The facemask has become the accessory of 2020. It hit the consumer market, according to retail analysts, with the speed of a fad and urgency of an essential item. They went from medical usage to can’t leave home without one in a span of weeks. From disposables to fabric, and medical blue to millions of colorways and patterns.
I can’t think of anything that has become as ubiquitous over this short a period of time.
– Neil Saunders, Retail Analysts.
Lacking from the growing facemask market were masks that went beyond their look and primary function of safety. Facemasks that were made with sports performance in mind, engineered, much like sports tights and shorts and tops are, to be breathable and comfortable during bouts of high intensity exercise. This became more apparent to us as the weather warmed up and the buffs we had been wearing to run in during winter became claustrophobic and bothersome. Our search led us to three sports facemasks, made especially to be worn during physical activity. We’ve run in them, hiked in them, walked in them and shopped in them. Making notes on why they’re better than a regular facemask when it comes to physical activity and which to choose to suit your needs best. The results are below, and while we mainly stuck to testing them during cardio, all would work well and be comfortable in a gym or exercise class setting.
Adidas Face Cover
The adidas face cover is made with soft, breathable fabric (93% Recycled polyester / 7% elastane). It has elastic loops which stretch over your ears. The fabric feels like an unpadded thin sports bra and it has a double layer, one of which is a breathable liner (that looks like the underwear liner of running shorts). It makes for an incredibly flattering and comfortable facemask. It comes in one size (M/L) and two color options (blue and black)
The Sweat Test
We both have small/petite faces and while it was not a tight fit, it didn’t move during running at all, not even when sprinting. It’s the lightest, most comfortable and most breathable face mask and works just as well for both high and low intensity workouts as well as just running errands.
Why We Love it
It has a very sleek and simple design that is flattering. The material is incredibly soft and comfortable and it was the most breathable face mask. This is our favourite sports face mask.
How Much is it?
R299 for a pack of 3 available here or from Adidas Performance stores
Ciovita Sports Face Masks
The Ciovita Sports Face Mask has been designed for exercise specifically running and cycling to allow for easier airflow and breathing. It is a 4-layer mask that includes a hydrophobic mid layer to limit moisture penetration, and polyester mesh outer layers with an anti-microbial treatment which eliminates odours. It’s a stiffer and more structured facemask but still comfortable on. It is specifically shaped to keep the mask away from your mouth while still giving a secure fit and has a nose wire for a better fit and prevent glasses from fogging. It has ear loop and a tie. The ear loops go over the ears and the tie under. This allows you to easily pull it down without having to untie it. this video shows you how to do it. It comes in a variety of colours.
The Sweat Test
It has a bigger fit than the others, but the shape as well as the way they do the ties allowed us to get our perfect fit that didn’t move. It also felt nice and roomy and breathable. Feige has been practicing focusing on nose breathing and noted that this is the only mask that didn’t pull towards her face on inhales.
Why We Love It
The nose wire enables you to mould it to your face and prevents glasses from fogging up, something that most masks fail to do. It is the best mask for wearing glasses. It also has a very secure fit, so it stays put no matter what you’re doing.
How Much is it?
R325 for a pack of 3 available here
Vivolicious Face Masks
The Vivolicious Active Tech Masks are made with tech fabric that allows for more comfortable exercising. The fabric is the same fabric their leggings are made of. It is a triple layer mask with two outer layers made from a cooling tech fabric (87% polyester, 13% elastene) and a middle filter layer made from lightweight tightly woven, sports interlock fabric (100% polyester). It has adjustable elastics that you can fit to your face and wear either around your ears or face. They come in two patterns.
The Sweat Test
We both had to adjust the straps to fit our faces. The elastics are tied and easy to untie and change according to your face measurements. Once we figured out our fit, it was very comfortable and didn’t move. It’s also nice and lightweight.
Why we Love it
The elastics make it the easiest mask to pull down which is perfect if you want to run without a mask but want the option of covering up when you pass other people. It also comes in cute prints which makes it a great everyday mask option.
How much is it?
R86 available here