I spent a large portion of my days last year projecting from behind a mask. I am by no means a frontline worker, but in a socially distanced classroom, where students had to be at least six feet apart, lecturing very, very loudly and clearly became a newly acquired skill. That said, I went through a multitude of masks to find one that offered protection, was comfortable enough to wear for hours, and kept me from sounding like Charlie Brown’s mom. None came close to Uniqlo’s AIRism ones.
I’m not the only one. Fast Company editors love these stretchy, durable masks, citing their easy care (I throw mine in the wash), form-fitting protection, and comfort. Parents on staff have also embraced them as perfect for elementary-age kids whose ears are sensitive to tight loops and who recoil from stiff fabrics on their face. Uniqlo’s AIRism masks, which come in four colors, are as soft as clouds and extremely affordable ($14.90 for three).
Made with the same fabric as Uniqlo’s AIRism apparel line—a breathable, lightweight nylon-spandex blend—they’re soft, sleek, and come in four sizes so they sit flush against your skin for a secure fit. (Note: The small size is suited for children, not adults.) The design features three layers: a built-in filter, UV-blocking AIRism mesh, and a soft moisture-wicking layer that will make six hours of extra loud enunciation a less steamy affair. Uniqlo also smoothed out the seams and the ear loops, so the mask feels light and comfortable. And yes, it’s easily washable.