair dry. Similarly, if you’re doing water aerobics and your head will stay above the water the whole time, you can use a swim cap to keep splashes of water from getting on your hair. But when swimming in the pool where your head is below the water line, a water-tight seal would be required to keep your hair completely dry.

There is no swimming cap specifically made for this purpose, but there are a few things you can try on your own. First, some swimmers find that wearing two caps simultaneously helps to reduce the amount of water that can seep in. Another common method involves cutting the crown portion off of a swim cap so that it resembles a thick headband. When worn underneath a full swim cap, this strip creates a seal that reduces the amount of water that can penetrate the cap and gives the cap a better surface to grip on to. There are also some bubble caps that have parallel raised ridges along the bottom edge that help reduce the amount of water that can get in, although that’s not what they’re meant for. Remember: while these methods can help, none of them are guaranteed to keep all the water out.

 What If I Want A Cap That Covers My Ears?

This is a tricky one since swim caps aren’t meant to keep your ears dry or covered in any way. Luckily, there are several methods that can help solve this problem. First, if you want a cap that will partially cover your ears, some bubble caps with a chin strap might help. This allows the swimmer to pull the cap down over the ears, but is not guaranteed to keep all the water out. Or, a cap like the Aqua Glide offers designated ear pockets for a better streamline and minimal ear protection.

If it’s very important to keep the water out (such as for people who have had ear tube surgery), relying on a swim cap alone is not a good idea. Instead, you should try wearing a neoprene ear band underneath your cap. Earbands are designed and recommended by ear, nose, and throat doctors specifically for those with ear tubes. Recommended by professionals nationwide, the All Star brand makes these bands in various colors and sizes to accommodate infant, youth, and adult users. You might also try using ear plugs that are designed specifically for water stoppage. These can be combined with an ear-band for added security. A reliable brand worth mentioning is Doc’s Proplugs. Both ear plugs and ear-bands can be worn in tandem with swim caps.

Caring for your Swim Cap

Always be sure to rinse off your swim caps in fresh water after you are done swimming. This will help to ensure that any harmful pool chemicals (such as chlorine which can wear down your swim cap over time) are removed. Next, be sure to dry off your cap after use and store it in a cool and dry location. Leaving a silicone or latex cap in the sun or in a hot car will destroy it. Be sure to keep your cap away from sharp objects and use care when putting it back in your swimming bag. When you are done for the day, you should dust your cap on the inside and outside with talcum powder, corn starch, or baby powder.

Swim Cap Designs

Speedo Butterfly Ink Swim Cap
Swim caps with designs have become wildly popular in the last few years. There are a wide variety of cap colors and designs available. For example, Speedo Critter Creeps (left) boast a variety of fun monster faces perfect for kids. Water Gear also has an assortment of decorative caps that feature various animals on them such as fish, sharks, and cats.
Speedo also offers a nice selection of adult swim caps in fun and exotic prints, like the Buttery Fly Ink Cap, shown right. Also for teens and adults, 1 Line Sports offers a variety of different designs that range from Breast Cancer Awareness to country flags. Unfortunately, you won’t find a huge selection of novelty swim caps (if any)  at your local sporting good store. Your best bet is to shop for swimming caps online at a reputable swim shop.

Protecting Hair From Chlorine

There are a variety of shampoos and conditioners that you can buy to help protect and repair your hair if you swim often. When used with a swim cap, it will give you the best protection by keeping your hair clean and healthy. One of the best brands on the market is Barracuda Aquia Shampoo and Conditioner. It’s tried-and-true formula is lightly scented, works well, and softens hair. More recently, Reflect H2O introduced a Pre-Swim Gel which has received great feedback from users on its ability to protect hair from chlorine damage before it happens. Reflect H2O Pre-swim is ideal for colored hair and ever-crunchy “chlorine-hair”.

Caps for swimmers with long hair

If you have long hair, you just might need a long hair swim cap! Speedo makes a silicone long-hair cap that comes in blue, black, white, and silver. Designed specifically for swimmers with longer hair, these caps feature a bit of extra room in the back. Because they are made of silicone, these caps are very durable. If you are unable to find a cap made specifically for long hair, you can also go up a size in a cap so you will have extra room for your hair (if the cap you want comes in more than one size). Please see my section on cap sizing for more information. Alternatively, Aqua Sphere also offers a new long hair cap: the Volume Cap.

