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Spring 2021 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Masks

Who knew masks would become such an integral part of your workout kit? We check out four of the best.

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Black bandana-style mask

Outdoor Research Protective Essential Bandana Kit | $30

Rating: ★★★★

Basics

Outdoor Research’s masks with replaceable filters became a standard this year. (They also have a sports mask version.) This OR protective gaiter provides another option for those looking for a neck gaiter style covering on a cold day that still offers their standard filter and a few extra little features.

Pros

  • Provides a filtered option for a neck gaiter
  • Nose clamp and ear hooks give you more stability than a standard gaiter

Cons

  • Still fogs up glasses
  • Hard to get fit just right
  • Paper filter inside fabric will become sweaty
Blue face mask with mountains and trees on it

Boco Gear Face Mask | $12

Rating: ★★★

Basics

Boco’s stylish masks come in a variety of patterns, colors, and designs. With simple loops over the ears, these masks are lighter than some of the other performance options, with two layers—an outer polyester layer and an inner wicking layer. (Filters are sold separately with a small slot to insert one.)

Pros

  • Light masks designed for when you need something but not too much
  • Comfortable and doesn’t slip or move; appropriately sized for face
  • Also easy to stick in your pocket

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide a ton of protection or structure
Black face mask

Under Armour Sports Mask | $30

Rating: ★★★★

Basics

Working out in a mask is rarely comfortable, but the Under Armour Sports Mask uses high-performance materials to manage the sweat and is finished with anti-microbial treatment. Comes in five sizes.

Pros

  • Design provides structure, so mask doesn’t get sucked into your face when breathing hard
  • Thick enough for protection, but Iso-Chill fabric keeps it cool
  • Material is soft and comfortable, without hindering workout

Cons

  • Nose bridge doesn’t fully stay on or form to face
  • Still get the “breath blowing up your face” feeling of most masks
  • Let it air out between workouts
Navy face mask with cinches

Asics Runners Face Cover | $60

Rating: ★★★★★

Basics

While Asics makes a cheaper and more basic mask, this one was engineered specifically for runners with breathable wicking material. Unlike the standard ear-loop masks, this uses a cinching behind-the-head strap to stay in place. Machine-washable.

Pros

  • Structure and strap keep it in place when running
  • Relatively light material is comfortable when working out
  • Best mask we tested for balancing COVID protection with actual workouts

Cons

  • Those with ponytails may struggle to find the right place for the strap
  • Unclear if the open mesh under the top layer provides full protection and filtration
  • Pricy for a mask—but machine washable and reusable