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Best Arm Sleeves for Running in 2020

 

Arm sleeves are a great addition to any runners gear closet.

Sleeves protect your skin from the sun and can even help boost circulation and performance. They’ll help keep you warm. And they also work well for shoulder seasons when you want to begin with something warm on your arms that can be easily removed as you warm up.

Our favorite arm sleeves are Under Armour’s Performance HeatGear Sleeve, but there are many other good options depending on your budget, desired thickness and compression level.

Ready to see how a good arm sleeve makes life better? Take a look at our reviews of the best arm sleeves for running to see which product is a good fit for you.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Under Armour Performance HeatGear Sleeve

 

  • Lightweight but opaque
  • Great UV protection
  • Mild compression
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CompressionZ Arm Sleeves

 

  • True unisex design
  • Moisture-wicking in all temperatures
  • Great for summer and winter running
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2XU Compression Flex Arm Sleeves

 

  • Great compression for injuries
  • Works well to protect your arm
  • UV protection
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Best Overall

1. Under Armour Performance HeatGear Sleeve

Under Armour is known for their durable, high quality, and breathable gear. It’s no surprise that their HeatGear sleeve is a great addition to your running gear.

These sleeves fit true to size, though their smallest sleeve does run a little large. The material is soft and highly breathable, while also drying quickly to keep you cooler while you run. The mild compression is enough to be protective without distracting.

There is just one thing we want to note, however. You get just one sleeve at a time. If you want two HeatGear sleeves, you need to order two of them. This sleeve isn’t sold as a pair.

But overall, this is a solid product, as long as you don’t mind ordering two.


PROS:

  • Lightweight but opaque
  • Great UV protection
  • Mild compression for better performance
  • Fits true to size for most runners and athletes

CONS:

  • Need to order two if you want a pair

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Top Value Arm Sleeves

2. CompressionZ Arm Sleeves

If you’re looking for an affordable set of sleeves that still offer a ton of athletic benefits, CompressionZ’s sleeves are a great option. They’re available in a reasonable range of sizes, and even have some color customization that makes them suitable for just about everyone.

Unlike many compression and cooling sleeves, this pair is designed to be unisex. Women will generally have to order a smaller size than men, but they’ll get the same design advantages without having to pay the ‘pink tax’.

More importantly, these sleeves are great for athletes that want to make sure they are taking care of their skin and elbows and can even help address issues with lymphedema.

This design is also good for all-year use. In the summer, the durable and flexible fabric cools quickly, keeping you dry and maximizing the cooling potential of your sweat. In the winter, the fabric retains a little extra heat, keeping you warmer. Even in the coldest weather, this sleeve also facilitates drying, so you’ll be comfortable however hard you’re running.

All their colors and designs are also UV-protective, making these sleeves great marathon gear, and good for regular runs without sunscreen or sunburns.


PROS:

  • True unisex design works for men and women
  • Several colors and prints to help express your personality
  • Moisture-wicking in all temperatures
  • Great for summer and winter running
  • Compression protects your arms and elbows during workouts

CONS:

  • Sizing is a little off – order a size smaller for proper compression

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Top Compression Arm Sleeves

3. 2XU Compression Arm Sleeves

Sometimes you just need a little extra compression. For when your arms need a little more protection, like right after an injury, or when you’re training for a particularly challenging goal, these sleeves are a great choice.

Unlike many other arm sleeves, these offer a ton of compression without pinching or getting uncomfortable. The top of the sleeve is designed to hit a naturally narrow point in your muscular structure. They won’t slip, and you won’t feel any loss of circulation.

These sleeves can also help with healing by stabilizing your arm and elbow and improving the effectiveness of your natural circulation.

The biggest downside of these sleeves is that they are a gentle-wash, no-dryer product. So one of those sleeves might be a better alternative if you don’t have the patience to hang dry.


PROS:

  • Great compression for injuries
  • Works well to protect your arm
  • UV protection
  • Unique design

CONS:

  • Hang dry only

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Budget Compression Sleeves

4. New Balance Arm Sleeve

If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable compression sleeve that still offers the same performance and recovery advantages, this pair is a good investment. The materials are durable and longer-lasting than most budget athletic gear.

The biggest constraint of these sleeves is that they are only available in two sizes: small to medium, and medium to large. If your arms don’t fit in those size ranges, or the sleeves fit but don’t offer compression, there aren’t any sizing options to help.

Fortunately, the sizes are well designed enough that most runners will fit into one size or the other, and careful measuring can help you pick the right size for your first purchase.

It’s also worth noting that this set of arm warmers are only available in two colors, and both are predominantly black. So, while they will get the job done, they certainly don’t have the customization options that some of the more premium brands offer.


PROS:

  • Very affordable
  • Compression that boosts performance
  • Some stabilization for healing and rehabilitating injuries

CONS:

  • Only available in two sizes

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Best Thermal Arm Warmers

5. Pearl iZUMi Elite Thermal Arm Warmer

If you’re looking for an arm warmer that makes running in the winter a little more bearable, this pair is a nice choice. Their thermal design helps trap more of your natural body heat, keeping your arms comfortable and making sure your blood vessels stay open, promoting better blood flow.

They’re also well thought-out for the darker conditions in winter. The black version of these sleeves has light-reflective surfaces that makes it easier to spot on early morning and late evening runners. Or you can opt for the neon green version of this sleeve, which also boasts reflective areas, for even greater visibility.

These sleeves have the advantages of being machine washable and made from a more durable fiber blend than many athletic sleeves. These sleeves are designed for a better fit and will only fit over the left or right arm they are designed for.