Where to Shop for Swim Caps?

Many large sporting goods stores have a basic selection of swim caps. However, if you want more designs, color, and selection, you’re going to want to get your caps from a real swim shop. If you don’t have a swim shop in your town, an online swim shop like AquaGear is an excellent option.

A Bit of History

In the early 20th century, swim caps were made of a rubber fabric. Later on, other fabrics began to be discovered and used to manufacture different styles of swim caps. The earliest caps were called “aviator’s style” due to the fact that they resembles the leather pilot helmets. In the 1940s, rubber was needed for war materials, so it was very hard to find a swim cap. The colored flower caps that we are all so familiar with came about in the 1960s. Later, many swimming pools required you to wear a cap if you had long hair. These days, swim caps are far more simple and mostly used by competitive swimmers.

More Information

I hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions or think I left something out, please leave me a comment below!


  • Omg, thank you so mch for all this useful information. I’m recently going to start swimming, and I was worried about caps and mostly about my hair, and this information was so useful!(:

    Thank YouJuly 20, 2012
  • Thanks so much- this answered all my questions and will help me find a cap that works for me. 😀

    sueJuly 27, 2012
  • Thank you so much for all the info! I am 10. I have been on a swim team for less than a year and i train alongside 17 year olds… But I have a question… How do you put your hair in a swim cap, and make it look like you have no hair like the Olympians do it? Thanks! 😛

    Jacey The SwimmerJuly 31, 2012
    • Hi, Jacey! Thanks for writing! And thanks for your dedication to swimming. If you’re just looking for a guide to putting on a cap, there is one on this page just below the heading “How to Put on a Swimming Cap.” If you’re having trouble keeping your hair under the cap, make sure you put your hair up tight before putting on your swim cap (use elastics, not bobby pins because they may poke through your cap) or try using a hair management system which will secure your hair back and out of the way. Does that answer your question? Let me know if not!

      LizzyAugust 9, 2012
    • Many people (girls) will tie their hair back into a ponytail first, then put on the cap, and finally tuck their hair to the side. You can also do this without tying your hair back. You’ll get the hang of it soon. But make us you tuck your hair in securely or it will fall out.

      s128976gOctober 5, 2012
  • My head measures 20, but I have really long hair, which size do you suggest & would I get the Lycra so it doesn’t pull or would the silicone be better. Thanks,

    C FrankAugust 4, 2012
    • Most caps come in a standard one-size-fits-all, including most Lycra caps. if you find that you have trouble wearing swim caps because of your hair, you might try wearing two caps or using a “hair management cap” which goes under another cap of your choosing (one by Speedo that I know of – it’s on the expensive side, but it does exactly what it promises). Generally, a Lycra cap will be less likely to pull hair, but will not offer as much drag reduction as a silicone cap. So if you’re looking to reduce drag for competition, a silicone would probably be best, But if you just want a cap to keep your hair out of the way and out of the pool, a Lycra would likely be the more comfortable option. I hope that was helpful!

      LizzyAugust 9, 2012
  • 😛

    thank you–ditto above

    JuliaAugust 5, 2012
  • Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely keeping up on the comments here.
    I hope to see more out of you in the near future.

    Ashley LawAugust 13, 2012
  • What an outstanding website, genuinely joyful I came across it!

    GregoryAugust 13, 2012
  • Very helpful information! New to swimming and really had no idea what to purchase before reading this. Thanks!

    Joanne RoyAugust 22, 2012
  • i was just wondering i see on the Olympics the swimmers take of i believe a silicone cap and up under i think is a Lycra Swim Cap can you tell me if that’s what it truly is and why they do it?

    kalebSeptember 6, 2012
    • Kaleb – You’re absolutely right. This year, the Olympic Games were riddled with Speedo’s new racing system: Fastskin3. The Fastskin3 Swim Caps are made of silicone. Many swimmers, especially those with longer or thicker hair, choose to wear Speedo’s Hair Management System as well. The Hair Management System is a black, fabric cap designed to control unruly hair and is generally worn underneath another cap in the rubber family (ie: silicone, latex, etc).

