A no-nonsense quick guide on how sports masks fare against other types of face coverings To mask up or not to mask up? That is the question. When it comes to using a face mask or other face coverings during sports activities, there are many things to consider. What is a sports mask, you may wonder, and do I really need one at all? Will other types of masks do? What Is a Sports Mask? A sports mask is not your everyday run-of-the-mill mask. It is specifically designed to be breathable to help sports people get the oxygen intake necessary to perform their sport. A mask (or tubular or gaiter or balaclava) made for an athlete is designed to tackle all the environmental issues that athletes face. For example, a winter mask should warm the face and neck and humidify the air while a summer mask should protect from UV rays and accidentally bug consumption – all while being breathable. Should I Wear a Mask at All? Wearing a mask protects you from pollen, bacteria, viruses, and more. However, you may not be sold on whether covering your airways is wise when you need all the oxygen you can get. I’ve got good news for you. According to research, wearing a mask has “… no discernable detrimental effect on blood or muscle oxygenation, and exercise performance in young, healthy participants.” With that covered, let’s consider mask types. While juggling two toddlers, a shopping list, and a headache simultaneously is an extreme sport of its own, an athlete has very different needs, especially during outdoor activity. Comfort, breathability, and reusability are crucial. How Do Other Masks Compare to a Breathable Sports Mask? So let’s compare a filtering sports mask to other common options when it comes to the search for a breathable sports mask: N95 respirators, surgical masks, and general use cloth masks. Comfort Others: According to the FDA, the N95 have a tight fit with sealed edges, and they are not for a wearer with facial hair. The Mayo Clinic reminds us that exercise will break surgical masks down, while MIT Medical warns of the dangers of comfort over protection in cloth masks. Sports Masks: A sports mask is designed to fit, stay on, and protect you during high-energy activity. NAROO Mask’s form-fitting, soft fabric offers the stretch and comfort you need. Breathability Others: As the FDA warns, N95 respirators can cause breathing difficulties, while the layering in general use cloth masks can feel stifling, and surgical masks carry the risk of leakage. Sports Masks: A sports mask is the most breathable mask. At NAROO Mask, our designs achieve this in part thanks to their special MICRONET™ filtering technology. Reusability Others: As already established, and as this scientific review describes, surgical masks and N95 respirators are intended as single-use items. Regular cloth masks are more safely reusable, but can lose their form and protective abilities with time. Sports Masks: If you need a reliably reusable mask, a sports mask is the one for you. NAROO masks are easy to clean, and can withstand regular washing without losing their form or filtering capabilities. Last Minute Tips As wearing face coverings has become a worldwide habit post-coronavirus pandemic, the list of what we expect of them grows. A sports mask is ideal for exercising or competing, whether it’s a winter sports mask, or one made to aid you against the scorching heat. Consider your individual requirements, look up how to clean a reusable mask well, and familiarize yourself with your gear. Whatever your needs, at NAROO Mask we’ve got you covered.