While the UK government has not made it compulsory to wear a face mask when outside in order to help prevent spreading COVID-19, from 15th June you will have to wear them on public transport, and it’s advised to stick one on in every situation where social distancing is difficult, such as in the supermarket.
There are enormous benefits to wearing masks in confined spaces to reduce the spread of the virus, but it’s fair to say current designs aren’t all that comfortable. As we get closer to the reopening of gyms and leisure centres, as well as restarting team sports indoors and out, there’s a high chance masks will be recommended or required in those situations too. And we can’t imagine that disposable or reusable ones perform well when you’re breathing and sweating hard.
Step forward Under Armour, which – as well as producing and distributing masks for everyday use in the United States – has been busy designing a mask for athletes to train in. It takes the honour of being the first major sports brand to announce a mask to exercise in with the UA SPORTSMASK, which is due to launch in late July at a price of £26.
The washable, reusable mask has a three-layer construction that meets the World Health Organisation’s recommendation for fabric masks. The outer layer is spacer fabric that helps shape the mask and keeps the fabric from sitting directly on your mouth and nose so it’s more comfortable. The second layer is open-cell foam, which is breathable but makes it harder for sweat and any other moisture to pass through. And the final layer is UA ISO-CHILL, a fabric that feels cool on the skin and dries quickly. That closest layer to your skin is also treated with PROTX2 anti-microbial technology. In lab tests PROTX2 has been shown to destroy COVID-19, though the UA SPORTSMASK is not yet proven to be effective on that front.
The mask also has a mouldable nose bridge that you can shape, allowing you to ensure a more secure fit and limit airflow to the eyes, so your glasses stay fog-free.
At launch it will be available in black, with more colours coming in summer and autumn. You can sign up now to be notified when the mask is available on the Under Armour website.