There are a lot of things to think about as you prepare for a run or bike ride. Chief among these many factors is safety. That’s why runners and riders can spend a lot of time (and money) finding equipment to keep them hydrated, visible, and even protected on their favorite roads and sidewalks. But here’s something very few people have considered until recently: air pollution. It’s why many runners and bikers use air pollution masks.
When you’re working hard, you’re breathing heavy. And when the air you breathe is dirty or polluted, that can lead to some unfortunate health risks.
- 1 Air Pollution Effects on Runners and Bikers
- 2 How an Air Pollution Mask Works to Filter Out Pollution
- 3 Top 11 Best Air Pollution Masks for Running and Biking
- 3.1 Anti Pollution Dust Mask Cycling Mask by FlyLuoKe
- 3.2 Fightech Dust Mask
- 3.3 Anqier Dust Mask
- 3.4 Infityle Dustproof Face Mask
- 3.5 Sireck Dust Mask
- 3.6 AxPower Dust Mask
- 3.7 FITGAME Dust Mask
- 3.8 BASE CAMP Dust/Breathing Mask
- 3.9 Pioneeryao Sport Dust Mask
- 3.10 Muryobao Anti Pollution Mask
- 3.11 GVS SPR457 Elipse P100 Half Mask Respirator
- 4 Conclusion
Air Pollution Effects on Runners and Bikers
Running outside is always recommended. It’s a great workout and, despite its risks, it’s one of the best ways to maintain your personal health. But there are risks. Running or biking outside can indeed subject you to dirty or polluted air more frequently than people who work out inside, where there’s proper air filtration. It’s true. Air pollution causes damage.
Depending on what exactly you’re breathing in, exercising outside could put you at risk for (or exacerbate) asthma, risk of stroke and heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and even cancer. The particulate in polluted air might be microscopic, but air pollution effects on your fitness performance and health could be enormous.
Don’t worry! It’s not all hopeless! There are steps you can take to be safer while running and biking, and one of them is gaining in popularity. Consider buying yourself an anti-pollution mask! They can help you fight back against air pollution and the various issues pollution causes.
If the pollution is simply too much for you, exercise indoors. Just be sure to test and have good indoor air quality.
How an Air Pollution Mask Works to Filter Out Pollution
Air pollution masks aren’t very complicated. You might see words like “sub-micron filter” and “contaminate” thrown around, but the truth is: these masks are pretty straightforward. The idea is to keep very small particles called particulate — the stuff that gets thrown into the air by things like car exhausts — out of your lungs.
Particulate is almost impossible to see while it’s floating through the air, but it’s made up of solid stuff. Anti-pollution masks use filters to capture the solid material from entering your lungs, which keeps you from breathing in stuff that could make you sick or damage your lung function.
There are a variety of mask types. Here are the different kinds you might see around the digital marketplace. (Keep in mind, these are the technical names. Some companies may use these terms interchangeably!)
Pollution Masks for Exercise
These air pollution masks are designed to fit around the mouth and nose. Usually, they’re sold to be as stylish as they are functional, so expect them to have fashionable designs. Despite their light weight, they’re packed in with filters that’ll stay functional for a few months of hard, everyday use before you need to buy a new mask (or change the filters). They’re made for exercise and comfort, but keep in mind that they’ll make breathing a lot harder when you’re working out. So there may be an adjustment period.
Pollution Masks (Non-Exercise)
More popularly known as “gas masks,” these bulky contraptions come with heavy-duty filters designed for very serious situations. These masks usually come equipped with a full-face mask and detachable, external filters. These are not recommended for working out, mainly because you should save them for emergencies, but also because they’re expense and not designed for laborious activity.
These are often confused with dust masks (below). Respirators are usually worn by painters, landscapers, and other professionals that deal with particulate as part of their jobs. They fit over the nose and mouth and hold in place with straps around the ears. They’re great for filtering out air particulates, but they aren’t recommended for working out either. In some cases, getting these can also require contact with an industrial supplier. You can tell respirators from dust masks by the filters respirators have in the mouth cover.
