The 10 Best Face Masks for Working Out of 2020

Stay safe and fit with these smart picks

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Adidas Face Cover at Adidas

"Made of soft, breathable fabric that stretches smoothly to cover the face and wraps gently behind the ears."

Under Armour SPORTSMASK at Under Armour

"It covers adequately but doesn't press on your face or lips, providing the airflow you need while you work out."

Koral Infinity Mask at Koral

"A stylish and safety-minded face mask that is designed with fitness in mind and is machine-washable for reuse."

Buff Coolnet UV Plus Multifunctional Headwear at L.L.Bean

"It can be worn in 12 different ways, including as a lightweight, cool, and comfortable face mask that protects without restricting."

The Crafty Mind Designs 100% Cotton Adjustable Face Mask at Etsy

"Made of 100-percent cotton, the reusable, washable mask comes in a bunch of fun colors and patterns."

Athleta Non-Medical Face Masks at Athleta

"A reasonably priced five-pack that guarantees you will always have a workout-appropriate face mask clean and ready to wear."

MISSION Cooling Neck Gaiter at Dick's Sporting Goods

"Cools to 30 degrees Fahrenheit below your body temperature when activated with water and remains cool for two hours."

INTO THE AM Seamless Face Cover Mouth Mask Bandana at Amazon

"Made with 100-percent microfiber polyester, the mask is moisture-wicking, cooling, and quick-drying."

AriatTEK Mask at Ariat

"Crafted from layers of a high-stretch knit fabric that is breathable, cooling, odor-resistant, and comfortable."

Jjyee Neck Gaiter Balaclava Bandana Headwear at Amazon

"For those who prefer the coverage of a neck gaiter but also want the security of ear loops, this neck gaiter is the perfect hybrid."

As gyms and fitness studios begin to reopen across the country, avid exercisers are looking for ways to stay as safe as possible when returning to their regular workout regimens. Even resuming an outdoor running or cycling routine presents its challenges in crowded urban areas where you constantly share limited space with other people. 

Using an appropriate face mask could help keep germs at bay, on top of following other safety protocols set in place by your fitness center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using cloth face coverings in any public setting where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and—you guessed it—gyms.

If the thought of covering your mouth with fabric when you’re panting through an intense workout fills you with anxiety, don't fret. There are plenty of masks on the market designed with exercise in mind, empowering you to get out there and keep moving. 

Here, the best breathable face masks for working out.

Our Top Picks

Adidas Face Cover

Adidas Face Cover

 Courtesy of Adidas

This sleek option from Adidas is made with soft, breathable fabric that stretches smoothly to cover the face and wraps gently (and securely) behind the ears with elastic straps. Made with 93 percent recycled polyester and 7 percent elastane, the mask features two layers of fabric so it protects adequately while still letting you breathe comfortably during your workouts.

The masks can also be washed and reused as often as you need. At an affordable price, these are a quality budget buy so we recommend stocking up. Even better, a portion of every pack sold goes to Save the Children’s Global Coronavirus Response Fund.

Under Armour SPORTSMASK

Underarmour Mask

Courtesy of Under Armour

This new mask from Under Armour was designed with running and crosstraining in mind. It covers adequately but doesn't press on your face or lips, providing the airflow you need while you work out. The masks' three-layer system meets the World Health Organization's recommendations for fabric masks, according to the manufacturer.

It’s made with soft and smooth moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and comfortable, and the no-slip fit helps you focus more on your exercises and less on adjusting the mask as you move. The outer layer of the mask is made of 100 percent polyester, the insert is made of 100 percent polyurethane, and the ear loops are made of 77 percent nylon and 23 percent spandex.

Bonus: An anti-microbial treatment on the inside layer of the mask helps keep it fresh in between washes.

Koral Infinity Mask

Koral Infinity Mask

 Courtesy of Koral

This stylish and safety-minded face mask is ethically made in the United States and designed with fitness in mind. The soft Infinity fabric is a blend of antimicrobial performance materials that dry quickly, fit snuggly but comfortably against your skin, and even provide UV protection for people interested in breaking a sweat outdoors.

Unlike lots of other face masks, this can be cleaned in a washing machine and tumble dried on a low heat setting. The elegant mask comes in white or black and is one-size-fits-all.

What Experts Say

"The best face masks for exercise are made from breathable, moisture-wicking material, so they don’t get drenched with sweat. For a secure, comfortable fit, choose a mask with elastic earpieces, not ties, since they can come loose as you exert yourself. Lightweight buffs or neck gaiters are also a good option. They can be worn around your neck and easily pulled up over your mouth and nose when social distancing isn’t possible."—Christine Luff, New Jersey-based running coach and author of "Run for Good

Buff Coolnet UV Plus Multifunctional Headwear

Buff Coolnet UV Plus Multifunctional Headwear

Courtesy of REI 

This neck gaiter from Buff does it all. It can be worn in 12 different ways, including as a lightweight, cool, and comfortable face mask suitable for workouts at the gym or outdoors.

The breathable fabric is made of 95 percent recycled performance microfiber that is both odor-resistant and approved by The Skin Cancer Foundation for its UPF 50+ sun protection. You can hand- or machine-wash the headwear in warm water with mild soap and leave it out to air dry.

This mask is unisex, one-size-fits-all, and comes in a variety of fun patterns and colors.

