What To Look For When Buying A Breathable Mask For The Gym

Jan 25, 2021

It’s hard to get a pump when you’re having trouble pumping enough air into your lungs. Wearing masks while working out can make it feel like you’re working out underwater. But these days, almost every gym makes wearing a mask a requirement. Even if your gym doesn’t, the mask is still a good idea to protect yourself and others.

Whether you’re trying to sculpt those Hollywood abs, hit that New Year’s resolution, or get better at your sport, what you need now is a breathable mask for the gym.

The Problem With Most Breathable Gym Masks

The fitness industry has always been prone to false promises and products that get pushed out faster than can get studied. COVID gym masks are no exception. The majority of mask manufacturers put more focus on getting their “gym-friendly” masks out faster, rather than better. As a result, most of these masks are no better (and are often worse) than standard PPE.

We can sympathize with the challenge. Trying to keep a mask safe while increasing breathability has inherent problems. To increase breathability, you’re often looking at making the mask more porous or adding vents. 

The CDC advises against masks with vents or valves. These fail to protect others from you. Even if you don’t feel any symptoms, it’s possible for you to spread the virus to others. As such, you should stray away from valve or vent masks.

Lightweight, porous materials seem great for exercise. They let the air flow more freely and don’t retain as much hot air from heavy breathing. The problem is that these breathable masks do not adequately protect you or others. Particulate from saliva, sweat, and breathing can easily enter and exit this material, increasing exposure risks.

This is a problem across nearly all retailers. Even top brands, like Nike, claim their sports masks are safe—but they suffer the same issues. Although those masks are safer than no mask, they still don’t provide sufficient protection.

Although most of the masks out there are either not breathable enough for the gym or not safe enough for COVID, there is still hope. Here are a few quick tips on what to look for when buying a breathable mask for the gym.

How to Find a Breathable Gym Mask

Here are the must-haves for a gym mask that is not only safe, but allows you to breathe easy while getting your sweat on.


It’s important to get the right fit for your masks. It needs to be able to stay reliably above the nose and below the chin to effectively seal out the virus. The mask should be large enough to maintain this position even while you are talking, hyperventilating, or grunting through sets. 

At the same time, you don’t want it to be so large that it hangs loosely, allowing germs in and out.

The right fit not only protects you from the spread of germs and bacteria, it also keeps you comfortable. With a good fit, you spend less time fiddling with your mask and more time getting those gains.

Adjustment Straps

Unless you happen to have just the exact right dimensions, a universal fit mask is unlikely to have a perfect fit. Instead, you should look for gym masks that have adjustable straps. This way, no matter what the size and shape of your head, nose, and ears, you can easily adjust the mask to fit comfortably and snug.

Avoid Open Cell Fabrics

Too many supposedly gym-friendly face masks rely on inferior fabrics. These loosely woven fabrics let germs and bacteria flow in and out easily. Worse yet, many are single layer, offering next to no protection.

Instead of looking at the promises of breathability, look at the materials and design. Tightly woven cotton masks can be breathable, even with two or three layers of fabric. For even further protection, look for masks with inner filter pockets.

An easy way to assess if a mask is too loosely woven is to hold it up to the light. If light passes through it, so will germs.

Venting System

We’ve already discussed that external vents and valves don’t make a mask safe for the gym. Instead, you need an internal venting system that protects you, your spotter, and your fellow gym-goers.

The only effective way to achieve this safely is through the use of mask inserts. The insert device allows for freer breathing, a better fit, and greater comfort. The air is able to ventilate and circulate freely within the mask, safely removing exhaled air and bringing in fresh oxygen without endangering you or others.

The PowerAir Breathable Gym Mask Insert

PowerAir is a face mask insert that can make any mask breathable enough for even the most intense gym rat. It is the only option that can confidently provide you with all the elements of an effective breathable gym mask.

The insert fits under any approved mask, whether cloth or disposable, creating a better fit on your face and increasing breathability. Shop the PowerAir Breathable Mask Insert today and inhale the difference!

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