If you’re new to swimming and have longer hair, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a bit annoying swimming with your hair dragging in the water and in your face.

Before you start a swim workout, we highly recommend investing in a swim cap that’s affordable and reliable, to make your training more comfortable.

myswimpro swim cap

Swim caps come in all shapes, sizes, materials and styles, and we want to help you find the perfect swim cap for you!

What’s the point of a swim cap?

  1. Keeps your hair out of your face, so you can focus on your workout.
  2. Helps you swim faster by eliminating drag in the water. Swim caps work better than just tying your hair in a ponytail, because they secure all the small hairs around your forehead and neck, and you won’t feel your ponytail dragging in the water.
  3. Protects your hair. Swim caps are not meant for keeping your hair dry, but they do add a small layer of protection against chlorine damage on your hair.
  4. Keeps you safe. Light-colored caps help other swimmers or boaters see you if you’re swimming in open water with heavy traffic. Some even keep your head warmer when you’re swimming in cold, large bodies of water!

Related: How to Protect Your Hair from Chlorine

swim cap inspiration

Is wearing a swim cap necessary?

Nope! It is not required for swimming, but if you have hair that is 6+ inches or longer, we highly recommend wearing one. It’s perfectly acceptable for both men and women to wear caps.

Wearing a swim cap helps you swim!
Photo by @ebeisel34

What are the different types of caps?

 

Silicone swim caps

  • Pros: Made of silicone, so they’re the most durable and will last the longest. Smooth edges protect your hair from breaking, and are easier to put on and take off. Special, dome-shaped caps have fewer wrinkles will reduce drag in the water. These are highly preferred for competitive and fitness swimmers.
  • Cons: Caps can sometimes slip off your head because the material is so smooth.
  • Average Price: $3-$8

Latex swim caps

  • Pros: Made of latex rubber that fits snug, and won’t budge. Material is thinner, and more breathable. Medium level of durability, highly preferred for competitive and fitness swimmers.
  • Cons: A bit difficult to put on and take off, and might pull very tightly on the short hairs around your forehead and neck. They rip after a few months of wearing them continuously. Not good for people with latex allergies.
  • Average Price: $1-$4

Related: How To Keep Your Latex Swim Caps Fresh

Lycra swim caps

  • Pros: Made of lycra fabric, this cap will feel like a swimsuit on your head. They are very cozy and comfortable, since they won’t squeeze your head.
  • Cons: This cap is not recommended for competitive or fitness swimming. The fabric quickly loosens due to chlorine exposure, which makes it slip off and slow you down in your workouts. It also doesn’t protect your hair from chlorine as well as silicone or latex caps.
  • Average Price: $5-$9

Neoprene swim caps

  • Pros: These caps are made out of the same material as wetsuits, and are great for keeping your head warm if you’re swimming in open water races in cold bodies of water.
  • Cons: Neoprene is very thick, has heavy seams, and may smell different than your average cap. It will take some getting used to.
  • Average Price: $20-$45

Fun and silly swim caps:

  • Pros: Lots of companies are making caps that have bubbled textures, “shark-fins” and flowers on the exterior. These fun and stylish designs are not recommended for training, but could be good for you if you’re not looking for a cap that will help with your efficiency and speed in the water.
  • Cons: These caps are are not recommend for swim workouts. They will slow you down in the water, and will not last long in the chlorine.
  • Average Price: $5-$15

Where can I buy a swim cap?

We recommend searching for a local sporting goods or swimming store, so you can get a feel for the material before purchasing. You can also try shopping from online retailers.

Silicone caps are highly recommended
Photo by @nataliecoughlin

10 Tips for Beginner Swimmers: 


For more swimming workouts, tips and training plans, download the MySwimPro app in the App Store for iPhone and Google Play Store for Android!

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15 thoughts on “Why You Should Wear a Swim Cap

  1. Hi and hello. I have been swimming for a very long time and love wearing a swim cap as it is a part of my swimming gear. I am a swimmer that likes wearing not plain swim caps . Like a design on them . A swim cap is great to wear . U don’t have to worry that hair and best stream line in the water. Regards Pete

  2. Hi! When I was in a swim team we had to wear caps. I have been wearing a cap since then. I love wearing a swim cap. It makes swimming so much pleasant. I always wear a silicone cap. I have many caps because I love different designs. My absolute favorite is the Adidas 3 stripe swim cap. I hope that wearing a swim cap would be mandatory everywhere. I encourage everyone to wear a cap. Some of my friends have started to wear a cap when I told them its benefits.

  3. I am a swimmer and I wear a swim cap always when I swim. Especially kids should wear swim caps. It is important that kids are getting used to wearing a swim cap. My kids also wear swim caps always, of course. I prefer silicone caps for the kids and for myself. The girls are using long hair swim caps for obvious reasons. For the boys regular swim caps are just fine to cover their ears. I think swim cap must cover the ears. The kids like to use Nike swim caps because they like the brand. I prefer Speedo swim caps but Nike also makes good swim caps.

      1. I have good swim caps for the kids and for myself. We are wearing swim caps always when we swim. The kids also wear ear plugs. I always help my kids to put on their caps. The girls need help to double cap and get their ponytails under the swim caps. The boys get their caps on easily. I still have to make sure that the boys keep their caps on. I think they have started to learn to keep their swim caps on. If the girls wear swim caps then the boys too must wear. It’s just fair.

  4. I do not seem to have good luck with swim caps. Iam a masters swimmer and find laytex slip back exposing my forehead and silicone are too smooth to also stay on. I see lots of other swimmers wear their caps over their ears, I cant get my latex caps that low and when I stretch it over my ears its opens my ear canal to water – even with ear plugs. Ive tried some larger caps but seem to get water under under the front and still pull back.

    What is the recomendattion, above or over the ears? Feedback appreciated.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Lee, we recommend putting your swim cap over the top of your ears (not over your entire ear!). Just enough to keep your ears pressed to the side of your head, which reduces drag! We also recommend putting your goggles over your cap rather than under it, and that should help keep your cap more secure! There’s no perfect cap — everyone deals with their cap slipping up to some extent!

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