We all know we need to wear a face mask whenever venturing outdoors, and we’ve already written about our favorite stylish cloth face masks. However, your standard cotton face mask isn’t designed for cycling and running. While non-joggers love to point fingers, there’s a good reason many joggers lower their masks while out on a run. The good news is that several sports gear companies have joined the effort to keep everyone safe, and the best face masks for running won’t slow you down or interfere with your breathing.
Some of our favorite athletic apparel companies have moved quickly to manufacture athletic masks that help you breathe and sweat without wanting to desperately peel off your face mask because it’s too hot.
Most surgical masks are prone to bleeding through with sweat and are generally uncomfortable for physical activity. And have you tried running or cycling with an N95 mask? Impossible to breathe through, even if you can find N95 masks for sale. To help you out, we went looking for the best face masks for running, cycling and athletic activity of any kind.
What Are the Best Face Masks for Running & Cycling?
The ideal exercise mask is made from moisture-wicking material, just like you would want in any type of athletic apparel. The ideal athletic face masks are also breathable and comfortable around your face and ears. They should also offer durability, with the ability to wash and reuse the masks many times without too much wear and tear. No one needs a mask that is going to sweat through and become a sopping mess after their run.
In particular, the best face masks for working out are designed from soft, stretchy and moisture-wicking materials like polyester or spandex. High-performance athletic fabrics will generally offer more breathability and stretch than cotton or linen face masks.
Next, you want to look for a mask that securely attaches to your face without becoming too snug. Ideally, that means elastic bands that secure behind your ears or thin straps that can be tied around your head, neck and/or ears and adjusted to the right fit. You want to keep the mask tight enough to avoid slipping, but not so tight that it affects your breathing. Alternatively, there are balaclava-style masks that wrap around your entire head.
Style points count too, and plenty of companies are producing hilarious cat prints, universe swirls, and other weird stuff. So don’t despair, you can still get out there and train or go for a jaunt and not feel shamed for not wearing a mask. And remember to keep your distance!
Below, we’ve included some of the best options for athletic face masks. Do your part to keep your community safe and mask up before your next sweat session.
1. Athleta Athletic Face Masks (5-Pack)
Athleta is best known for making women’s athletic wear; however, these masks work perfectly well for all adults. We love the neutral colors and stylish prints, as well as the easily adjustable ear loops. Each of these masks are made from a polyester and Spandex blend with a cotton liner. Like medical masks, they feature three layers of fabric, but don’t worry that all that fabric will get in your way. The breathable materials will feel light and airy on your face, and your airflow won’t be blocked as you sweat. To wash these masks, hand wash with cold water and lay flat until dry. Best of all — you get five masks for just $30. If you’re looking for the best face masks for athletic activity, this apparel company has the best option we’ve found yet.
2. BOCO Gear Face Mask
A leading retailer in sports gear, BOCO has rallied to give the public quite a few different options for running face masks. They sit comfortably on your face, stretching to cover your mouth and nose with two elastic bands that attach securely around your hears for ultimate security. These athletic face masks are designed from two layers of fabric and have an internal pocket that can hold a filter. The outer layer is made from woven polyester fabric and the inner layer is made from durable knit performance fabric. Because these materials are soft and thin, it will be easy to breathe without being drenched in sweat. Check out their dozens of prints and colors. These masks are washable so you can reuse them as many times as you need.
3. Koral Athletic Infinity Mask
Koral makes stylish athletic apparel for men and women, and they’re one of the athletic companies that’s switched gears to offer athletes durable unisex face masks. If you’re already a Koral shopper, you can even match the face mask to your favorite tank top or joggers. The brand designed their Infinity face maks with a simple black design and using their antimicrobial performance fabrics. These masks are breathable, offer UV protection, and will dry quickly during your run. In addition to the black infinity mask pictured below, we also like the camo print offered here.
4. INTO THE AM Outdoor Face Wrap
This bandana style face covering is made from 100% polyester and comes in a ton of colorful designs. The polyester will help keep moisture off your body, while the material itself is light and breathable. You can wear this athletic mask in a variety of different ways depending on your preferences.
