Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts around the globe have been grappling with how or when it will be possible to resume training as it was before Covid-19 set in. Until the all-clear is given, companies like Under Armour are making working out while social distancing a little more comfortable thanks to their new first-of-its-kind face mask, designed to be worn during physical performance.
“At Under Armour, we always want to be part of the solution, especially during this extremely challenging time,” said Patrik Frisk, CEO of Under Armour, in a press release. “We specifically designed this mask for athletes and for all of us who want to exercise and train while also keeping ourselves, and those around us, safe.”
The Under Armour SPORTSMASK is reusable, water-resistant, and designed for efficient performance thanks to its inventive breathable fabric. The mask features a mouldable nose-bridge, which helps secure it in place while minimising airflow to the eyes and ensuring reduced spread of respiratory droplets, as a standard medical mask would. The brand designed the mask while practising social distancing measures, with materials sent directly to Ella Mae Holmes, the Under Armour seamstress who is behind the brand’s original compression shirt.
“As soon as we finalised the design of our face mask for PPE [personal protective equipment], we dived straight into the innovation process of optimising a mask for performance," said Kyle Blakely, Vice President of Materials Innovation at Under Armour. "We knew our athletes would need us to come through quickly with a solve to aid their return to training, one that would put health and safety first and adhere to current CDC [Center for Disease Control] guidelines.”
After testing 13 different prototypes, the brand decided on a three-layer model to facilitate athletic performance. The layers include a light, spacer fabric to help structure the design, an open-cell foam that lets air through but makes it hard for moisture or sweat to pass, and a third "Iso-Chill" fabric, which has been treated with non-metal antimicrobial coating to inhibit bacterial growth and destroy Covid-19.
“We applied learnings in fit, feel, and ease and speed of manufacturing from the face mask we created for PPE purposes. Through it all, the speed of the design process and a meticulous eye to quality and details were paramount,” said Blakely.
The UA SPORTSMASK will be available at US$30 at UA.com with additional colour-ways set to be released this summer and autumn.
See also: 5 Eco-Friendly Protective Face Masks