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Let me just start by making this statement up front: If you are anti-mask, just go ahead and bounce up off this page because this ain’t for you, dawg.
I’m neither a doctor nor Dr. Fauci, so I’m not going to get into the science of wearing masks and transmission rates. If you’re continuing to read this post, it’s because you are curious about this particular mask and what I think about it. Now that it’s just us here, let’s get to it, shall we?
Long story short: The Under Armour Sportsmask is a fantastic face mask for indoor cycling instructors, runners, hikers, and grocery shoppers. Can I call it the best face mask for working out? Well, I haven’t tried every single style and brand out there, so I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s the best face mask I have and the one that I use the most for teaching my indoor cycling classes.
Side note: I never would’ve imagined writing a post about my favorite face masks to wear for running, indoor cycling, working out, etc. Maybe for the winter, if I was reviewing a neck gaiter that I was transforming into a balaclava, but that’s about it! Crazy times, ey?
Watch The Video Review to See it For Yourself!
What Do I Look for in a Face Mask for Fitness?
I have a few key determining factors when picking a mask for my various workouts:
These are the factors I’m using in this review, but I will also share the cons of this specific mask for your reference. It ain’t all perfect, and you’ll read why (yes, you have to read it! Or, I guess you can watch the video and cheat a little…)
For reference, this mask is built with three layers and comes in five sizes (XS/SM, SM/MD, MD/L, L/XL, XL/XXL) and four colors (black, gray, navy, and red). This mask was designed specifically for athletes and is very structured.
The three-layer concept is pretty great to me. The outer layer is water-resistant, the inner layer has an anti-microbial treatment, and the inner layer is lined with fabric designed to keep you cool (more details on that below).
The engineering and the athlete-centered design of this product are exactly what I look for in Under Armour. What first drew me to the brand (besides them being local!) was the science and innovation. With the UA Sportsmask, it checks all of those boxes.
This mask is very breathable. It doesn’t do that weird thing when you start breathing heavily and you inhale and end up sucking the mask up like a vacuum (if you know, you know). In fact, with the way that this mask is designed, the part that normally goes over your mouth sits away from your face. It feels like you only have the mask on your nose and chin. That’s how breathable it is. (Watch the video to see it in action.)
In addition to not choking on your mask, I have been able to teach back-to-back indoor cycling classes (we’re talking mask on for over two hours) without having any breathing issues. With some masks, I have felt like my lungs were going to collapse. I know that sounds dramatic, but I’m actually not being dramatic this time. Honestly!
What’s even better is that I can breathe in the mask, complete the workout, talk to the class the majority of the time, and it doesn’t really sound like I’m speaking through a mask. You know that muffled sound? Like one of Charlie Brown’s teachers? Not an issue here.
The inner layer and the ear loops of this mask are made with Under Armour’s Iso-Chill fabric. This means that it stays cool, every during a super hot and sweaty workout. I’ve taken this mask for runs on hot, summer days, and the temperature inside the mask felt as though it was unchanged the entire time. With some of my other masks, it felt like I was wearing wet drawers on my face after a tough workout (not that I’ve ever tried that before), and that is just… no bueno.
The UA Sportsmask is so comfortable. I’m not going to say that you completely forget that you’re wearing a mask, but it does have a bit of a “set it and forget it” feel to it. There have been plenty of times where I’ve taught a double-header of indoor cycling classes, then I’ve walked over the farmer’s market, walked around the farmer’s market, walked back to my car, and even driven home with the mask on, and it hasn’t bothered me. With some masks, you just want to rip it off and take deep breaths. I haven’t had that issue with this mask.
This is the first mask I’ve ever purchased where I had to measure my face. Much like when I got sized for my engagement ring, I overestimated my size prior to actually measuring it. Let me just say, I am so glad that I measured my face instead of just guessing my size! I wear a SM/MD in this mask, and I definitely would have guessed a MD/L; of course, this would be based on no actual information, and would’ve resulted in a baggy facemask like just about every other face mask I own. #fail
In addition to the sizing, there is also wiring in the mask, enabling you to sort of mold it around your nose so that it stays in place. With this UA Sportsmask, I feel like this is actually my mask. This is the first time I’ve had this experience with a store-bought mask.
