Remember the days when you have to wear a swimming cap to use the pool at school? Maybe all you were able to buy before were black or white rubber swimming caps and you have no choice. Today, swim caps come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, colours, and materials.
In this article, we will give you an overview of what’s available on the market so that you can find the best swim cap that suits your needs. But before we discuss those things, let’s tackle first why you should use a swim cap at all.
Should I Wear a Swim Cap?
Regardless, there are a few reasons why wearing a swim cap is important.
- It keeps long hair out of the face.
- It can protect your hair from the chlorine in swimming pools.
- When using a neoprene cap, always keep your head warm when swimming in cold or open water.
- The swimmer becomes more noticeable in the open water, especially if there is a risk of collision with a boat, surfer, etc.
- There are many swimming pools that mandatorily requires to wear swim caps to avoid filters from being clogged with hair.
- Wearing one allows you to swim a bit faster, which is important in competitions. Competitive swimmers even wear two swim caps on top of the other: one swim cap to cover the hair, then another one above the strap of the swim goggles to keep them in place and to further reduce drag.
Now that you’ve understood why swim caps are essential, it’s time to discuss the different kinds of swim cap materials. You can always have a personalised swim cap if you don’t prefer the ones below.
Silicone Swim Caps
This type of swim cap is top of the range and the most expensive but also the biggest selling ones available and is the most popular. These type of caps are a result of many people suffering from allergies from the latex material and they needed caps to swim. The limitless of designs and colour really captured people’s attention and became even popular amongst swimmers that are not allergic to latex too. However, they slip more easily than latex caps.
Latex Swim Caps
These caps were established over 100 years ago and were the biggest selling caps for many decades. The very real advantage that they have over silicone caps is that they are less expensive if you are keeping an eye on your budget. You can have three or four caps for the price of one silicone cap. And if you’re not a professional swimmer, then this may be enough for you.
Although they are more reliable than silicones for not moving or slipping on the head so much since they grip the hair better than silicone, they are not that durable like silicones. But as long as you treat them carefully, they won’t tear easily for no reason and they can last a long time.
Also, they are not as thick as silicone and not as stretchy, making them uncomfortable on the head. Latex material can catch the hair more too so this can cause more discomfort to the swimmer. Plus, the material of this cap can cause an allergic reaction to some people making it a big downfall.
Spandex Swim Caps
This is the third most popular after silicone and latex. What’s different with this type of stretchy fabric caps are that they don’t keep the water out as they are totally porous. So if you’re looking to protect your hair from the chemical damage, you can choose one of the first two caps. These caps are normally used by swimmers where the pool rules insist that clients wear a cap.
Spandex caps can be easy to put on and take off as they don’t catch or hold the hair and they are utilized regularly by swimmers to put under a waterproof cap. Professional swimmers use two caps, one for the benefit of a waterproof cap, and second for the benefit of ease of application. These caps can last for a very long time as they don’t tear like the other two. But just remember to rinse them from pool chemicals. Its price is somewhere between the first two caps.
Neoprene Swim Caps
And the last type of swim cap is the neoprene cap that’s made from the same material as what wetsuits are made from. These caps are mainly for long distance open water swimmers including triathletes and swimmers that like to swim in cold areas.
The theory behind this type of cap is the same as for a wetsuit; you get some water under the neoprene and allowing your body heat to warm up the water to keep an insulating barrier against the cold. Take note that this type of cap cannot be used by anyone unless you’re a specialised swimmer.
They can’t be worn too long in a swimming pool or in warm weather as their purpose is to warm the head. They don’t keep the water out because their intention is to keep the water in. Chemicals won’t be an issue too since they are worn outside. Neoprene caps can last for such a long time but their cost is two to three times the price of a silicone cap.