The 6 Best Running Arm Sleeves in 2023
Find the right arm sleeves for you, and you’ll increase comfort, reduce fatigue, and protect yourself from the elements while running.
But with so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming. Do you need compression? What about UV protection? And what’s the deal with sweat-wicking technology?
This blog post is a round-up of the best running arm sleeves – we’ve gathered together 6 pairs from top brands to make it easy for you to find the right pair.
Best Arm Sleeves at a Glance
1. 2XU flex compression arm sleeves
- Graduated compression reduces muscle fatigue
- Freedom of movement
- Set of 2 (pair)
- Improved warm-up pre-exercise
- Reduced fatigue in the arms when running long distances
- Sizing is a little hit or miss
The 2XU compression arm sleeves are our best overall option.
They are comfortable, provide exceptional freedom of movement, and act like a second skin. Great for summer runs, long runs, and race days.
The sizing can be a little hit or miss, so be sure to check the size chart before ordering!
2. Skins unisex arm sleeves
- Target compression supports proper running form
- Medium compression profile
- Stabilise your arms
- Complete freedom of movement
- More expensive than other options
A close second on our list is the Skins unisex arm sleeves – they stabilise your forearms and boost your biceps.
The compression is medium, the sleeves increase blood flow to the arms to reduce cramps and fatigue, and the moisture management works a charm.
They also provide UV protection (50 +), providing much-needed sun protection on those hot days.
3. Nike breaking 2 running arm sleeves
- Lightweight mesh increases comfort
- Reflective details
- Ergonomic & sweat-wicking
- Stabilise your arms
- Highly breathable
- Most expensive option on our list
Follow in the footsteps of the very best – these arm sleeves were made for Eliud Kipchoge and the Nike Breaking 2 marathon attempt.
The technology is impressive – they are very lightweight and breathable, and are designed to go the distance.
They also retain heat well, making them a versatile option for race day, whether in the bleak of winter or around the Monza Formula One track, like the Nike attempt.
These are the ultimate running sleeves for those looking to improve performance while supporting their recovery – there’s no doubt about it. But that comes with a cost – these are also the most expensive option on our list.
4. UV sun protection running arm sleeves
- Blocks up to 97% of harmful UV rays
- Breathable and lightweight
- Relieves soreness and improves performance
- Cooling effect keeps you focused on your run
- Some runners found the silicone band uncomfortable
These arm sleeves block harmful UV rays and provide superior sun protection. That includes sunblock up to 98% of UVA and UVB to prevent sunburn and skin ageing.
The sleeves also utilise a compression design – similar to the below pair from Compressport – making them just as good for performance as they are for hot weather running.
The design is breathable and moisture-wicking and ensures a comfortable run, whether one mile or ten miles.
And while other sleeves on this list contain UV protection, this is the best option for those on a budget.
5. COMPRESSPORT under control arm sleeves
- Targeted compression delays fatigue
- Lightweight design
- Microfibre weave improves comfort
- Ultra-stretchy (easy to put on and off)
- Breathable fabric
- Very little protection from the sun
These full-length compression arm sleeves provide a second skin feel, and are just as good for training as they are race day. You can also wear them while cycling.
They are very easy to put on, and with the lightweight design, it’s easy to forget that you’re wearing them.
Despite this, unlike other arm sleeves in this blog post, they contain very little sun protection.
6. New Balance compression arm sleeves
- Odour control technology
- Compression design
- Choice of 5 colours
- Reduced muscle strain
- Sweat-wicking and highly breathable
- Not the warmest
- Thin design
Finally, we have the New Balance compression sleeves.
And while they are good, they do not compare to the others on this list. They tick all the basic boxes – including great tech and a wide choice of colours – but they are better options available.
But if you’re looking for a stylish pair of basic arm sleeves, these are the pair for you.
Why do people wear running arm sleeves?
There are many reasons why you might want to wear a pair of arm sleeves for running.
For example, if you suffer from arm fatigue or cramping on your runs, a pair of sleeves will help reduce this pain.
But there are other uses, too.
Other benefits of wearing running sleeves include:
- Protection from the weather
- Reduce fatigue
- Improve recovery
- Protection on the trails
We’ll break down each of these benefits in more detail below.
Protection from the weather
A pair of running sleeves are just as good for running in the heat as they are in cold weather.
If you sweat a lot on warmer days, then a pair of sleeves wick sweat away from the body and improve temperature regulation.
Some, but not all, arm sleeves, contain UVA and UVB protection – this protects your skin from the sun. If you’re training in hot weather or harsh conditions, look for a UPF rating of 50+.
And, if your arms get cold in the winter, then a thick pair of sleeves increase warmth (and provide other benefits).
Compression technology helps reduce fatigue by increasing blood flow to the muscles. It also reduces vibrations and stabilises the arms.
If you’re running long distances, a pair of sleeves can help reduce overall fatigue, cramp, and swelling. They can also improve recovery!
Not all arm sleeves use compression technology, but those that do offer faster recovery between sessions.
The compression applies pressure to the muscles – this increases blood flow, providing essential nutrients and removing waste products. It also helps reduce swelling and inflammation.
Protection on the trails
Finally, arm sleeves provide protection from branches, trees, and other obstacles on the trails. This helps protect your arms from scratches, while still providing numerous benefits.
What are the best running arm sleeves for runners?
This article has highlighted six of the best arm sleeves for runners from various brands, including 2XU, Nike, and Skins.
Choose the right pair for you, and you’ll improve comfort, protection, and performance.
And for a quick overview, check the table below!
What do running compression sleeves do?
Running compression sleeves help retain heat (ideal for running in colder weather), but also improve performance and enhance recovery.
How tight should compression arm sleeves be?
Your compression arm sleeves should be tight but not restrictive. For example, these should be comfortable, not loose and certainly not responsible for any swelling. If this is the case, you may require a larger size sleeve.
Why do runners wear calf sleeves?
Calf sleeves are also popular for runners. Usually, compression calf sleeves are worn to both increase performance by providing optimal blood flow to the muscles, while also reducing recovery times between each workout or run.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.