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The best workout masks 2021: lightweight masks for running, cycling or the gym

Running with face covering
(Image credit: Vadym Pastukh / Shutterstock)

We've put the best workout masks through some tough training sessions to find the most comfortable options that will keep your face cool and comfortable.

Wearing a mask while traveling to work and running errands is one thing, but wearing one while you're running or working out is quite different, and a face covering can easily become hot and uncomfortable when you're working hard. That's why many well-known sports brands have brought out their own workout masks specially designed for sports.

The masks vary greatly, but all do a good job of keeping material away from your nostrils, helping you breathe more easily than a handmade cotton mask, and all are washable and reusable.

We've tested some of the most popular workout masks on multiple outdoor runs and indoor spin sessions to test their breathability and comfort, and put them through several washing machine cycles to assess their durability. Bear in mind that none of them are designed for medical use.

The best workout mask: Livinguard Fitness Mask

Livinguard Fitness Mask (Image credit: Livinguard)

1. Livinguard Fitness Mask

The best workout mask all-round

Specifications
Colors: Steel blue, fuchsia
Sizes: Medium, large
Reasons to buy
+Very lightweight material+Close but not uncomfortable fit+Includes carry bag
Reasons to avoid
-Not in multipacks

Unlike other workout masks we've tested, the Livinguard Fitness Mask is secured with a Velcro fastening behind your head, which makes it easy to put on over glasses or a hat, and simple to adjust for a comfortable fit. The rear fastening means there's nothing to pull your ears either, which is a common issue with face coverings.

The Fitness Mask is made from a particularly lightweight Lyocell microfiber material that we found never became clammy, even during tough workouts. The material is shaped under the chin to prevent the mask pressing against your mouth, and a flexible wire over your nose allows for a good, close fit that prevents glasses and shades steaming up.

The Livinguard Fitness Mask comes with its own zip-up storage bag, which has an elasticated strap so you can easily carry it around your wrist during runs; a welcome touch that we'd like to see more often.

This workout mask is hard to fault. It's not the cheapest option around, and if money is tight then you might prefer to opt for the Adidas Face Cover or Caraa Sports Mask a few places underneath in this guide, but the Livinguard Fitness Mask is a good investment and washes well, which should give you plenty of comfortable, safe workouts.

The best workout mask: Asics Runner's Face Cover

Asics Runner's Face Cover (Image credit: Asics)

2. Asics Runner's Face Cover

The best workout mask for runners

Specifications
Colors: Navy
Sizes: One size, adjustable
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of room inside+Fully adjustable+Breathable panel
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The structured design of the Asics Runner's Face Cover means there's plenty of room inside so you don't have damp material pressed against your mouth when you're breathing hard. There's a special breathable panel at the chin to allow for improved airflow without letting through droplets.

It's the only mask in this guide that fastens at the back, which means there's no pressure on your ears and it's very unlikely to come away accidentally. It's tightened at the back of the head with a toggle and secured with rubber cord adjusters, enabling you to get a secure but comfortable fit.

The only downside is the price – at $40/£35 (about AU$55), it's one of the most expensive masks around, though its robust build quality means it should last a long time. We've put ours through the washing machine on a high temperature at least 30 times, and it still looks like new.

The best workout mask: Under Armour UA Sportsmask

Under Armour UA Sportsmask (Image credit: Under Armour)

3. Under Armour UA Sportsmask

The best workout mask for long sessions

Specifications
Colors: Black, gray, navy, purple, red
Sizes: XS/S, M/L, L/XL
Reasons to buy
+Anti-microbial coating+Very soft and comfortable+Includes hygienic carry bag
Reasons to avoid
-Not a very close fit under eyes 

Under Armour's soft, comfortable workout mask comes with a hygienic pouch so you can put it safely away when you've finished your workout until you're ready to wash it. Both the bag and the lining of the face cover itself have an anti-microbial treatment, which helps prevent odors, and the mask is filled with polyurethane foam that's breathable but also captures droplets from your breath.

Like the Asics mask above, it's structured to give you plenty of space inside to breathe comfortably, though in our tests it didn't fit quite so closely under the eyes, which could cause fogging if you're wearing glasses or shades.

The UA Sportsmask isn't adjustable, which is drawback, but it comes in three sizes and the ear loops are made from soft, stretchy material that won't dig in or pull. Just make sure you choose the right size my measuring your face using the instructions on the website before ordering to make sure you get the correct fit.

The best workout mask: Caraa Sport Mask

Caraa Sport Mask (Image credit: Caraa)

4. Caraa Sports Mask

The best workout mask with replacable filters

Specifications
Colors: Black, neutral, neon, Harajuku
Sizes: Junior, Adult, Large
Reasons to buy
+Close fit around eyes and nose+Optional disposable filter layer+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Lining might stick to face

Like the Livinguard FItness Mask, the Caraa Sports Mask has a flexible wire embedded in the nose area that allows you to fit the mask snugly onto your face with no gaps under your eyes. We've put the mask through the washing machine several times, and there's no sign of the wire deteriorating so far.

This workout mask has two layers of fabric; the outer is a breathable material similar to the upper of a sports shoe, while the interior is closely woven cotton. It's possible to slip a disposable filter in between these layers, In our tests the inner layer tended to get sucked against our face sometimes, but the advantage of the extra filter layer meant we were willing to tolerate that small inconvenience.

It's good value, with a pack of three costing $25 (about £20 / AU$30), three sizes (junior, adult and large), and a range of colors. Adjustable ear straps make the mask comfortable to wear, even for long events, with simple toggles to keep them in place.

The best workout mask: Adidas Face Cover

Adidas Face Cover (Image credit: Adidas)

5. Adidas Face Cover

The best cheap workout mask

Specifications
Colors: Blue, black
Sizes: XS/S, M/L
Reasons to buy
+Supplies in packs of three+Very affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Fits close to mouth-Less coverage under eyes

Of all the masks on test here, the Adidas Face Cover is the cheapest, with a pack of three coming in at just $20/£14.95/AU$12. Not only is that much cheaper than the Asics and Under Armour masks, it also means you'll always have a clean mask to hand when one is in the wash.

Unfortunately, we found that the Adidas workout mask fitted a little too closely touching our lips and making our workout a little clammier than we would have liked. It doesn't fit very securely under the eyes either, which can cause glasses and shades to steam up.

If you don't mind the close fit, it's a soft and comfortable workout mask that provides two layers of material to stop droplets and takes up minimal space when not being worn.

The Adidas Face Cover isn't adjustable, but comes in two sizes designed to fit most adults. The largest of these is M/L, so if you think you'd prefer a large mask to avoid pulling on your ears, you'd be better off with one of the other options.

Cat Ellis

Cat Ellis is the fitness and wellbeing editor at TechRadar. She's been a technology journalist for 11 years, and cut her teeth on magazines including PC Plus and PC Format before joining TechRadar. She's a trained run leader, and enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the pavement. If you have a story about fitness trackers, treadmills, running shoes, e-bikes, or any other fitness tech, drop her a line at catherine.ellis@futurenet.com.