Gone are the days when a makeshift scarf wrap was your only option for a face covering to protect against the spread of the COVID-19. It’s been months since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended everyone wear face masks when social distancing isn’t an option. Since then, reusable face masks have become rather easy to find from well-known brands and new companies alike. Not only are they more readily available, but they’re also getting better.
While you might already have a stash of reusable face masks at home, it’s clear that this is one wardrobe staple that will be getting plenty of use for the foreseeable future. So, it might be time to do a little research and invest in protective face coverings that are actually comfortable, whether you’re running errands or jogging on a busy street. Of course, wearing fabric over your mouth and nose is never going to feel particularly comfy (especially if you live in a warmer climate), but it’s an easy way to protect yourself and others, and there are plenty of great options to choose from.
In our search for the best breathable face masks available online, we scoured thousands of customer reviews, and discovered 10 options that real people swear by. They range from cotton face masks from fashion labels to spandex options from athletic brands and bamboo coverings from travel companies. Each is a little different, but they all feature CDC- and WHO-recommended layers of material and a tight fit. Take a look at all 10 breathable face masks below to stay cool while staying safe.
This face mask from Athleta includes adjustable, soft-knit ear loops and a contoured shape designed to stay in place. It also has flexible plastic boning to keep the two layers of fabric out of your mouth. Made with polyester, spandex, and mesh, it allows for more airflow while remaining protective. Plus, it has a pocket for added filters if you’d like another layer of protection. The new masks have only been available to order for a few weeks, but they’ve already racked up nearly 200 reviews. “[These] are by far the best masks I’ve tried and I have tried A LOT,” said one reviewer who works at a physician’s office and has to wear a mask all day.
To buy: $25; athleta.com.
Made of bamboo instead of traditional cotton, this adjustable face mask is breathable and environmentally friendly. Plus the bamboo material is naturally antibacterial and odor-resistant, so it will help you stay comfortable even in warm weather. “This is my second order of these masks,” an Amazon shopper explained. “They are adjustable, soft, and pretty darn comfortable. I like how they conform to the face and don't ride up or down when speaking.”
Not only is this 100 percent cotton, double-layered face mask a favorite among celebrities, it also has plenty of positive reviews from other customers. “I have several different styles of masks, and these are, by far, the most comfortable on the ears and easiest to breathe through during extended wearing,” one person wrote. More noted how soft the masks feel and how much they love the cheery tie-dye colors that come in this pack of five.
To buy: $25; everlane.com.
When Old Navy first dropped its cloth face masks online in May, they sold out almost instantly. Now, they’re restocked and just as popular as they were at the start of summer. They’re made of three airy layers of 100 percent cotton, and each pack of five masks is available in 19 colorways and patterns. With over 8,000 five-star reviews, these might just be the most top-rated masks we’ve found so far. “I have had a hard time finding a mask that fits well and is comfortable. These are both,” an Old Navy shopper said.
To buy: $13; oldnavy.com.
If you’re looking for breathable face masks on Amazon, you’ll want to consider this option from Bondir. A favorite of one of Real Simple’s own editors, the reusable mask is made of lightweight fabric and comes with adjustable straps and replacement liners to keep you safe and comfortable. Although there aren’t yet reviews on Amazon, the mask is also sold on Sonix, where a majority of reviewers have awarded the face covering five stars. “One of my favorite masks yet,” one person wrote. “I don’t feel suffocated when I wear it, and it’s super comfortable.”
To buy: $20; amazon.com.
These face masks are made with up-cycled fabrics from the activewear brand’s usual offerings. They feature multiple layers of stretchy, quick-drying material and elastic straps to keep the cover secured into place. Reviewers say the masks are lightweight enough for running and comfortable for wearing all day. A nurse even called them “super breathable and comfortable and way cute,” adding that they fit better than any other mask and always garner compliments.
To buy: $24; onzie.com.
Reebok’s machine-washable face masks are made with recycled polyester and a small amount of elastane. They offer a tight fit and two layers of fabric with a pocket for an added filter. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the basic black face covers is that they’ve tallied up five-star reviews from nearly 400 people, many of which recommend the mask for working out. “These masks are better than expected,” one reviewer wrote. “They are soft, comfortable, a perfect fit for my face, and help me workout better in a mask. They are all I wear now.”
To buy: $30; reebok.com.
Devereux specializes in golf attire, but the brand quickly began using its resources to produce cloth face masks this year. Its set of three organic cotton and performance polyester face masks is known to sell out, but you can always place pre-orders to get in on the next shipment of breathable masks. They feature a flexible wire lining and adjustable elastic ear cords for a custom fit. “One of the golfers in our family got these masks. Pretty soon, all of us are ordering them,” one customer explained. Another said, “I’ve tried a number of masks so far but this will be the last mask I’ll have to buy. The quality of the mask is superb.”
To buy: $30; dvrxthreads.com.
This comfortable mask is made with two layers of cotton fabric, has adjustable ear straps, and includes a metal nose piece for a secure fit. It even comes with a filter, which you’ll want to replace once a week. You can pick from eight solid colors and order up to eight masks in one pack or grab a single mask to try before buying more. A quick read through the reviews on Vida’s website proves the masks truly fit well and offer ample protection and style. “These are the most comfortable masks we have found and work well for my whole family,” one reviewer wrote, adding that they’re the best they’ve tried for wearing with glasses thanks to the nose piece.
To buy: $10; shopvida.com.
Ideal for buying in bulk, this pack of 50 face masks from Fruit of the Loom is available on Amazon. Yes, the familiar underwear brand is now making cotton face masks with three-ply 100 percent cotton, and Amazon shoppers say the coverings fit comfortably and are lightweight for easy breathing. “This mask allows me to talk and breath without feeling restricted,” one of the hundreds of Amazon reviewers wrote. “Do not waste your time with any other mask. This is the one.”
To buy: $45; amazon.com.