The best face mask for running is more than just a piece of fabric in front of your mouth and nose that block the air. Unlike masks designed for everyday use, the best face coverings for running, exercise and workouts allow improved airflow and greater comfort during strenuous exercises. And some of them will even let you drink without removing the mask. During the global COVID pandemic, many people realised how important it is to protect others – and themselves – while exercising. Wearing a face mask for exercise can help you stay germ-free while boosting your immune system (by exercising).
Best face masks for running to buy right now
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If you must wear a mask for exercising, maybe because you have an indoor class in a gym or you feel safer wearing a mask when running, the ASICS Runners Face Cover will do a great job providing you with a bit of breathing space and making sure your nose and mouth are covered adequately.
The ASICS Runners Face Cover is light and breathable; surprisingly enough, you can actually drink through it, should you want to. Better still, it dries quickly, so you don't have to worry about getting it wet with your sweat or by drinking water through it. It is worth noting that if you actually drink through the ASICS Runners Face Cover, you will wash the mask with the water that goes through it, making it even less appealing to drink through the face cover. It is possible, though.
All the great performance features come at a price: the ASICS Runners Face Cover is around twice the price of good quality reusable masks, if not three times. That said, even the best fabric masks are not good enough for sports, unlike the ASICS Runners Face Cover, which is, to some degree.
Read our full ASICS Runners Face Cover review
Is the UA SPORTSMASK necessary? Only if you feel unsafe without a mask or live in a place where masks are mandatory. Will it protect you from any viruses? Highly unlikely. It will, however, help contain your breath/cough droplets, and the special three-layer construction makes it more suitable for exercise than a standard mask.
If you must wear a mask when working out, wear the UA SPORTSMASK, as it is at least somewhat suitable for more strenuous activity. Regular face masks sit too close to the face and are also not too breathable, but the UA SPORTSMASK has a few features to make working out in a face mask more bearable, such as the antimicrobial inner layer and the water-resistant outer shell.
Unlike the ASICS Runners Face Cover, the UA SPORTSMASK doesn't follow the 'one-size-fits-all' approach and comes in three different sizes. This makes finding the right fit easier, so your mouth and nose are covered more adequately. The Iso-Chill inner layer will increase comfort levels even more, at least as much as wearing a face mask during exercise will let you.
Read our full Under Armour UA SPORTSMASK review
The Adidas Face Cover is a more basic concept than the top two choices, but it has certain advantages over those, such as being available to buy most of the time and also being significantly cheaper. This doesn't mean that the Adidas Face Cover is cheap per see, and wearing this workout mask is definitely better than just wearing a neck gaiter for running. Better still, the Adidas Face Cover uses 40% recycled material (Primegreen models), and it is also easy to use and reuse, according to Adidas anyway. You get three masks for £15/$20, too, perfect for price-conscious athletes.
Not quite as sophisticated as the ASICS Runners Face Cover, the Shock Doctor Play Safe Face Mask offers a way to drink water while wearing a mask, thanks to its patent-pending Quick-Flip technology. As the name might suggest, the upper part of the mask can be 'flipped up' to reveal the mouthpiece, through which you can take water without taking the mask off.
There is no need to panic even if the Shock Doctor Play Safe Face Mask gets wet as it is made of a moisture-wicking material that dries easily, all the while being comfortable to wear thanks to the elastic dual head straps that wrap around the back of the head. The material is also machine washable, making both the Face Mask and Gaiter reusable, unlike single-use disposable masks.
The Shock Doctor Play Safe Face Mask comes in a range of colourways and print options there is even a neck gaiter option for even more protection below the head, ideal for the colder months.
Why should you wear running face mask
Wearing a mask for exercising can help contain your cough droplets which might stop the spread of viruses and other airborne illnesses. Due to the increased oxygen demand of the body during exercising, athletes breathe more, which increases the possibility of spreading viruses and/or bacteria, especially when exercising indoors.
We all agree that wearing a mask for exercising is not ideal, but the best face masks for running make masked workouts less dreadful. If it is mandatory to be masked where you live, they are genuinely essential. Most running face masks provide a little more breathing space in front of your face as well as being quick-drying and easily washable. This means that workout masks will sweat wick away faster, letting you breathe easier during exercising and will not get damp in the best gym bag either.
What are the best face masks for running?
We expect a lot more running face masks to come to the market shortly, but the best face mask is the ASICS Runners Face Cover. Truth be told, it is not available to buy just yet, but it will be very soon. The ASICS Runners Face Cover is not cheap, but it is the best face covering for exercising so far. If you are after a running face mask, you should get the Under Armour SPORTSMASK which is cheaper than the ASICS Runners Face Cover plus and has an ISO-CHILL layer on the inside of the mask to keep your face cool during workouts. It also comes with a carry case, which is more bang for your buck!