Under Armour Unveils Coronavirus Sportsmask, Sells Out in Less Than One Hour
Proving its ability to still spot a need from athletes and to react rapidly, Under Armour last week unveiled its new reusable and water-resistant Sportsmask, only to see it sell out within one hour, according to CEO Patrik Frisk. He promises the unique mask, which is designed for athletes looking to work out safely while coronavirus remains an issue, will be available again in July.
The UA Sportsmask is described by the company as “a reusable, water-resistant performance face mask designed for maximum breathability by Under Armour's innovation team in record time.”
This mask functions to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets by the wearer. The top of the mask features a moldable nose-bridge to help secure it in place and mitigate airflow to the eyes, helping to prevent glasses from fogging. It can also be washed and dried, making it more eco-friendly than many single-use, disposable options.
The UA Sportsmask features a three-layer model:
LAYER 1: SPACER FABRIC. It is light but has air pockets for structure, so it stays off the mouth and nose for better airflow.
LAYER 2: OPEN-CELL FOAM. The breathable middle layer lets air through but makes it hard for moisture and sweat to pass.
LAYER 3: UA ISO-CHILL. This fabric feels cool against the skin, stretches and is treated with PROTX2, a non-metal antimicrobial technology that inhibits growth of bacteria on the mask. PROTX2 has been shown in laboratory tests to destroy COVID-19 and is being reviewed by the US Environmental Protection Agency to confirm the efficacy of the substance as it is applied to the Sportsmask. Under Armour also has a patent pending on its design and construction of the mask.
According a company statement, the seeds for the Sportsmask were planted in mid-March, when Under Armour began making facemasks designed by its innovation team and distributing millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care and community organizations to help fight the spread of COVID-19. During this process, Under Armour founder Kevin Plank recognized a need for performance solutions that would support athletes navigating the pandemic climate. He called on the innovation team in Baltimore, equipped with their recent mask-making experience, to join him in finding a way forward, and fast.
“As soon as we finalized the design of our face mask for PPE, we dove straight into the innovation process of optimizing a mask for performance," says Kyle Blakely, VP–Materials Innovation at Under Armour. "We knew our athletes would need us to come through quickly with a solve to aid their return to training, one that would put health and safety first and adhere to current CDC guidelines.
“Experience told us that fabric and performance had to be our first focus, so we set out to find a fabric combination that created structure to ensure the mask would stand off the face and offer maximum breathability,” adds Blakely. “We applied learnings in fit, feel and ease and speed of manufacturing from the face mask we created for PPE purposes. Throughout it all, the speed of the design process and a meticulous eye to quality and details were paramount.”