What’s The Best Face Mask To Use For Sports And Working Out Outside?
We put 7 fabric and disposable face masks to the test to find out which is the best mask to use for outdoor sports or working out in the gym
Face masks are already a hassle to put up with for your normal outdoor activities like walking, accomplishing your chores, or walking up or down the stairs. Imagine having to wear one if you want to start working out in the gym again, or if you want to pick up on your sport or hobby like biking, tennis, or badminton.
Since many establishments are now reopening and restrictions are starting to ease up to allow for more physical activities outside, we round up the best masks we could find for working out and put them to the test. We take note of all the pros and cons that come with each mask, and how well they hold up to their claims.
We drop by Surge Fitness in M. Place in Quezon City, which has just reopened for its members, to test which fabric or disposable face mask is the most comfortable, the most practical, and the most breathable for intense workouts.
Onelifes7rong Face Mask, P500 for a set of two
These limited edition Onelife masks are 2-ply fabric masks made with a dri-fit outer layer for breathability and a cotton inner layer for added filtration. It has a garterized ear loop for a snug, yet comfortable fit, and is proudly Philippine made.
The masks feature the design of artist Lala Jara-Tuazon, an abstract artist who uses colors, textures, and shapes to convey human emotions. For this collaboration, she created two paintings to evoke hope, joy, and positivity.
For every purchase of a #OnelifeS7rong mask set, Onelife matches it with a mask for an underprivileged everyday frontliner (cashiers, servers, drivers, etc.).
Our verdict – PROS:
This limited edition mask comes from Onelife Studio, a premier Pilates studio in the metro. When it comes to workout-friendly paraphernalia, they must know what they’re doing since they specialize in creating workouts and offering services tailor-made for your needs.
The Onelife mask is definitely super light and breathable, and upon touch, feels just like the breathable fabric used in premium sportswear. This makes the mask super comfortable and breathtable even during the toughest workouts and cardio sessions. It definitely holds up really well even during our sweatiest moments.
The ear loop is also very flexible, so it doesn’t hurt the ears even during long wear.
Since there is a slight stretch to the mask’s fabric, it was able to sit well on different kinds and shapes of faces. It doesn’t move even during strenuous cardio like jump rope, which is very important when looking for a mask for working out.
The beautiful design is also the cherry on the top of this mask. Wearable art, for us, is one of the best things to purchase for yourself and your loved ones—not to mention that every purchase also gives back to the community through Onelife’s promise to donate one mask for underprivileged frontliners.
Our verdict – CONS:
The comfort and breathability of fabric masks come as a double-edged sword. Because of the lightness of the fabric, there is a tendency that the fabric can getting sucked in by your nose or mouth when your breathing gets super heavy.
It’s made with only 2 layers of fabric, so people who
are very particular about needing 3 layers for optimum protection from droplets
may feel the need to layer an extra surgical mask inside (although this defeats
the purpose of its breathability). However, don’t be discouraged because
according to research, tightly woven 100% cotton—which is used in this mask—has
been found to outperform most synthetic fibers for face masks.
MASQ Air from The MASQ Collection, P165 per mask, with free multi-wear straps
The MASQ Air is MASQ Collection’s all new sports mask, featuring the signature MASQ design & technology that allows for concentrated particle filtration while remaining highly breathable.
The MASQ Air sports mask is 3x lighter than the regular face masks from MASQ. It only weighs 0.17 pounds, and beta testers attest to wearing it as if you have nothing on. It is lightweight and skin-friendly.
It is also 3x more breathable. With generic masks, you go up the stairs, and you immediately find yourself panting for air. This won’t happen with the MASQ Air. Myka, the owner and founder behind MASQ Collection, says: “The polypropylene fabric we used contains spunbond, meltblown and spunlace materials, practically making it nine ply. This technology enables high particle filtration while remaining highly breathable. It’s really like you have nothing on.”
The MASQ Air is 10x easier to clean and dry than washable masks because polypropylene has no active dye sites. That means if something spills or soils the fabric, the stain simply sits between the fibers and can easily be washed off. It’s essentially water-resistant.
