While some cities have started reopening shops and restaurants, the majority of the country is still observing quarantine procedures that were put in place to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. One such measure that’s still in place is the wearing of face masks when out in public, with the CDC recommending cloth face coverings to help prevent the transmission of germs and viruses.
But while cloth face masks can keep you shielded on a walk, or quick trip to the grocery store, not all of these masks are designed for physical activity. Generic cloth masks aren’t always breathable, and worse, they can irritate or chaff the skin. They’re often heavy and saggy, and can fall off if not secured tightly, defeating the whole point of wearing a mask in the first place.
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Luckily, a number of manufacturers are now designing face masks specifically for running, cycling and working out. Keep in mind: these are non-medical face masks, so while they will help shield you against dust, debris or an accidental spray when talking to someone, they aren’t designed for doctors, nurses or frontline workers.
What Are the Best Face Masks For Running and Cycling?
The best face masks for running, cycling or working out should keep you safe, comfortable and dry. Here are a few important things to look for.
Material: Similar to your workout clothes, you want to look for masks made from lightweight, moisture-wicking materials. The best masks for working out will wick away sweat, to keep your face dry and comfortable. You’ll want masks with a bit of stretch in them too (look for the words “elastane” or “spandex” on the tag). This ensures that your mask stays flexible and stays put, moving with you on your run rather than sliding off.
Breathability: All of the picks on our list are made from breathable materials, so you’ll never feel suffocated even if the fabric is over your nose and mouth. Some of our picks have tiny perforations in the front too, for even more breathability.
Fit: Whether you’re on a jog or bike ride, you’ll be in motion, so you want a face mask with a snug fit. Face masks that tie on using elastic straps around the ear are great, but make sure you adjust the straps to keep the mask tight around the mouth. We’ve also found masks (or “gaiters”) that fit around your neck, letting you pull up the material over the mouth. There are also balaclava-style coverings that can be worn like a hood, with an extra section that covers your face as well.
Before you head out on your next run or ride, make sure you pick up one of these masks, to keep you and others safe, even if you’re breaking a sweat.
1. Adidas Unisex Face Covers
Adidas is well-known for its line of lightweight running shoes, and the athletic brand just released a collection of lightweight face masks as well. Super soft and breathable, the Adidas Face Cover is made with a flexible material that won’t constrict movement. Stretchy straps help the mask stay in place while two layers of fabric help keep dust and particles away from your mouth.
Part of Adidas’ “Primegreen” collection, this face covering is made with 93% recyclable polyester. It’s machine-washable and dryer-safe. This is sold as a three-pack, with various sizes available. Adidas says $2 from every pack sold will go to Save the Children’s Global Coronavirus Response Fund.
Adidas Face Covers (Three-Pack), $16, available at Adidas
2. Wolford Stay Safe Water-Repellant Face Mask
This double-layered mask is made from an ultra stretchy yet durable material that holds up to extended use. A water-repellant finish helps to repel sweat and keep your face stay dry even when caught in the rain. An aluminum nose wire and super stretchy bands help the mask stay in place. This mask is machine-washable. Unlike other masks, which are made from a thin and cheap material, this one is designed by a brand known for its leggings, meaning the same thick, comfortable design is used here.
Wolford Stay Safe Face Mask, $35, available at Zappos
3. Mission Cooling Face and Neck Gaiter
Run this highly-reviewed neck gaiter under cold water for a couple seconds, then wring it out and give it a good snap. The company says the material cools to 30 degrees below average body temperature, and stays cool for up to two hours, making it a great choice when running in the sun. The material also has a UPF 50 coating that can block up to 98% of UV rays, giving you an additional layer of protection when you’re outdoors.
This face covering is machine-washable. Slide it over your head and around your neck, then pull up to cover your mouth and nose.
Mission Cooling Face Gaiter, $19.88, available at Amazon
4. Brave New Look Geometric Cloth Mask (with PM2.5 Filter)
For extra peace of mind while working, we like using this protective mask from Brave New Look. Made from a lightweight, cozy material, the mask contains a PM2.5 filter to protect you from small particles and contaminants in the air (The “PM” refers to “particulate matter” while the 2.5 refers to the 2.5 micron measurement of particles that these filters are designed to capture).
Brave New Look Cloth Mask With Filter (Four-Pack, Black), $47.60, available at Brave New Look
Reusable and washable, these masks are available in a simple black design, or choose from dozens of bold colors and patterns. This set of four comes with four filters — one per mask. Slip the filters into a built-in pouch in the mask and breath normally. We recommend replacing the filter after one week of use (more replacement filters available here)
Brave New Look Cloth Mask With Filter (Four-Pack), $68, available at Brave New Look
5. PAGE ONE 12-in-1 Multifunctional Face Masks
This mask is made from a moisture-wicking material that dries quickly and won’t chaff. The microfiber blend is soft against the skin, stretchy and breathable, while still offering protection from the sun, dust, wind, sand and potential germs in the air.