This mask has served me well through a variety of workouts. I have worn this facemask for running, teaching and taking indoor cycling classes, other fitness activities, and even non-fitness-related tasks like grocery shopping. You can tell that this mask was engineered for athletes, but it’s also great for day-to-day activities.
Now, on to some of the issues I personally have had with this mask. Please note that I’ll include some general negative reactions I’ve seen in regards to this mask.
Cleaning Your Mask
If you’re not cleaning your face masks, what are you doing? Gross.
I handwash mine, which is one of the recommendations (alternatively, Under Armour suggests handwashing on the delicate cycle with cool water). This was pretty easy, and I used my HEX detergent (affiliate link) so that it smells super nice while I’m getting my sweat on.
One thing to note with this mask is that it takes a while to air dry. Usually, with clothes and volleyball kneepads that I air dry, I can wash them at night, leave them to air dry overnight, and they’re usually good to go by either the morning or the early afternoon. Not the case with this mask! It took roughly 24 hours for my mask to dry – maybe longer. If you want to wear this for a specific activity, I suggest planning ahead when it comes to cleaning your mask!
My goodness is this mask bad to wear with glasses. I was so frustrated after teaching a class last week with my glasses on (the first time while wearing this mask), that I made a whole Instagram Story about it! My glasses didn’t just fog up, they were dripping! First of all, that is foul. Secondly, this was incredibly frustrating! I couldn’t keep the one lens dry at all (I must’ve been doing all of my breathing out of my left nostril), despite my best efforts, which included taking the glasses off, wiping them down, and waiting a few seconds before putting them back on. Yikes.
I’ll be wearing my contacts with this mask from here on out. Fool me once, shame on you…
Hard to Buy
These bad boys are not easy to come by! They were on backorder most of the summer, but I finally got one. They actually had you sign them out in Under Armour’s flagship store in Baltimore, and you could only buy one! Supply and demand, I suppose.
Not only are the Sportsmasks hard to find, but they’re also kind of expensive, as far as non-medical masks go. When I conducted a search on face masks for running, thisRunner’s World list and this list from Rolling Stone pretty much proved what I suspected – of the face masks geared to athletes, Under Armour is one of the most expensive available.
Looking for a cheaper option? Check out this mask from RunMitts. It’s less fancy than the UA Sportsmask, but it’s a great option for fitness and utilizes a breathable material. Plus, I interviewed the business owner, and she is fabulous, and a fellow Marylander!
What Are the Reviews Saying?
The sizes are a little off. It appears as though Under Armour has adjusted their sizing. Apparently, the earlier iteration of this mask had broader sizing categories, so some folks found that the sizes were mostly too big. Under Armour has worked on this issue, reflected in the current sizing. Measure your face and check your size, y’all.
You can’t return it. I mean… good? I don’t know why people would expect to be able to return a face mask in the middle of a pandemic…
Glasses wearers, rebel! The issue I raised earlier seems to come up a lot in the reviews. I wear my contacts when I wear this mask. Lesson learned!
Snags like a mofo, out the gate! Some reviewers raised the issue of having snags on the outer layer of the mask when they first purchased it. Mine had one tiny little defect, but I honestly don’t care. It had no impact whatsoever on the function of the mask, and I doubt anybody else noticed it (not that I even care. #YOLO).
The ear loops are flimsy. For someone with small ears, I’m glad that the ear loops aren’t as structured as the front of the mask. The material is the Iso-Chill material, which is comfortable and cooling. I don’t want the earl loops all warm or chafe-y. I disagree with this assessment.
It’s expensive. I agree that these masks are pricy. What’s interesting is that they’ve kept the supply pretty low, and they’ve been selling out. People are willing to shell out some coins for this mask, and I’m starting to see more of them at my gym.
This is the best face mask I have for running, HIIT workouts, teaching indoor cycling, and running errands. I have some issues with it, but the positives far outweigh the negatives on this one.
Thinking about it, if I’m going to be stuck wearing masks for another 6 months or longer, it was time to invest in a durable face mask that I can wear for a variety of workouts, feeling protected as well as comfortable.
Heck, I may continue wearing masks even when I don’t have to. It looks pretty sweet.
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