Also known as “nuisance masks” or “surgical masks,” these are the sorts of masks you’ve probably seen most often. They’re the white masks that people slap on when they’re sick. These masks are typically pretty flimsy and don’t have a filter like the rest of the entries here. Effective to a degree and cheap, dust masks aren’t recommended for strenuous activity like working out.
So, which ones should you use for working out? Have no fear! Here are our 11 top choices!
Top 11 Best Air Pollution Masks for Running and Biking
Consider consulting your medical team or healthcare provider before using one of these air pollution masks. They can make breathing more difficult, which can be a factor for people already suffering from lung issues or other breathing-related illnesses/injuries.
This air pollution mask carries an activated carbon filter with an N99 grade. In laymen’s terms, it’s the best filter you can get on a mask of this type. It comes in a variety of color choices and is made of comfortable nylon, making breathing far easier than usual masks of this type. It’s very easy to replace the filters and it comes with a 100% money-back guarantee, which is hard to beat! Some users with wider or larger head shapes have reported difficulty in getting this mask to fit comfortably.
- PREMIUM MATERIAL: Safety Mask cover is well built by Nylon, offering excellent permeability. Soft texture, quick drying, breathable and comfortable to wear.
- HEALTHY BREATHING:separation of 98% of the dust, gas, smoke and fumes.The dustproof mask can be used for anti-dust, anti-vehicle exhaust, anti PM2.5 and haze day protection.
- PERFECT DESIGN: Adjustable nose clip, with unique ventilation design, a plurality of holes, excellent permeability, exhale, the valve of work out mask is opened without resistance, double air breathing valve, air resistance is smaller, smooth breathing.Perfect for spring, summer, autumn and winter wear.
Another very durable and highly-recommended mask! This Fightech mask uses an earloop design rather than the typical “around the face” design, meaning the mask has a lower chance of sliding off. That’s especially handy if you’re using it for running or riding! It’s highly elastic, adjustable, and easy to maintain as well. The mask uses low-profile Velcro to fit, which is great! Just keep in mind that a comfortable, tight fit is the only way the mask will work to its best ability. Test the fit by giving a hard blow from your mouth. You shouldn’t feel any air escape the mask from anywhere but the exhaust vents.
- 【HELPS HEALTHY BREATHING】Fightech respirator mask is designed for comfortable protection against non-toxic dust, pollen, mold, fumes, common airborne irritants and other non oil based particles.
- 【IMPROVED DESIGN】Unlike previously designed dusk masks (mostly N95 masks), Fightech half mask implements the EARLOOP design preventing the pollution mask from slipping off. Also, we equipped our dust mask with valves to reduce heat build-up inside the respirator.
- 【UNIVERSAL USAGE】Fightech anti pollution mask for home improvement projects: as a paint mask (non-oil based), mask for cleaning, woodwork, mowing etc. It can also be used as an allergy mask to filter allergenic pollens and as a mask for flu. Our customers use the face mask for running and cycling. Similar to the elevation training mask - the Fightech breathing mask may also help your lung capacity training by mimicking high altitude/low oxygen level conditions.
Anqier’s mask is made of comfortable nylon and is designed to be versatile. This mask is made to be just as effective running or biking outside as it is for dusting the appliances in your house. It’s made of comfortable nylon and is very breathable (without letting in particulate!). Anqier also has a great, no hassle return policy and a year-long replacement warranty. The mask does use an over-the-ear style band, which some people have reported as causing the mask to feel odd, but it offers great protection!
- PREMIUM MATERIAL:The mesh of the dust mask is made up of Nylon,offering excellent permeability.Full Carbon fiber filter makes the filter layer more clean and sanitary.Perfect for cycling running fitness and other sports.
- HEALTHY BREATHING:The air mask coming with active carbon filters,isolate 99% of dust and particulates, chemicals ,smoke, gas, pollen fume and particles.It is suitable for runner,cyclist,motorcyclists, fitness,house cleaning,gardening and other outdoor activities.
- PERFECT DESIGN:Our Newest fitness dust masks with unique ventilation design,a plurality of holes, double air breathing valve,air resistance is smaller,smooth breathing.Earloop design better solve the problem of falling off when you wear.With adjustable nose clip and Velcro can be suitable for the most head type.
