8 Breathable Face Masks Made for Running, Biking and Working Out

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·8 mins read

Whether your preferred daily sweat session includes yoga in the park, lifting dumbbells at your newly-opened gym or taking a long jog around your neighborhood, it’s imperative that you wear a face mask while working out outside your home. Luckily, there are a plethora of masks that were designed to specifically address the issues that might come up if you’ve tried exercising in a regular face mask, like pools of sweat forming around your mouth or feeling short of breath after just one loop around the track. Here’s everything you need to know about the eight best breathable face masks that are currently available.

Note: Some of the following models may be back-ordered or temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19-related demand.

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1. Athleta Everyday Non-Medical Masks 5 Pack

Value: 19/20
Functionality: 18/20
Quality: 18/20
Fit: 16/20
Comfort: 19/20
Total: 90/100

Athleta has two types of masks for adults: the Everyday and the Made to Move. While we assumed the Made to Move line would work better for exercise, it was the Everyday set that actually stole the show. A trio of lightweight fabrics—two cotton layers and one technical layer—offers protection without overwhelming your face or hampering your breathing. Plus, the ear loops are adjustable so you can tighten or loosen them to best fit your face. One complaint, however, is that the nose wire isn’t as flexible as other masks and some reviewers were unhappy about the fact that the inner-most layer is white, therefore showing makeup stains very easily. That said, reviewers who used these masks for HIIT workouts, hot yoga, dance classes and Pilates and found them easier to breathe in than most other cotton styles. Users were also pleased to find the masks didn’t quickly get bogged down or soggy with sweat or breath droplets. And with each mask coming out to about $6, they’re some of the most affordable options on this list.

Buy it ($30 for set of five)

2. Koral Netz Face Mask

Value: 17/20
Functionality: 19/20
Quality: 19/20
Fit: 18/20
Comfort: 19/20
Total: 92/100

Koral’s athletic apparel has a pretty impressive celebrity following, including Jennifer Lopez, Shay Mitchell, Jennifer Garner and Hailey Bieber, so our hopes were high that its masks would be just as brag-worthy as its leggings. And the brand definitely delivered. The masks, which come in 16 different designs, are made from an antimicrobial performance fabric that works to wick away sweat and moisture without getting soggy or letting any virus-spreading air droplets pass through. That moisture-wicking ability also means this mask dries in a flash, so even if you’ve just finished a really hard HIIT class, you don’t have to worry about sitting with sweat on your face for hours. The performance material is stretchy and lightweight, which helps hug the curves of your face without feeling overwhelming. It also has UV protection built right in, making it great for outdoor exercise or lazier afternoons spent lounging the in the park (although you shouldn’t skip the regular SPF application, just to be safe). We recommend this mask for any activity, be it something high intensity like running or something more relaxed like yoga.

Buy it ($20)

3. Under Armour UA Sportsmask

Value: 18/20
Functionality: 19/20
Quality: 19/20
Fit: 17/20
Comfort: 18/20
Total: 91/100

This mask may look intense (and rather thick), but we found it to be surprisingly lightweight and super breathable thanks to fabric that incorporates both a polyurethane open-cell foam (which allows air to flow easily while wicking away moisture) and Under Armour’s unique Iso-Chill technology. Because it isn’t super easy to pull up and down, as you might if you’re out for a run on a less populous trail, we recommend this for times when you won’t want to adjust your mask once it’s on. One thing to note: Follow the sizing measurements closely. This mask does have some stretch and a flexible wire at the nose but is designed for a close fit and the ear loops aren’t adjustable, so be sure you have the correct size (there are five options) before ordering. On the other hand, that tight fit meant no glasses fogging nor much risk of air (and air droplets) escaping from the sides.

