Correct me if I’m wrong, but in 2019 I’m guessing that the last thing you thought you’d have to grab on your way out the door heading to the gym is a face mask.
Ah, but, here we are.
Amidst a seemingly never-ending pandemic, if you venture outside of your home to workout, you now have to add another item to your list of gym must-haves.
And, just like every other item in that gym bag, just any face mask won’t do.
We all know…
Some shoes are designed for lifting, some for running.
Some clothing is more suited for cycling, other outfits are best for yoga.
Some earbuds that work well inside the gym don’t fair well on an outdoor run.
I mean, even what you eat or drink prior to working out is often dictated by the type of workout you’ll be engaging in.
In other words, our efforts in regards to fitness are diverse, and since masks aren’t a “one size fits all” business…we’re now finding ourselves exploring our options when it comes to what masks are best suited for our workout endeavors.
So, we’ve scoured the research and reviews available to give you the info on the best masks for your gym-going (or running, cycling, etc) needs.
And, here’s what we’ve found…
Under Armour Adult Sports Mask
Numerous sites and nearly 5,000 stellar reviews on Amazon agree that the Under Armour Adult Sports Mask is a top mask pick when it comes to exercise.
Users say that it offers sufficient covering and protection, but it doesn’t press against your face, thereby allowing optimal airflow and breathability while you exercise.
The mask is made of moisture wicking fabric, but also has antimicrobial treatment on the inner layer, as well as Under Armour Iso-chill fabric making the lining and ear loops cool throughout wearing.
It boasts comfort, a no-slip fit, and meets the WHO’s standards for fabric masks.
Under Armour describes it as best suited for both running and intense training, able to be worn all day and when playing sports.
EnerPlex Premium 3-Ply Reusable Face Mask
While it appears the masses prefer this mask for everyday use, it makes this list due to its breathability for runners.
The mask is water resistant and features a 3 layer design: a polyester outer layer, a cotton blend in the middle, and nano-fine cotton inner layer for a soft feel up against your skin.
The mask isn’t specifically made for runners, but has proven to be a top pick for this activity as it is very lightweight, and though it keeps users well protected, it also allows for easy, unrestricted breathing while wearing during a run.
This mask is washable and meets the recommendations set forth by the CDC.
Onzie Mindful Masks
Made from upcycled yoga fabrics, these masks boast breathability, comfort, and a snug fit.
They are best suited for low intensity workouts as they aren’t overly adjustable.
Like yoga pants, the multi-layered fabric is stretchy, quick drying, and comfortable, made of Full Flex Spandex technology for the exterior and a high performance lining inside.
Jjyee Neck Gaiter Balaclava Bandana Headwear
Some folks just can’t do a facemask, and some folks just prefer more coverage all around. If you’re in either category, a neck gaiter may work better for you as you workout.
This neck gaiter in particular covers your neck, face, nose, and even has ear holes to keep the gaiter in place as it’s worn.
It is made of 100% Soft Ice Silk which is both soft and lightweight, but it is also moisture wicking, keeping both heat and humidity away from your body.
The Jjyee neck gaiter can keep you cool when working out in the summer heat and even offers UV protection.
It’s ability to be worn 12 different ways makes this a good choice for those looking past the pandemic as well.
It is suitable for most all outdoor activities including cycling, running, hiking, tactical training, and more.
SMRTFT Sports Masks
These masks are made from flexible, comfortable, breathable fabric.
They contain a MICROKNIT filter fabric that blocks 99% of ultra fine dust particles.
SMRTFT masks are a headband style mask that slides over your neck allowing the fabric to be pulled up over your nose and secured to your ears with the attached straps.
Their breathable, flexible fabric makes them suitable for both intense gym workouts as well as outdoor sweat sessions like running or jogging.
Koral Infinity Face Mask
This face mask was specifically made for gym goers.
Made of fabric consisting of a blend of fast drying antimicrobial performance materials, it provides a comfortable fit for users and even offers UV protection for those looking to exercise outdoors.
The mask is breathable and the lycra stretch provides a secure fit.
AstroAl Reusable Dust Face Mask
Made of premium nylon, this mask allows for easy breathing during intense workouts.
The AstroAl mask has built in air valves allowing for carbon filtration, and contributing to the easy breathing element, allowing heat and moisture to escape.
It is rated a best seller for comfort, providing a “sturdy, but not too tight” fit.
It has a soft nose pad, detachable nose clip, and an elastic ear loop strap.
The carbon filters cannot be washed, but the mask is washable.
It is considered by the manufacturer to be ideal for running, cycling, and other outdoor activities.
Equoba 2-Layer Masks
Boasting excellent moisture wicking capabilities, Equoba masks are a great gym choice.
They have an adjustable nose bridge and come with adjustable ear straps allowing you to achieve the perfect fit during your workout.
Consumers find them both comfortable and breathable.
They are considered a multi purpose mask, making them suitable for exercise and other activities as well.
The Bottom Line
Exercise is different from daily activity. Duh, right?
I realize that’s stating the obvious, but when it comes to face masks, that “obvious” is exactly why masks must be looked at with a little more care when it comes to working out.
While the above-listed masks cover the below-listed bases, if you’re just looking for general criteria for your exercise face mask needs, consider the following:
When working out, you *have* to be able to breathe. And, if you’ve worn a mask for any length of time in and throughout your daily activities, you realize full well that breathing with a mask on can present challenges.
Whether you’re in the gym or out for a run with friends, if you’re exerting yourself at all, you must allow for more airflow.
Look for a mask made of breathable fabrics such as polyester, cotton, or nylon.
Secondly, if you’ve been working out for long, you know that movement changes everything regarding your attire.
Your shorts, your sports bra (ladies)…heck, even your socks are generally made from exercise-friendly materials.
So, in regards to choosing a face mask, besides breathable fabric, look for moisture wicking fabric.
Nothing bothers me more when I’m exercising than an ill-fitted piece of clothing. It works on me like a constant drip from a leaky faucet, destroying my focus.
With face masks, the same principle applies, but with added emphasis, as the entire reason you’re strapping on the muzzle, I mean mask, is for probable protection for either yourself or those around you.
Most wearers find that face masks with a muzzle type shape work best in regards to fit when it comes to working out.
These types of masks seem to allow more room for airflow, while staying in place adequately throughout movements to provide the desired protection.
Another user-favorite in regards to style is a gaiter.
Just one glance through any sport’s related website will exhibit the fact that these types of face coverings have been used (primarily in cold weather) by athletes for years.
Gaiters are generally lightweight, breathable, and are considered a comfortable option.
One last tip…
Though it probably goes without saying, you wouldn’t reuse the underwear you workout in, so treat your face mask with the same care and courtesy, and wash that thing!
Bacteria, especially in an intense sweat session, can accumulate on your mask, and minus a good washing, can make you sick.
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Remember, keep an open mind, do your own homework and try new things to see what works best for YOU.