Lycra and latex are the two most predominant materials used in today's swim caps. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages, both in price and purpose. The one you select will depend on your swimming needs, personal taste and budget.
Latex swim caps, which are made from rubber, are a tried and true favorite. Many consider them the universal standard for swimmers. Latex swim caps fit tightly, and as such are designed to help you swim faster and in a more streamlined fashion. The material protects hair from damaging pool chemicals, particularly chlorine. Readily available for less than $4 per cap, latex caps are by far the least expensive of the swim cap options out there, but are easily ripped or damaged.
Lycra caps are made of a fabric also used to make bathing suits. Many swimmers find the looser fit of Lycra caps to be more comfortable than latex and wear them to keep hair out of the face and goggles when speed is not a concern. Lycra swim caps cost double what latex do but have a longer lifespan since the stretchable material is designed to handle wear and tear.
Leave it to swim giant Speedo to combine the best of both technologies. Its Lycra/latex cap is constructed of latex but contains an inner lining made of Lycra. This offers you the comfort of Lycra and the speed of latex. This cap retails for less than $10 dollars.
Article Written By Virginia Franco
Based in Charlotte, N.C., Virginia Franco has more than 15 years experience freelance writing. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the education magazine "My School Rocks" and Work.com. Franco has a master's degree in social work with an emphasis in health care from the University of Maryland and a journalism degree from the University of Richmond.