Best Breathable Face Mask Material: For Travel, Running, Social Distancing, and More

At the beginning of the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made a strong recommendation for the public to wear face masks when leaving the house. Overnight, face masks became a core component of modern society, and wherever you could find a face mask—whether you made one, found a pack of disposable face masks at Walmart, or someone from your community sewed one from scratch—you grabbed one for you and your family members.

However, as time has gone on, and as the coronavirus has continued to spread, wearing a disposable face mask has proven to be a short-term solution to a much longer-term problem. It’s simply not feasible to continue buying single-use face masks, or trying to protect yourself by tying a heavy cotton shirt around your nose and mouth whenever you go out in public. A study from The Lancet found there’s a 17% risk of spreading COVID-19 when not wearing a face mask and engaging in social distancing. 

When you do wear a face mask, however, the study found your risk falls below 3%.

You are much, much safer.

Breathable Face Masks

Now that more and more people are realizing the need to wear face masks in public, people’s preferences are beginning to become more and more of a priority. People don’t just want any mask. They want a breathable face mask, a protective and sanitary face mask, a reusable, washable face mask that can be worn a lot — all so they can go on living their lives as normally as possible.

So, what makes some face masks more breathable than others?

Masks made with cotton or polyester tend to be restricting.

Think about how difficult it is to breathe when you tie a shirt around your nose and mouth.

Regular polyester is commonly available and can certainly be useful for making cheap, low-cost masks in bulk. However, they have some notable drawbacks especially when worn for long periods of time, or during strenuous activities. Traditional polyester will feel stifling, wet, and acquire an odor. 

To create airflow, the polyester fabric must be premium quality with special construction (e.g., specialized knit, mesh, or vents), which are not commonly available or quite expensive.  A mask specific to sports (see below) can be a great option if you need unique functionality.  

Knitted cotton performs better than polyester in terms of breathability. However, cheaper cottons will feel scratchy, and you feel still feel moisture takes a long time to escape. 

Instead, materials like bamboo (in particular fabric made from bamboo) are much lighter weight, more breathable, softer, and odor-resistant while still cost-effective to consumers.

As a result, bamboo face masks are the single best all-around option for:

  • Travel
  • Social distancing events
  • Everyday use (grocery shopping, etc.)
  • Light workouts / walking
  • Working

 Why You Don’t Need An N95 Mask For Everyday Use

N95 masks are really only necessary for medical professionals—and due to demand, should be reserved for healthcare workers.

The reason you don’t need an N95 mask for everyday use is because the vast majority of people are not engaging in high-risk environments such as hospitals where contracting the virus is increased simply because of patient density. You do not need an N95 face mask to go grocery shopping, for example. A breathable bamboo face mask would do just fine. The same goes for running errands or going back to work.

To get the best mask for running, sports, yoga, or gym workouts, you may wish to add a specialized mask maximizing breathability, natural cooling and sweat wicking.

Here at NxTSTOP, we have been supplying global companies such as Avis, BlizzardActivision, NASA, Samsung, and many more, with hundreds of thousands of bamboo face masks for their workers to reduce the spread of coronavirus as employees return back to work. 

How long can you wear a breathable face mask for?

You can wear our bamboo face masks for hours at a time.

When we first started NxTSTOP, our mission was to create health-conscious clothing for customers around the world who wanted higher quality, safer, eco-friendly and longer-lasting clothes. When COVID-19 began spreading around the world, we worked quickly with our manufacturing partners to produce high-quality bamboo face masks for our loyal customers—which quickly turned into mission to provide people everywhere, as well as companies looking to keep their employees healthy and safe, with breathable everyday face masks.  

Our breathable bamboo face masks are:

- Ultra-soft

- Durable and long-lasting

- Hygienic, including odor-resistant

- Eco-friendly

- Washable, reusable, and wrinkle-resistant without wear and tear (bamboo is much more resilient to laundering)

Here’s what our customers have had to say about what it feels like to wear a bamboo face mask compared to other masks made with heavier materials:

Great mask
Fits extremely well to face

Most comfortable mask i've found so far

Very comfortable

Soft, comfortable and fits well


To purchase a bamboo face mask for yourself and your loved ones, please visit our online store.

And if you are a company or business looking to supply your workers with a more breathable face mask, please let us know. We’re happy to help.

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