It’s 2021, and thanks to the pandemic, we’re all familiar with a nose mask. However, a basketball face mask is quite different from the regular one we know and probably wear.
Basketball facemasks are typically plastic items professional basketballers wear during games to support their broken nose or protect them from getting one.
LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, and many other superstars have used face masks when injured.
So, is that the only reason basketballers wear it? Together we’re going to find out everything you need to know about basketball face masks, including the benefits, various types, what to look for in picking one, and our top 5.
Best Basketball Face Mask: Quick Summary
You can check out the detailed reviews below, but if you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick summary to help you find the top 3 basketball face masks:
- Overall Best Basketball Face Mask: The Mueller Face Guard is our overall best because it offers maximum protection, comfort, and durability. It’s also ideal for people of all ages and is an excellent gear for basketball players nursing nose injuries.
- Best Lightweight Basketball Face Mask: Qiancheng Nose Guard Face Shield is the best lightweight face mask in the market. It’s designed to provide comfort and protection on the court, with minimal obstruction.
- Best Basketball Face Mask for Women and Children: The AURAFIX ORTHOPEDIC Nose Guard for Broken Nose is the most appropriate for women and children. It comes with adjustable straps that make it a great fit for most face structures, especially the smaller ones.
Benefits of Basketball Face Masks
There are three major advantages to wearing a facemask on a basketball court which are:
1. Preventing Injuries
Basketball is a physical sport that often gets physical because of the running, jumping, and other activities involved. During the game, players often collide with each other and sometimes fall on the floor. The masks serve as a protection device to keep their nose and face safe during these interactions. A broken nose or other major injuries can keep a player away from the game for extended periods. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. Playing with Injuries
Sometimes, a player might have already sustained an injury and is already in the process of healing. Masks help the player protect the affected area while still playing the game to avoid hits to the same affected area that could make it worse. The face mask also lets the player forget about the injury and focus squarely on the game.
3. Making a Statement
Masks could mean different things to fans and opponents, depending on the design and colors. Some masks might look intimidating to the opponents or cool to the fans. A particular example of this is the late Kobe’s black face mask in 2012, which became an iconic moment in the NBA.
Rip Hamilton also donned the black face mask in 2003, courtesy of a broken nose. However, he decided to use it for the remainder of his NBA career, as it quickly became a trademark look for him.
Types of Basketball Face Mask
There are two main types of basketball masks, depending on how they were made.
Generic Face Masks
This is a one size fits all mask that is mass-produced for general use. You should use this if you don’t have enough money for a custom-made mask or you want to wear it for a short time. Everyone has a different face structure, so these masks will not fit everyone and will be very uncomfortable for many people. However, you don’t have to wait a long while before using it, and they are ready to use at will compared to custom-made masks.
Also, the materials used to make the mask are usually of subpar quality, which means the mask itself tends to become hot during games. This explains the price difference between generic masks and custom-made ones. People who wear this mask often take it off on the bench or move it to their forehead on the free-throw line, so they only put it on when necessary.
Custom made Face Masks
This is usually the better option if you intend to wear a face mask for a long while. Custom-made face masks are made to fit your face so you can get maximum comfort from wearing them. Typically, they’ll take a mold of your face, make adjustments to it, and make designs that guarantee maximum comfort. It takes a while to get custom masks ready and pending the time they work on it, and they may give you a loaner mask.
Custom-made masks cost more than generic masks because they require special attention, effort, and design to produce the best results. If you are a taller or bigger player than most, generic masks might not fit your face properly and will be uncomfortable. In the long run, custom-made face masks are the better option for professional basketballers.
Factors to Consider When Buying Basketball Face Masks
There are many different face masks available, and it could be confusing knowing which to select. Here are a couple of factors you should look out for when choosing a face mask:
You will wear a face mask while you play the basketball games, which takes a long time, so comfort is an important factor to consider. The best type of masks is those that fit on your face perfectly, and you even forget that you’re wearing them. In selecting masks, look for ones that have some padding or extra cushion so you don’t feel any pressure while you’re wearing them.
It is also important to remember that sweat is a natural part of basketball, and in time, this could affect the face mask. Look for masks that do not allow sweat to flow into your eyes and distract you from the game.
Irrespective of the mask you end up choosing, you’re going to sacrifice visibility to some extent. The goal should be to select a mask that will cost you the smallest amount of visibility, but you can still see very well and play your game. Keeping your eyes sharp and monitoring your opponents and the ball is an integral part of basketball that you should not compromise, so this factor is very important.
Clear plastic masks are usually the best in this regard, especially those with large eye openings. An area you need to pay extra attention to is peripheral vision because some clear masks can even block the edges of your vision and prevent you from seeing the passes of other players. Go for masks that give the widest field of view, so you aren’t restricted in your play.
Basketball involves a lot of movement, so whatever mask you select must fit and stay on your face through all the action. The straps should keep the face mask fit on your face properly and not fall off during a play. There are several mechanisms several face masks use to keep it on your face and reduce unnecessary slips around your face.
An unstable face mask could result in bad circumstances, make a player lose concentration, and play less optimally. Check the straps before each game and make sure they are enough for your face.
The purpose of a face mask is to protect your face, which means it should be able to take damage and not falter or break. A basketball face mask should be strong enough you keep you safe from basketball hits, hands, and elbows. Be on the lookout for face masks made of shatterproof or special impact-proof materials that have a unique toughness.
You have to find the balance between the toughness of the mask and the weight. A mask that is too heavy will slow you down and affect your playing ability.