PAGE ONE calls this a multifunctional design, noting that it works as a scarf, headband, wristband, bandana and more. Slide it over your neck, then pull up the sides to cover your mouth. Use the drawstring to tighten and adjust the fit as necessary. Rolled edges prevent the face mask from fraying. Choose from more than two dozen colors and prints.
PAGE ONE Multifunctional Face Mask, $17.99, available at Amazon
6. Buff Original Face Mask
Everyone from marathoners to contestants on Survivor have been known to wear head and face coverings from Buff. This one is made from a lightweight merino wool that not only wicks moisture, but helps to thermal regulate your temperature too. The material is also given a special antimicrobial treatment that helps it repel — rather than absorb — odors. No smelly face masks here. This face wrap is semi-fitted so it stays on even when you’re on the run.
Original Buff Face Covering, $29.95, available at Amazon
7. FOCO Face Coverings
Support your favorite team with a pack of three, reusable face masks, made from soft, breathable materials and stretchy elastic straps to help them stay put. Choose from designs across all the major sporting leagues.
These face masks are reusable and come with an interior pocket for a filter (filter not included). Prefer a more basic design? FOCO has dozens of solid colors and more neutral patterns available as well.
FOCO Face Coverings, $10+, available at FOCO
8. Champion Lay Flat Wicking Masks
Athletic brand, Champion, introduces a stylish camo-print face mask that’s made from a lightweight, moisture-wicking polyester and spandex mix. The poly-blend is machine-washable and keeps you cool, while the spandex lets you move and run freely without worrying about the mask falling off. As the name suggests, this mask sits more “flat” against the face, rather than bulging out, making for a more natural, comfortable fit.
Champion Lay Flat Wicking Masks, $12, available at Champion
9. Hanes Wicking Cotton Masks (Bulk Pack)
Stock up on these simple, cotton masks from Hanes — the brand known for their super-soft T-shirts is now making equally soft face masks for working out, with a moisture-wicking material that repels sweat as you move. The non-medical masks features three layers of breathable fabric, plus adjustable nosepiece and front panel pleats for extra coverage. The cotton straps loop comfortably around your ears.
This is the best deal on face masks for running, as this value-packed set gets you 50 unisex face masks for just $125 — that’s just $2.50 per mask. Hanes says the masks can be machine-washed and re-used up to 20 times without losing its shape or functionality.
Hanes Wicking Cotton Face Masks (50-pack), $125, available at Champion
10. Athleta Face Masks
One of the top picks from reviewers online for best face masks for running, activewear brand Athleta has released this five-pack of lightweight face masks, made from a stretchy polyester and spandex blend. The masks slide over your face using the elastic ear straps and are lined with airy cotton for breathability. Athleta has pledged to donate 100,000 non-medical masks to healthcare organizations in support of frontline workers.
Athleta Face Masks (five-pack), $30, available at Athleta
11. Columbia Trail Summit Balaclava II
Columbia is no stranger to outdoor gear, and we like this lightweight balaclava, which helps to cover your face and neck while you’re outside. It’s great for running in the rain (or more treacherous conditions). The tight-weave construction is made with 15 percent stretch for a flexible fit that moves with you. Columbia says its “Omni-Wick” technology pulls moisture away from your body to keep you dry, while its “Omni-Heat” thermal reflective layer helps regulate body heat, reflecting warmth back to your body. Tiny holes near the mouth allow for breathability.
Columbia Trail Summit Balaclava, $30, available at Zappos
12. Lookhuman Face Masks
They don’t have the same moisture-wicking properties as other masks on our list, but these hand-sewn cloth masks from Lookhuman are a great lightweight pick. The polyester mask offers full face coverage, with straps that tuck securely behind your ear to prevent the mask from shifting while you’re on the move. We like this gray ombre mask, but Lookhuman has more than three dozen other prints and patterns available here.
Lookhuman Face Mask Cover, $13.99, available at Lookhuman
13. iHeartRaves Seamless Face Mask
As the company name suggests, these printed mouth coverings were designed to keep dust and dirt out of your face at outdoor festivals and raves, but they’ve come in handy these days as great face masks for running. They’re made from a microfiber material that wicks moisture to keep you dry (the company says the mask dries fully in minutes). The seamless design means no loose threads to worry about, or rough edges to scratch your face.
The one-size-fits-all design fits easily over your head and stays put, even while you’re in motion. Choose from more than 20 patterns, from classic to more fashion-forward.
iHeartRaves Seamless Face Mask, $11.95, available at Amazon
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