I am the proud owner of about 757 masks (okay, fine, like 12), but it feels like hundreds. Until recently not one was good as a workout mask. In fact, I really couldn’t quite see how any mask would be able to effectively last through a workout. I’m talking like kettlebell-swinging, box-jumping, ball-slamming, block-running, rope-jumping strength and conditioning workouts. That is, until I tried the Under Armour (UA) Sportsmask.
After several months and, man, many masks tried, I’m thrilled I can finally say that I found a workout mask that actually lived up to its hype.
I had been hearing about this mask for a while, but I was just as skeptical; I didn’t want to believe the hype, mostly because I didn’t want to be let down. I’m pretty sure we’ve all had our fair share of letdowns this year; subpar mask performance need not be another. That said, like pretty much everything else that gets spoon-fed to me via targeted ads and algorithms, I purchased it anyway. It was back-ordered and so I would need to wait. But my workouts would not.
While I was waiting on my UA Sportsmask, I did a couple of masked, socially distanced outdoor group workouts. Each time I used a different plain old cloth mask. Both times it was a hot mess, literally. I sweat a lot (as I mentioned before in my story on my favorite leggings), and that is a huge factor in my choice of apparel and/or accessories. A sopping-wet mask that gets sucked into your mouth as you do some burpees is far from pleasant, let me tell you.
And then the UA mask came. After weeks with the other masks, you can probably see why I had very little faith that this one would be that different. I’m thrilled to report I was dead wrong. From the moment I opened it, I could tell it was different.
As soon as I put it on, I could see that the design of the mask had been well thought out. The fabric, which UA calls IsoChill, is soft and breathable, and wicks sweat. The IsoChill fabric is created to help you feel cool, which I actually didn’t notice as much because any coolness was overshadowed by the overall comfort factor. It feels smooth on the skin and didn’t feel like it was pinching anywhere or like it would chafe my face. The ear loops are also made from the same IsoChill fabric, so they are far more comfortable than the ear loops on most of my masks. Structurally, the mask sits in such a way that the fabric doesn’t touch your mouth (read: no inhaling the whole mask when panting through a workout). Plus, it has an adjustable nose bridge to help the mask stay in place, which means less touching and adjusting it, and probably spreading fewer germs. Normally, I am constantly adjusting my mask, especially as it gets sweatier and thus heavier. The Sportsmask stayed in place even postworkout, when I put it to the test with some extra-credit jump rope. That’s when it really impressed me.
The biggest benefit that I noticed throughout that first workout was that I barely paid attention to it. That says a lot. Going from always being worried my mask was going to move around, or that I would purposely have to move it to catch my breath, to almost forgetting I was wearing a mask at all is pretty incredible. Oh, other neat things: It comes with its own little carrying bag to keep it clean and away from the rest of your stuff. Smart. It also comes with detailed instructions on how to put it on, take it off, and wash it. Also smart.
The only catch is that it’s not a super-cheap mask (at $ 30, it might be beyond your budget, but I feel it’s totally worth it for the extra design perks). You also have to measure your face to get the right size, which wasn’t a huge lift. I definitely recommend taking your time with it, since some reviewers have complained about it slipping off their face, though mine fit me really well and I had no problems.
Despite my initial reservations, I love this mask so much that I’m even buying another. Believe the hype.