Yeah, the pandemic stinks, but at least you don’t have to be cold during it.

For people in many parts of the world, last spring was their first time to regularly wear masks when going out in public, and as we moved into summer, many people found them to be an uncomfortable yet necessary part of life during the pandemic. Even in Japan, where mask use is common for hay fever sufferers, they’re mainly associated with the spring, when pollen levels are highest, and wearing one during the hot and humid part of the year took some getting used to.

In response, companies in Japan started offering redesigned masks with cooler materials and better breathability to use during the summer months. But as we get deeper into fall and the temperature drops, now we’re seeing the opposite, with these extra-warm masks for winter.

We came across these at a pop-up shop located inside Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo (there’s also one in Tokyo Station, at the time of this writing). Priced at 330 yen (US$3.15) for a three-mask set, they looked like something our Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato would enjoy sticking on his face, so he picked up a pack.

Produced by Japanese brand Mask Club, the Heat Masks’ packaging promises a secure fit to prevent cold air and germs from making their way inside your protective barrier, but with material that’s soft and flexible enough for comfort, even at the ear straps, and also will keep your face warm and cozy.

▼ The material is a 97.8-percnt polyester, 2.2-percent spandex blend.

Slipping one on, Mr. Sato found it was comfortable and easy to breathe in. Compared to a regular or summer-use cool mask, it was also indeed warmer. Not so toasty that he wouldn’t still want a hat and scarf if he was heading out for a moonlit stroll on a winter night, but since he’d need a mask anyway, this is the one he’d choose.

With Uniqlo’s cool Airism masks causing such a stir last summer, and the brand’s HeatTech thermal underwear line being a perennial bestseller, we might be seeing the casual clothing giant throw its hat into the winter mask arena before long. For now, though, we’re happy to have our Heat Masks, which can also be purchased online here.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter as he complains about being cold for the next six months.

[ Read in Japanese ]