12 top-rated, exercise-friendly face masks that actually let you breathe

With the Omnicron Variant on the rise, now might be a great time to get a new face mask that allows you to breathe easier

It's all over the news – the omicron variant is spreading quickly and some states reinstating mask advisories and some states making facemasks mandatory, it may be time to consider a new fask mask. Particularly when it comes to exercising during an ongoing global pandemic, a good mask is key. 

But what makes a good face mask for exercise? The most important factor, aside from protection, is breathability. The best masks for working out won’t cling to your nose or mouth; will help wick sweat away; and will actually stay on your face as you’re moving around.

If you're looking for a good mask for hitting the gym, you'll want one that meets all of the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The right mask should completely cover your nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps, and feature a nose wire for a perfect fit around the bridge of the nose. Look for masks that have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric. For face gaiters, the CDC recommends wearing one with two layers, or folding a single-layer gaiter to make a second layer.

When you’re shopping for a good workout mask, beware of models that are labeled for “elevation training,” or vented masks. Those do not provide much protection against COVID-19 because their design allows virus particles to escape.

Keep reading to shop some of our favorite, breathable masks for exercising or simply breathing comfortably from Asics, Athleta, Under Armour and more.

Borgasets breathable sport face masks

Borgasets via Amazon

These affordable, 4.3-star sports face masks available on Amazon come in a variety of colors. Pick from a two-pack, three-pack or five-pack. They're made of a quick-drying fabric and have adjustable ear loops. They also come in kids' sizes.

Reebok face covers (3 pack)


These 4.3-star Reebok face masks are made of breathable fabric; comfortably stretch around your ears; and are washable. Find them in two sizes: XS/S or M/L. Their black hue won't clash with anything you're wearing. These masks are currently available as part of a 3-for-$30 deal with code COVERUP.

Nike Dri-Fit Wrap gaiter


If you're looking for an alternative to the typical face mask, try Nike's breathable Dri-Fit Wrap gaiter. It's designed to wick away sweat, plus the reflective Nike swoosh will help you stay visible during low-light outdoor runs.

Asics Runners mask


This well-reviewed athletic face mask by Asics wraps around the back of your head, so it won't budge while you run. It's made of a quick-dry fabric and doesn't get too close to your face, making it easier to breathe. It has an adjustable fit and water-repellent exterior.

Athleta Activate face mask (2 pack)

Athletica / Gap

These reviewer-loved Athleta Activate reusable face mask two-packs come in a variety of colors. They mold around the nose and cheeks and have adjustable ear loops. They're made of a breathable fabric that's quick-drying.

Blue Bear Protection sports mask


This cotton face mask has adjustable ear loops and a design that prevents too much trapped air from building up, making it great for working out. It's made with a technology that keeps your mask smelling fresh. Find it in five colors on Amazon.

"I love that it's adjustable, washable and reusable," reviewer Jennifer says. "Other masks didn't fit well and gave me skin irritation, resulting in 'maskne' (acne from masks). This mask does not irritate and bother my face like the other masks."

Outdoor Research Adrenaline sports face mask kit


This 4-star wraparound face mask from Outdoor Research has adjustable ear loops and a nose wire. It comes in black or gray and has a moisture-wicking lining that has a cooling effect. Its mesh material lifts the mask off the face and nose for better breathing. It also has replaceable filters. Its material is microbe- and germ-resistant.

This mask is on sale at Amazon right now for $14, and available through the Outdoor Research site for $15.

Under Armour Sportsmask


This Under Armour face mask has a bendable nose piece and stretch ear loops. Its material prevents moisture build-up and has an anti-microbial treatment. This water-resistant mask, available in three sizes, has a bit of room between the cloth and your face for easier breathing during workouts.

Under Armour Sportsmask fleece gaiter (OUT OF STOCK)


An excellent choice for colder winter months, the anti-microbial Under Armour Sportsmask fleece gaiter offers a more protective take on traditional gaiters. Like the mask version, it's designed to stay off your mouth and nose. The fabric is designed to keep the inside of the mask feeling cool, while keeping the rest of you feeling warm in chilly temperatures.

The North Face Nano mask

The North Face

These top-rated The North Face masks have adjustable ear loops and a nose strip. They're super breathable.

AirPop active reusable face mask

Airpop / Staples

This AirPop face mask hugs the contours of your face but stays off your nose and mouth for better breathability. It provides 99.3% particle filtration and 99.9% bacterial filtration. It has a replaceable filter insert and adjustable ear loops.

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