      AdamOctober 12, 2012
  • nice

    psy gangnam styleSeptember 11, 2012
  • Hi

    thanks ever so much for your help about hats. I have recently begun masters swimming after a 32 year break from competitive swimming – old person at 48 and was wondering about the new types of hats. This has solved all my problems. Now all i need to do is try to find out how to swim fast again…LOL

    many thanks

    caroline georgeSeptember 14, 2012
  • Thank you for this article, it’s been really useful, last time I wore a swimming hat was at school and all I remember is struggling to get it on, pain when it was on and torn hair trying to get it off… I’ve got a big head and thick hair so I’ve ordered a spandex one because comfort is my priority, and I’m not going to be racing :) Plus my hair always got wet in the latex ones anyway.

    CharlieSeptember 19, 2012
  • Thanks man that really helped a lot

    joSeptember 24, 2012
  • Do swim caps hold bacteria? Like if I am sick and I use a swim cap then let someone else use it, will they get sick from it?

    ashleighOctober 2, 2012
    • Ashleigh – Great question! A swim cap should not hold bacteria if it is properly cared for. As I’m sure you know, most bacteria thrives in warm, wet conditions. That being said, if you allow your cap to dry completely in between each and every use and store indoors (with a bit of baby powder or cornstarch to dry out any excess moisture), you should have no problems! One more caveat: if you are using a fabric cap (neoprene, lycra, etc), do not share with any friends that may have lice! Hope this was helpful, Ashleigh :)

      AdamOctober 12, 2012
  • “Awsome webstite!” very helpfull for science expirements!!!!!!!!! 😀

    agustina nardoniOctober 5, 2012
  • this wasvery helpfull for my science expirements!!!!!!!!! thx thx thx thx >_<

    Swimmer GirlFebruary 6, 2013
    • No problem! Glad we could help :)

      AdamFebruary 28, 2013
  • thanks! very informative. lets swim

    PAMELA SPRINKLEMarch 5, 2013
  • This was very helpful. I’m looking for a cap I like and a good shampoo. thanks.

    millyMarch 21, 2013
  • well, just wanted to say, I will keep this article. It was practical. Keep on posting!

    AnonymousApril 20, 2013
  • How about a swim cap for wearing over bleached hair? I am currently wearing a Speedo with a Polyurethane shell. The lining is 82% Polyester and 18% Spandex. I’m an older non-competitive swimmer.


    MoselleJune 6, 2013
    • That’s a good question, Moselle. I’m assuming that your goal is to keep water from entering and thereby keeping your lightened hair from turning brassy or green. If that’s the case, I should start by saying that no swim cap truly guarantees a leak-free fit. Because they are designed for streamlining the head (and in some cases, staying warm), caps don’t always seal perfectly. However, we find that bubble-style caps like this one, work best for keeping the hair dry. This is because the crepe-bubble caps feature a triple underside ridge which makes it more difficult for water to seep in. Also, these caps come in 3 sizes, making it simpler to find a well-fitting swim cap. Hope that helps, Moselle!

      AdamJune 17, 2013
  • I’m having a devil of a time finding a swim cap. If swim without a cap, my hair gets snarky and the strands stick together and tangle so badly that it hardly makes sense to swim. The standard caps are so tight, they either almost pop off or cut off the circulation in my head. (My head circumference measures 24″ PLUS I have very long, thick hair. ) I’d like to find a cap that can protect my hair from the chlorine and prevent the tangling nightmare. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

    GabrieleJuly 6, 2013
    • Gabriele,

      That is a very common question. I find that many “one-size-fits-all” caps really don’t account for those with long and thick hair. And, although no cap is truly designed to block water from entering, I have had great luck with bubble style caps, like this one by All Star. These caps are available in multiple sizes and colors and come with the option of a chinstrap. Alternatively, Speedo manufacturers a cap specifically designed for long hair, but you would need to tie your hair up into a tight bun. The Speedo Silicone Long Hair Cap simply has excess space in the back of the cap to allow for a ponytail or bun. I hope that was helpful!

