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When it’s difficult to maintain at least six feet of social distance, particularly indoors, masks are a must (particularly if you live in one of these states).
When picking a mask for running or other outdoor activities, it’s all about comfort. Aim for light, breathable material, and note that masks with filters for extra protection will make it harder to breathe (there’s still no evidence that fleeting outdoor encounters will lead to infection).
Remember that touching your face to pull a mask up or down while running, isn’t ideal to be sure to minimize contact when you’re adjusting your face covering.
While these masks aren’t specifically designed for running, they are athletically oriented and produced by trusted sportswear brands. Here are some face-covering options aimed at outdoor athletes who want to rock their civic duty in style.
This is a great, performance-oriented mask for when social distancing is tough on the trails. The snug fit means this won’t jostle or bounce but doesn’t feel suffocating. The wide strap doesn’t cut or rub (though it’s less than ideal with a ponytail) for a comfy fit. Buff’s filter masks come with exchangeable filters for some amount of extra protection (though they are billed to have 98% microbial filtration – it should be noted that COVID-19 is a virus, and no non-medical masks have yet been approved to truly “filter” the virus).
A good ol’ multi-functional Buff is my go-to for runs on more crowded trails. I like to pop one of these around my neck so that I can simply pull it up when passing others. Buff’s Cool Net neck gaiters feature built-in cooling technology to avoid a sweaty neck and have UPF 50 protection to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.
These trail inspired masks are comfy and breathable and don’t’ have too many loose straps or ties that are a hassle. The inner layer of these dual-layer masks is a soft, breathable polyester mesh that doesn’t feel hot or restrictive against the face. These are small enough to roll up and stuff inside the pocket of your running shorts.
These sporty masks are made of the same stretchy, snappy fabric that Carve’s swimwear is known for. They’re light breathable and easy to take on and off. I tend to prefer the ear loops rather than ties or a loop that goes all the way around my head, particularly when exercising, and this one is a minimal hassle.
BD’s masks are some of the stretchiest I tried and offered a good amount of coverage without feeling restrictive. The ear loops felt a tad long to me, but a small knot helped me adjust the mask to my head. For each mask bought, BD will donate a mask to frontline healthcare workers.
Oiselle’s flyout gaiter is incredibly light and sits around the neck for occasions when you can get a bit of social distance. The fabric is specifically designed for warmer weather so that you won’t break a sweat when masking up for your run. The dual-layer fabric provides extra protection without excess weight.
Made by cycling brand Kitsbow, this mask is made for all-day wear. It’s comfy, breathable and looks pretty sharp too. Each mask comes with a washable, reusable filter for extra protection without excessive waste. Elastic straps around the head aren’t my favorite, but this mask is comfy enough that they pass muster.
This is a great high-endurance option. Soft velcro attaches the single, tapered strap in the back for minimal fuss and movement. This is made from Halo’s signature sweat-wicking headband fabric, so it’s breathable and light. The design is uncomplicated enough to snap on midrun or dangle around your neck just in case.
Zoë Rom is Assistant Editor at Trail Runner and producer and host of the DNF Podcast.