Running arm sleeves: 6 of the best available in 2021

All you need to know about running arm sleeves, including what they are and six of the best options currently available.

Running arm sleeves: 6 of the best available in 2021

Running sleeves are a piece of kit you don’t see too often, however, more and more runners are jumping on the bandwagon and investing in a pair of arm warmers for the coming months. These sleeves are very similar to the compression calf sleeves you’re likely familiar with, offering many of the same benefits but instead designed for the arms.

Not only are running arm sleeves stylish, but they also offer numerous benefits to the user – which will be discussed shortly. This article will explain why people wear running arm sleeves, will provide you with six of the best sleeves currently available in 2021 and will finish with a short FAQ to answer any questions you may have.

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Why do people wear running arm sleeves?

There are numerous reasons as to why runners choose to wear arm sleeves while running, some of which include increased visibility, improved comfort and support, and added warmth during the cold winter months.

Other benefits of wearing running sleeves include:

  • UV protection
  • Compression
  • Anticipation for the weather
  • Style

To help break down each benefit in more detail, each of these will now be explained in more detail individually below.

UV protection

As we’re sure you’re aware, most runners like to run outdoors, staying away from the treadmill where possible. However, during the summer months, you run the risk of sunburn and general increased exposure to UV light.

While you should definitely wear suntan lotion, a pair of running arm sleeves will also protect your arms against the potentially harmful rays of the sun. Whether you run once a week or once a year, you will benefit from these sleeves. Oh, and you’ll look fairly dapper while doing so.


Second, most running sleeves contain a compression design. This means the sleeves are slightly tighter than normal with a unique pattern, encouraging increased blood flow to the arms. This is beneficial in itself for various reasons, but includes added warmth during the winter months, and increased performance (less fatigue in the arms).

Also, compression gear helps reduce swelling on longer runs and is also commonly used as a recovery tool. After a run you may see runners putting on a pair of their favourite compression sleeves, increasing blood flow to remove the lactic acid built-up during their run. This reduces the recovery time between sessions and also contributes to lessened muscle soreness.

Anticipation for the weather

You may also see some runners wearing a pair of running sleeves during the winter or even summer with no other layer other than perhaps a running t-shirt. Usually, this is in anticipation for the weather. Maybe it’s too hot for another layer, but if the temperature is to drop, you want a little extra warmth without the added weight or restriction and vice versa – this is where the running arm sleeves really begin to shine.

This allows you to pack light but still be prepared for slight changes in the weather, leaving you less likely to get caught out whether on your long run or out stomping puddles on your favourite trail.


Finally, we have style. You’ve likely seen many elite runners rocking a pair of sleeves, from the likes of Mo Farah to the not so long ago attempt of the sub-2-hour marathon by Eliud Kipchoge. There’s no doubt these athletes were wearing them for the performance benefits (reduced arm fatigue, added warmth, etc.), but they also looked pretty fly while doing so.

If this isn’t a reason to invest in a pair yourself, then that’s perfectly fine but it’s always an added bonus, right?

What are the best running arm sleeves for runners?

The following section will highlight six of the best running arm sleeves for runners from various brands, including sustainable approaches from Rockay, a pair ideal for trail running from the likes of Adidas, and others more suited to those on a budget. There is something for everyone, so be sure to take a look.

1. Rockay ignite running sleeves

Rockay Ignite compression running arm sleeves

Key features:

  • Seamless construction for a comfortable and breathable fit 
  • Reflective Rockay logo for increased visibility
  • Created using 100% recycled materials

The first pair of sleeves we have for you are from Rockay, leaders in sustainable running clothing and sportswear. The ignite sleeves are no different, created using recycled materials but offering all the usual benefits of compression arm sleeves and more. For example, the highly reflective design ensures you remain visible during the winter months, while the soft fabric and comfortable fit make sure you remain warm, too.

View on Rockay

2. Nike breaking 2 running arm sleeves

Nike Breaking 2 running arm sleeves

Key features:

  • Heat-retaining design, ideal for staying warm during those colder runs
  • Reflective detailing
  • Ergonomic & sweat-wicking design for added comfort and reduced chafing

Modelled after Eliud Kipchoge and his attempt to break the 2-hour marathon, the breaking 2 running arm sleeves contain some of the most impressive technology packed into two stylish sleeves. For instance, the heat-retaining design guarantees you remain warm no matter the weather, while the economic & sweat-wicking features reduce moisture build-up while keeping you comfortable mile after mile.

These are the ultimate running sleeves for those looking to improve performance while supporting their recovery – there’s no doubt about it.

View on Sportsshoes

3. Reebok running sleeves

Reebok running sleeves - product recommendation

Key features:

  • Lycra material creates a lightweight but stretchy design
  • Helps regulate temperature and reduce muscle soreness
  • Improves circulation 

Next up, we have the Reebok running sleeves, available in a dark grey and blue colourway. Unlike other brands, these running sleeves are created with lycra, providing a lightweight, comfortable, and stretchy design to help you crank out those long runs or interval sessions.

There is also a set of matching compression calf sleeves for those who want to match their look, also available on Amazon.

View on Amazon

4. Adidas Terrex trail running arm sleeves

Adidas Terrex trail running arm sleeves

Key features:

  • Created using recycled fabric
  • Breathable and lightweight design
  • Manages moisture for added comfort and reduced risk of chafing 

Who knew there would be a pair of running arm sleeves designed specifically for the trail runner in mind. To be honest, it’s no surprise but the design is somewhat refreshing and a potential staple piece of kit for many trail and fell runners alike. Adopting a more sustainable approach by using recycled fabric, much like many of Rockay’s products, no doubt makes these running sleeves more appealing, especially since sustainable activewear and general clothing is somewhat difficult to find.

Even so, you will still profit from the smart and breathable design, helping to keep you dry yet warm mile after mile, whether stomping through mud, clinging onto your poles while fighting the great British weather, or off for a leisurely stroll on your local fell.

View on Sportsshoes

5. Adidas compression arm sleeves

Adidas compression running sleeves - product suggestion

Key features:

  • Compression design tailored to increase performance
  • Available in a choice of four different colours (red, black, grey and white)
  • Comfortable and ideal for colder climates 

Second to last, we have the Adidas compression arm running sleeves. These sleeves are available in four different colours and are well-suited for colder climates. The compression design increases performance and supports recovery, while the sleeves will also help keep you warm on those chillier runs, whether deep in winter or the beginning of spring.

View on Amazon

6. 2XU Flex compression sleeves for running

2XU compression arm sleeves for running

Key features:

  • Seamless construction and graduated fit for supreme comfort
  • Helps keep the muscles warm and also aids in recovery
  • Moisture-wicking design keeps you dry mile after mile

Finally, we have the 2XU Flex compression sleeves for running, a slightly more affordable option compared to others listed in this article. Despite the more affordable price tag, you will still reap many benefits, including supreme comfort, added warmth, and a moisture-wicking design to help keep you dry and comfortable mile after mile.

View on Sportsshoes

Frequently asked questions

To finish, we’ve gathered together various commonly asked questions regarding running arm sleeves, of which you can see below:

What do running compression sleeves do?

Running compression sleeves help retain heat (ideal for running during colder conditions), 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.

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