The first step in reviewing any product is to remember to bring it with you for its intended activity. I was out of the building and halfway to the gate before I realized I had forgotten to don my new Under Armour athletic face mask for my morning run. Therefore this review comes at the expense of approximately 6 minutes' lost time. Please read it!
(Also, for the record, I bought it with my own money in anticipation of potentially needing it for a race. Despite my average running performance, unpopular blog, and minuscule Instagram following, UA mysteriously has yet to offer me a sponsorship.)
|Don't forget to cut the tag out before you use it.|
The Under Armour Sportsmask will set you back $30, which is a bit steep for a mask, but in exchange it promises enhanced comfort and breathability using high-quality, antimicrobial materials. It's also allegedly water-resistant. It's recommended that you hand-wash it but machine-washing is supposedly okay too.
|This is my good eyebrow side.|
First impressions: it was indeed a comfortable material, and seemed to fit reasonably well. There's a wire bit at the top so you can mold it across your nose. I liked that there was enough space at the middle and bottom that I didn't feel like I was playing Suck and Blow with the fabric. (Is that a real thing or did Clueless just make it up?)
I did not, however, feel cool - my hot breath was definitely winning that game.
|This is my bad eyebrow side.|
Then I took it for a quick 5k. Let's compare my experience against the selling points one by one:
- "Made with high-performance UA materials, designed to be worn all day & when playing sports" - It was comfortable enough. I was able to zone out and forget I was wearing it now and again. I did occasionally feel like it was sliding off my nose but every time I reached to check it was still fine. I have a S/M and I don't think this was a function of needing a smaller size.
- "Structured design sits up off the face & lips for added comfort & breathability" - As the run progressed and my breathing got a little more labored, I found that the fabric did hit my lips during some inhales, but it wasn't too bad.
- "Water-resistant outer shell features smooth, breathable spacer fabric" - It didn't rain during my run so I'm not sure how that would work out. I definitely sweat, though, and the mask retained its shape.
- "Anti-microbial treatment on the inside layer to help keep mask fresh" - I noticed no funky smells. It'll definitely need a wash every time, though.
- "Polyurethane open-cell foam lets air through but makes it hard for moisture & sweat to pass" - I never felt like I was struggling for air, nor did any sweat drip out of the bottom of the mask.
- "UA Iso-Chill fabric on interior lining & ear loops feels cool to the touch for as long as you wear it" - I guess. Look, I'm running in Puerto Rico in September, so we've already set the dial to 11 in terms of heat and humidity. The fabric never felt super hot, but it didn't feel expressly cool either, even when I first put it on. And I definitely sweat underneath of it.
- "Fabric is soft & smooth for next to face comfort & moves moisture from your mouth to the insert layer" - The fabric next to my mouth never felt soggy, so that seems to work, yeah.
- "Built-in UPF 50+ sun protection" - I can't wait to add weird facial tan lines to my weird runner's tan!
Obviously the ideal mask situation while running is no mask at all in a world where there's no pandemic. But as long as we have to wear one to keep everyone safe and race (fingers crossed it actually happens), I think the UA mask is perfectly serviceable. I wasn't blown away, but I don't dread potentially running 13 miles in it.
Pro tip: if you want to potentially take it off to drink water or wipe away sweat for brief periods during your run, make sure you put your headphones on BEFORE the mask. Otherwise you're taking both off every time and it's annoying.
Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughts. See ya real soon!