PROS:

  • Close Fit
  • Durable Fabric
  • Machine washable
  • Highly reflective
  • Thermal design keeps you warm

CONS:

  • Only available in two colors

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Top Reflective Arm Sleeves

6. Zensah Reflective Compression Arm Sleeves

Of course, if you’re looking for reflective properties as your main benefit, there are compression sleeves that have been designed with visibility in mind. This Zensah set comes in each of the four most visible neon colors, with a high degree of reflectivity that makes them easy to see even when you only have a small amount of light to work with.

If you’re an early morning, evening, or nighttime runner, these sleeves will help you stay safe.

These sleeves also have the added benefit of being anti-microbial in addition to their other, more common, features. That means that they are less likely to develop that characteristic gym-bag scent after repeated use. The bacteria causing the scent just won’t live in your sleeves.


PROS:

  • Anti-microbial
  • Bright and highly reflective
  • Reasonable arm compression
  • Moisture-wicking

CONS:

  • Only available in large and x-large

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Best For Elbow Protection

7. CEP Compression Arm Sleeves

Your elbows might not be the joint you think of first when it comes to running protection, but they are surprisingly important. Not only while you run, but also when you’re working, relaxing, and even cooking your dinner.

It’s worth giving your elbows a little extra protection, and that’s exactly what the CEP compression arm sleeves are meant to do.

These compression sleeves are designed to give a more even layer of support and compression, but with more of the support your elbows really need after an injury, or if you use them a lot. Tennis players, we’re looking at you.

They use graduated compression to maximize the benefits, resulting in one of the more protective compression sleeves you can get.


PROS:

  • Graduated compression
  • Extra elbow protection
  • Designed to work for a wide variety of athletes
  • Good for after-injury recovery

CONS:

  • Limited size selection
  • Some shipping issues occasionally result in the wrong color being delivered

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Best with Extra Hand Warmth

8. Buff UV+ Coastal Arm Sleeves

If you’re looking for a set of sleeves designed for women and more likely to fit and provide the compression you need, these are some of the best options. The attractive design allows you to add a little style, while still getting the UV protection and compression you need to maximize your runs and workouts.

This is another set of sleeves that has anti-microbial properties, cutting the smell and keeping them cleaner and more hygienic while you’re working out.

This set is impressively moisture-wicking, an important feature since this sleeve design is a good bit longer and offers more coverage than many sleeves designed for men.


PROS:

  • Wide size range
  • Comfortable sleeve grip
  • Covers and protects hands as well
  • Impressive moisture wicking fabric

CONS:

  • Not available for men
  • Added hand coverage may not always be beneficial.

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Top UV Protection

9. Adidas UV Arm Sleeves

Sometimes compression isn’t the main goal of your sleeves, and can even get in the way or cause its own problems. When that’s the case, you shouldn’t have to give up your UV protection to ditch the compression.

These less-shaped sleeves are a good option, since they still offer some compression and other benefits (like moisture-wicking), while being mostly focused on UV protection. These are a good option for fair-skinned runners who burn easily. They block out more UV than many alternatives.

These sleeves are a good option for tattoo protection while you run, or for runners with sensitive skin who need a few extra precautions.


PROS:

  • Excellent UV protection
  • Lightweight
  • Fits most people
  • Good for sensitive skin

CONS:

  • Less compression than some alternatives
  • Only available in two colors

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Best Recycled Fabric Arm Sleeves

10. Rockay Ignite Arm Sleeves

Compression sleeves are often made from synthetic materials, making them one of the less environmentally-friendly kinds of athletic gear you can own. If you’re looking for a greener version, recycled fabric is a good way to go.

Rockay Ignite sleeves use recycled fabric to get all the same benefits of a sleeve made from new fabrics, but with a much smaller carbon footprint than other sleeves. That way you can get the UV protection, moisture-wicking, and compression, without polluting any more than you have to.

Available in several colors, the main downside of these sleeves is that they are only available in small to medium and medium to large sizes, so you should always check to make sure the sleeves will fit.


PROS:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Several colors
  • Good moisture wicking
  • Reasonable compression

CONS:

  • Only two sizes

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Top Recovery Arm Sleeves

11. Zensah Ultra Compression Arm Sleeves

Sometimes you need equipment that is designed for recovery and healing. Running puts a lot of stress on your joints, including your wrists and elbows, surprisingly enough. These compression sleeves will help you recover, whether you were injured during a run or at the gym.

These are designed to offer the right kind of compression and support to help your circulation and stabilize the muscles and soft tissue in your arms.

They’re also incredibly comfortable for all-season wear. The moisture-wicking and breathable design helps to keep you cool in the summer, while the black fabric takes advantage of solar heat in the winter to keep you warm and encourage circulation.


PROS:

  • Good for all-weather use
  • Carefully designed compression
  • Stabilizes your arm
  • Comfortable to wear

CONS:

  • Only available in one color

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FAQ

What Are The Benefits of Arm Sleeves?

Arm sleeves provide compression, which aids in improving circulation. Better circulation means better muscle performance and less swelling after a workout. They are particularly useful for runners going on longer runs or an intense workout.

Sleeves also reduce the jarring and vibration of exercise, letting your arms recover faster while still improving performance and support. Yes, your arms do affect your running.

Are There Additional Benefits?

Of course, not everything is about recovery and performance. Sleeves also protect your skin, can keep you scratch-free on overgrown trails, and help with heat management in both summer and winter.

They also help with moisture-wicking and sweat prevention. Many even have anti-microbial properties that keep them scent-free.

The Wired Runner