Under Armour SEA Training Manager, Ian Choo explains everything you need to know about the UA Sportsmask and why people are crazy over it.
When Under Armour released the revolutionary UA Sportsmask, it was a timely response to the post-pandemic recovery movement. At least for Malaysians, it was the period when fitness centres were reopening and people returning to their fitness regimes. On its first day of launch, the masks were sold out before they could even hit the stores.
For the uninitiated, the UA Sportsmask is a reusable, water-resistant performance face mask design for maximum breathability by Under Armour’s innovation team. This first-of-its-kind mask functions to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets by the wearer while offering essential protection during training and group exercises.
The UA Sportsmask features a unique, three-layer model engineered for athletes during performance. The innermost layer is the Spacer Fabric that is light but has air pockets for structure, so it stays off the mouth and nose for better airflow. The middle layer is the Open-Cell Foam, a breathable component that lets air through but makes it hard for moisture and sweat to pass. The outermost surface is the UA Iso-Chill fabric (used in Under Armour’s golf polos and outdoor line) that feels cool against the skin, stretches and is treated with PROTX2, a non-metal anti-microbial technology which inhibits growth of bacteria on the mask — allowing you to feel fresh from start to finish.
However, it is important to note that the masks are non-surgical, non-medical and are created with the focus on performance — a great form of personal protective equipment for those who simply cannot optimally work out at home.
So what’s all the hype about the UA Sportsmask?
We speak to Under Armour SEA Training Manager, Ian Choo on everything you need to know about the performance mask and why people are crazy over it.
What makes the UA Sportsmask special?
Because of social distancing restrictions, the mask prototypes were actually sewn out of the home of Ella Mae Holmes, an Under Armour seamstress who helped develop the brand’s original compression shirt. With input and testing from teammates across product development, Under Armour found success in the 13th iteration of the mask.
It is special because of its unique blend of existing technologies and innovation, and a keen sense of user in mind — this is a mask that’s built for athletes. Therefore, it is perfect for on-the-go urban dwellers who hop from the home to the gym, to the office and anywhere in the city.
What is the proper way to wear the UA Sportsmask?
With the UA Sportsmask Wear and Care Guide carefully curated and provided in every package, there is a step-by-step guide on the use of the Sportsmask. One thing to note is to ensure the inside of the mask is not contaminated and when not using the mask, store it outward-facing in the antimicrobial carrying pouch.
What are the common misconceptions about wearing masks during a workout?
As long as you’re wearing anything that covers the nasal passage, there may be a hindrance in optimal airflow and therefore, a reduction in optimal performance. That said, wearing a mask during these times is like a team sport, to ensure that both the user and those around them have a reduced possibility of any viral or bacterial spread. This is particularly useful for classes in the gym or enclosed areas.
A common misconception is that the more layers to a mask, the harder it may be to workout with them. I believe that many athletes out there have tried the usual two-layer cotton or surgical masks, which have significant differences in comfort level and may not be the best option for performance or workouts. The UA Sportsmasks, although providing three layers of protection, is created for performance, and therefore provides you with optimal breathability and comfort, especially where and when you need it. We have also taken into consideration spectacle users, and added a base-layer fabrication which has a moldable nose-bridge insert, to ensure a reduction or no fogging of lenses as they’re working out.
What is the proper way of washing and cleaning the UA Sportsmask?
We recommend hand-washing the mask, and to separate it from the carrying pouch during the washing process. It can last up to 35 washes minimally, but with proper care it could last much longer.
How do you ensure that the UA Sportsmask lasts longer?
Just like how we’d care for any other sports apparel, it is recommended to wash the mask with normal detergent, hand-wash and hang-dry. Do not use bleach of fabric softener as this may cause the moister wicking properties to deteriorate and do not subject to ironing at high heat.
How is the UA Sportsmask different from other sport-centred masks out there?
The key difference is the proprietary technologies that we’ve put into this mask — the careful construct and athlete testing that this mask has gone through, in terms of breathability testing and wear testing. We had athletes from the field of American football, lacrosse, basketball, track and many others that went through the grind with this mask. We always create products with our athletes in mind and this mask offers you something which will switch up the game for you, especially in terms of breathability, comfort and every-day use.
Besides comfort and breathability, what is the best feature of the UA Sportmask that you enjoy the most personally?
Personally, the one thing I love about this mask apart from comfort is that it doesn’t get sucked into my mouth and nose as I’m working out. I was facing this major issue, including the pain around my ears with the ear loops previously, but the UA Sportsmask definitely has been an incredible switch up to my running and workout routine.
I believe that what’s great with this mask is that it also comes in five different sizes, so you can get the best fit for yourself. You could also get into any of our Under Armour Brand House stores to get yourself measured for the closest fit; our friendly teammates will be more than willing to extend a hand.
The new drop of UA Sportsmask is available on the 20th August, Thursday in stores only at selected Under Armour Brand Houses (Pavilion, KLCC, 1 Utama, Aeon Tebrau, Sunway Pyramid, Mid Valley).