I tried the Under Armour Sportsmask that keeps selling out—here’s what I thought
I put this mask to the test.
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As Reviewed's resident apparel expert, I’ve spent the past couple of months writing about and testing face masks. Since the pandemic began, I’ve worn dozens of face masks while working out, judging each one on quality, comfort, fit, and breathability. However, none—not even our favorite mask, the Athleta Everyday Non-Medical mask—have been great for sweaty workouts.
That's why I was excited when Under Armour released a face mask specifically for exercising—but I wasn't alone. The highly anticipated mask sold out in less than an hour after it became available in June. I was finally able to get one, but I had to wait a whole month from the time I pre-ordered for it to arrive. I've now been working out with the Under Armour Sportsmask for two weeks. Here are my thoughts on the mask, and if it could be right for you.
What is the Under Armour Sportsmask?
Under Armour’s Sportsmask is a face mask made with performance fabrics designed for athletes. What sets this mask apart from others are the fabric features like enhanced airflow and water resistance that make it great for things like running or training. According to the website, the UA Sportsmask lets air flow through, has a cool to touch feel, water-resistant outer shell, soft fabric, built-in UPF 50+ sun protection, anti-microbial treatment to keep the mask fresh, and a structured design so the mask doesn’t sit directly on your face.
It also has what Under Armour calls a “three-layer system," which is a fancy way of saying it has three different layers. Under Armour describes each layer in detail on their website. The first layer is spacer fabric, which has air pockets within the fabric that give it more structure but keep it light at the same time. The second layer is open cell foam, which is supposed to make the mask more breathable without letting moisture and sweat pass through. The third layer is Under Armour’s “Iso-Chill” fabric, which is designed to feel cool against the skin. The mask also has a bendable nose wire for a secure fit to your face.
What I like about the Under Armour Sportsmask
When I first took the UA Sportsmask out of the packaging, my initial impression was that it looked and felt like something made for an Olympic athlete with its substantial fabric and smooth feel. The silky black fabric, sleek stitching, and Under Armour logo remind me of something an Under Armour superhero would wear. I put the mask on and could immediately feel the cooling effect, which felt soothing on a hot day. Overall, the mask felt quite comfortable.
I wore this mask while running. I also wore it to a socially-distanced outdoor kickboxing class where we did punches, kicks, and some high-intensity training like jumping jacks. The structured design of the mask allowed for a snug fit around its border while leaving room to breathe around the nose and mouth. This design was great when the mask got sweaty and wet from the rain. When I've gotten other masks wet, the fabric has clung to my face, making it nearly impossible to breathe. With the UA Sportsmask, though, even when it was soaked in sweat, the fabric did not stick to my face, allowing me to breathe comfortably.
I also loved the ear loops on this mask. They are made of a soft and stretchy material, making them comfortable to wear long term without hurting my ears. The ear loops also helped the mask stay securely in place while running and doing jumping jacks.
What I don't like about the Under Armour Sportsmask
While the Iso-Chill fabric felt cool against my skin when I initially put the mask on, the feeling didn’t last through my workouts. After a few minutes I couldn't feel the cooling effect from the fabric. The “three-layer system” in theory is a good idea, but it has some flaws. Because the first two layers, which are made of open-cell foam and spacer fabric, are so thick, it almost feels like you're wearing a blanket over your face.
This made it feel much warmer than some other masks I’ve worn and because of this, it didn't feel like the mask had better airflow like it claims. While I didn't notice that I sweat more in this mask than others, I didn't like the feel of extra heat over my face when I'm already hot from working out.
Also, even though the mask has a bendable nose piece, I found it didn’t completely mold to my nose as there was a slight gap at the top where the air could escape. This was not ideal when I was wearing glasses with it, as they kept fogging up.
Is it worth it?
Personally, I have a hard time justifying the $30 price tag for a mask that wasn’t horrible but didn’t quite live up to all the performance benefits it touted. The biggest downfall was the extra warmth from the thicker layers of this mask.
There are two instances where I could see this mask being a good fit for someone. The first: If you have sensitive ears. The ear loops on this mask are among the most comfortable I've tested. The second: If you are outside in the rain often. Because of the water-repellent finish on the outside, the water beads up and rolls off (although don’t expect this to be waterproof in a torrential downpour) keeping the mask from becoming waterlogged and allowing you to still breathe.
However, there are other masks I’ve tried that are cheaper and are equally good for workouts. My personal go-to have been the Athleta Everyday Non-Medical masks, that come in a 5-pack for $30. Even though these aren't perfect for working out, they are some of my favorite from all the masks I've tested and I like that I get five masks so I don't have to worry about washing my mask after each use.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.