Stuff We Swear By: This Is My Favorite Mask for Working Out

Spoiler alert: it's because it stays put

Face masks for working out
The Buff Filter Mask is our favorite for working out.

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This is Stuff We Swear By, a series in which our editors expound on an item they use (and love) on a daily (or near-daily) basis.

Item: BUFF Filter Mask

Description: Courtesy of the Spanish “tubular headwear” pioneers whose original product (fun fact: BUFF is short for “bufanda,” the Spanish word for “scarf”) has been protecting the domes and faces of athletes the world over for a quarter century, the Filter Mask is a stretchy polyester face mask with adjustable straps and an interior slot for a replaceable 3-layer filter, perfect for working out.

How I use it: Filter goes in mask, mask goes on face. Face, along with rest of head and body, goes to gym (or outside for a run). Sweat ensues.

Why I swear by it: Much like the Jabra earbuds your correspondent swore by (and still does) in an earlier iteration of this very column, the main reason I ride so hard for the BUFF Filter Mask is because it stays put. I tried many, many masks during workouts prior to my acquisition of the BFM, and I was invariably frustrated with how they would continually creep down below my nose and require mid-stride adjustment. Owing to a design with one strap that goes around the neck and another the back of the head, the BFM stays snugly in place no matter how hard I’m breathing. Do I look a little bit like Bane in it? Yes, yes I do. But I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing — I’ve found that looking into the mirror and proclaiming “I am Gotham’s reckoning, here to end the borrowed time you’ve all been living on” in my best robotic Tom Hardy voice is a great way to get pumped up for a workout.

Furthermore, the total lack of ear straps is just a really nice change of pace from my everyday masks — I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like straps around the ears, even when adjustable, tend to get pretty uncomfortable after an extended period of wear.

BUFF Filter Mask
Alternate Bane quote: “Calm down, doctor. Now is not the time for fear.”

Compounding the comfort is BUFF’s “four-way ULTRA STRETCH CoolNet UV+ fabric,” which feels great on my mug and wicks sweat effectively despite the fact that its name has approximately twice as many words as I’d like it to have.

Replaceable filters aren’t something you see on all that many masks, and while it does give you an extra thing to think about with the BFM, it’s honestly probably for the best in terms of protecting oneself in a place like the gym where people are inherently breathing hard in a relatively enclosed space. BUFF says the filters provide “98% bacterial filtration efficiency” (rated the same as type I and II of the EN14683:2019 standard for Medical face masks), and each filter is good for 24 hours of wear. Now, this admittedly sounds flat out insane when you first hear it — one filter per day?? However, turns out this means 24 hours of actual wear, and unless you’re a professional athlete or an unabashed gym rat, chances are you’re not working out more than about an hour a day. So each filter should carry you through a good number of sweat sessions, even if you’re changing them out more often than prescribed.

Post-workout, the BFM is super easy to hand wash, and dries crazy fast. And not that it has any effect on the mask’s workout efficacy, but it is nice to know that the fabric is 95% recycled Repreve, a fiber made from plastic bottles — doing some good for the environment is always a nice bonus.

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