      AdamJuly 9, 2013
  • Hi! How much drag does the Lycra cap reduce one’s timings by?
    Is it only of concern for those milliseconds in quick sprints?

    My team (triathlon) has a time trial coming up and I’m wondering if I should get a silicone cap just for it. But I was wondering if it would make a difference at all, for the slower speeds and long distance of a 1.5k time trial.


    ChloeJuly 22, 2013
    • Chloe,

      Great question. A Lycra cap will certainly increase your drag. To be honest, because the fabric allows water to pass through, I wouldn’t recommend it for any type competition. Of course, you can wear one under a silicone or latex cap for comfort, but ideally, a silicone cap will function far better for this purpose.

      AdamSeptember 11, 2013
  • Hi,
    I’ve recently started wearing a latex swim hat as my hair was getting really dry from swimming daily (not to mention the colour being stripped out by the chlorine) but am having problems with it ‘riding up’ after about 10 lengths and I have to keep stopping to put it back on. I have short (but lots of it) hair so the fit is snug when I first put it on. I wear my goggles on the outside. What am I doing wrong?

    CArolineJuly 31, 2013
    • Caroline,

      The issue you’re experiencing is a fairly common problem. Swim caps fit so tightly and, when you have exposed hair underneath, the swim cap has nothing to “grip” onto so it tends to bubble up and slide off the head. Does your cap come down onto your forehead at all? Or, is it just along the hairline? It may be that the cap just isn’t large enough to accommodate your thicker hair. Consider a sized cap or one that features more length, like the Aqua Sphere Aqua Glide which will come farther down onto the forehead and all the way over the ears.

      Hope that helps!

      AdamSeptember 11, 2013
  • More on swim caps for large heads…I also measure at about 23″ or 24″ circumference, and my head is kind of long. I have a really hard time getting swim caps on, and they barely fit at all. I’ve searched for extra large sizes (or maybe XXL), but it appears nobody makes these. Am I just out of luck on this? Thanks.

    shaneAugust 13, 2013
    • Shane,

      That’s terrible to hear. It’s so hard for those that break the mold to find anything that suits them. My best recommendation would be a sized cap by All Star (although they a bit feminine in design). If you don’t like that style, you might try a “long hair” cap which has an extra roomy portion in the back for a a ponytail. But, if your head is longer, this may work nicely for you. I’ve also had great luck with the Aqua Glide cap just because it has more length to it on the sides which allows it to fit farther down over a larger head.

      Let me know how that works out or if you have any other questions :)

      AdamSeptember 11, 2013
  • I have bought a new speedo synthetic cap. It is too long back to front with a good 2″ overlap– thus the cap slides forward and so my goggles (also new) can’t be put over it. I want to keep water out of my ears. YOu give pointers on that. You suggest but do not provide substance to the idea that caps can come in sizes. What cap seems to work for a fit front to back that goggles can be positioned over the top of? this was an expensive double purchase. Make it work, please!

    RobertaSeptember 5, 2013
    • Hi, Roberta! Most swim caps come as a one-size-fits-all cap (which is kind of a joke, since no one’s head is uniform). The only caps that I know of that come in sizes are the bubble style caps by Water Gear or All Star and the neoprene Hothead Caps by Barracuda. However, neither of these caps will really guard against water entering your ears. One cap which does feature a full ear pocket is the Aqua Sphere Aqua Glide Cap and seems to be a favorite of those with ear issues. I might recommend wearing an earband underneath your cap as well to block water, since no cap is really designed to keep water out, but simply to increase hydrodynamic efficiency.

      I hope this helps!

      AdamSeptember 11, 2013
  • thanks.! this really helped me and my daughter with her science fair project on swimming caps and how fast they allow a swimmer to swim.!!

    Tasha FindersSeptember 27, 2013
    • Tasha,

      I’m so glad you and your daughter found this helpful! Best wishes to her in the science fair.

