Best for Running: Under Armour Sportsmask
One day that Nike mask that makes you look like Bane will come back in stock. Until then, the Under Armour Sportsmask is the second-best option. The Sportsmask’s solid design keeps the mask from touching your mouth, which keeps it from getting sucked in on a deep inhale. Sportsmask comes in about five different sizes.
Get it from: underarmour.com
Best for Cold Weather: Biliomask Koala
Biliomask’s knitted Koala masks are so cute—they make you look like a cute Bane. Although the recycled polyester yarn blend is breathable, I found them a little too stuffy for summer. But now that it’s fall, these are just the thing.
Get it from: biliomask.com
Best Locally Made Mask: North St. Bags Cotton Face Mask
One of the first local brands to immediately switch over to mask making, North St. Bags not only makes terrific bike bags, but it was one of the first I saw putting a nose wire in its masks to keep your glasses from fogging up. These locally manufactured masks are still high on my list.
Get it from: northstbags.com
Best for Working: N95 disposable masks
The best mask for work is still the regular N95 polypropylene mask. The solid shape keeps it away from your face, and the disposable nature says, “I take your health seriously so I change this out often.”
Get it from: Hardware stores or online.
Best in a Pinch: Disposable black face masks
Let’s be real. You take a sip of coffee and then quickly pull your mask back up when your co-worker enters the lounge. But now there’s a brown stain on the front of your mask. Get a box of these black ones and keep them in your car or bag.
Get it from: Drug and hardware stores, the occasional big box grocery store, or online.
Problematic Fave: Germless Products
Germless masks are the best masks out there. They’re sturdy and comfortable and stand up to multiple washings. The solid shape keeps the mask away from your mouth, and the foam around the sides forms a safe seal. But the company tanked its reputation earlier this year, when it couldn’t keep up with demand and started messing up orders. Still, I’d rather have a Germless mask than almost any other, so to me it’s worth the risk. A recent order of N235s (the best standard, everyday mask) and SP1s (a lightweight mask that works for running, but still provides a protective seal) came through fine. It seems Germless has ironed out its supply kinks, but if you can use a payment option that’s easy to reverse, I’d recommend it.
Get it from: germlessproducts.com
Best Cat Face Mask: RisebySamyouwell on Etsy
A cute face mask is a tactical choice. This one, with a glittery, pink, embroidered nose, has seen me through many difficult situations in which someone might normally hate to see a journalist approach, but then they compliment my cat face mask and seem to relax a little. Sign up for my Radical Vulnerability in the Face of Great Force TED Talk or see for yourself.
Get it from: etsy.com/shop/RisebySamyouwell