why do guys wear swim caps

Why Do Guys Wear Swim Caps?

Swim caps are not a fashion accessory most people would choose. So why do guys wear swim caps when they have short or even no hair to keep dry or out of the way? Today I’ll share the top reasons why men need swimming caps just as much as women, and what the benefits are of wearing them. From visibility to sun protection, speed and even safety.


Whether you’re a guy or have seen male swimmers, you might be wondering why some of them wear swim caps. In this article, we’ll share the reasons behind this as well as their benefits.

why do guys wear swim caps

Why Do Guys Wear Swim Caps?

Generally speaking, women are more likely to wear a swim cap than men because they typically have longer hair. But some male swimmers have long hair, too, which can present them with similar disadvantages of chlorine water on their hair.

Wearing a swim cap helps to keep your hair out of the water, minimizing the damage of saltwater and chlorine. There’s no minimum hair length required to wear a cap, so some men use one to prevent all contact with the water.

  • Sun protection
  • Visibility
  • Warmth
  • Drag reduction
  • Safety

Swim Caps Prevent Sun Damage

Neoprene swim caps are UV resistant, which means that the material absorbs all UV rays and keeps them from reaching your head. This is perfect for bald men, as they won’t need to apply sunscreen, but it can also add a layer of protection to your hair, too.

Increases Water Visibility

Hair can be distracting when you’re swimming, especially if you have long locks. Fortunately, a swim cap improves your visibility by keeping strands out of your face. This feature can be beneficial for seeing swimmers in front of you as well as making your overall swimming experience more pleasurable (nobody wants to worry about their visibility while indulging in any activity).

Swimming Caps Give Added Warmth

Swimming in the cold months can be tough, but a swim cap helps to retain your body temperature and prevent hot air from escaping. In particular, neoprene swim caps have insulating properties, and they trap a layer of water inside the cap, helping your body to warm up. That’s advantageous to swimming in a cold pool or outdoors in winter.

Swim Caps Prevent Drag

The longer your hair, the more drag you’ll experience underwater, making it more difficult to swim forward. Swim caps keep your hair compact and out of the way, helping to streamline your head.

Improves Your Safety in the Sea

Swimming can be a dangerous sport in the sea. Fortunately, swim caps—especially brightly colored ones—can help other swimmers and boaters to see you. Although you should avoid swimming in waters with a lot of traffic for your safety, swim caps can enhance your visibility to other people. A swim cap can also help your teammates to spot you in open waters.

Why Do Male Swimmers Wear Two Caps?

If you’ve ever seen a male swimmer apply two swim caps, you might be pondering over this purpose. Wearing two caps produces less drag, helping you to swim faster and farther.

Male swimmers wear a latex cap underneath with an outer silicone cap. The first cap clings to their head and covers their hair. The second cap smooths any lumps and bumps from your head. While this might seem futile, the second cap plays an important role in creating less drag in the water since the inner cap would wrinkle without it. In professional swimming, this can make a difference by milliseconds.

Additionally, wearing two caps can help to secure swimming goggles by placing the goggle straps between the first and second caps. This placement prevents them from moving and keeps them sealed in place.

The Different Types of Men’s Swim Caps

There are a few variations of men’s swim caps, each with its own unique characteristic.

  • Silicone and latex
  • Lycra and polyester
  • Neoprene

Silicone and Latex

These materials are the most popular for men’s swim caps and have been used for over 100 years. The benefit is that they provide a tight fit and reduce drag, which are two factors swimmers look for in a swim cap.

Lycra and Polyester

Combined, these materials are more durable than silicone and latex, making them perfect for serious swimming. They’re comfortable to wear for long periods of time, stylish, and prevent your hair from snagging. But bear in mind that lycra and polyester aren’t completely water-resistant, which can result in some chlorine leaking into the cap and onto your hair.


Swim caps made of neoprene are perfect for swimming in cold open waters, as they retain warmth and are comfortable against the skin. Neoprene also has a curved design to cover your ears and reduce drag.

What Happens If You Don’t Wear a Swim Cap?

Swim caps aren’t required for the sport, although they pose many benefits. Here are some factors men might encounter if they don’t wear a swim cap.

  • Water in your ears
  • Hair damage

Water Can Enter the Ears

Swim caps fit over the ears. Without wearing one, water can flow into the ear canals, which can cause otitis externa, which is also referred to as “swimmer’s ear”. This condition occurs when bacteria prevent in water come into contact with your body.

Hair Damage

Saltwater and chlorine are notorious for damaging the hair follicles, resulting in dry, brittle strands. Plus, if you swim in an outdoor pool, your hair and scalp are exposed to the sun’s rays, which can dry out your hair and skin.

How to Apply a Swim Cap

  • Tie up your hair in a bun or a ponytail. This isn’t a necessary step, but most people find doing this easier to keep their hair out of the way. It’s easier to tie up hair that’s slightly wet.
  • Apply baby powder in your swim cap to prevent it from tugging on your hair when you remove it later.
  • Remove the cap from the packaging, taking notice of the crease in the middle of the cap (you should position this at the center of your head).
  • Pull the cap down to the middle of your forehead instead of sitting it on your hairline. This placement keeps it firmly on your head as you swim.
  • Stretch the cap, taking care not to dig your nails into it.
  • Place the front cap over your forehead, and bend over slightly.
  • Pull the cap over your head until it’s attached to the back of your hairline.
  • Your hair and ears should be completely covered.

Why Do Guys Wear Swim Caps?

Men wear swim caps for the same reason that women do. It’s usually pro or enthusiastic hobbyist swimmers, but they find that caps reduce drag, keep their hair healthy, increase visibility and safety, and even make them warmer.

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