The MASQ Air also features the signature MASQ Design, which promises spacious interior and facial contours, made with polypropylene and non-woven material that can filter 95% of microbes.
To clean, you can soak it in warm water with soap and hang out in the sun, and it should be dry in about 15 minutes!
The MASQ Air will be launched on the MASQ Collection website and Instagram page this month.
Our verdict: PROS
True to the promise of this brand, the mask is indeed one of the best-fitting masks we’ve ever tried. The signature MASQ design is really worth praising, since it has a good nose contour, chin cup, and spacious interiors inside, with no side gaps. If you’re looking for the perfect mask shape to fit all face sizes, this is it!
Despite its seemingly large profile, the MASQ Air is very light and breathable. We were able to clock in half an hour on the treadmill with this on, and even continued wearing it as we wrapped up our gym visit. That’s how well it held up against rigorous cardio activity.
We also love the multi-wear strap so the ear loops don’t need to sit uncomfortably behind your ears.
The original face masks from The MASQ Collection became famous for their beautiful designs, and the MASQ Air tried not to get left behind by coming in beautiful neon and sporty shades.
Overall, these are super breathable, and the best-fitting mask we’ve tried. Perfect for all kinds of workout.
Our verdict: CONS
Since it’s made with polypropylene fabric, the mask will not last you forever. It can only withstand 20-30 washes, and might take around 30 years to degrade. That’s still so much better than regular synthetics, which takes hundreds of years to break down.
Nina Inabel premium woven face masks, P800 per mask
Nina Inabel is a brand born from ABS-CBN Broadcast Journalist Nina Corpuz, who started with her love for Inabel or Abel Iloco. What started out as a hobby has now become a brand that truly supports not just the Ilocano weavers, but local cotton farmers who used to plant tobacco.
Nina Inabel’s premium woven face masks come in different weaves native to different provinces in the Philippines: Pinilian, Binakul, and Inabel to name a few. All masks are waterproof and reversible, with a handwoven fabric on one side and a PPE material on the reverse side. It also features a nose grip and adjustable ear loops.
According to Nina, this mask is a favorite of Gretchen Ho for biking.
Our verdict: PROS
There is beauty in the simplicity of these masks, especially when you know the effort and history that goes into each one. Through the years, Nina and her brand, Nina Inabel, has been a huge advocate of handwoven fabrics, showcasing traditionally modern clothing perfect for this day and age. When you buy Nina Inabel, you not only own a piece of history; you also help revive the weaving community, mostly involving women.
The masks are definitely very premium to the touch, with the PPE fabric on the reverse side comfortable and silky smooth on the skin. The woven side is also very soft and looks beautiful when worn.
What we also love about the mask is the nose grip so you can adjust it to your face’s needs. The adjustable ear loops also help in the overall comfort level of the mask
Our verdict: CONS
The layers of the mask are very good in protecting yourself against coronavirus droplets, however, it may not be the most breathable mask for heavy cardio activity. Use it only for light workouts, because it can be hard to breathe when your breathing gets too heavy.
Fine Guard Sport face mask, P2,195 for a set of two
Coming from the successful Comfort mask, Fine Guard introduces another groundbreaking innovation and product—the Sport mask. The Sport mask was designed for athletes and those with an active lifestyle, using multi-patented Swiss Livinguard technology that’s clinically proven to immediately neutralize and kill viruses and germs on contact.
Made from a blend of Livinguard-treated cotton and lycra, the mask guarantees superior protection without compromising breathability and freedom of movement. According to tests conducted by the University of Arizona, Berlin Open University, and University of Aachen, the mask was proven to kill 99.9% of pathogens, including Covid-19. Currently, it is the only sports mask endorsed by the Medical Wellness Association for the prevention of Covid-19 infection.
The mask is also equipped with a Velcro fastening system and silicone self-locking adjusters for a comfortable and customized fit.
