Best Cap for Marathon Swim?

KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
edited March 2012 in General Discussion
I've used a silicone cap but often times it starts to slide off. Do people prefer latex? It seems like a silly question but I have more cap issues than goggle issues and tugging it down frequently only slows me down.


  • AquaRobAquaRob Humboldt Bay, CACharter Member
    If I have to wear a cap a well broken in silicone cap is my preference. Something that's been on a lot of training swims and has conformed to my enormous head (fresh caps are typically way too tight on me). What I really really prefer however is no cap, just a lot of sunscreen on my bald head. If I'm swimming more than just a few miles there's an incredibly good chance my cap is going to "accidentally" land in the kayak :)
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I like silicone caps. Most of them do tend to slide around a bit, but I have one I got from Sweaty Betty years ago that's been wonderful. I'll be heartbroken when it dies!
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    Best cap "shark hands down" is the "bubble cap"....only one that stays on and covers the ears/ear plugs for the entire swim!!!

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I can't find a bubble cap to fit me! They're all huge, or maybe I'm a pin head.
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    Small, medium and large??? from my distributor....if you are head is smaller than might be a pinhead size...a little small is good as over time they do stretch a bit.....

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    The ones I've tried are "one size". Personally I always thought I had a big head! Where do you get yours?
  • Kate_AlexanderKate_Alexander Spring Lake, MichiganSenior Member
    Silicone are too tight and give me a headache. I prefer latex, edges rolled up halfway over the ears (so I can hear better). Have never had a problem with a latex cap shifting. On swims over 5 hours tho, the edges across my ears and back of my neck (and goggle straps) start to hurt so I have to reposition the cap.
  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member
    Speedo Serenity.
    Nice and thick, so good for cold water. Also has ridges on the inside, that stick to your head.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    All great comments. Here is some good advice from a guy on my team, Starbucks,:

    I was checking out that forum link that you sent out, and I read your post about your cap sliding off. The problem is not the type of cap you are using, it is your head position. Your face should always be looking straight down toward the ocean floor. If you are looking forward, the water that is flowing by will take your cap off. Swimming is the one sport where it is best to not look where you are going!

    Head position is not just about keeping your cap on your head. When a person is looking forward it actually causes their hips to drop and makes their shoulders work harder. I think that when swimming across the English Channel, you will need to conserve all the energy you can!
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    Head position is not just about keeping your cap on your head. When a person is looking forward it actually causes their hips to drop and makes their shoulders work harder. I think that when swimming across the English Channel, you will need to conserve all the energy you can!
    good advice indeed. I find that my cap stays seated better and longer if my hair is cropped short (wahl buzzer #2 attachment) silicon is my preference

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    I just staple mine to my head just before I get into the water.
  • mmeadmmead Charter Member
    Any hair product residue left in your hair (conditioner, gel, etc) can also be a contributing factor.
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    Bobswims - your comment made me laugh out Loud!
    I have a great cap made by TYR that is silicone, but a much thicker version than the typical silicone cap. I use it for my cold open water swims because it does keep my head warmer. I believe I remember that the packaging touted it as decreasing drag and increasing speed by virtue of it's type of silicone, but no mention of extra warmth, although that is precisely why I use it. My question would be to wonder if it were to be deemed legal by the Channel Association. It is silicone, but, it does provide warmth.
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    There are two English Channel swimming organizations: The CSA and the CS&PF so check with them....I received approval from the CSA for my bubble cap which was recommended to me by fellow South Enders and Channel swimmers that have gone before me...the advantage of the bubble cap is it covers the ears and has a rubber strap to hold it on and is very comfortable and probably provides additional heat retention....I have seen caps regularly pop off after long swims....

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I wonder if bubble caps with flowers are legal.
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    I like the idea of the bubble cap, it is practical and reminiscent of the early days of swimming - and, I have seen pictures of the swimmers in the Dolfin Club in San Francisco ( have a friend who is a member) and the women wear bubble caps with flowers! I think I will order one from Swim Outlet, they have several cute ones!
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    After MIMS, I decided latex is the best cap for me along with good head position (down and breathing less).
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    My bubble cap was wonderful until I did a 3 hour swim in it and then it stretched and was very floppy!!!
  • HollyTHollyT Member

    tiny head here. I use latex and hope for the best. It's fantastic to swim with your head down, but I know for swims without a kayak I do a lot of sighting and thats when my cap starts to slip- especially the silicone ones. My sighting is probably poor and inefficient though!

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    I like a silicone cap because it doesn't pull my hair and it's warmer. I shave my sideburns and about an inch and a half of the hair on the back of my neck, which helps my cap stay on and keeps the hair pulling to a minimum. I get weird comments about my "haircut" and end up explaining that it's a "sport specific haircut". In salt water, I put body glide on the back of my neck (messy with hair) at the edge of my cap to prevent chafing. I've gone out for swims of an hour in rough water and when I got out, most of my hair was actually dry.

    If you have a small head, there are lots of kid-sized silicone caps and usually they have the most awesome designs and colors. Speedo and TYR both make silicone caps for long hair, so if you have a big bun or pony tail that makes your cap come off, they might be worth a try.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    I prefer latex caps, but found that "Mack's" silicone earplugs helped me out considerably.

  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber

    The best cap is the one that stays on. Or the one that you can take off and put on if needed. Or the one that the RD says you MUST wear., even if it's ugly or badly fitting .. Worse one? A light blue cap given to EVERYONE at a Trans-Tahoe swim in the early 80's. Heads disappeared in 5 min in the blue of Lake Tahoe.
    Someone wasn't thinking that one through

  • ttriventtriven Senior Member

    Ok, what about for a long, warm water swim? I am so accustomed to wearing a silicone cap because I swim in cold-ish water most of the time. If silicone keeps you warmer, should I plan on wearing a latex cap for a warm swim? I'm worried it might slip or be too tight over time.

  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member

    I've taken to wearing a lycra hat for pool swimming due to the heat. Maybe that would be good for warm open water?

  • SoOHIOSwimarathonerSoOHIOSwimarathoner Springboro Ohio Member

    Like others have said, swim caps and my head don’t work well together. One idea I give credit to Ed Riley for, especially for warmer swims, is to cut the top of the cap off. Effectively turns it into a headband, but it stays on, covers the ears, and still provides the visibility that event organizers like.

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