The material of the face mask plays a major role in all of the above: durability, stability, vision, and comfort. You should typically go for materials that do not retrain liquid-like sweat on the surface so it won’t blur your vision. Also, extended use of some face masks could form unpleasant reactions to your skin. However, this particular point is usually peculiar to some people and does not apply to all, so you’re one of them if you notice it. Take note of these and stay away from masks made with the material.
Top 5 Best Basketball Face Masks
We’ve reviewed and checked several basketball face masks to gather the overall top 5 that you should consider if you’re thinking of buying one.
1. Mueller Face Guard
This faceguard is known for its protective capabilities that usually extend to include guarding the face against zygomatic and nasal bone injuries. It protects the major organs on your face – eyes, nose, and overall face from injuries. It is a great face mask for those looking to help preserve their already injured nose from reinjury.
All types of players can wear it due to its unique design, and the polycarbonate material is medical-grade which makes the mask shatterproof and able to withstand collisions. You can easily use the strap to fit the mask to size and not worry about it breaking. The belt is sticky, strong, and secure to create a firm grip that does not move around during your games.
It has two layers for extra comfort. The first is a special contour so that it fits comfortably on your face without intruding on your vision. Additionally, it also has a unique foam padding that gives a warm and relaxing feel, better than what other guards have.
- Excellent in guarding the face from injuries
- Two thick pads for extra comfort
- Made from polycarbonate and medical-grade material
- Good for people of all ages, including children
- Perfect mask for basketball and baseball
- It does not protect the eyes from sweat drops
- No ventilation holes which make it get hot while you use
2. Sports Knight Face Shield
Sports Knight mask is made of strong polycarbonate material that ensures the mask is durable and can handle all the intense forces from playing basketball. This mask also addresses one of the major issues with most masks which is they sometimes fog up. Sports Knight Face Shield has comfort padding, which encourages great airflow and cushions your face while playing.
This face mask also gives impeccable vision even during the intense games on the court and has two adjustable straps to fit it on your face. If the strap were to fall off or cut during the game, there is a replacement strap to make sure you focus on the game.
A notable feature is the two big holes in front of the eyes that ensure proper ventilation during play. This makes it one of the best masks for ventilation.
- Made of reliable and strong material
- Thick pads for increased comfort
- It fits and covers the whole face
- It has flexible straps
- Plastic face shield is made of polycarbonate
- Heavier and larger than other similar masks making it difficult to blend in on the court.
3. Qiancheng Nose Guard Face Shield
Qiancheng face masks are made with polycarbonate, which resists ultraviolet radiation and keeps the face protected to acceptable levels. A great plus on this equipment is the ventilation holes that make it easier for you to breathe. You can typically find it in a black color, which is usually the preferred choice for many basketballers.
You can use the long strap to measure how it will fit with your face and nose. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Qianchhenh face mask is the EVO foam padding. EVO foam padding protects your eyes and sucks away any sweat and perspiration before it enters. Overall, a lightweight face mask that keeps your face safe without compromising on vision.
- Its padding takes up the sweat and keeps it from distracting you
- Lightweight face mask
- It has an adjustable elastic strap for better grip
- Great tool for protecting your face from facial bone fracture
- Overall good quality
- Not appropriate for teenagers and children
- It is produced in only one size
4. AURAFIX ORTHOPEDIC Nose Guard for Broken Nose
Aurafix face mask has been medically tested and is one of the topmost recommended options for basketballers that already have a broken nose. There is no way you won’t see this mask at the store and not be immediately drawn to its unique design and style. It has nose and head pads that absorb the strongest hits in the thick of the game.
It won’t be hard to find many positive reviews of the Aurafix by many basketball players. The exterior is made of plastic, and the interior is made of Terrycloth, which aids in absorbing perspiration, so it does not distract you. It was designed to particularly fit women and children, which many face masks have challenges in doing. It also doesn’t alter or affect your focus in any way and allows you to play comfortably.
- A particularly great choice for children and women
- It has reduced plastic material for construction to a minimum
- Adequate pads on the forehead areas and spaces beside the nose
- Good for players that already have broken noses
- It has compatible and adjustable straps for a great fitting
- It might not be a great fit for people with larger faces
5. Bangerz HS-1500 Face Mask
Bangerz face mask offers a unique and cool design that immediately makes it stand out from others on this list. Additionally, the two adjustable straps for better fit, cheeks & head covering pads for absorbing sweat, and polycarbonate nose shield puts it as one of the best contenders are what sets it on this list. Its construction material makes it shatter-resistant, scratch and fog-resistant.
There is a head pad that absorbs perspiration and keeps your eyes clear of sweat. You don’t have to worry about your visuals while playing the game with this mask. It also sports EVA padding that gives you extra protection and comfort. You should also be ready to lose a little protection on the sides of your face as it mainly focuses on the center of your face.
- Designed and manufactured according to medical specifications
- It has heavy-duty straps capable of withstanding pushes and pulls during play
- Overall great quality
- It doesn’t sacrifice vision for protection
- Made with polycarbonate materials for protection against serious injuries
- It could be tight, especially for those with smaller faces
- It offers lesser protection than other models
Any of the facemasks above will serve you excellently on the basketball court. However, our overall best is the Mueller Face Guard. It combines all the best qualities you would want in a face mask, including a comfortable fit, a strong material with a cushion, and great visibility. It ticks all the boxes, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad review of the mask online.
A close second would be the Aurafix face mask which offers one of the best protection features for the nose and against injuries we’ve seen. It has a great, attractive design with durable material.
So, the next time you get a broken nose, jaw, cheekbone, or any other facial injury, be sure to get a protective face mask. It will prevent you from aggravating your injury. Also, if you fear you might suffer some damage in an upcoming game, having a face mask will come in handy.