In response to the sustainability issue of disposable masks, each Fine Guard Sport mask was made to withstand up to 50 washes. As a general rule, the mask should be washed once a week, assuming regular usage, depending on the user’s wear time and sweat rate. To clean, handwash in warm water, or a bit of soap. Powerful cleaning agents such as bleach or detergents should be avoided to preserve the mask’s Livinguard Technology.
Our verdict: PROS
The Fine Guard Sport mask is probably the most comfortable, lightweight, and breathable fabric mask we’ve ever worn. Ever! True to their promise, the material is really the softest material, which your skin will appreciate and love.
When put to the test, the Sport mask lets us breathe freely even during the hardest of workouts. The fabric is also moisture wicking so it holds up even through the sweatiest of workouts.
Another shining feature of the Fine Guard Sport is in its straps and mechanics. The Velcro strap that goes around your head is super helpful so that the mask doesn’t move even during the most active activities. No ear pinching here, as well.
We also like that it comes in two pairs per box so you can carry an extra mask with you to wear after an intense workout in the gym. The same way you don’t want to be walking around with sweaty clothes, you don’t want to be walking around with a sweaty mask.
Overall, the Sport really is one of the finest fabric masks you’ll find anywhere in terms of protection and comfort.
Our verdict: CONS
Like other fabric masks, the downside with super breathable and lightweight masks like the Fine Guard Sport is that there is a tendency for the fabric to get sucked in through the mouth when gasping for breath through a difficult cardio session.
The nose grip is also very helpful, but since the fabric is so soft, people with flatter noses will find that the nose grip finds it hard to stay in place.
You also have to be careful with the Velcro strap since it can get caught in other fabrics when you open it or store it. High-grade Velcro like Fine Guard’s can damage very sensitive fabrics.
Air Queen Nano Mask, P64 (currently on a 50% discount!) each
The Air Queen Nano Mask is an N95 mask from Korea and is also approved by the US FDA. It’s lighter than paper, so it really feels like you’re not wearing a mask at all and it doesn’t make you sweat.
It’s made from nano fiber material by Toptec, one of the pioneers of nano fiber technology, so you know that the mask keeps you safe from viruses and bacteria.
Due to its unique shape, the mask stays well on the face without smearing your lipstick. It’s also dermatologist-recommended for avoiding maskne or mask acne.
The mask is reusable for up to 30 days and washable up to 20 times. Its regular price is 129 pesos but it’s currently at 50% off for only 64 pesos, so if you use it for 30 days, it’s like you paid 2 pesos per day!
Air Queen is officially distributed here by AirQueen Philippines.
Our verdict: PROS
Indeed, the Air Queen lives up to its name. It’s light as air, so it’s a super good companion for light and even up to intense workouts. The mask is super breathable, and has a very comfortable texture, which does not irritate the face even when you need to move a lot.
The Air Queen also has a very good structure so that it sits well on the face, covers the nose and chin well, without needing to stick too much on the face. It feels like there are pockets of space inside the mask so your lips don’t rub against the fabric. This is very crucial when doing intense activities since you don’t want to be getting face and lip burns from all the friction.
Even though it’s a disposable mask, it feels almost fabric-y because of its softness and breathability. Unlike usual masks with elastic ear loops, the Air Queen also has ear loops that offer superior comfort, so you won’t feel the tug on your ears even for hours of use.
Our verdict: CONS
If you’re after sustainability, it’s still a shame that you can only use the Air Queen for so many days. The super white color also gets dirty visually, especially if you’re going to wear it outside for biking or jogging where it gets into contact with a lot of air pollution and dirt.
Since it’s made with an almost paper-like material, expect a bit of dampness when you sweat a lot.
Soom Lab Hyper Purifying Breathing Mask, P85 each
Soom Lab is one of the most popular masks made from Korea that feature Nano Fiber technology for superior protection. It’s made with a nano filter that can achieve almost 99% filtration, and Beyondtex material, which has numerous invisible air holes that allow air to flow well and completely block pollutants.
The nano technology does not only filter PM2.5 ultrafine dust, viruses, and bacteria, but also makes it so much easier for the wearer to breathe.