The Crafty Mind Designs 100% Cotton Adjustable Face Mask

The Crafty Mind Designs 100% Cotton Adjustable Face Mask

 Courtesy of Etsy

If you prefer sticking to a face mask that's made of 100-percent cotton, as is recommended by the CDC, this pick is perfect for keeping you and those around you safe while working out.

The inside and outside fabric are made of natural cotton, and a light middle layer of polypropylene acts as an important filter that doesn’t negatively impact breathability. The adjustable elastic ear straps guarantee a comfortable fit while keeping the mask securely in place on your face.

This pick is reusable and washable, and it comes in a range of sizes and in a bunch of fun colors and patterns.

Quick Tip

Remember to always listen to your body first. If your breathing feels too labored while trying to work out in a mask, lower the intensity of your movement to the point where you feel like you’re getting the oxygen you need.

Athleta Non-Medical Face Masks

Athleta Non-Medical Face Masks

 Courtesy of Athleta

This reasonably priced five-pack guarantees that you will always have a workout-appropriate face mask clean and ready to wear. The masks are made of several layers of fabric for extra protection, but they still provide enough airflow in times of intense movement. This is because they're made of lightweight polyester and spandex material with a breathable cotton liner that doesn't feel restrictive.

The masks are fitted to feel light and airy on your face yet secure no matter where the day takes you. To clean them, run them through the washing machine and then lay them flat to dry.

MISSION Cooling Neck Gaiter

MISSION Cooling Neck Gaiter

 Courtesy of Amazon

Working out in the heat of the summer is tough enough without having to cover your face, but this cooling neck gaiter makes it much more comfortable. Made with polyester and spandex, the fabric is soft, lightweight, and stretchy. When activated with water, it cools to 30 degrees Fahrenheit below your body temperature and remains cool for two hours.

What’s more, it provides UPF 50 sun protection for your neck and fabric, both of which are particularly vulnerable to sun damage. Similar to the Buff on this list, it can also be worn 12 different ways.

INTO THE AM Seamless Face Cover Mouth Mask Bandana

Looking for a face mask that provides additional coverage? Consider this bandana-style mouth covering from INTO THE AM. Made with 100-percent microfiber polyester, the mask is moisture-wicking, cooling, and quick-drying.

The fabric is super stretchy, and its seamless design makes it even more comfortable to wear. The raw (read: not sewn or stitched) edges maximize stretch at the ends of the mask, further optimizing comfort and allowing for added breathability.

The mask comes in multiple beautiful colors and patterns.

AriatTEK Mask

AriatTEK Mask

 Courtesy of Ariat

This workout-appropriate face mask from Ariat is crafted from layers of high-stretch knit fabric that are breathable, cooling, odor-resistant, and comfortable. The fabric also provides UPF 50 sun protection.

The spaces for your ears are laser cut, ensuring a quality fit without the need for adjusting the ear loops. It comes in black, is unisex, and is available in small/medium and large/extra-large sizes. The mask is also reusable—simply hand wash and air dry.

Jjyee Neck Gaiter Balaclava Bandana Headwear

If you prefer the coverage of a neck gaiter but also want the security of ear loops, consider this headwear from Jiyee. The hybrid design gives you all the coverage you need on your neck, face, and nose, and the openings for your ears help to secure the mask in place.

It’s made of 100-percent Soft Ice Silk, which is known for being both soft and lightweight. Its moisture-wicking abilities also keep you cool when working out in the heat of the summer. Similar to the Buff and INTO THE AM headwear options, this pick can be worn in 12 different ways.

What to Look for in a Face Mask for Working Out

Breathability

While face masks are intended to protect you and those around you, the one you choose to wear during exercise must allow for more airflow. When you’re working hard and your heart rate is elevated, the last thing you want is for your body to have to work even harder to inhale the oxygen it needs. To prevent this, choose masks made of breathable fabric—like cotton, polyester, or nylon.

Fabric Type

Similar to your typical workout apparel, fitness-focused face masks should be made with moisture-wicking fabrics. By not soaking up your sweat as you exercise, the mask remains lightweight, breathable, and correctly in place on your face. If you prefer to go the 100-percent cotton route, use these masks for less intense physical activity, such as power walking, yoga, or pilates. What’s more, any fabric mask you wear should be washed regularly with soap and warm water and dried entirely before your next use.

Fit

When looking for a face mask for exercise, explore muzzle-shaped options first. These masks maintain a natural dome structure for your nose, leaving a little bit of open room for air while fitting more securely along the sides of your cheeks and jawline. This design not only stays in place while you move, continuously providing you with a protective barrier, but also ensures that the fabric won’t cave in around your nose and mouth as you breathe more heavily. Lightweight gaiters are a safe option as well if you find them to be more comfortable.

Ear Straps

Lots of face masks for everyday use employ fabric straps that tie behind the ears, which make them comfortable but not secure enough for intense exercise. Instead, opt for a mask that uses elastic earpieces. Ideally, the elastic is adjustable so you can achieve the secure fit, but you can always tie small loop knots in the elastic that hide behind your ears to help the mask fit more snuggly.

Note: None of these masks are intended for medical use.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a former personal trainer, seasoned health writer, and avid exerciser, Alena Hall understands how critical a quality face mask can be for getting you back to your workout regimen safely. She's always exploring the latest and greatest health gadgets as they enter the market, but more importantly, she looks for scientific research that validates their claims.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission. Updated April 3, 2020.