Buy it ($30)

4. Onzie Mindful Masks Assorted 2 Pack

Value: 19/20
Functionality: 18/20
Quality: 18/20
Fit: 17/20
Comfort: 19/20
Total: 91/100

One PureWow staffer loves this Onzie mask so much she’s gone back to purchase more…multiple times over. She uses them mainly for running and cycling, and occasional hiking. Each mask is made from soft, quick-drying material. Speaking of material, the Assorted 2 Pack is a random selection of two patterns ranging from tropical florals to abstract leopard spots, but you can purchase curated pairs or individual masks on Onzie’s site (however, they aren’t available on Amazon). Another thing to note is that the masks in this set are made with two layers of fabric, but don’t have a compartment in which you can insert a filter. But again, there are some filter-friendly designs on the brand’s website. Some reviewers found these masks to be too small to cover both their mouth and nose, so look at the measurements before you stock up. There is also no wire along the nose, making them less form-fitting along the top.

$24 for set of two at Amazon

5. Adidas Face Covers 3 Pack

Value: 19/20
Functionality: 17/20
Quality: 19/20
Fit: 16/20
Comfort: 18/20
Total: 89/100

We really love the sleek look of these Adidas masks, which are made from 40 percent recycled performance materials, although that streamlined design does come with a few setbacks. The ear loops aren’t adjustable and the mask comes in just two sizes, unlike the similarly cut Under Armour mask above, which comes in five. A few reviewers noted the snug fit meant the fabric was sucked in when they inhaled deeply (not ideal for runners trying to catch their breath on a long outing), but for some this was fixed by opting for the larger size. In terms of positives, the double layer of super-soft fabric is super breathable and reviewers found the mask didn’t slip or move around, no matter how much they sprinted, jumped, grimaced or twisted.

Buy it ($20 for set of three)

6. Zensah Performance Face Mask

Value: 19/20
Functionality: 19/20
Quality: 18/20
Fit: 20/20
Comfort: 19/20
Total: 95/20

This mask might have the best fit of any on this list—no matter your face size or shape. Reviewers with glasses or those wearing sunglasses also preferred the stacked straps of the Zensah style as opposed to the typical double ear loops. Plus, the company is best-known for their performance socks and compression sleeves, so it comes as no surprise that Zensah knows a thing or two about breathable fabrics. The stretchy material, of which there is only one layer, has been treated with an antimicrobial technology in addition to silver, which can help prevent the spread of germs and keeps your masks from developing an odor. Silver is also great for heat regulation, meaning you’re less likely to overheat while wearing this mask. Runners found it stayed in place from start to finish, while cyclists and the HIIT crowd were both happy with the breathability and moisture-wicking qualities.

Buy it ($16)

7. Lunair The Essential Mask

Value: 18/20
Functionality: 19/20
Quality: 19/20
Fit: 17/20
Comfort: 18/20
Total: 91/100

There are a few different Lunair options to choose from, including the Laser Sport Mask, but our favorite of the bunch is the Essential Mask, mostly because of the adjustable ear loops and the inclusion of a wire at the bridge of the nose. Two layers of breathable materials keep your face cool and comfortable and built-in UPF 50+ protects your face from any sun damage. The fabric has also been treated with FUZE technology, an antibacterial treatment that’s approved by the FDA and is both sustainable and free of chemicals. One PureWow staffer, whose workout of choice is following Chloe Ting’s HIIT fitness routine, says she recommends these for mat workouts like Pilates or yoga, power walking or cycling. But for something like hot yoga or a long super-sweaty run, you may be better off with a mask made from true sweat-wicking materials.

Buy it ($23 for set of three)

8. Wattie Ink Mask

Value: 18/20
Functionality: 18/20
Quality: 17/20
Fit: 16/20
Comfort: 18/20
Total: 87/100

We’re not surprised a company focused on creating gear for triathletes and hardcore cyclists would end up creating a comfortable-yet-functional athlete-minded face mask. Each of Wattie Ink’s face-covers is crafted from a double layer of performance fabric with a slot to add a filter, if you’d like. There are only two sizes available, the ear loops aren’t adjustable and there is no wire to secure the bridge of your nose. That said, most reviewers found the mask did its job well specifically for workouts—not for an entire workday or a situation where you’d find yourself talking (and therefore moving your face) more frequently. And multiple reviewers raved about the breathability of the fabric, even when doing hard workouts like weightlifting or sprints.

Buy it ($50 for set of five)

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