24 Breathable Face Masks That Won’t Slow Down, According to Trainers and Doctors

24 Breathable Face Masks That Won’t Slow Down, According to Trainers and Doctors

Working out is always good for your health, of course, but during a time of isolation, disrupted structure, and general uncertainty, getting your heart rate up and endorphins flowing are straight up essential. Even better for your health and general stable state of mind? Getting outside, and getting outside a lot.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the science has shown that being outside (and staying more than six feet apart to social distance) poses the least risk for getting sick. That's because the air is constantly flowing, making any infectious droplets less stagnant.

"Working out is important to do, especially when we are all stressed during this pandemic," says John Whyte, MD, Chief Medical Officer of WebMD. "Many people are stressed about going to a gym, so a good alternative could be to get some exercise and vitamin D at the same time."

And with all the health precautions around, we want to make sure you're getting your workouts in the safest way possible.

For Masks and an Outdoor Workout, Use Your Best Judgment.

We do not know how long all of this will last. What we do know? "Being outdoors reduces the risk of transmission," says Whyte. "If you are working out, outside and not around other people (e.g. your backyard, a uncrowded park where there aren't a lot of people and can socially distant), you don't need to wear a mask. If you're out running and not coming into contact with other people, you also don't need to wear it. You don't catch coronavirus by passing someone briefly while jogging or crossing a street."

For people who are in cities and more crowded spaces, however, you're better off having a mask for working out on hand. The quick answer? You're probably fine alone in your own backyard. If there might be other people, definitely bring a mask.

Read more: Best N95 Masks

Look for Masks That Are Meant to Get Sweaty.

Not every face mask for working out is conducive to a good workout, though. If you're looking to get outside and into fitness while you're there, you want to look for a reusable face mask that's lightweight, breathable, comfortable, sweat-wicking, and easy to clean.

"Because you are sweating while exercising, and sweat and water makes it harder to keep a good seal, it is important to wear a mask that has a tight woven fabric," says Whyte. "You need to keep it over your nose and chin. No paper or cheap cotton or mesh masks."

Whyte says 100 percent cotton is a solid choice—breathable and comfortable—but higher performance athletes might benefit from something with a tighter seal. UV protection and antimicrobial layers are nice details but not essential. A tight weave and a tight seal are your go-to details here, along with multiple layers of cotton fabric.

Whichever fabric you go for, make sure to keep it clean so it can do its job best. "Wash with soap after each workout," says Whyte. "Don't scrub too vigorously because you can damage [the fabric]. And if you're using a lot, make sure you look for holes before you put it back on."

Does it Have to Be a Mask Mask? What About a Bandana?

Listen, we get it. As much as you must (must!) wear a mask, wearing one while you workout can get uncomfortable. For airier options, like a bandana or gaiter, the consensus: Venture at your own risk. The looser the fit of the face covering, the less protection you're getting, so we recommend a lightweight mask with a secure fit to stay cool. They are better than nothing, but they aren't a direct swap, either. The most important thing is that it stays up and enclosed around your mouth and nose, even as you move.

Luckily, some of our favorite brands are on top of making masks that make your life a little easier. We're talking stretchy masks, filtered neck gaiters, and everything in between. Whether you're running, hiking, or biking, there's a face mask for working out to keep you both protected and comfortably breathing. Here are 24 of the most breathable masks and face masks for working out to buy now, including some picks from the editors at Men's Health.

Read more: Best Workout Clothes for Men

(Assorted retailers)
Premium Traveler's Face Mask




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Built with permanent silver anti-odor protection, this mask traps and neutralizes nasty odors, including sweat. The ultra-soft knit blend lays comfortably against your skin and allows better airflow, helping you breathe easy while working out hard.

Read more: Stylish Face Masks for Men





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It's no surprise that Under Armour made the perfect mask for athletes. The structured design sits up off the face for enhanced breathability, while the anti-microbial treatment on the inside layer keeps the mask fresh long after you've first put it on. The fit is second to none, which is why we love this mask to wear during any kind of advanced training or sports.

Read more: Best KN95 Face Masks

Standard Face Mask




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These masks from Reebok provide just the right amount of airflow to help you perform in your workout while also protecting you from airborne illnesses. The soft material and comfortable ear loops keep your nose and mouth cool under the contoured covering.

Read more: Best Face Masks for Glasses

Rhone Plus 3-Layer Protective Face Mask




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Rhone's durable three-layer mask features a moldable nose bridge, which prevents it from sagging or falling below your nose, thus defeating the purpose of wearing a mask in the first place. The easily adjustable bungee ear loops with silicone bead adjusters contribute to its comfortable fit.

Face Mask Cover Protection




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The cut and form of this mask help increase airflow inside the mask while keeping pathogens out. We recommend keeping a few in your gym bag just in case.

