Alrighty, so you are in the market for a new swim cap. Perhaps you are taking to the world of swimming for the first time, and are wondering why you would need to wear one (you will learn that too), and what kind of swim cap you should get.
Here’s what you need to know about picking out a swim cap so that you can crush the laps at your local swimming pool.
1: Don’t freak out that they aren’t waterproof. Swim caps look like they oughta keep your hair dry. That is not the case, however. Which probably sounds kind of goofy, right? What’s the point of wearing a swim cap if our hair is still going to get wet? Well, there are a few reasons. The first one is that keeping your bundled up and out of your eyes will keep them out of your goggles and allow you to see what you are doing. So that’s important. The other is that it helps to mostly keep your hair from interacting with the world-class solvent which is chlorine. So while a swim cap might not keep your hair totally dry, it does have some very important uses.
2: Latex, spandex or silicone?
Most swim caps are latex, and this is because they are super cheap and are breathable. But swim caps also come in silicone (more popular with high end competitive swimmers when racing), and Spandex (more for light water activity such as water jogging).
Here is a quick rundown on each type of cap:
- The most popular swim caps, these things are dirt cheap and are more breathable than their silicone counter-parts. This is handy in really hot pools (like my local YMCA pool), helping your head to steam off some of the heat that you are generating while working your brains off in the fast lane.
- Silicone is softer, more durable, but more expensive than latex caps. Because they don’t bunch up like latex caps they are also more hydrodynamic than latex. These are the kind of caps you most generally see elite-level swimmers wearing when racing. Because they are so thick they do get quite warm when worn for extended periods of time.
- Spandex caps, or lycra, are best worn during water-bound exercise that doesn’t involve your head being submerged. Spandex caps are more fragile to the corrosive qualities of chlorine, so be extra sure
3: Caring for your cap.
Buying new swim gear every few weeks or months can cause the bank account some misery. Because chlorine degrades the fabric that our swim suits and swim caps are made of, it’s imperative that you rinse them out with cold water after use.
Latex caps in particular are quick to bunch up, melt together and get mouldy when left unattended for extended bouts of time at the bottom of our swim bag. Take your swim cap out of the bag after each swim, give it a rinse, and hang dry to give its shelf life a dramatic boost.
To take your latex and silicone cap care to the next level, place a little baby or talcum powder into the cap to eliminate any residue moisture that will cause mold and bacterial growth.
So there ya go—everything ya need to know about picking out the perfect swim cap. Happy swimming!