This face mask is my favorite for working out and running
It's the only one I'll wear to the gym now.
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When I first heard the gym was reopening earlier this month, it felt like Christmas morning (heavy weights! cable machines! the StairMaster!). I was over the moon—until I read further down the email and discovered that we'd be required to wear a face mask while working out. Making it through my hour-long workouts is hard enough in normal life—so doing it with a mask over my face? I understood why it was necessary but I wasn't thrilled.
The first day I went to the gym, I wore my "everyday" mask (this one from Reformation, which I love). And it was the worst workout I've ever had. Dramatic, yes, but definitely true, as I felt like I was breathing in my own sweat after just five minutes on the treadmill.
It was in that moment that it became painfully obvious that I needed to have a separate mask for working out. I ordered some of the ones rumored to be the most breathable, including those from Adidas, Hanes, Beyond Yoga, and Onzie and put each one to the test. And by test, I mean a combo of weightlifting and running indoors. Of all the masks I tried, I found the Champion Lay Flat Wicking Face Mask to be the best for working out and running. Below are my honest thoughts on the mask and whether or not it's worth buying for yourself.
What I love about the Champion face mask
Comfortable, breathable, full-coverage—all things you want in a face mask and all things I found in the Champion one. Made of polyester and spandex, the fabric of the mask is soft and lightweight, which made it easy to breathe through. It's also sweat-wicking, which is a must for when you're squatting double your body weight or trying to break a PR on your mile time.
I also found the fit of the Champion face mask to be superior to other masks I've worn. It covered the bottom half of my face completely without being too large, and I never felt like I had to readjust it while I was wearing it, i.e., it fit snugly and securely. The elastic ear loops also hooked comfortably behind my ears and I didn't experience any pain or chafing as happens with some masks . And when you're done wearing it? You can toss it in the washing machine to keep it clean—no hand-washing required here!
What it's like to work out wearing the Champion face mask
Let's face it (pun intended): Working out or running in a mask is never going to be the most ideal thing in the world. But I quickly learned that which mask you wear can make a huge difference. With the Champion face mask, I was able to breathe easier than I could in other masks, thanks to the fact that it's made with just one layer of lightweight fabric. It also fit snugly over my face so I didn't have that common problem that happens with exercising in masks where the fabric goes into your mouth every time you inhale. The Champion face mask stretched across my face tautly enough to prevent that from happening.
I also found that the fabric of the Champion mask is, indeed, moisture-wicking, which means I didn't get as overheated or over-sweaty when I was wearing it. It stayed drier than other masks and kept my face from becoming a mess of sweat and oil. Some masks that I wore I felt like I had to constantly pull down to wipe sweat off my face—which completely defeats the purpose of wearing a mask in the first place. I never once had to do that with the Champion mask.
Is the Champion face mask worth buying?
If you're looking for a comfortable face mask to wear to the gym or while running that you can actually breathe in, then yes, I'd 10/10 recommend the Champion face mask. It's the only one I wear when I'm working out now. Not only do I love how it fits and feels, but at just $12, it's an affordable buy for something that, if you're like me, you'll wear at least five times a week. And while I have the camo print (my personal favorite), the mask also comes in neutrals (like black and nude) and other fun patterns.
All of that being said, because the Champion mask is only made with a single layer of fabric, it might not be the most protective covering for everyday use (which is also why following social distance guidelines at the gym is extra-important). For daily wear, we recommend the Athleta face masks, which our experts found to be the best of all the popular face masks they tested out.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.