      AdamOctober 21, 2013
  • The post is absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information about Swimming Cap. It is really essential for swimming.

    wigs canadaSeptember 30, 2013
  • Your comments are very helpful. Is the Barracuda shampoo and condictioner you mentioned ok to also
    protect hair that has color dye on it? Color dye that is applied professionally will it protect against the choline and also not damage color dyed hair? Thanks for your help.

    Lynn Roth TaylorDecember 6, 2013
    • Thanks for your question, Lynn.

      I can’t say that I’ve heard anything about the Barracuda Aquia shampoo & conditioner which specifically addresses color-treated hair. I took a look at their website and they don’t seem to mention anything in that regard. Alternatively, I know a lot of women who’ve had great results from the Reflect H2O products which clearly state that they will protect color-treated hair, while removing chlorine and other damaging particulates.

      I hope that helps! I’m here if you have any other questions.

      AdamJanuary 9, 2014
  • My daughter’s( 14 years old) hair is nearly 1.0m long and she practices swimming everyday 6 times per week.Sometimes her cap comes out.Do you think that we can get a swimming cap for her size as she now swims in competitions.Her trainer has given her a deadline of 1 month to find a suitable cap otherwise she has to cut her hair which very logigally nobody wants

    AvinashJanuary 28, 2014
    • Hello, Avinash and thanks for your comment. That would be tragic to see her hair cut for lack of a good cap!

      I hope I’m not too late in getting back to you, but I think that you should consider a long-hair cap (though you’ve probably seen these and perhaps even tried them before). The new Aqua Sphere model – the Silicone Volume Long-hair Cap – is very well-made and may be a good solution. Another option is a sized cap. Although not quite as stylish or streamline, the bubble caps by All Star and Water Gear are great for people with long & thick hair because they come in 3 sizes, unlike traditional one-size-fits-all models.

      Do let me know if you have any other questions!

      AdamApril 10, 2014
  • I wear a turban and since my hair is in a bun towards the front of my head i don’t know what swim cap would be best for me. Please help!

    Swimming guyFebruary 9, 2014
    • Hi, Swimming Guy.

      Great question! I can’t say that I’ve seen any cap that is specifically designed to accommodate a turban as most “long hair” caps feature extra space in the back of the design, rather than all-around extra space. You might want to consider a cap that comes in several sizes, like the All Star Bubble Cap, or the Water Gear Bubble Cap. Alternatively, I’ve seen a cap around called “My Swim Cap” and is actually adjustable. I believe you can find them here: http://myswimstuff.com/

      All Star Bubble Cap: http://www.aquagear.com/all-star-strapless-bubble-swim-cap/
      Water Gear Bubble Cap: http://www.aquagear.com/water-gear-crepe-bubble-cap/

      AdamApril 10, 2014
  • Hi Swimming Guy,
    Is it possible to design your own swimcap in the colour of our flag? Green, white and red stripes with a yellow star.

    Patricia Tjon A JoeApril 10, 2014
    • Hello there, Patricia and thanks for your question. I know that it’s possible to have a design printed on a cap, but typically the cap will come in pre-specified colors. If you wanted to have your own colors applied, I think that would come in in th manufacturing stage and may require a large purchase through a silicone cap manufacturer. I don’t know too much about that, but I wish you luck with your search!

      AdamMay 6, 2014
  • My daughter has long, thick hair. She swims a lot of distance races and although we double cap, they always seem to slip causing drag and loss of concentration. I’m wondering if anyone has tried the Arena smart cap or Speedo hair management cap along with their race cap?

    thank you for any suggestions!!

    swimchix momMay 5, 2014
    • Hey there, swimchix mom. Great question.

      As I’m sure your daughter is already aware, this is a pretty common issue for swimmers with long hair. Often, caps are simply not designed to accommodate more hair than average. Though I’ve admittedly never tried the Arena Smart Cap (I’ll have to now though!), I have tried (and liked) the Speedo FastSkin Hair Management Cap. The elastic is pretty firm, so she may need help stretching it on. I’ve also heard complaints of headache because of its tightness. For one day or one race, she would be fine though.

