Swimming Towels

Swimming Towel

There are many pieces of equipment that swimmers use on a daily basis including swim towels, swimsuits, goggles, pull buoys, and bathing caps. Swim towels are important because they allow swimmers to dry off and be comfortable when coming out of the water.

What are towels used for in swimming?

Towels are important for swimmers to use to dry off and be comfortable after performing in the sport or swimming recreationally. Swim towels are important because they help swimmers dry off faster and warm up. It adds comfort during and after partaking in the sport after hours of training or competing. The absorbency and natural, soft, material of the towels make swimmers enjoy drying off when needed. When picking what type of towel to purchase, it is crucial to look for absorbent and comfortable towels as they provide comfort to the swimmer.

Things To Consider

When looking for a swimming towel, you'll want to consider the following:

  • What will you be using the towel for?
  • How frequently are you getting in and out of the water?
  • How fast do you want the towel to dry?
  • How much do you have to spend on swimming towels?
  • What size towel do you need?


There are many types of swimming towels that are available to purchase, with each of them providing specific benefits and comfort to the swimmer.

Cotton or Terry Cloth Towel

Swimming Terry Cloth Towel

Terry cloth or cotton towels are one of the most common types of swimming towels to purchase. Their high absorbency and comfort are often factors that drive people to choose them. Unfortunately, while they can absorb water well, these towels get heavy when wet and take longer to dry.

Sport Towel / Chamois / Shammy

Swimming Shammy

Chamois towels, also known as shammies, are high performance sports towels that are known for their soft and felt-like, smooth finish. Although they are quick drying and compact, they’re not big enough to wrap oneself up in like other towels. Additionally, they aren’t as warm and thick as other towels on the market. 

Beach Towel

Swimming Beach Towel

Beach towels, often made of microfiber, are one of the best materials for absorbency over a large surface area. Typically larger and quick drying, this material is great for swimming or any water activities. Although beach towels are not as comfortable as a cotton or terry cloth towel, they are a great overall towel in terms of quality and usefulness. 


  • Polyvinyl: PVA is a synthetic material that is highly absorbent, lint free, and able to fight against bacteria better than a regular towel. It is a highly absorbent material, which makes it more effective when drying. 
  • Microfiber: Microfiber towels are one of the best on the market for absorbency and quick drying. Although it is not as comfortable and soft as other materials, it is extremely useful and often compact. 
  • Cotton: 100% cotton towels are one of the most popular towels because of its comfort and soft feel. Its extremely absorbent and breathable properties make cotton one of the best fabrics for towels. 
  • Terry Cloth: Terry cloth is one of the most comfortable and soft fabrics used for towels. Its high absorbency, durability, and sponge-like quality makes it popular; however, it can also make towels feel heavy.


There are a multitude of brands of swimming towels, but the most popular ones include Speedo, TYR, and Arena.

  • Speedo: As the world’s leading swimwear brand, Speedo has created several types of swim towels including terry cloth, microfiber, and chamois, but their 100% cotton towels are the most popular. Their lightweight and quick dying properties make Speedo towels a great choice. 
  • TYR: Cotton and microfiber towels are the most popular swimming towels purchased from TYR. Their softness and absorption, as well as compactness, make them a popular choice amongst swimmers. 
  • Arena: Arena produces a variety of swim towels, but their microfiber towels are the most sought out after. Their small size, quick drying abilities, and diversity of style and function make it practical for many.


Some important things to consider when buying a swimming towel are the durability, size, and cost of the product.


Swimming towels are quite durable, and last many years as long as they are handled properly during washing and drying. Additionally, their durability withstands dozens of uses for most materials such as cotton, terry cloth, microfiber, and PVA. Brands such as Speedo, TYR, and Arena are the most common and tend to have great quality and durability compared to others. 


The average cost of swim towels range between $15 and $30 dollars. However, depending on the brand, quality, sizes, and materials used, the price may vary. Brands such as Speedo and TYR as well as higher end shops tend to carry towels on the more expensive side, ranging from $20 to $40, while more generic brands are on the cheaper end. 


Swimming towels typically come in the same size, 30” x 60”. Although there are some towels that are oversized or big enough to accommodate two people such as a 40” x 70” inch or 60” x 70” towel, the normal size of 30” x 60” is large enough for one person. On the other hand, shammies are typically much smaller and run at about 20” x 27”. 


What are the most durable swimming towels?

The most durable swimming towels are microfiber towels or 100% cotton towels. Their durability, quality, and drying ability are the most favored and are extremely long-lasting when taken care of properly. 

What towels do Olympic swimmers use?

Shammy towels, also known as sports towels and chamois, are the type of swim towel that Olympic swimmers use. Often made of poly-vinyl, this type of towel can hold lots of liquid and is super absorbent. Olympians use shammies to dry off in between dives, and consider them to be safety blankets when performing. 

How do you wash a swimming towel?

Each towel should be washed in a specific way, according to the material that is used and the size. For beach towels, it is important to dust away any sand and later be washed on a cold cycle and tumble dried. Cotton towels require more gentle upkeep with no fabric softener or dryer sheets but are washed on a cold cycle. Sport towels don't need to be washed in a washing machine, but rather after every use in warm soapy water and dried naturally.