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Living in a pandemic has changed the way we do everything, including exercise. If you ever want to hit the gym, run a race, or work out in a group again, masks will be part of your reality.
Fortunately, sportswear manufacturers have started making face masks. If masks are to stay here, we wanted to find the best training options available.
What is the difference between a training mask and your everyday paper mask? Materials, that’s what. We’re talking about breathable performance fabrics, mesh and cool cotton fabrics. Here are 1
- Performance-oriented materials: We didn’t want damp paper options or stuffy t-shirt material.
- Comfort and Fit: The masks had to fit well without slipping or pulling.
- Style: These masks are a great addition to any workout.
- Moisture transport and breathability: Each of these masks helped control sweat and optimize airflow throughout a range of workouts, from running to cycling to HIIT to weight lifting.
- $ = under $ 10
- $$ = $ 10 to $ 20
- $$$ = over $ 20
Note: Some masks may be temporarily out of stock due to increased demand.
Wattie Ink makes triathlon and cycling clothing so they are aware of the needs of sweaty athletes. The Wattie mask is available in two sizes. We tested five small size masks and they were nearly perfect for our tester, who had a bridge of nose to chin measuring 5.5 inches. We say “almost” because there was a slight difference in size between the masks.
Running in a mask isn’t exactly cool in terms of temperature, but colorful performance fabrics with fun designs make these a very cool option (dad jokes about the win). Most importantly? A breathable inner shoe wicks away moisture so that sweat does not collect – even in summer heat.
Sold as: 5- or 6-pack
Buy Wattie Ink face masks.
This sleek design is just right for athletes looking for a sporty atmosphere. The two layers of fabric of the mask consist of a high-performance recycling fabric and a breathable inner lining. While options are limited and only come in two sizes in two colors (blue and black), the customized design conforms to the face for a perfect fit.
Athletes and exercise rats may prefer this fit because the masks won’t slip – great for rigorous workouts – and the ear loops won’t pull or pull. Breathing through a barrier takes getting used to, as one of our testers reported: Due to the good fit, the fabric is pulled against the mouth when inhaled. (If you are concerned about the comfort, go for the larger size.)
However, due to the general comfort and the fabric staying in place, this mask ended up high on our list.
Sold as: 3 pack
Buy Adidas Face Covers.
Nike takes a different approach to face masks with the Hyperwarm hood. This is not to be worn on hot summer days as it is designed to be warm. But it’s still incredibly breathable, washable, and versatile enough that it’s worth adding to your fall / winter gear.
Bonus: the hood can be pulled in or out depending on how much protection you’re looking for. You can also choose this wrap style over a traditional face mask because it doesn’t slip off and is blissfully free of ear loops, which can be painful if worn for long periods of time. If you’re struggling to find a well-fitting mask, this is worth considering.
Sold as: Single hood
Buy the Nike Pro Hyperwarm Hood.
UnderArmour wins the main prize in sizes. We’re talking about five sizes so you will need to take some measurements before ordering this customized mask. However, of all the masks that we have reviewed and / or tested, these are the best matched to fit.
High performance fabrics, including a waterproof outer layer and a cooling inner lining, make this one of the most technical masks on our list. You can also adjust the fit around the nose, which glasses wearers will love. A better fit over your nose means less fog, especially if you are breathing heavily.
Sold as: A mask
Buy UnderArmour Sports Mask.
Note: Can be pre-ordered for shipping in September 2020.
The California-based company makes everything for cycling, from bibs and jackets to gloves, socks and neck gaiters.
These masks are very similar in design to those of Wattie Ink. They consist of a mix of moisture-wicking performance fabrics with a breathable lining. Bright colors and patterns allow you to coordinate your look with any other Eliel gear. Masks come in small and large sizes. We tried and loved the size small.
The soft performance fabrics breathe well and keep moisture away from your skin as much as possible. However, if you do a particularly strenuous workout like HIIT or sprints that make you gasp for air, the mask will be sucked into your mouth. To be honest, we’ve run into this issue on every mask we’ve tested. 🤷♂️
Sold as: Single mask
Buy Eliel Cycling Face Mask.
