I have been wearing masks constantly for the last six months (since mid-March. I wear one in the supermarket, on the train to work, at my desk, in class, and, as you know, during keiko. My beard+the humid Japanese summer just makes things worse.
But, as things stand at the moment, life might be this way for some time to come, so I am (and I guess many other people are) going to have to deal with it.
Mask-wise, I set myself three goals:
1. Stop using disposal masks for daily-life and get something that was not only comfortable to wear and (relatively) protective, but also easily washable; 2. Try out some of the new kendo-masks that were being produced by kendo shops (my hand-made ones weren't bad, I just wanted to see if there was anything better); 3. Stop complaining.
For #2 above I noticed that Tozando had just released some new masks (called the “ISG men mask“) and they looked ok in the pictures, so I ordered three of the “normal” masks (rather than the “noseless” ones). The pics below show (top-left) the “single layer” type, (top-right) the “double layer” type, and (bottom) the “cool” type (this is called “double layer light” on Tozando’s English website) :
After they arrived I was pleasantly happy that they looked more “keikogi-like” in real life than in the pics I had seen – I liked the aesthetic. Immediately I thought “I wonder if I can use the single layer type not for keiko, but for daily-life?” Hmmm….
For the last two weeks+ I have exclusively used the “single layer” type outside of the dojo, and the “cool” type for keiko… and I am very happy with the results (as happy as one can be given the circumstances). In both situations the masks did their job, plus they looked “kendo” – which is cool as you know. They are also easy to wash and dry quickly.
Accidentally, with that simple purchase, I achieved goals #’s 1 and 2 above. #3 hasn’t quite been resolved yet, but I am happier than I was before. Of course, I cannot vouch for the protective quality of the masks, only that they fulfilled my needs.
btw, the “double layer” type I decided to use as my backup mask (for life and/or keiko).
At any rate, you don’t need to buy a custom men-mask, you can always make your own. But if you do decide to buy one, these will do the job.