Best Cold Weather Running Masks in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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Winter sucks! Not only is it the worst season for fashion, it’s also a huge bummer for runners.

The cold weather is brutal for runners. While summer running will welcome you with open arms, winter running is an entirely different beast. The freezing temperatures are enough to deter most runners from ever stepping out their doors.

Winter running can also be dangerous since breathing cold air can lead to lung complications like pneumonia. If you’re not careful, frozen lungs or hypothermia can be the killer.

NameCategoryProduct
Under Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared BalaclavaBest OverallUnder Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared Balaclava
Balaclava Ski MaskBudget PickBalaclava Ski Mask
Smartwool Unisex BalaclavaUpgrade PickSmartwool Unisex Balaclava

1. Under Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared Balaclava

Our rating: 9 / 10

Under Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared Balaclava

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Pros:

  • Provides heat and wind protection
  • Great for biking, hiking, running, skiing
  • Sweat wicking technology
  • Moisture-wicking
  • 100% Polyester
  • Very comfortable
  • Stylish
  • Adjustable chin strap
  • One size fits most

The Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Infrared Balaclava is noteworthy for its ability to provide both heat and wind protection for the user. It is comprised of moisture-wicking fabric, so it can be worn by those who engage in outdoor sporting activities that result in a lot of sweating on a consistent basis.

It comes in multiple sizes, so it can be worn by adults and children. The one-size-fits-most feature make it an ideal choice for those who don’t have a lot of body weight to lose.

2. Under Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared Balaclava

Our rating: 9 / 10

Under Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared Balaclava

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Pros:

  • Provides heat and wind protection
  • Great for biking, hiking, running, skiing
  • Sweat wicking technology
  • Moisture-wicking
  • 100% Polyester
  • Very comfortable
  • Stylish
  • Adjustable chin strap
  • One size fits most

The Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Infrared Balaclava is noteworthy for its ability to provide both heat and wind protection for the user. It is comprised of moisture-wicking fabric, so it can be worn by those who engage in outdoor sporting activities that result in a lot of sweating on a consistent basis.

It comes in multiple sizes, so it can be worn by adults and children. The one-size-fits-most feature make it an ideal choice for those who don’t have a lot of body weight to lose.

3. Smartwool Unisex Balaclava

Our rating: 9 / 10

Smartwool Unisex Balaclava

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The Smartwool Unisex Balaclava is the perfect running mask for any occasion. It features a lightweight, moisturewicking design so you stay warm and move freely. It has an innovative stretch shapewear that conforms to the head, and double layers that add warmth around the ears and mouth.

This balaclava works well in any cold condition, no matter how strong the winds are. Its 100% merino wool material helps protect the wearer against the harsh winter elements, while its flat-lock stitching prevents irritation and chafing.

What’s more, the merino wool material is naturally moisture-wicking. It ‘pulls’ moisture away from your skin and dries quickly to keep you warm and dry.

4. Outdoor Research Ninjaclava

Our rating: 8 / 10

Outdoor Research Ninjaclava

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Pros:

  • Full face protection
  • Protects against both air and moisture
  • Breathable mesh design
  • Lightweight and no fogging
  • Excellent customer service
  • Warranty available
  • Doesn’t block your peripheral vision

Cons:

  • Getting hot can be an issue, so runs should be short
  • Not the quickest drying material

The Outdoor Research Ninjaclava is a full face mask that protects against snow, rain, wind chill, and the air. The front and back panels are made of a breathable mesh, which helps to improve circulation, keep your face warm, and prevent fogging.

The opening of the face mask is designed to cover the mouth, nose, and cheeks. It’s also designed to cover the jawline, which helps to protect the face from the wind. However, this doesn’t mean it’s necessary to cover your mouth: the mouth area is made of stretchy fabric that allows you to open and close your mouth without any restriction.

It’s hard to believe that a full face mask can protect so well against freezing temperatures. This is a direct result of its mesh design.

