The Domestique Critique – Victory Chimp Face Mask

I must start by quickly acknowledging my persistent disbelief that, on WomensKit, I am about to review a face mask. However, for a killer coronavirus that requires face masks to be a continued part of my kit, I think it best to accept this new accessory as a wise decision and a respectful tool to protecting myself and others.

That being said, I sought out what I hoped would be the best mask for me to wear over hot weather in my part of the country for a summer of riding during the time of COVID. At first, I thought one mask was enough. Frequent washing left me without one too often, so my “collection” grew. On the bike, I was wearing 100% cotton bandanas, but I found them to be suffocating like a neck gaiter creating too much warmth around my face and neck when it was already 90 degrees fahrenheit in my part of the world. Because Italy handled the pandemic wisely, so many fabric companies began offering mask patterns, and because so many cycling brands use Italian fabrics, it was only natural that brands began selling masks alongside their kit, socks and accessories. When I researched which mask I wanted to try for my rides, I looked for a few things: a) lightweight, breathable, and meant for exercise; b) did they support their communities or essential workers (donate masks, donate proceeds, etc.); and c) could it match a kit or look good while riding?

Turns out I may have found all three in my Victory Chimp face mask.

The Victory Chimp masks come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, but we all know that black goes with everything so I played it safe. Let me start by highlighting the way Victory Chimps supports essential workers with these masks. For every mask you buy, another mask is donated to key workers and community organizations that have expressed a need for face masks. Although it was pricey for me to buy one mask with exchange rates and overseas shipping, I am proud to know that my payment is covering VC’s shipping of masks to frontline workers who really need protection. So, yes, here’s my money. It’s the least I can do to be a part of the solution.

Next up are the technical details of this face mask. As I mentioned, I needed something lightweight and breathable, and these masks work the way that high performing cycling apparel works – comfortable, soft, enough stretch, breathable.

The super-soft fabric is breathable, machine washable to 90° (safer than common 40/60° limits) and constructed in two layers of high thread count fabric with a combined 280gsm weight for protection. A sustainable eco-fabric outer and an anti-bacterial microfibre inner. The inner layer is OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified – meaning it’s suitable for direct contact with the skin over prolonged periods of time and is Sanitized®-treated.

It is incredibly soft, I can attest to that, and I wore it for approximately two hours without need to remove it to breathe, even heavily on climbs. Once it was on, it stayed perfectly in place and never irritated my skin. The black color worked well with every piece of kit I’ve been wearing thus far, and the materials actually looks like it was made for cycling, almost like an extension of the kit itself. I couldn’t be happier to check all three boxes in my search.

I do need to mention that the masks are one size fits all and it was a bit big for my face so I took their advice and tied a small loops for each ear (see photo above) to get a closer fit. While it didn’t bother me during wear, I was surprised that the mask had a large tag. I can see how that could bother you, if tags usually do. Again, these masks are not made with customized design and tailoring in mind, these are tools to keep you safe and healthy and protect others around you in this unexpected pandemic, so a tag isn’t a deal breaker.

These masks are batch produced so you’ll need to pre-order and then they will ship as soon as they are ready. I wish I bought more than one, but I’m only riding outdoors once a week to keep my family and I safe. If you ride more, consider their 4-pack or bulk discount for a good deal.


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