We try out the cool sold-out Airism product everyone’s been waiting for. 

As people around the world debate the pros and cons of face masks, here in Japan it’s a no-brainer. Everyone wants them and every time there’s new stock, they sell out straight away.

That was the case when Uniqlo released their highly anticipated Airism masks at stores in Japan yesterday. Airism is a cool, smooth, sweat-wicking fabric that appears in Uniqlo’s summertime activewear and innerwear ranges, so there’s been a lot of hype in the lead-up to the release of the new Airism masks.

The hype was so great that people literally ran to Uniqlo locations, forming long queues outside stores nationwide on the day of release.

Our reporter P.K. Sanjun joined the queue outside a branch in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, where around 300 people had already lined up by 9:30 in the morning. Each customer was limited to purchasing only one mask per size, with small, medium and large sizes available, but by the time P.K. got into the store, the small sizes had already sold out. Still, he was able to purchase two masks, one medium and one large, priced at 990 yen (US$9.26) each, with three masks included in each pack.

The masks quickly sold out at Uniqlo branches around the country, as well as online, so P.K. was lucky to get the two that he did. When he got back to the office he was keen to try his purchase, but first he took another look at the specs to see what made these masks so special.

The features of the Airism mask, as advertised on the Uniqlo website:

・Uniqlo’s unique three-layer structure for high protection performance
・A “high-performance filter” that maintains its effect even after washing
・Smooth feel that sets it apart from non-woven fabrics and cotton masks

Mask-wearing can be a stuffy, uncomfortable experience in summer, a problem these Airism masks are said to alleviate with their smooth feel and focus on comfort. So P.K., who’s no stranger to the Airism experience having owned a pair of Airism pants for the last few years, ripped a pack open and tried the large size on for fit.

▼ The L size mask is recommended for adult men.

As soon as he put it on, he was suitably impressed. The familiar Airism fabric was cool around the mouth, but just as P.K. got his hopes up for a life-changing mask experience, he began to realise something just 10 seconds into wearing it.

The Airism mask was thick. In fact, P.K. would go so far as to say it’s almost on par with wearing two or three conventional non-woven masks at the same time, making them unsuitable for wearing in the summer or when exercising. They’re actually thick enough to be thought of as a “winter mask” or “indoor mask”.

The surprising thickness of the mask is probably due to Uniqlo’s unique three-layer structure, which is what gives it its high protection performance. It does give you a sense of being protected, but P.K. won’t be using the Airism Mask outdoors when the weather gets hot, which is a shame, seeing as a lot of customers would’ve bought the masks for this purpose.

It was certainly different to what he’d imagined a “smooth, breathable mask” to be, but all wasn’t lost. P.K. works in an air-conditioned office, and these cool environments are much better suited to the Airism mask, so that’s where he’ll be wearing these masks from now on.

Customers who missed out on purchasing the sold-out masks might actually benefit from waiting a while until the weather cools down before buying them. Either that or they can make their own masks out of a sock or origami paper instead.

Featured image: ©SoraNews24
Insert images: Uniqlo
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