Another great mask here! It’s your typical dust mask, made for comfort! The nose clip is adjustable, which is great for customized fit. This can make breathing through the nose a bit harder, though. The mask uses an under-the-ear, around-the-neck style strap that can make the mask slip off if there’s a lot of bouncing going on. Consider this mask for biking more than running, but it can work for either!
- PREMIUM MATERIAL: The mesh of the dustproof mask cover is well built by premium Nylon, offering excellent permeability. More thick and full Carbon fiber filter makes the filter layer more clean and sanitary. Suitable and important for your life.
- BEST PROTECTION:The allergy mask separation of 98% of the dust, chemicals, smoke and particles, It can be used for dust, anti-vehicle exhaust, anti-pollen allergy, PM2.5, for cycling, hiking, skiing and other outdoor activitie.
- PERFECT DESIGN: With unique ventilation design, a plurality of holes, excellent permeability, exhale, the valve of work out mask is opened without resistance, double air breathing valve, air resistance is smaller, smooth breathing.
Sireck’s mask is an absolutely excellent air pollution mask for the athlete. That’s because it’s specifically meant designed for outdoor exercise. The mask is made from stretchy, flexible nylon and can be adjusted to fit anybody! It doesn’t come in a variety of colors, but it does have a very sleek look. The six extra filters don’t hurt either! The only complaint issued by this mask is the initial smell. Right out of the box, it has an industrial sort of smell to it. Give it a wash (without filters) to clear that up.
- PERFECT DESIGN: This dust mask is with adjustable nose clip, hanging ear design is not easy to fall off, double air breathing valve, air resistance is smaller, smooth breathing.
- MATERIAL: The half face mask is made of nylon, soft and lightweight material, quick drying, stretchy, breathable and comfortable to wear.
- MASK FILTER FUNCTION: The safety mask is with activated carbon filter which can isolate the large amount of dust, PM2.5, viral influenza, exhaust, industrial emissions, haze and other harmful substances in the air.
This AxPower mask is another excellent choice. Users have touted its comfortable earloop design, its sleek appearance, and its incredible filtration. The mask is very easy to take care of and the filters are surprisingly simple to switch out! This mask will protect you very well against air pollution, but it does have a tendency to pull against the ears. Don’t worry, though, AxPower has an awesome return/exchange policy.
- 【ULTIMATE PROTECTION】This respirator mask suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities where dust may be present. Such as: urban cycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, skiing, jogging, hiking, climbing, motorcycling，mowing, sawmilling, and other outdoor activities. Also applies to: exhaust, viral influenza, industrial emissions, dust allergies, pollen, ash, fog, haze, vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke among other pollutants.
- 【HEALTHY BREATHING】Improved air flow valve-provides comfortable breathing by reducing heat and moisture build up. Value opens upon exhaling, lowering breathing resistance. It closes on inhale making the filters work. Unique ventilation, a plurality of holes, excellent permeability will help you breath in a cleaner, healthier way, perfect for spring, summer, autumn and winter wear.
- 【REUSEABLE】Unlike most old designs, our mask filters and valves are fully interchangeable and reusable. This makes the mask easy to clean when it get dirty, less harmful to the environment, and last significantly longer than your average dust mask.
The FITGAME mask is another solid contender. Like almost all the other masks on this list, it’s made for comfort and specifically for outdoor exercise. You can rest assured that this mask will keep you safe while running or biking, but also for climbing, hiking, or just your morning walk! The adjustable nose clip has been said to wear with time, so keep that in mind during extended use!
- NEW EARLOOP DESIGN - This face mask for air pollution has comfortable design and goes around your ears to hold better on your face. Due to its flexible acrylic body, you can also wear it all day long without any discomfort or skin irritation.
- PREMIUM QUALITY - Made by skilled and experienced professionals, this dustproof mask meets or surpass national and international quality control standards and certifications. Your satisfaction is completely guaranteed.
- ANTI-ALLERGY - This mask is ideally suited for anyone with pollen and related allergies and can prove to be your best companion during allergy season. It's activated carbon filter effectively filters out pollens and allows you to move out freely without a worry.