ProSport Adult Face Mask w/ Filter




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With this mask, you have the option to insert a disposable filter for extra protection and peace of mind. The high-stretch material and sliding earloops provide a secure fit that reduces fogging from heavy breathing.

Santorini KN95 masks

Evolve TOgether



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Looking for a stylish and effective face mask to wear to the gym? This upgraded KN95 mask features 6-ply technology, double filtration, and odor-reducing activated charcoal for superior performance and protection. Style and safety have never looked or felt so good.

Sports Face Mask




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The adjustable headband design of this mask helps reduce the pressure around the ears, which makes it extremely comfortable to wear during a long gym sesh. The middle layer of fabric is made from a high-quality sweat-absorbing material, which helps keep the interior dry.

The Mask Kit




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This set of two breathable masks features a multi-layered filtration system and fast-drying fabric that can stand up to the sweatiest workouts. Wear a fresh mask for each workout to prevent mask breakouts, AKA maskne.

AIRism Face Mask




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It's lightweight, breathable, and affordable—there's a lot to love about Uniqlo's AIRism Face Mask. This nylon-blended face mask has three layers of protection to wick away moisture and block out harmful UV rays. Best of all, it's machine washable, so you can easily clean and reuse these bad boys through the rest of the year.

Face Mask




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Koral's top-rated face mask combines antimicrobial properties and fast-drying technology so your mask stays fresh and dry, even if the rest of your clothes are covered in sweat. Stretchy lycra helps the mask to form to your face for a secure, close fit with maximum comfort.

Cooling Gaiter Face Mask




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"These lightweight gaiters are an easy on, easy off solution if you're sick of typical #masklife. Just be careful to avoid dousing them in water—it might get tough to breathe." - Brett Williams, Fitness Editor

Read more: Best Neck Gaiters for Men

CoolNet UV+ Solid Buff




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Buffs are great for runs where you need your stuff to stay put. It has a tight fit—it won't budge while you move—but the cooling material makes it still easy to breathe.

Summer UV Protection Face Cover




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Outdoor adventurers have been using face protectants for years, albeit for different reasons than you might right now. But the benefit is that they know how to make stuff you can breathe in. We like this one for running or cycling; it has a drawstring to make sure it stays snug.

Summer UPF50++ Neck Gaiter

Self Pro



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This lightweight and moisture-wicking gaiter is soft enough that it won't irritate your skin on long runs. And at only $15, you can safely stock up on 2 or 3 to put into regular rotation.

Mindful Masks




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The surface area of this Onzie mask is bigger than most, giving you more coverage (and less slippage) for an outdoor workout. This is made with a stretchy spandex outside and a breathable liner.

Seamless Face Masks




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One of the biggest issues with working out in masks is how much they move around when your body does. Hanes made these stretchy masks that will stay one with your face.

Civil Face Mask




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This mask has the elements of workout gear that you know and love: moisture-wicking and antimicrobial fabrics. That means it won't get wet or stink up if you're sweating a bunch. Plus, you can toss this one in the washer for maximum cleanliness.

Play Safe Face Mask

Shock Doctor



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Zero exposed spaces means minimum places for germs to get in and out. This one was made for athletes, with a moveable part near the mouth (a "quick flip") that lets you grab a sip of water without taking the mask off completely. Drinking water won't prevent Coronavirus but it is a necessity for optimal health and performance. (Feeling lightheaded or dizzy? Make sure it's an isolated symptom.)

Performance Face Mask




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"I love how light and breathable this mask is. The straps go around your head, so no ear fatigue mid-run and the curved shape fits longer faces nicely. " - Jamie Prokell, Creative Director

M2 All-Day Anti-Microbial Face Mask 5 Pack

Buck Mason



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Anti-microbial is another fitness attire staple that is extremely welcome in the realm of face coverings. It means your face mask won't stink up, even if you're operating at maximum level output. Plus, this one looks good. Sometimes that's the edge you need.

Multipurpose Neck Gaiter




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Moisture-wicking is one of the most important elements of workout clothes, and that includes breathable face masks. This neck gaiter makes sure sweat (and heavy breathing) dissipates instead of making the inside of the mask all wet.

Neck Gaiter




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This breathable neck gaiter is super lightweight, making it tolerable to wear on hot summer runs. It's easy to lift up and down, too, if you're off the beaten path and far away from people.

The Better Bandana




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"It's a bandana, so it allows ore air to flow when active, and doesn’t heat up your neck. But it also has an added filter nanofiber filter sewn into the fabric for some additional safety." - Jamie Prokell, Creative Director


Looking for a reusable lightweight face mask for running outdoors? These are the most breathable face masks you can buy now, tested by the editors at Men's Health.