Lycra Swim Caps Guide

Lycra swim caps offer a unique blend of comfort and flexibility for swimming especially in warm waters. If you’ve had problems with latex or silicone caps feeling too tight and uncomfortable, you might want to try this type of cap instead.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the attributes that set lycra swim caps apart, from their advantages, downsides, ideal uses to proper care, and more.

Lycra Swim Caps Pros & Cons

Lycra swim caps are swim caps made from polyester and Lycra. Lycra, also known as spandex or elastane, is a synthetic fabric recognized for its exceptional stretch and resilience.

This blend of fabrics gives the caps a soft and breathable quality. Unlike traditional swim caps, lycra caps do not have a tight and heat-trapping fit.

This feature allows for better ventilation and helps keep your head cool and comfortable in the water.

Lycra caps work well for:

  • Recreational swimming thanks to comfort and breathability during longer pool sessions
  • Swim lessons, especially for beginners who dislike the tight squeeze of latex caps
  • Lifeguarding since lycra allows repeatedly getting wet without becoming heavy and restrictive
  • Artistic swimming due to unrestrictive flexibility to perform acrobatic moves and routines

The quick-drying lycra fabric makes the caps practical for being in and out of the water frequently


  • Very stretchy material that flexes with your head for a customized, secure fit
  • Lightweight and comfortable feel compared to thick, tight latex material
  • Breathability to allow airflow to your head and release of body heat
  • Quick drying time after exiting the water thanks to its thin, lightweight fabric
  • When swimming in hot water, the swim cap efficiently dissipates heat from the head.
  • The swimcap is adaptable to different hair types, lengths and swimming activities.
  • It comes in various colors hence you can match the swim cap with your swimsuit for a fashionable look.
  • Lycra caps edges do not stick together when dry.
  • Putting on and removing Lycra caps is easier and doesn’t pull the hair that much.
  • Protects your hair from UV rays.

The flexible lycra allows for a snug fit that stays in place without squeezing the head uncomfortably. It forms to your head’s shape. The fabric is also easy to wash and care for.

However, lycra does absorb more water than other caps. It also lacks durability over time.


While lycra is affordable, comfortable and stretchy, its downsides are durability, water absorption, lack of warmth, and potential sliding.

Here is a detailed list of some potential weaknesses of lycra swim caps:

  • Less durable – Lycra caps tend to stretch out, degrade, and tear more quickly than latex or silicone caps. They typically need replacing yearly.
  • Absorb water – Lycra material soaks up more water than other caps, becoming heavy on your head when wet.
  • Cooling effect – Since they don’t insulate well when wet, lycra caps can make your head colder in the water.
  • Less protective – Lycra doesn’t form a protective barrier against chlorine absorption like latex or silicone. Hair is more exposed.
  • Prone to slipping – The ultra-stretchy fabric can cause some lycra caps to slide off more easily than a tighter latex cap.
  • Thin material – Lycra lacks the thickness and insulation that neoprene caps provide for warmth.
  • Styling challenges – Lycra fabric shows off head shape more, which some swimmers may dislike.
  • Snag hazards – Lycra’s thinner material is prone to snagging on fingernails, jewelry, etc when put on.
  • Chlorine fading – The colors and prints on lycra caps can fade more quickly from chemical exposure.

Selecting a Lycra Swim Cap

When purchasing a Lycra swim cap, it’s important to consider size and fit, style among other factors. These elements contribute to an enjoyable and effective swimming experience.

Right Size & fit

Follow these tips for choosing your cap size:

  • Use a flexible tape measure to measure your head’s circumference about 1 inch above the ears
  • Consult specific brand’s sizing charts for their recommended cap dimensions
  • Select a snug fit that doesn’t easily slip off but isn’t painfully tight on your head
  • Account for hair length needing extra space inside – add an inch if hair extends beyond your ears

Take your time selecting the proper lycra cap size for the best security and comfort in the water. Getting accurate head measurements and sizes is key.

