The best breathable face masks for playing sports and exercising
As states and counties lift COVID-19 lockdowns, parents and kids are taking steps back to normal life. Backyard barbecues, outdoor exercise and recreational sports are returning, but with one big change this year: Face masks are still necessary to keep COVID-19 at bay.
“Any type of facial covering and material can be effective as long as it fits well, stays dry, and covers the nose and mouth,” infectious disease expert Mark Cameron told SFGATE.
Of course, wearing the right mask makes a huge difference, especially when exercising. Cameron explained that medical masks, like an N-95, should be avoided for a variety of reasons:
- They’re more stifling during physical activity
- They’ll lose efficacy when inevitably soaked with sweat and moisture during exercise
- Health care workers and other direct caregivers and patients need them
Instead, Cameron suggests experimenting “with light fabrics and various styles to find one they can exercise comfortably with, right from bandanas, to neck gaiters, to home-made or commercial ear-loop masks, or those that are purpose built for various forms of exercise.”
Recent research has shown that face coverings may play a large part in preventing future waves of the virus, and with California, Texas and the Carolinas have all seeing COVID cases rise since Memorial Day, precautionary measures aren’t going anywhere.
“It may not be easy, especially with children, but until we can come down from the plateau phase of new case rates in which we are currently stuck in the U.S., masks are going to be part of our daily lives and our children’s lives if we are to succeed,” Cameron said.
Look for masks made of breathable materials for exercise and sports—athletic wear companies have shifted some of their resources toward producing masks made of moisture-wicking materials typically reserved for undergarments and workout clothes, for example. Here are a few different options to play with, based on your face covering preferences.
Reebok Face covers M/L 3-pack — $30
Face Covers M/L 3-Pack – reebok.com
Cooling Neck Gaiter Face Mask – 12-in-1 Scarf & Head Cover/Wrap — $12.70
Cooling Neck Gaiter Face Mask – 12-in-1 Scarf & Head Cover/Wrap – amazon.com
Uniqlo Airism face mask (pack of three) — $15
Airism Face Mask (Pack of 3) – Uniqlo
Madewell Bandana — $12.50
Madewell Bandana – madewell.com
Under Armour Sportsmask — $30
UA SPORTSMASK – underarmour.com
Athleta Everyday non medical masks 5 pack — $30
Everyday Non Medical Masks 5 Pack – athleta.gap.com
Also available in children’s size.
Buff CoolNet UV+ neck gaiter — $24
BUFF CoolNet UV+ Multifunctional Headwear – dickssportinggoods.com
Adidas Face covers M/L 3-pack — $20
Face Covers M/L 3-Pack – adidas.com
Temporarily sold out
Buck Mason slub knit bandana 2-pack — $28
Slub Knit Bandana 2-Pack – buckmason.com
Face mask made of moisture wicking stretch polyester fabric — $10.50
Face Mask Made Of Moisture Wicking Stretch Polyester Fabric. Reusable, washable, Breathable Masks. – etsy.com
The Purple face mask 2-pack — $20
The Purple Face Mask | 2-Pack – purple.com
Mission cooling neck gaiter — $19.99
MISSION Cooling Neck Gaiter – dickssportinggoods.com
L.L. Bean Buff Coolnet UV Plus Multifunctional Headwear — $24.00
Adults’ Buff Coolnet UV Plus Multifunctional Headwear – llbean.com