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As the weather is getting gloomier and colder, we’ll be moving our fitness indoors. With that, we’ll need to wear masks while working out. Knowing people may be sensitive to this subject, I’ve tried many different masks so I could provide the best guidance as possible for those on the fence regarding working out with one.
First off, wearing a mask while working out does NOT affect oxygen levels (a doctor ran 21+ miles to debunk the myth here: https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a33521706/face-mask-oxygen-levels-running-myth-coronavirus-doctor-fact-check/ ) HOWEVER, I’d be a fool by telling you it’s not a little uncomfortable. For the most part, it’s a mental issue that you will quickly forget about once you start your workout (just like the workouts!). The type of mask greatly affects that mental side because some are hot and not as breathable and some are not. In this post, I’ll review the ones I tried and you can make the decision on what you want to do.
I’ll try to make it simple. I’ll rate the mask on a 1-5 scale with one being unfavorable and five being most favorable. The scale will only rate the masks against each other since I could only rate a select few.
1) Standard Paper Mask - I do not suggest wearing this type of mask because it’s the worst, and that’s to be expected. It’s the cheapest, however, it will get the job done. If this is your only option, we can provide option two to you, free of charge. RATING - 1
2) Bella Canvas 2-Ply Reusable Face Mask (https://shop.bellacanvas.com/products/2-ply-reusable-face-mask) . This mask is a sized option and at $3.99, it’s one of the cheapest. We have a surplus of the M/L size so if that’s the size that fits you, according to the website, we’ll give you one. This mask will be more comfortable than a paper one but it does have a tendency to suck into your mouth when you’re breathing heavy. This can cause a very uncomfortable feeling if the mask is too big for you. If you can afford it, I would suggest upgrading but since it’s free, it’s a better option than a paper one. RATING = 2
3) Tommy Copper Community Wear Face Mask. I don’t have a link for this one but I did purchase a two-pack at Home Depot for $14.99. It comes in black and the ear loops are adjustable. This adjustability is a great perk. It’s a great feeling mask, however, the cotton liner does have a tendency to suck in during a heavy breathing session. They look great and the adjustability is a plus but I can’t say it’s twice as good as the Bella Canvas Mask, considering price. If you want a great mask to wear out and about, it’s pretty good, just not great to workout in. RATING = 2
4) Blue Bear Protection Sports Mask (https://bluebearprotection.com/collections/sports-masks/products/the-sports-mask-bbp?variant=32881866997860). The link goes to the 3-Pack but I was able to get a single for $19.99 shipped. They call it a sports mask. It does have loop adjustability and the liner does a reasonable job not sucking in under intense workouts. Breathability is pretty good but not great. I’m going to give it a middle of the road rating only because for the cost, it’s not as great as similarly priced masks. RATING = 3
5) Mission Cooling Neck Gaiter (https://www.amazon.com/Mission-Cooling-Gaiter-Customize-Coverage/dp/B08BPFPQ22). Here’s where it starts to get interesting. My test gaiter was the Youth version priced at $14.99. I did not try the adult version but I have heard it has a tendency to fall down and it’s priced at $19.99. The youth version was the most breathable option I tested. The only issue I found was the size was a little small for my face. Due to the size and breathability, it did not suck in during intense breathing, however, do not wet the front of it down prior to use as that can cause it to lose its comfort. When compared with other “masks” I find this to be the best value. RATING = 5 (Youth Size)
6) Zensah Performance Face Mask (https://www.zappos.com/p/zensah-performance-face-mask-black/product/9457038/color/3)). At $18.99, I found this to be one of the better value masks out there. It does a fantastic job staying away from your mouth. It’s not as breathable as the Mission Gaiter but it is as good or more comfortable. I find it significantly better than the Blue Bear but probably not as good as the Mission as it can get a little hot. RATING = 4
7) Under Armour Sports Mask (https://www.underarmour.com/en-us/p/ua-sportsmask/1368010.html). At $29.99, this mask is the most expensive of the bunch. It is also the most comfortable from a fabric perspective. It’s a bit more rigid in the front, which allows it to not suck in under intense breathing. Breathing in has a cooling effect, which is nice. There were times during my workout where I felt it did get a little hotter than the Zensah though. It is the only one with an adjustable wire for the nose but it does not have adjustable ear loops. I don’t think you can go wrong with this mask. It is the most expensive but it’s also the most comfortable. The only reason I’m rating it a little lower is because of the cost. RATING = 4
There you have it. Just like other gear we have, your workout experience can be greatly affected by the type of mask you own. Obviously, the best situation is to not have to wear a mask, but I hope you found this helpful. If you have any additional questions or want to provide your own review, let me know.