Other Features to look for

  1. Design and style: Consider the design and style of the swim cap. While functionality is essential, you may also want a cap that matches your personal style or complements your swimming attire.
  2. Chlorine resistance: Opt for a swim cap that is chlorine-resistant. This ensures that the cap can withstand frequent exposure to chlorinated pools, maintaining its durability and longevity over time.
  3. UV protection: Choose a swim cap that provides UV protection. This feature is particularly important for outdoor swimming, as it helps protect your hair and scalp from the sun’s harmful rays.

Top Lycra Swim Caps

1. TYR Lycra Swim Cap

First on our list is the TYR Lycra Swim Cap, designed to meet the needs of both recreational and competitive swimmers. It is made from a blend of recycled nylon and Lycra fiber materials that make it have a comfortable fit when worn. The swim cap is incorporated with UPF 50+ technology to provide protection against harmful sun rays.

One of the standout features of the TYR Lycra Swim Cap is its ability to reduce drag while swimming hence enhancing your swimming performance. The cap fits snugly but it is comfortable and helps streamline your swim, allowing you to glide effortlessly through the water.

Beyond its performance benefits, the swim cap has a unisex design that will cater to both male and female swimmers. All in all the TYR Lycra Swim Cap fits comfortably and keeps your head aerated but your hair will get wet.

TYR lycra fiber swim cap


  • The swim cap is comfortable and durable.
  • Suitable for casual and recreational swimmers.
  • Comes in one size but fits all ages above 16 years.
  • Available in five different colors.
  • Keeps head cool.


  • Less tight fit compared to silicone and latex caps.
  • Prone to stretching out and thinning faster.
  • Allow some water to reach the hair.
  • Not suitable for small children.

2. FINIS Spandex Swim Cap

The FINIS Spandex Swim Cap is a swim cap made from soft spandex fabric, designed to provide a comfortable and secure fit. Its primary function is to keep your hair neatly contained away from your face and neck while swimming.

The cap features an elastic edge, which helps create a secure fit around the base of the cap, ensuring it stays in place during swim sessions. Buyers have given wonderful reviews on how the cap does not fall off while you swim.

Despite the perfect fit around the head, the cap is gentle on the skin and does not cause any discomfort or irritation. It is also easy to put one and take off therefore it saves time for you to enjoy swimming than rather fitting a swim cap on your head for a long time.

Finis Spandex Swim Cap
Finis Cap


  • Comfortable fit around the brim.
  • Does not tear or pull hair when taking it on and off.
  • Does not feel tight or uncomfortable on the head.
  • Easy to put on and take off.
  • Soft and stretchy fabric.
  • Suitable for individuals with long, thick hair.
  • A good alternative to latex or rubber caps.
  • More resilient and thicker fabric compared to other swim cap brands.


  • Chlorine disintegrates the fabric over time and also the elastic woven areas.
  • The crown of the cap can become loose and saggy after a few months.
  • Spandex fabric may start to delaminate and turn flakey white.
  • Does not keep hair completely dry.
  • Cap may fit small for some adults.
  • Not entirely waterproof due to the porous nature of the fabric.

3. Vonacat Lycra Swim Cap (2 Pack)

This cap is crafted from high-quality spandex fabric that gives it a comfortable and breathable touch. The material used to build it gives the cap excellent elasticity and retains its shape, making it easy to put on without any hair getting stuck.

The swim cap also has a universal size that accommodates short and long hair. The stretchy fabric ensures a flexible and secure fit for men, women, boys, girls, and even kids. No matter the length of your hair, the cap will completely be of good use.

Additionally, it shields your head from harmful UV rays and reduces drag in the water by holding your hair. The cap also dry’s quickly for easy maintenance.

Another exciting thing about the cap is that it comes in a range of captivating solid colors that you can match your swimwear. Also, each swim cap set comes with a pair of earplugs and a nose clip. These accessories protect you by preventing water from entering your nose and ear canals, allowing you to enjoy your swimming sessions fully.

Vanocat Lycra Cap


  • Comfortably fits individuals with medium-length hair.
  • Easy to clean and quick to dry.
  • Does not pull or damage hair.
  • Suitable for long, thick hair.
  • Durable and stretchable material.


