How To Choose Running Compression Arm Sleeves? (Benefits And Myths)
Running compression arm sleeves have become very popular among runners. You will often see beginners as well as professional athletes sporting them while running. However, how to choose them is the biggest question that most newbies face as the choices are overwhelming.
When choosing a running compression arm sleeve check the fit, stretch, and the amount of compression that the sleeve is providing. Also, check if it has UV protection, is made from skin-friendly material, and is sweat-wicking.
If you are still confused, in this article we will provide you with all the details like:
- What are compression arm sleeves?
- Why should runners wear them a.k.a benefits of wearing them…
- Choosing your first or the next compression arm sleeves properly.
- Are cooling arm sleeves different than other arm sleeves and which one should you choose?
- What is the reason behind wearing one arm sleeve?
- Problems with compression arm sleeves
- and more…
What are running arm sleeves?
Running arm sleeves are a cover made for arms with a combination of yarn and elastic or elastane materials. They provide compression to the arm and help with better blood circulation, recovery, and comfort.
They will sit around your muscle and will provide pressure on them. This improves the circulation of the muscles and improves recovery.
Also, when you run if you keep don’t wear a compression sleeve, there is some added vibration to the muscles due to unrestrained movement.
This also increases the chances of having more wear and tear on the muscles. Using this kind of arm sleeve reduces this overall effect and makes your run more comfortable.
Running arm sleeves are similar to that of any other compression gear for running – like the ones you use for calves, knees, ankles, legs, etc. So, these arm sleeves also provide you with similar benefits as these gears provide you.
Why do runners wear arm sleeves?
Runners wear arm sleeves for better blood circulation in their arms, faster recovery, and protection against UV rays. Also, it can be used as a style statement with funky colors and artistic printed materials.
Here is a list of benefits that running arm sleeves will provide you:
This is the primary function of a running arm sleeve. They hold down the muscles in place and apply gentle pressure on them.
This reduces DOMS or Delayed Onset of muscle soreness – That painful muscle ache that you get after an intense running session.
According to Healthline some of the symptoms of DOMS are:
- Muscle tenderness.
- Painful muscles.
- Reduced range of motion due to stiffness.
- Swelling of affected muscles.
- Muscle fatigue.
- Temporary loss of muscle strength.
Compression sleeves help to reduce the DOMS effects by improving blood circulation and removing lactic acid from your body. This further helps in a faster recovery.
Running arm sleeves helps in your faster recovery. As stated above, it helps in the faster removal of lactic acid from your body.
Due to an improved supply of blood to the muscle tissues, they get a better oxygen supply. This helps to remove the lactic acid build-up and helps in faster muscle recovery.
Also, faster removal of lactic acid from the body reduces the time you take to recover from your running training. It also reduces muscle tenderness and soreness, which are unwanted effects of logging a lot of miles.
When you run accidents may happen like you trip and fall down. This can develop injury due to friction with the surface on which you are running.
Frequent areas of such injuries are the elbows and the knees. And those bruises are far worse than the clean cuts against the skin.
If you have an additional layer of fabric on your arms, your chances of getting hurt are less even when you fall down.
This way your arm sleeves will provide you with improved protection in case of such accidents.
Although not well all the arm sleeves, with many of them you get UV protection when you are running under the sun.
This helps you to reduce the chances of sunburn…also, UV rays are really bad for the skin and may cause skin cancer.
If you are running under the sun frequently, it is a good practice to use sunscreen to protect your skin.
Having a compression running arm sleeve with UV protection is an added bonus as it will reduce the UV effect on your skin considerably.
Providing warmth and cool
When you wear an arm sleeve, it is an additional layer of fabric on your arms. In cooler weather, it keeps you warm.
Also, due to the breathability of the sleeves, it dissipated the generated heat and keeps your hands cool.
There are many types of arm sleeves that are available with different kinds of printed designs. This improves their charm and you can make a style statement.
Since the material of the arm sleeve clings to your hand, the display of the print is even more prominent, providing you with that added style.
What to check while choosing a compression arm sleeve?
To choose a compression arm sleeve, the size, fit, material, brand, and color need to be checked. Also, any special features like UV protection and price also need to be checked.
Although the above summarises what you need to check while choosing a compression arm sleeve, below I’m describing them in more detail:
This is the first criterion that you should check for the arm sleeves. The arm sleeve should sit on your arm comfortably – not too tight, not too loose.
If you choose the wrong size, you will not be able to get the benefits of the arm sleeves. Most companies, provide you with a size chart with the radius of the sleeve and the overall length of the sleeve.
Before purchasing, it is good if you measure yourself up to pick the correct size.
The fit of the arm sleeve should not be too tight. Else you may end up having restricted blood flow instead of improved blood circulation.
You can give the arm sleeve a try and check if it is giving you that super restrictive feel.
Not all compression arm sleeves are made equal. Some have UV protection and some don’t.
While picking an arm sleeve check if yours have UV protection. Sometimes it is mentioned on the labels.
Other times, the fonts are so small, that it becomes almost impossible to derive this answer. If you are confused, check with the salesperson of the store.
If you are buying online then, most of the time, this will be mentioned clearly either in the product title or in the description.
Check if the material that is of your compression arm sleeve is made from sweat-wicking material or not.
This will keep the skin surface cool and dry and it will itself remain dry. This will provide you with some relief as you will not have to deal with the wetness of the sweat and that odor.
Color and print
This is one of the important aspects if you want to have a cooler arm sleeve. If the color is on the lighter side of the spectrum, you will have a cooler arm sleeve.
If the color is on the darker side of the spectrum, it will be warmer.
Apart from the color, another important aspect is the print on the arm sleeve. Some like a floral print and some like an edgier or tattoo look.
Some of the arm sleeves are costlier than others. If you compare the price of the popular brands with that of the others, you will find that the branded ones are more expensive than the others.
But does that make them better?
You will find many good arm sleeves at a more reasonable price, but make sure to check the reviews…
Check the reviews
This is one of the ways that we all use to judge the quality of the products. The thumb rule is, that the higher the stars the better the product.
However, this should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The reviews on many of the sites have a lot fake. So, my idea is to scroll past the 4 stars and the 5 stars…and check the 3 stars…
This provides me an idea of how good the product is…or is there any repetitive problem that is evident from the comments?
Also, check the ratio of the high stars vs low stars…this will also give a rough idea about the quality of the arm sleeve.
Some of the arm sleeves come with a thumb hole. This helps to keep the sleeve in place.
Also, some prefer it and some don’t. While picking an arm sleeve check what you like.
This is mainly present in the arm sleeves for soccer…however, if you want to add some added protection against accidents you can go for an arm sleeve with padding.
The padding is not present throughout the length of the sleeve but in the key areas…
In the above sections, we have provided the details of how you can choose a compression arm sleeve that will work for you.
More than anything, if you try on a compression arm sleeve that will give you a fair idea of which one to choose.
Also, it will keep you comfortable and make your recovery faster…Try them, and you will not regret it.
Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.
Reviewer, Certified Fitness Instructor
Certified fitness trainer and an ex-professional bodybuilder, he has trained more than 500 fitness enthusiasts and has more than 15 years of on-the-job experience.