Finding the ideal swimming cap for practice and competition may be challenging, but we’ve got you covered here.
This in-depth buying guide to the best swim caps will detail our top recommendations for training caps, competition caps, the best cap for long hair, and more, as well as explain which caps work best for different types of swimming.
These swim caps are built to last, whether you’re a weekend warrior or your sport is your whole life.
Best Swimming Caps for Practice
#1 Arena Classic Silicone Cap
As an active swimmer, the Arena Classic silicone swim cap is the one I always reach for during practice. It does not keep the hair dry, but it is practical for swimming.
I’ve only bought three of them over the last four years, and they’ve held up well under twice-daily usage. Compared to the Speedo silicone cap, which is our top pick for a competitive swim cap, this one is thinner and lets more air through, but it still has the durability of silicone.
(Silicone is the most long-lasting material used to make swimming accessories like caps and swimming goggles.)
#2 Speedo Swim Cap
These swim caps are reasonably priced, and because they are manufactured by Speedo, you can be certain that they were built with swimming in mind.
You may choose from a rainbow of hues for water aerobics.
Speedo Silicone Swim Cap for Long Hair
When it comes to swimming caps, those with long hair extensions will be happy to know that Speedo has a special version of their Solid Silicone cap specifically for you. I asked several of my long-haired female swimmers what cap they always use, and this one came up time and time again.
Speedo Latex Swim Cap
Standard silicone swim caps are more costly than standard latex swim caps, but they last longer and are more hydrodynamic due to their wrinkle-free design.
The most noticeable difference between a latex and silicone cap is that latex is more breathable. Therefore, it is excellent for training in swimming pools, particularly for those of you unfortunate souls who have to do it in a heated pool.
Speedo’s basic latex swim cap is a great solution for swimmers who overheat during training.
#3 TYR Lycra Swim Cap
The TYR Lycra Swim Caps are a budget-friendly option for recreational and occasional swimmers alike (and make great “base caps” if you like to wear two caps while swimming.
These caps are constructed from Lycra and recycled nylon to prevent your hair from chlorine. The caps are designed for adults and older children and come in five different colors.
The TYR Lycra classic swimming caps are a great option if you’re searching for a cap that will keep your head cool, you don’t mind having your hair wet, and your pool time is less about Olympic training and more about leisure.
Best Swim Caps for Swimming Competition
Now that you’ve finished your training, it’s time to get out your starting blocks and go for new personal records! All you need now is a roof over your head.
We’ve compiled a list of the top-rated swimming competition caps you can wear with specialized swimwear for competition:
#1 Speedo Silicone Aqua V
For cold water swimming, I always wear this cap. Since I lost my first one in a move in 2013, I’ve bought two more, and both have been top-notch throughout their use.
They still look and feel brand new even after being worn for several competitions, many pre-competition warm-ups, and a few training sessions.
Wearing a cap like this, which is constructed of thicker silicone than your average training silicone cap, can cause your head to warm up much more quickly than it would otherwise.
The cap is soft and fits well during open water swims. In addition, its domed shape keeps the wearer’s head from getting wrinkles, which would make swimming harder for the recreational swimmer.
It’s available in a range of colors, similar to the Speedo Silicone Solid. Therefore, open water swimmers have many options for noticeable bright colors.
Also, the sizing on this cap is somewhat smaller than what you’d normally see in latex and silicone caps, so you may want to order a size down if you plan on using it under a competition suit. On the other hand, if you have an average-sized swim cap, Speedo recommends going a larger size.
#2 Michael Phelps X-O Cap
Phelps used the X-O cap as part of his uniform during his last two years of competition, along with his MP Michael Phelps Xceed goggles, most notably at his farewell Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
A domed cap, like the one offered by Speedo, ensures that there won’t be any creases or excess fabric when you pull it over your head.
The cap is not only easy to put on the larger heads, but it also reduces wind resistance. Furthermore, the cap’s silicone construction made it earn the seal of approval from the International Swimming Federation (FINA). For what it’s worth, I think it’s great.