5. Zensah Performance Face Mask
Zensah has made an ideal mask for running: it has moisture-wicking material which is great for sweating as you exercise. Unlike most cloth face masks, it’s not made from cotton, so you won’t have any bacterial growing on this antimicrobial fabric. The antimicrobial properties come from the silver sewn into the material, halting the growth of bacteria and keeping the mask odor free. In short, the perfect mask for running, cycling and working out.
6. HCMY Face Masks
These multifunctional bandanas serve as excellent face masks and can be reused and washed. Made from 100% polyester, these bandanas will cover your face and let you breathe. While it might get hotter with more material around your neck and head, they are still useful. They stretch to cover your nose and mouth and don’t have any strings to hold them up. They’ll move as you do, which is ideal for anyone who feels claustrophobic with a mask pressed tight against their face. Just but be sure to wash them when you get home.
7. FAYBOX Outdoor Masks (6-pack)
This six-pack of outdoor athletic face masks comes with an assortment of bright and colorful patterns. Each order will include a mix of different designs, which could include solid colors, space prints and paisley. These scarf-style wraps offer UV protection and are loose and breathable. You can wear them around your neck or mouth and quickly adjust as needed during your run. These masks are made from 100% polyester material.
8. Wattie Ink Face Masks
These face masks are custom made by a California triathlon apparel company with the same fabrics they use to create performance racing apparel. All of Wattie Ink’s “Mask Packs” feature an assortment of designs and colors. Made from moisture-wicking material and designed to stop glasses from fogging up, these masks are great for cycling because you’ll be able to breathe easily. Be sure to wash in between uses. These running face masks are available for pre-order from Wattie Ink and come in packs of five.
9. Eliel Face Masks
This cycling company has made a line of “fun facade” masks. Like all of the best face masks for running, each are uniquely hilarious and quirky. Made with breathable, moisture-wicking material, these masks will last you for as long as the pandemic does — and maybe afterward, too. Eliel manufactures these maks in their San Diego factory, and they are also donating masks to local healthcare providers. With an excellent, snug fit around the mouth and nose, you’ll feel comfortable yet still able to breathe as you climb those hills, on your bike or on your feet. Even better, users can insert a dust filter between the layers of fabric for extra protection. These safety masks come in a pack of five or six and will be available to ship around May 13.
10. MASK CULTURE
These stretchy black masks are quite comfortable and durable and can be purchased as a pack of two or a party pack of ten. Made from cotton, they are easy to wash but may become wet during heavy exercising. These cotton masks are best when used for walking or light exercise.
11. PRIME LAYERS The Everyday Mask
Another great choice for ultimate coverage, Prime Layers has made a mask made from a double layer of chambray cotton. This material won’t be the best for moisture-wicking or exercising for a workout but it will be fine for walking or other forms of light exercise. Chambray is a lighter cotton, which makes it better for warm weather.
12. Jjyye Neck Gaiter
Balaclavas aren’t usually a common sight during the summer months, but there’s nothing “usual” about 2020. Balaclavas are a popular face covering, but most of these wraps are designed for winter weather, which causes overheating. This half balaclava neck gaiter is made from a light and breathable silk. This light moisture-wicking fabric will transfer heat, sweat and humidity away from your body. Openings for your ear will help keep this face covering in place while you cycle or run.
13. SUMMER NECK GAITER
This versatile neck gaiter can be used as a face mask and will be tight around your mouth and nose. It comes in various colors and lets your sweat and moisture breathe through the material. It can be used as a headband or a sweat band and is easily tucked away into a pocket. If you’re finding face masks hard to find, consider neck gaiters or face covers that stretch easily.
14. Colorful Neck Gaiters
This neck gaiter can be pulled up to cover your face when you’re running and easily pulled back down when you’re alone. The material is a polyester microfiber that is breathable, sweatproof and moisture-wicking. It dries quickly which is nice for these upcoming hot days; another trick is to run it under cool water before heading out for your run or bike ride to keep your face cool and other people protected. It comes in wacky colors and is fun to wear.