5. Balaclava Ski Mask

Our rating: 8 / 10

Balaclava Ski Mask

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Pros:

  • Cheap and good value for money
  • Fleece lining
  • Removable ear flaps
  • Made from thick polyester
  • Stylish looking
  • Adjustable to fit most people
  • Warm
  • Keeps the head from getting sweaty

Cons:

  • The ear flaps could be a bit longer, but they are still suitable enough
  • The product may not be that great for summer
  • The design and the build quality are not that good
  • The buttons are not functional, but then again, this is not a product that someone is going to use every day

Every runner loves running when the weather is extremely hot, when the holiday season ends and the sun shines brightly.

But when winter arrives and you are out there to run, the weather is chilly, some parts do not have any clothes nor anything else to keep themselves warm. It is in such situations that you need to use these masks to keep yourself warm and comfortable. The under the chin of these masks are so easy that they are very comfortable to wear.

The Balaclava Ski Mask – Winter Face Mask for Men & Women – Cold Weather Gear for Skiing, Snowboarding & Motorcycle Riding Black is very affordable and is large in size too.

6. Smartwool Merino 250 Balaclava

Our rating: 8 / 10

Smartwool Merino 250 Balaclava

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The Smartwool Merino 250 Balaclava is an ultra-lightweight, ultra-warm, merino wool athletic head covering that blocks the chill of the wind and cold temperatures. It is ideal for alpine and Nordic travel, snowboarding, cycling and running to keep the heat in and pollution out.

The merino wool used in this balaclava is naturally odor resistant and machine washable. It has a one size fits most design and it is very stretchy. This balaclava has a true-to-size fit and it’s very comfortable to wear.

What’s great about this balaclava is that it can be worn multiple ways. So if the temperature suddenly drops, just snap it over your head for extra insulation. It’s soft on the skin and has a great fit for chest and neck. This means that it won’t let cold air in.

7. Warm Fleece Balaclava Ski Bike Full Face Mask Neck Warmer Winter Sports Cap

Our rating: 8 / 10

Warm Fleece Balaclava Ski Bike Full Face Mask Neck Warmer Winter Sports Cap

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Pros:

  • Affordable option
  • Incredibly warm
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Looks trendy

Cons:

  • Fleece material can get too hot and sweaty
  • The mask isn’t removable
  • The string to tighten around your head is very long

Because of its design, the Warm Fleece Balaclava Ski Bike Full Face Mask Neck Warmer can be worn all year long – including summer.

It has knitted side panels and brushed back material. The neck is edged for comfort and a high stretch-ability, and the string is given to you, so you can adjust it to your head size.

It simply slips over your head, and you can tighten it with the cord. This mask almost completely covers your face, and it’s made of very thick fleece material.

8. Nike Running Therma Sphere Hood Mask

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nike Running Therma Sphere Hood Mask

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Pros:

  • Attractive design and performance as well as a high-end brand
  • The mask doesn’t slide around
  • Cooling effect is almost immediate
  • Adjustable

Cons:

  • Sizing can run a bit large
  • Not an option for kids

The Nike Therma Sphere Hood Mask is a lighter weight thermal balaclava with a removable hood that can be worn with or without a hat during cold weather runs. It is designed to keep your body warm during and after your workouts. The material used is Nike’s thermal technology which is 55% thinner than regular thermal technology.

This running mask is loose fitting, so it’s easy to adjust. The mesh masks on both sides allow cooling air to reach your face and keep you feeling fresh. While the inside of the mask is lined with soft material, which is designed for a comfortable fit.

What’s great about both Nike balaclavas is that they are snug and comfortable enough to wear under your helmet. The mask material is remarkably soft – so comfortable, you might not even realize you have it on.

9. Icebreaker Merino Unisex-Adult Oasis Merino Wool Balaclava

Our rating: 8 / 10

Icebreaker Merino Unisex-Adult Oasis Merino Wool Balaclava

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Pros:

  • Exceptionally warm fabric
  • Great moisture wicking
  • Comfortable fit
  • Beautifully designed

Cons:

  • Bottom hem seems to gather lint
  • Doesn’t fit snug on the chin

The Icebreaker Oasis merino wool balaclava is a lightweight but exceptionally warm performance piece that will help keep you warm and comfortable when the temperature drops.