Designed to be versatile and lightweight, this mask is everything you need in pollution protection while working out. Its seal helps ensure you won’t fog up glasses or goggles during use and its breathable enough to use in hot weather. The size is easily adjustable and it uses a hook-and-loop fasten, which makes it more snug than most masks of its type. Some customers have reported a strong chemical smell when it comes straight out of the box. Let it sit out for a while and wash it (without filters) to solve this problem.
- MESH CONSTRUCTION - The pollution mask is made of Nylon which offers excellent permeability. The lightweight air face mask is comfortable, breathable and good to wear in hot weather.
- PERFECT DESIGN - Anti pollution mask with adjustable nose clip, hanging Ear Design and removable hook & loop Strap, it helps effective seal and prevents fogging, keeps the mask from slipping. One size fits most adults. Also easy adjust the size to meet the most head type.
- LOW BREATHING RESISTANCE - Dual one-way discharge valves and mesh material design of the air breathing mask make air resistance smaller without sacrificing filtration.
This mask is designed for outdoor activity and its activated carbon filter promises to remove up to 95% of dust, pollen, chemicals, and heavy metal particulates. It’s a great mask. Aside from having excellent protection, Pioneeryao separates itself from the pack with a mask that comes in a number of interesting designs as well! You can look good while you get in shape and stay protected! The company’s customer service is touted as being great as well! Watch out for fit, though. This mask is snug.
- REPLACEABLE ACTIVATED CARBON FILTER -- helps you breath in a more CLEAN and more ENVIROMENTALLY FRIENDLY way. Activated Carbon isolates 95% of dust, pollen, hazardous chemicals, heavy metal particulates etc. With the replaceable design, you only need to change the Filter instead of the entire mask, which is more environmentalist.
- TWO VALVES DESIGN act as blockers to the air, which help to achieve the effects of high altitude&low air concentration condition. This will increase the efficiency of your lung capacity training to some extent.
- SOMATOLOGICAL DESIGN provide MOST COMFORT to users. Comfortable fabric, Adjustable Nose pad and Velcro closure to meet most people's specific needs.
We understand that not everyone looking at these air pollution masks may be interested in a hard workout. You may just be looking for a mask you can use while you casually bike to work. Maybe you want it to be fashionable, too. Not to fear! This Muryobao mask might be what you’re looking for. It’s comfortable, comes in a variety of beautiful designs, and is made more for casual wear than hard exercise. Don’t let it fool you, though. It had military-grade filters designed to really filter out that pollution!
- High-grade packaging box, which has a military grade N99 mask and 5 filters. The masks and filters are individually sealed
- Lab tested British military filtration technology filters almost 100% of pollution, gases, odors, dust, pollen, smog, PM2.5
- Masks are washable, and the filter can be replaced. Masks have a great filtering effect because they have 4 layers of filter. The first layer is skin friendly cotton, the second layer is silica gel layer, the third layer is pure cotton lining, the fourth layer is a filter with three layers of filter
We’re putting this mask on the list for the people out there looking for heavy duty protection. This mask is a big, hulking beast designed to provide maximum protection from air particulate. It isn’t designed for hard workouts, so we wouldn’t recommend it if you’re running or biking hard out there, but it’ll give you solid protection if you’re keeping it casual. It uses thick straps to stay tight to your face. But, remember, this one’s for function, not fashion. You might turn heads, but they might be turning because of your fashion-forward style.
- Compact, lightweight and flexible design
- Adapts perfectly to the face and offers a full range of vision without interfering with other eye or ear protections. Pore size (µm)- 0.3. Retention range- 99.97% (minimum efficiency)
- Large central non-return valve which allows for a reduction of the user's breathing resistance and moisture build-up inside the mask to a minimum
No matter which air pollution mask you choose, it’s always a good idea to protect yourself from harmful air pollutants. The last thing you want is to get sick while you work out. That defeats the whole point! As always, ensure you’re doing thorough research and really finding the product that best suits your needs. This list is made of the eleven best masks we could find, but it isn’t exhaustive. We can’t cover everyone’s needs (though we try).
Be safe out there, protect yourself, and have fun choosing your new mask!