Masking up!!

While we’ve passed the 1 year mark of the pandemic that has changed everyday life, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With that new day around the corner, I still believe there are some things here to stay, like mask wearing. While it may not be what it looks like while the pandemic is still ongoing, there are times where masks might just need to be used, now knowing what we know about aerosol and droplet transmissions!!

One of my many gaiters

With that being said, I’ve been searching for a face covering other than gaiters, that might be useful in getting back into the gym or in close proximity of others while exercising. I believe I’ve found a great mask that is more effective than a gaiter and cheaper than it’s Under Armour counterpart. Hopefully this real life, practical review will help you make a wise choice if you’re also researching masks.

DISCLAIMER!!!! These masks are not N95 or KN95 masks. They are intended for using while exercising but also adhering to CDC recommendations while out in public (3 or 4 layer cloth masks or masks with filters – see the CDC website for specifics on the mask recommendations). THERE IS NO EVIDENCE that these masks stop transmission of COVID-19.

Headline Shirts cloth mask
mask with ear loops and vents

While I’ve been working at the office during the pandemic, I’ve been wearing cotton face masks headline shirts, the best masks I’ve found for the comfort and compliance – 3 or 4 layers with a space to insert a filter. Since those are cotton, not gonna work for riding or biking since I sweat something fierce!! So while biking and running, I’ve mainly used gaiters (began doubling up the fabric over my mouth and nose). I’ve been looking for something that is breathable but also provides a little more effectiveness than a gaiter. First, I bought a mask that had the vents. Didn’t really fit, the filters were difficult to put in the vents, and it was just an experiment gone wrong, so back to the gaiters I went.

Under Armour half gaiter

I’d seen people wearing the UA performance masks, but I’m not a fan of ear loops. The previously mentioned masks I wear at work came with long enough straps that I could tie it around the top of my head and around my neck for a much tighter and snug fit. No ear loops if possible for me. So in my search, I did find Under Armour half-gaiters! Those were perfect during the winter for riding. It also kind of covered my ears (and ear buds) and was snug “enough”. Only issue I have with the UA half gaiter is that my glasses I wear for riding still fogged up pretty bad. But, truly an effective mask while doing some type of activity, so I’m figuring the UA mask with the ear loops is just as effective as the half gaiter (a quick side note – I’m a real fan of and true believer in UA products!!). I’ve not yet tried to run in the UA half gaiter, but I can imagine it might get a little hot and definitely sweat soaked based on my rides during the winter.

Zensah Performance mask

I stumbled upon these Zensah performance masks when I was picking up some new Hokas for running. I chatted with the sales person about them and he said that a lot of their customers were liking them for running and gym activities. So I grabbed a couple and off I went. The Zensah performance mask is JUST WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!!! It has elastic straps that go around the neck and head… so no ear loops! It is a snug, yet comfortable fit around the face with very little air coming out of the top – so no fogged up glasses while riding!! Let me be clear, it’s still a mask! So as I ran a little harder, it reminded me that my face was covered. With the UA half gaiter, what’s nice is the room to breathe fairly comfortably through your nose. With the Zensah mask, I definitely had to become a mouth breather or suffer having nostrils full of fabric and no air!! The true greatness of the Zensah performance mask was the way it did not get soaked from my sweat! Somehow, it absorbed it without getting soaked!! Truly the mask made for me! I will definitely be using the Zensah performance mask as I get back into the gym and do more in person events. Bonus for the Zensah mask over the UA mask – Zensah is about HALF THE COST of the UA mask!!

So there you have it! While I believe in just about everything that UA makes, I have to say for the performance mask, I choose the Zensah mask. Feel free to do you own comparisons and leave a comment about what you’ve found in performance masks!

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