Read also: 31 Best Swim Goggles for swimming
#3 Speedo FS3
The Speedo FS3 cap was made to match the rest of the Fastskin “system” that the company released in response to the “tech suit storm” of the late 2000s.
Despite being sold as part of “swimming equipment” along with Fastskin goggles and Fastskin tech suits, they do not interact with one another.
These caps were ubiquitous during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Tokyo since Speedo sponsors a large number of the world’s best swimmers. As a result, many medalists in swimming used this headgear, including Florent Manaudou, Cam McEvoy, and Pernille Blume.
Thanks to the cap’s marking, you can line them up with your swim goggles. In other words, it ensures that the cap is placed symmetrically on top of the head.
#4 Arena Domed 3D Ultra
Arena Domed 3D has put together a team of the best swimmers in the world, including Adam Peaty, Chad le Clos, and Tom Shields, who all won gold medals at the Olympics.
The Domed 3D Ultra racing cap is made to look like the top-tier competitors mentioned above. This is one of the best swimming caps for adults I know so far.
The cap is made of silicone and has a smooth inside to keep hair from getting caught and torn when it is taken off after breaking personal records on race day.
Why do some athletes wear double swimming caps during competitions?
While watching the most recent Summer Olympics, you probably noticed that some of your favorite swimmers were sporting a unique look: each donning a cap for each stroke.
Swimmers do this for three reasons:
For starters, wearing two caps will help prevent your swimming goggles from flying off your face and head when you launch yourself over the diving boards.
If you ask any swimmer, having their goggles fall off or filling up with chlorinated water during a dive is their worst fear on race day.
Some swimmers use two swim caps to “lock” goggles into place and ensure they won’t fall off throughout the race.
The double thickness of most swim caps has a practical hydrodynamic function. Most swimmers who use two caps do so by “layering” a latex swim cap under a silicone one.
Latex caps are more secure on the head than silicone ones, but they crease easily and might add some unwanted resistance and drag while swimming.
Smoother and less obtrusive silicone plugs reduce the resistance that other materials have to overcome. Also, they are great at hiding flaws like those caused by goggles, a latex cap, or even just the shape of a person’s head.
For a quick recap, the non-slip latex cap acts as the foundation, while the silicone cap rounds out the structure. In competitions decided by tenths of a second, every fraction of a second counts.
Lastly, donning two swim caps is a good idea for those who must swim in water that is much cooler than average (or in open water). Since silicone caps are thicker, they are great at keeping the heat in, especially when used with another cap.
Can swimming caps reduce the risk of head injury when swimming?
Put on a swim cap to provide an extra layer of protection when swimming. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that after car accidents, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children.
Even traditional swim caps may improve safety by making swimmers easier to notice in the water, but it is no substitute for good supervision or swimming ability. Swimming caps also prevent hair from getting in the way of the eyes and the mouth, as well as the effects of chlorine, allowing for better underwater visibility and breathing.
More seasoned swimmers, especially those who swim in open water, might benefit from using a protective swim hat. In addition, having a colorful swim cap makes you more noticeable to other swimmers and boaters.
There are many different types of swimming caps available, but the most popular are made of latex or silicone. Latex swim caps are less expensive, more breathable, and less sturdy than other options.
- Swimming caps made from latex are very adaptable, fitting swimmers with a wide variety of head sizes and shapes. Since Latex swim caps are “stickier” to the scalp, they won’t slip off your head as easily in the water. Both competitive and recreational lap swimmers benefit from using latex swim caps while training. Silicone caps, although more costly, last longer and keep your head warm.
- Hydrodynamic performance is further improved with silicone caps due to their smoother surface. Also, silicone caps have a competitive advantage to fit more snugly and don’t bunch up as latex ones do, which may be annoying. These caps are ideal for swimmers with long hair since they won’t damage your hair during the cap’s application or removal. Its thicker design is also great for swimming in open water and other places where the water is cooler.
- Silicone caps may be more expensive, but they are the best option for competitive swimming due to their hydrodynamic features and suitability for swimmers with longer hair or those who train in colder climates.
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