  • Not water-resistant, hair may get wet.
  • Falls off easily during dives.
  • Caps may come in different sizes when purchased as a set.

4. AqtivAqua Swimming Spandex Cap with Protective Coating

One of the standout features of this swim cap is its strong stitches, carefully crafted using high-quality thread. This ensures durability and longevity, allowing you to enjoy countless swimming sessions without worrying about the cap losing its integrity.

It is specifically designed to reduce drag in the water, keeping your hair neatly in place while you glide through the pool. Additionally, it acts as a shield against external elements such as harmful sunrays, chlorine, or salted water.

Made from quick-drying material, it ensures that your cap dries rapidly and makes cleaning easy. Moreover, the cap comes with a waterproof storage option, providing an easier way for carrying your cap and preventing other items from getting wet inside your swimming bag.

The AqtivAqua Spandex Swimming Cap keeps your earbuds securely in place, allowing you to enjoy your favorite music while swimming. Finally, the cap comes with a 12-month warranty.

Aqtivaqua Lycra Swim Cap
Aqtivaqua Cap


  • Stretchy and doesn’t pull hair when putting on or taking off.
  • Comfortable and long-lasting.
  • Provides sun protection.
  • Easy to get on and off without snagging hair.
  • Comfy and good fit around the ears than rubber swim caps.
  • Good quality fabric.


  • Not waterproof, the hair still gets wet.
  • May be too tight for people with larger heads.
  • Loosens over time.

Caring for Your Lycra Cap

Properly care for your lycra swim cap:

  • Rinse thoroughly with clean fresh water after every use to wash out chlorine, chemicals, salt water residue, etc.
  • Hand wash only – never put lycra caps in the washing machine! Gently clean with mild soap if needed.
  • Hang dry only – do not place lycra caps in the dryer as high heat damages material.
  • Avoid direct sunlight when drying and storing as UV rays degrade lycra over time.
  • Replace yearly or sooner if the cap shows holes, tears, broken stitches, excessive stretching out, etc. Worn caps don’t fit as well.

While some lycra caps are labeled as chlorine-resistant, Chlorine and other pool chemicals can degrade lycra fabric over time with repeated exposure. Proper cleaning and storage after each use can extend the cap’s lifespan.

Comparing Lycra to Latex and Silicone Caps

Compared to other cap materials such as latex, silicone and neoprene, lycra is the most stretchable, breathable, and lightest. However, it is the least durable and provides minimal warmth. Below is a table giving a full overview of the differences  

Cap PropertyLycraLatexSiliconeNeoprene
StretchHigh stretchHigh stretchModerate stretchLow stretch
DurabilityLow, 1 year lifespanLow, <1 yearHigh,1 year+Very high, 2+ years
WeightVery lightweightLightweightHeavierHeavy
Water RepellencyAbsorbs more waterAbsorbs waterSheds water wellRepels water well
CostLow priceVery low priceModerate priceHighest price
Comparison table: Lycra vs latex vs silicone vs neoprene.

Key points:

  • Latex and lycra have high stretch but minimal durability and warmth
  • Silicone balances stretch, durability, water repellency, and warmth
  • Lycra and latex absorb the most water while neoprene and silicone repel it
  • Neoprene provides the most warmth but little stretch compared to other caps

Frequently Asked Questions

Are lycra swim caps waterproof?

Lycra swim caps are not completely waterproof. While they help reduce water penetration, some water may still get through.

Do lycra swim caps keep your hair dry?

Lycra swim caps do not keep your hair completely dry. They are designed to keep your hair out of your face and minimize water contact, but some moisture may still seep in.

Can I wear a lycra swim cap in a triathlon?

Yes, you can wear a lycra swim cap in a triathlon. Lycra caps are popular among triathletes due to their comfortable fit and ease of use. However, checking the specific rules and regulations of the triathlon you’re participating in is always a good idea to ensure lycra caps are allowed.

More Info on Swim Caps

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