This merino wool balaclava is made to fit the head, headband, and face, keeping you warm but not sweaty and overheated, no matter how long you wear it.

The fabric feels soft and light against the skin, and it’s crafted from 100% fine merino wool fibers. The comfy feeling is nice when the nights turn cold in your neck of the woods.

10. Pearl Izumi Barrier Balaclava

Our rating: 7 / 10

Pearl Izumi Barrier Balaclava

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Pros:

  • 100% wind proof
  • Blocks the cold from penetrating your layer
  • Moisture wicking; pull sweat away from the face
  • Completely cover lips and nose
  • Full-face protection from cold and harsh winds
  • Super-breathable material holds in heat

The Pearl Izumi Barrier Balaclava will let you keep warm even in the coldest conditions. Breathable, lightweight, and effective, the Balaclava is a great piece to keep tucked in your winter gear.

The unique Thinsulate technology features a thick layer of thermally efficient fiber sandwiched between special synthetic fabrics. It has outstanding insulating properties that breathe as the body temperature rises. The polyester and nylon exterior is windproof, water resistant, and fast drying.

The Balaclava comes with a set of two zippered pockets, reinforced stress points for added durability, and a matching flat-lock chin for maximum comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I protect my face while running in cold weather?

When running in cold weather, facial skin can easily get frozen and that is why we always wear a running mask. A running mask is almost the same as a balaclava.

However, it differs in material and comfort. Running masks are usually made of breathable fabrics like silk and bamboo and are soft against your skin. They will prevent the moisture in your breath from condensing on the fabric of the mask and freezing.

As face skin is sensitive to low temperatures, wearing an outerwear like this is the best protection against exterior wind. If you run in a cold, wet climate and don't want your face to get wet and uncomfortable, you should wear a running mask to prevent a cold face.

What runners wear in cold weather?

Running in cold weather can be challenging and engaging. If you haven’t been running in the cold yet, it will be a new experience for you. The good thing is that you can always choose the right winter running attire to ensure that you finish the run in good shape.

The best cold weather running clothes include:

Can you lose weight running in cold weather?

When you run you burn a lot of calories. It’s only natural that as temperature goes down so does your metabolism. Since the desired rate of weight loss is X number of pounds per week, you have less time to burn off in cooler weather. While the effect is small, you should also consider that you may hunch down to protect you neck and head from the cold. This will slow you down if you are running at the same pace.

Cold weather won’t make you lose weight all on its own, but if you are running in a colder climate, it will make you work harder at the same caloric deficit. This can mean burning more calories which is never a bad thing. So, even though the effect is negligible, you will still be getting enough of a workout as long as you are burning enough calories. Running will help you lose weight in the cold, but it will take you longer.

How do I keep my face warm while running?

Whether you are a competitive runner or just like to get out there for some exercise, you’ll know how dangerous it is to exercise in the cold.

The biggest threat to your face and head is frostbite. With the wind chill, thermo-regulation can become difficult, even for your eyelids and forehead.

If you live in a cold weather climate, whether that’s Florida, Louisiana or Alaska, you’ll need one of the best cold weather running masks.

Fortunately, there are a number of great cold weather running masks to choose from in 2021.

Your main consideration should be the ability to make sure that your face and neck are covered effectively. A great choice is the cooling features. As counterintuitive as it may seem, sweating will be an important benefit as long as it doesn’t get in your eyes.

Conclusion

There are still a few months of cold weather to get through before we start to love the winter sports and activities just a bit more. To help you get through those cold, wet months, we selected a few of the best cold weather running masks that you can easily buy in the market.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Under Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared BalaclavaBest OverallUnder Armour Men's ColdGear Infrared Balaclava
Balaclava Ski MaskBudget PickBalaclava Ski Mask
Smartwool Unisex BalaclavaUpgrade PickSmartwool Unisex Balaclava