When you say towel most of us thinks about cotton towels we use at home. Even though these are great in most situations, they have some downsides. Often another type of towel is better for water sports. They are made from different materials, making them more efficient and easier to take with you. You will find that buying a special swimming towel is going to improve your experience.

But first you need to learn more about towels, materials and features. We’ve selected fantastic absorbent towels for swimmers, and also compiled a buying guide with information about materials and what they can offer you in different situations, so don’t miss out.

Let’s get started.

How To Choose A Swim Towel – Buying Guide


This mainly depends on what you like, and what’s convenient for you. Some towels feel better on your skin, others are more efficient, dry faster or require much less space in your bag. Take a look.

Cotton Towel

This type is most widely used, because it has many upsides. It’s very comfortable and relatively cheap. It’s also quite durable, and most of quality cotton towels can withstand numerous washes and bleaching. Also, it feels good to use them. You can get it in different shapes and sizes for every situation.

Cotton towels are made from terrycloth, with a very large number of cotton loops woven into it. These little loops increase the total area of the towel, making it very absorbent. There is also a variation of this used for beach towels, where loops on one side are shaved off so the towel doesn’t collect sand.

All this said, cotton towels are not very practical for swimmers. They are usually very large, and take much space when you fold them. Because of the structure and the amount of water they can hold, it takes quite some time for them to dry. This can be annoying when having to pack. Also, they are significantly heavier when wet, adding weight to your bag.

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Chamois Towel

This is a towel designed to have better performance for athletes. It’s also called a shammy. This towel is made from a type of synthetic fabric giving you high absorbency. The material in question is PVA or polyvinyl alcohol. It gives the towel a smooth finish. Even though it’s incredibly efficient, in the beginning you have an uncomfortable feeling on your skin, without a rubbing sensation.

There are numerous upsides to using this type of towel, if you can overcome the thing we mentioned and also the generally smaller size. When you dry yourself off, you can wring it out and use it again with same efficiency. Note that it always has to be a bit moist. This is because when completely dry it’s stiff, like a cardboard. When you finish wiping, you drain the excess water and pack it in the plastic case which almost always comes with your purchase. It’s really a great choice to have with you at all times. The compactness saves space to pack other swimming gear, like pool noodles, pull buoys or kickboards.

Microfiber Towel

As the name suggests, these are made from microfibers. It’s a type of very small synthetic fiber. By definition, these fibers are smaller than silk, and have a diameter under ten micrometers. Because the number of fibers in your towel is very large, the total surface area it provides is exceptionally big. This allows more contact with water, and as a result much higher absorbency. Microfiber towels are usually made from a blend of polyester and nylon (polyamide), if you are curious. They also allow to be folded tightly and save space.

When it comes to design, there are several options. A microfiber towel can be completely smooth, like a chamois towel. While it shares the efficiency, it also shares the downside – it feels pretty weird using it. There are also hybrid towels available, where microfibers are woven into terrycloth. This is a nice idea and you get a quality product, but while being soft and comfy it isn’t very compact because of the cotton base.

Textured Microfiber Towel

If a microfiber towel has a textured surface instead of a smooth one, it feels more comfortable when drying yourself off. Usually it’s a waffle weave, and it absorbs water very well. The materials used for making these towels are the same microfibers, it’s just the design that’s different. Because there is no cotton in these towels, they are still incredibly compact – you can fold them down to be about the size of a book.



Q: Why do I need a special swim towel?


As you already figured out, there are plenty advantages to owning a swim towel compared to using a regular cotton one. It’s very handy and easily portable. This is because it is very small when packed, and some even come in a tube or a mesh bag. They usually have higher absorbency, and allow the water to be drained out, after which the towel can be used again immediately. These are all features that you may find useful as a swimmer.

Q: How should I clean my swim towel?


It depends on the type of towel you use, and you should always read the instructions. This being said, if you own a chamois towel, you don’t need to wash it after every single use. You rinse it, drain the excess water and pack it in the tube.

When you want to wash it, you should do it by hand with a mild detergent unless the manufacturer specified otherwise. Then you leave it in the air to dry off a bit (but not completely), and pack it back in the tube. Like we said, when completely dry it tends to be rigid. On the other hand, most microfiber towels can be washed in a machine without problems. However, pay attention that ones with strong colors may bleed a first few times.

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If you frequently go swimming or diving, you can certainly appreciate the benefits a swimming towel can bring you. You will find everything faster and more convenient than it used to be. We hope our list helped you find the best swimmers towel for your needs, but if not, you now know what type of sports towel to look for.

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