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We’ve endured this global pandemic for the better part of a year. And with that, we’ve also seen many changes to our daily lives: travel restrictions, no public gatherings, distance learning, the list goes on. And while some of the changes will (hopefully) be short-lived, one thing seems to be sticking around for a while: Face covers (aka face masks).

Because not all covers are created equal

And for good reason. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that simple, spoken phrases generated hundreds of droplets ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers. But when someone’s mouth was covered by a damp washcloth, nearly all of those droplets were blocked.


The strongest evidence for wearing face masks actually comes from real-world examples. In a study looking at coronavirus deaths across 198 countries, the places with cultural norms and government policies favoring face masks had lower death rates. Bottom line? Wearing a face mask helps prevent the spread of germs. When the pandemic first hit, people were grabbing whatever they could to act as face masks: bandanas, old t-shirts and even bra cups. But as the months have rolled on and face masks have established themselves as post-modern wardrobe staples, options have exploded.

The first thing to look for is a mask that fits your face shape. Not only will this ensure the face mask is working properly but it will also look and feel better. “I prefer sleek and face-forming masks with coverage that isn’t too bulky or overwhelmingly busy,” says celebrity fashion stylist and consultant Brendan Cannon. “Make sure your face mask isn’t too tight around the face and features proper protocols for safety and convenience.”


The future of face masks for the gym will be a world of countless options. Whatever your workout goals, expect technical innovations like sensors and VR technology. With 2021 right around the corner, watch this space for the best face masks for workouts and shop accordingly. For now, though, prioritize breathable face masks that can handle sweat and air flow. There are plenty out there.