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Best arm sleeves for triathletes

Arm sleeves can help keep you warm, improve your aerodynamics and provide compression benefits. Here are some worth considering...

Cyclist using arm warmers

Noticed some triathletes wearing arm sleeves when racing in both the pro and amateur ranks but not sure why?

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In the words below, we’ll explain the benefits of wearing them, plus highlight some of the top choices on the market right now, with picks based on in-depth research and analysis of user reviews.

What are the benefits of wearing arm sleeves?

Arm sleeves have several benefits depending on the conditions you are racing and training in. Firstly, they reduce drag and make your arms more aero, this is especially beneficial when you are using the tri bars in an aero position on the bike, or if you have particularly hairy arms!

Other than this, arm sleeves often have compressive qualities and their coverage can help to keep an athlete warm on the bike and run in cold conditions, as well as keep them cool in hot conditions by protecting from harmful UV rays (check your sleeves specs to ensure the material has sun protection properties).

At first look, sleeves may seem a rather superfluous addition to your triathlon kit checklist, but they are actually extremely versatile and useful pieces of gear when used correctly to optimise your performance and comfort.

Best arm sleeves for triathletes

Sundried Cycle Arm Warmers

With SPF40 protection, these versatile arm warmers are said to both retain warmth in the winter and also protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays in the summer.

Being available for just £14 at the time of writing, they’re an affordable option, which is handy if you’re trying this type of product out for the first time.

Sundried says the material is breathable, while flatlock stitching and reduced seaming is employed to enhance comfort. 

The top hem features silicone grippers in an attempt to help keep the arm warmers in place.

Castelli NanoFlex 3g Arm Warmers

If you’re looking for some cycling specific arm warmers then this option from Castelli might be for you.

They’re designed to add extra warmth to your rides when riding in short sleeves and are said to be easy to pack away when not in use.

As well as providing warmth, they’ve also been coated with a durable water repellent finish, which is included here to help shed off light rain.

Kiprun Running Cold Protection Arm Cover

These arm sleeves from French retail giant Decathlon are designed primarily with runners in mind. They aim to add extra warmth while running in cool weather, without needing to throw on a stuffy midlayer.

Le Col Arm Warmers

As you’d expect from a premium cycling brand, Le Col’s Arm Warmers are aimed at cyclists and are designed to add extra warmth to your rides.

They’re fleece lined and are made from an Italian Roubaix material to deliver that additional warmth, while silicone grippers are included to keep the sleeves in place.

The product comes complete with an embroidered logo and reflective tabs.

Compressport Under Control Arm Sleeves

These arm sleeves from Compressport are designed to deliver compression for athletes competing in endurance sports such as triathlon.

The brand says the sleeves deliver consistent compression in an effort to enhance blood flow and muscle support. This, they say, results in a reduction in inflammation and less fatigued arms.

Beyond the compression on offer, Compressport says the sleeves are also ideal for providing extra warmth in cool conditions or offering protection in sunnier climes.

When you don’t need them, they’re said to be quick and easy to whip off and shove in a pocket.

Zone3 Aquaflo+ Arm Sleeves

Zone3 says these fetching sleeves have been developed to complement the brand’s Aquaflo+ tri-suit.

They’ve been designed to boost aerodynamics on the bike and run, as well as to provide added warmth when temperatures begin to drop.

Having said that, the brand suggests they’re versatile enough for year-round use, too, as these light sleeves work to regulate body temperature and help with moisture wicking. 

They also utilise flatlock stitching to minimise any irritation from seams.

2XU Force Compression Arm Guards

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Compression giants 2XU use their Muscle Containment Stamping (MSC) technology in these sleeves to map muscle, tendon and fascia geometry and in an effort to help reduce muscle damage.

The brand says they dry quickly, feature a graduated fit (to promote an efficient warm-up pre-exercise and aid faster recovery afterward) and use flatlock seams to reduce any irritation.

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Top image credit: Simon Skafar/Getty Images