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What are Silicone Swim Caps?

By Norma Jean Howland
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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Silicone swim caps are a far cry from the rubber swim caps worn in the 1920’s, which looked a little bit like a helmet. These swim caps do more than just keep your hair dry. They are sleek, stylish and don’t yank your hair out when you take them off.

Although swim caps are made of a variety of materials, silicone swim caps are popular because they are very pliable and can stretch to twice their size, which makes them a breeze to remove after a swim. Contrast this to the old style cap, which would sometimes get caught in your hair, causing both embarrassment and pain. These old-style caps could get so tangled up in long hair that they had to be cut out.

Silicone swim caps are also durable and soft, which makes them comfortable to wear during a swim. Silicone allows your head to breathe and these swim caps are a good alternative to latex swim caps for those who are allergic to latex.

Swim caps may be worn to keep one’s hair dry and protect it from the harsh chlorine in pools. This may be especially important for treated hair because chlorine can be very damaging to a perm or hair color. Silicone swim caps can also help keep water out of your ears due to the snug fit they provide. Caps also offer protection to swimming pool drains so that they don’t get clogged with hair. Years ago, swim caps were often mandatory for women in swimming pools, but most pools no longer require them.

Another advantage of silicone swim caps is a good, secure fit, which is important for competitive swimmers. Professional swimmers wear swim caps not only to protect their hair, but to help swimming speed. When swimming competitively every second counts and hair can slow swim time down due to hydrodynamic drag, commonly referred to as “drag”. Basically you can swim faster when wearing a swim cap.

Swim caps have come and gone in the fashion scene, but they will always have a function, especially in competitive swimming. As long as swimmers want to protect their hair and/or rev up their swimming speed, and pool owners want to keep their pools hair free, the swim cap will be around.

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Discussion Comments

By anon354051 — On Nov 05, 2013

Can I wear a silicone swim cap in a sauna or is it not advisable?

By anconetani — On May 29, 2009

I am also wondering if you can screen print on a silicone swim cap? If so, do you use special ink, and will it peel off? Will the stretch of the cap cause it to peel away?

By PieterJan — On May 01, 2009

Does anyone know what kind of screenprinting ink I have to use for printing simple pictures on silicone swimcaps?

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