It has a firm nose guard that keeps the mask from slipping down and prevents foggy glasses, while the soft ear band design allows for long-term use with ease.
Soom Lab is not washable but is reusable for up to 30 days as long as you disinfect with alcohol.
Soom Lab is officially distributed here by AirQueen Philippines.
Our verdict: PROS
True to their promise, the Soom Lab really is highly breathable. You’ll appreciate how thin it is upon touch and it’s definitely the lightest mask we’ve tried.
For its price, it also gives so much bang for your buck since you can keep reusing it for up to 30 days after thorough sanitizing with alcohol.
For those who are very particular about protection, you’ll love that the Soom Lab is made with 4-ply fabrics, with a filtration level that’s equivalent to an N95 mask.
Our verdict: CONS
The innermost CCL 2D layer is a bit plasticky for our liking, so you feel like there’s a plastic barrier sitting on top of your face. Although, you will get used to it after a while.
We also noticed that the mask has the tendency to ride
up the face during intense cardio activity, since the material of the mask is
not very flexible. Just like other masks with nose grips, you’re quite at a
disadvantage if you have a flatter nose since the grip can’t lock on to your
Naroo Mask F.U.+ Copper, P1,599 each
The Naroo Mask prides itself in its breathability while doing sports or working out. It’s made with a Micronet filter fabric that blocks 99% of ultra fine dust particles and poll en with sizes 40 times smaller than human hair.
On the inner side of the mask, you’ll find an interwoven copper nano yarn with enhanced biocidal properties. The yarn and copper combination maximizes the copper’s functions such as deodorization, preventing static, and killing pathogens. This copper fibre is scientifically certified to be 99% effective at killing microbes, and has been tested and approved by accredited institutions in Korea and Japan. This mask not only blocks droplets, but it actively kills microbes as well. So it protects not just you, but also those around you as it works in both directions.
The mask is fitted with an adjustable ear loop and can survive through 100+ washes.
The highlight of the Naroo F.U.+ Copper is its 99% UV protection, so it’s especially perfect when you’re doing outdoor sports and physical activities like biking and jogging.
Our verdict: PROS
When they say breathable, the really mean breathable! What we love about the Naroo mask is that on top of its amazing antimicrobial properties, its still able to stay thin and breathable even during the hardest workouts. We noticed that breathing while wearing the Naroo feels just like you’re just breathing normally, so it’s the perfect companion for high-intensity workouts and cardio.
The fabric is also superbly moisture-wicking, so it holds up very well when you’re sweating a lot from the workout.
It’s also the only mask that we’ve seen so far that features UV protection, so that’s a big plus when you want to go for a bike or a jog outside.
In general, you definitely want the Naroo mask if you’re preparing for a long bike or an intense cardio circuit.
Our verdict: CONS
The Naroo mask is probably the most face-hugging mask we’ve ever tried—and this is both good and bad. It’s good because it stays on your face even during intense movements, but it’s also bad because it’s literally gripping on all facets of your face. When we tried the Naroo mask, we noticed how much it scratches on the lips since we have to move our lips around to be able to talk or breathe through the workout. So if you have sensitive lips, you might find the Naroo a bit uncomfortable.
In conclusion: Which is the best face mask to use for outdoor sports and workout?
To be honest, it depends. We all have our own preferences and facial structures, so pick your poison.
In general, fabric masks like the Fine Guard, Naroo, Nina Inabel and Onelife mask are the more sustainable choices since you can reuse them for quite a while. They’re also the most comfortable in terms of skin-to-mask contact, since you can feel the lightness of the fabric on the skin.
Disposable masks, however, like the Air Queen, Soom Lab, and MASQ Air, are very good when it comes to providing structure. If you want that extra breathing space inside your face and if you don’t want the mask rubbing on your lips, you’ll like how these masks are designed.
There is no perfect face mask, especially when you have to move around and sweat a lot. You just have to find the priorities you want when you’re looking for a mask, and the cons that you can live with while you’re using it.
Use our detailed pros and cons to weigh which mask is right for you!