      Another trick I’ve seen some girls do is to cut the bottom 2″ off of a cheapo latex cap and then use that as a sort of “headband” along their hairline. It just gives the silicone cap something to grip, which is really important when your hair is testing the cap’s capacity as it is.

      Hope you find the right solution, for your swimchix!

      AdamMay 6, 2014
  • I wear Lyric (in the ear) hearing aides that won’t function if they get wet. Anyone have suggestions. I’ve heard that a combo of an ear band under a cap, plus some kind of watertight ear plugs might do the trick.

    Paul CarlatJune 27, 2014
    • Paul,

      That’s a really sticky situation. I’d hate to recommend any product because it’s hard to guarantee a 100% watertight fit with any device used in the water. I think that an earband would be the best choice, but you’ll really have to try it at your own risk.


      AdamApril 23, 2015
  • thank you. I am on a swim team and my hair started to change colors. I also just bought a cap and did more research and now I am going to buy the shampoo and conditioner for after swimming.

    AlisonJuly 30, 2014
  • How would I find out statistics for swim caps? For example, how many are sold worldwide? How many in the U.S.? How many in Europe? I need it for a report I’m writing and I am having trouble finding the information.

    LeslieNovember 19, 2014
    • That’s a great question, Leslie.

      I’m honestly not sure where you would find this kind of information. I usually start my research with Google Scholar. But this is such a specific area, I’m not sure if any research has been conducted. Hope you manage to find what you need!


      AdamApril 23, 2015
  • Do you have any comments on the pool chemicals that are not chlorine? I swim in a pool that has copper and oxygen in it to purify the water. I can’t get the copper out of my hair even with a clarifying shampoo (Paul Mitchell). I’m thinking of wearing a cap to reduce this problem. Also, I have long blonde hair which I do not dye but do use Sun In on monthly. I didn’t see any other comments about copper in the water.

    Janie WaddellJanuary 30, 2015
    • Great question, Janie. The best thing you can do to protect your hair from copper discoloration is to rinse your hair thoroughly with fresh water before you swim. By doing this, the cuticle seals itself with “clean” water and doesn’t soak up so much chemical-laden water. Obviously, you’ll want to rinse again immediately after your swim. And a swim cap, will certainly help, but will not block water with 100% predictability. I’ve also come across some pre-swim gels, like this one, which form a barrier against salt, copper, chlorine, bromine, and other harmful additives: https://www.aquagear.com/reflect-h2o-pre-swim-conditioner/

      AdamApril 23, 2015
  • I am a lap swimmer who swims a mile three times a week (72 lengths). I’m also a writer and develop text as I swim. On half of my laps I swim backstroke and this means that sometimes I bang into the wall with my head. (I usually look at the ceiling to guide me when I near the end of the pool, but sometimes I’m too involved in my “writing”.) Some of my wall collisions are forceful and almost knock me out.

    Can you suggest swim cap with padding at top that might protect me a little?


    Writing LapswimmerFebruary 23, 2015
    • Hi, Fred. I could see swimming being a great muse. I’ve never come across a cap that comes with padding in it. But, you could certainly rig up your own device. If you can find a slice of soft (but not too soft) foam, you could just put it on the top of your head before donning your cap. If this isn’t an option, I think that the most “padded” material would be a neoprene cap, like this one: https://www.aquagear.com/barracuda-hot-head/

      AdamApril 23, 2015
  • I’m African American with thick natural puffy hair. I wanted start swimming but don’t know what kind of cap would be able to cover my thickness and stay on. If any one could help it’ll be greatly appreciated.

    ebonyMarch 14, 2015
  • Thanks for the info! I just bought an endless pool and want to protect my hair.

    AnnMarch 21, 2015
  • Thanks for this post! I was going to buy a swim cap just to protect my hairs from chlorine water… Now, I understand that swim caps are not for that… Thanks for guiding. Can you please suggest for swim goggles as well?

    NimishApril 24, 2016
    • I’m glad my posts were helpful! I’m not as well-versed on goggles, but I’ll say that I love Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles for personal use. They’re not too expensive, but are made in Italy and have lasted me YEARS.