Zensah makes high-performance compression socks and sleeves. They have used their manufacturing expertise to create unique masks that offer a tight but breathable fit.
Of all the masks we tried, the zensah fit the best, even when we were hard on the treadmill. This unique fabric combines polyamide, polypropylene, elastane and silver for a touch of antibacterial effect.
It’s not as soft as some of the other performance fabrics, but it’s comfortable nonetheless. The over-the-head straps also worked better with goggles than the ear straps on other masks.
One caveat: this mask only has a single layer of fabric as opposed to two. Does the single layer feel cooler than any of the two-layer designs, but does it offer adequate protection? We just don’t know.
Sold as: Single mask
Buy Zensah Performance Masks.
The polyester and elastane mask from Reebok made from recycled materials fits snugly and securely so that it stays in position even when you are on the move. We love that it comes in two sizes and includes an optional filter bag for extra protection.
Filters make breathing difficult, of course, but you can use the mask with or without it. Also, the price is one of the cheapest compared to other famous sports brands that make masks.
Sold as: 3 pack
Buy Reebok Face Cover.
Athleta is the sporting arm of the Old Navy and Gap. These masks are intended for active, but not necessarily core, activities. At the time of writing, the full size women’s masks were only pre-ordered (and Made to Move masks were backordered) so we tried the Athleta Girl Everyday masks for kids ages 5 to 10. These masks suit petite women and teenage women, but adult sizes should be coming soon.
While they’re too small for the average adult (our ears looked a little silly), they’re made of soft cotton that feels great on our skin. These are definitely the trick for a jog, stroll, hike, or other low intensity workout.
Sold as: Pack of 5
Buy Athleta Girl Everyday Non-Medical Mask.
Boco Gear makes running hats, running socks, running belts and running gloves. Do you notice a topic? Yes, it’s landing gear. Now they have brought that expertise into mask making. Boco is known for custom designs – you can use matching business or team masks in special performance fabrics.
Their X-Masks (designed for exercise) are made of two layers of performance knit fabric with a pocket for a removable lining. High-performance fabrics wick moisture away so they don’t sit on your face.
Sold as: Single mask
Buy Boco Gear Performance X Mask.
Koral specializes in sportswear for women and the masks reflect the stylish atmosphere of the company. This uniform design was made for female faces and uses Lycra for comfortable stretch. While the fabric is super cozy, if you’re nervous about fitting the one available size, this may not be the mask for you.
Koral uses high-performance fabrics with antimicrobial properties to keep bacteria and viruses away. The inner layer’s stretch mesh wicks away moisture so it doesn’t build up on your face. As a bonus, the masks offer UV protection – just don’t skimp on the sunscreen on the rest of your face.
Sold as: Single mask
Buy Koral Infinity Mask.
It’s a mask. How hard can it be? Well, there is a right and a wrong way to wear a mask, so here are some tips for you:
- Wash your hands Wash them before and after putting on your mask. If you don’t have soap and water, use hand sanitizer.
- Cover your nose and mouth. If you just cover your nose and mouth with the mask, you are ahead of the game. This is the absolute most basic rule. In the nose and mouth, you breathe in and out, which means that there you will expel or breathe in germs. To keep. She. Covered.
- Get a good fit. You want cozy but comfortable. If the mask is too big, it will fall off your nose. If it’s too small, it can be pulled off your nose every time you talk. One-size-fits-all is fine if you’re an average size. But many women are small enough that child sizes could work better.
- Do not readjust. This tip is easier to follow when you get a good fit. Once you put this mask on and go out in public, leave it alone. The outside of the mask can contain bacteria or viruses. If you touch it, they are now on your hands.
- Wash masks regularly. If you only wear your mask for 15 to 20 minutes, you can wear it several times before you need to wash it. In fact, as a natural disinfectant, you can put it in the sun between washes. But if you wear it for a long time, it will get sweaty or you have been in a crowded public space. Wear it once and wash it off.
If you are wondering, “When should I wear a mask?” The answer is simple: when you are in public and around people who do not live in your household.
Wash your hands Don’t touch your face Protect yourself. Protect others.