DOWN ‘N DIRTY: UNDER ARMOUR SPORTSMASK

Masks have become a part of daily life. I have an impressive collection of hanging from our bedroom door handles. Some were handmade by ambitious seamstresses early in the pandemic, a few bold orange numbers proudly advertise for the Lafayette library, and many were professionally made from recognizable name brands. We even have some no-nonsense N95s for when my husband teaches in person at CU. 

If you’re anything like me, you have a hierarchy of your favorites organized by preferred use occasions. There are the ones I set aside for quick trips to pick my son up from daycare, when I know I’ll be outside and won’t be close to anyone. Others are good for our short visits to the library or an in-and-out trip to King Soopers. Then there’s my collection for active endeavors—and at the top of this list sits the Under Armour Sportsmask.

Over the past few months, I’ve taken the UA Sportsmask on hikes across the Front Range and skiing up in Summit County, and it consistently delivers for feel, fit, and style.

But first, a word on the technology behind this mask. Its main differentiator is its three-layer construction. Layer one (farthest from the skin) is made with what UA dubs “spacer fabric.” The material is light but structured with purposeful stitching to help keep the mask off the nose and mouth for better airflow. The second layer, called “open-cell foam,” is breathable, allowing air to pass through but blocking moisture and sweat. The third “UA Iso-Chill” layer is made with a fabric designed to feel cool against the skin that’s also treated with a proprietary, anti-microbial technology. 

And that brings us to the mask’s feel: The UA Sportsmask is soft and silky against my skin. There are times it heats up (namely when I’m huffing and puffing as I head uphill), but the fabric cools nicely living up to its “Iso-Chill” moniker. I also love the ear bands on this thing and the fact that it doesn’t hurt the backs of my ears even after a full day on the slopes or when wearing the mask under a headlamp.

I was also impressed to see the range of sizes the UA Sportsmask comes in, which include smaller sizes for my particularly petite noggin. These masks also include a moldable nose bridge, which is vital for a good fit and for preventing steamed-up sunglasses.

Style-wise, there’s no denying this mask is made for athletic endeavors—it even looks the part—however, Under Armour tones down that aggressive functionality with a heathered gray and soft lavender color ways. It’s also available in two black/charcoal options and a much bolder bright red.

Pros: As noted above, I’m a huge fan of the way this mask feels against my skin, how well it fits, and the athletic aesthetic. I’m also impressed with the anti-microbial coating on the next-to-skin layer, which provides some reassurance that it’s killing whatever nasties I exhale and seems to help prevent me from breaking out after wearing it.

Cons: Getting the right size is essential with this mask (and it’s clearly why they have so many to choose from). Make sure to measure your head and get the right one. If you go too big, the nose bridge will gape and it will be difficult to move your face without moving the whole mask. 

Where I took it: Countless hikes in the front range, skiing in Summit County

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