      AdamJanuary 2, 2018
  • I have tried a bunch of caps, silicone, latex, but they all seem too tight, even though some of them are the large ones for long hair (I have short hair).. I have headache for 2 days after a swim, I need a cap to keep the chlorine off my hair, or else I can’t even put a comb through it….

    Keith EdwardJune 22, 2016
    • I recently spoke with the creator of Tim Swim hair products and his first suggestion was for swimmers to rinse their hair in fresh water before a swim. This fills the hair shaft with fresh water, making it difficult for chlorinated water to be absorbed. I also typically recommend using a barrier product like Reflect H2O Pre-Swim Gel which coats the hair shaft and cuticle to repel water: https://www.aquagear.com/reflect-h2o-pre-swim-conditioner/

      AdamJanuary 2, 2018
  • I swim in a geothermal heated pool 4 or 5 times a week for about 35 minutes… My hair has turned a light shade f blonde green..
    Do,you recommend using the pre swim gel and a shar cap????or just the gel???

    MaggyJuly 14, 2016
    • If you’re submerging in the water, a swim cap is not likely to help keep your hair dry. So, I think that just the Pre-Swim Gel would be ideal. I’ve also been told by the maker of Tim Swim products that rinsing your hair in fresh water prior to swimming helps to seal the cuticle, thus blocking chlorinated water from being absorbed.

      AdamJanuary 2, 2018
  • Hi,

    I’m interested in how swim caps are designed for maximum speed for competitive swimmers–both material and shape. Is there a site I can visit to learn about cap engineering?

    Thank you.


    RobertSeptember 7, 2016
  • Who wrote this

    CarsonSeptember 26, 2016
    • This content was written by me, personally. Did you have any questions I could answer for you?

      AdamJanuary 2, 2018
  • Thank you so much for this Information!

    AroojNovember 19, 2016
  • I am an apparel decorator and have just been handed 40 silicon caps to put the team logo on. I have not a clue how to do this. Can you heat press silicon caps at 305 deg? I’m afraid to even try it for fear of melting the thing and making a big mess. Any suggestions?

    JuliJanuary 22, 2017
    • Juli – I wish I had the answer to this. I think that most cap-printers use a silk-screen process to add graphics to caps (but I’m no expert!). Hope you found the right solution.

      AdamJanuary 2, 2018
  • I have an open wound on the top of my head (approx. 9cm x 7cm) and will be hanging out at the beach. What kind of cap would be best to protect my wound from water to guard against the chance of infection?

    PamMay 29, 2017
    • Pam – I think my suggestion may be a bit late, but a non-permeable material, like silicone, would likely be the best choice. Though rubber will also keep splashed water off of your wound, silicone is hypoallergenic and often medical-grade. I’d recommend a reputable brand like TYR or Aqua Sphere as their materials always feel the softest and most comfortable to me.

      AdamJanuary 2, 2018
  • Hello. Maybe you can help me with this.

    I bought a silicon swimming cap, I realized now that is Junior Size. For what age is a Junior size swimming cap?
    thank you

    airinJune 6, 2017
    • Age ranges for caps can vary from brand to brand, but most junior caps are appropriate for kids aged 7-12. Some adults can get away with a junior cap, but it’s not often that this is the case. Are you able to exchange the cap for the correct size?

      AdamJanuary 2, 2018
  • thanks so much you helped me finish one of my pass assessments hahahhaahah :)

    lewisJune 9, 2017
  • So i plan on dying my hair and i was wondering if i wear a swim cap would my hair be okay? It would only be the tips of my hair, but i am on a swim team.

    RessieJune 20, 2017
    • Good question, Ressie. (I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you about this sooner.) Since the dye will be primarily on the ends of your hair, you should be just fine in a standard swim cap (or a long hair style – if you have a lot of hair). I’d recommend wrapping your hair into a bun and tucking the ends into the center to protect them from water that does seep into the cap. You might also want to rinse your hair in fresh water before entering chlorinated water as this will fill the hair shaft with fresh water and make it less likely to absorb chlorinated water. If it were me, I might also put some kind of hydrophobic barrier on the dyed portion, like coconut oil.

      AdamJanuary 2, 2018

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