Cooling arm sleeves can keep your arms dry by wicking sweat, provide compression, and even cover up tattoos so they aren’t damaged from sun exposure. Usually, cooling arm sleeves cover arms from the wrist to the upper arm and can be used for athletic purposes or to provide comfort when doing daily activities.
There are a lot of cooling arm sleeve options on the market that differ in the materials they’re made and the functionality they provide. Let’s take a look at which cooling arm sleeves would best match your needs.
Best Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Great For Outdoor Sports: KMMIN Arm Sleeves
- Best Tattoo Coverage: SportsTrail Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Best For UV Protection: UV Sun Protection Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Best Flexibility: aegend UV Protection Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Best Comfort: SHINYMOD Arm Sleeves UV Protection Cooling Sleeves
- Best Aesthetics: B-Driven Sports Pro-Fit Compression Arm Sleeves
- Best Bundle: ARMORAY Arm Sleeves
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.
Great For Outdoor Sports
When it comes to anyone performing in outdoor sports, running (particularly for metcons), runners trying out CrossFit, or the like, these are a likely the best option for you due to the construction of the sleeve. The stitching of the sleeve takes muscle anatomy into consideration to make for a more comfortable and more fluid sleeve that won’t limit your range of motion.
These cooling arm sleeves are available in seven different color combinations and up to 4-pack bundles. They are made with a lightweight breathable fabric and designed to be heavier than competitive brands to better block harmful UV rays.
We appreciated the breathable fabric that was used which kept the sleeve from getting too sweaty unless you are doing a really intense training session. If you’re an athlete with larger biceps, triceps, or thicker arms in general, be on notice that these may run on the tighter side for you.
Who Should Buy KMMIN Arm Sleeves
- Those who have a larger amount of muscle on their arms.
- Anyone who wants long lasting sleeves.
- Folks who need a lot of breathability to stay cool during intense exercise.
Who Shouldn’t Buy KMMIN Arm Sleeves
- People who don’t like having to readjust their sleeves multiple times.
- Anyone who doesn’t want tight sizing.
The only major knock we encountered with these sleeves was the tendency for it to slide down the arm in practice. It wasn’t a huge obstacle, but having to readjust can become frustrating in the middle of other activities. It was a useful accessory to have for outdoor activities like lunges or calisthenics even if the arms weren’t doing the brunt of the work. All in all, a really solid pick if you are looking to get your activity done without a roof overhead.
Best Tattoo Coverage
If you are an athlete who needs to cover up tattoos, then this is your go-to pick. What was nice about these sleeves when it comes to coverage is protecting your tattoos from any unwanted light or if you have to cover up for a competition — whether it be weightlifting, powerlifting, or strongman. With a UPF 50 protection built in to help block rays from the sun in combination with a comfortable fit, we had to position this sleeve high in our rankings.
These full length cooling arm sleeves come in seven different color options and are made of 90% nylon and 10% spandex. They are moisture wicking and breathable to better help skin feel fresh even after long durations of use.
The one thing to be wary of is tears that this sleeve could sustain. Another consideration, although subtle, was this sleeve might not keep your arms cool as others on the market, but not by a largely noticeable amount. Just something to keep in mind that the added coverage and light protection might come at the cost of breathable cooling effect.
Who Should Buy SportsTrail Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Anyone who needs partial or full tattoo sleeve coverage.
- Those who want upwards of UPF 50 protection to better block from UVA and UVB rays.
- People who prefer 360 degree fit for comfort.
Who Shouldn’t Buy SportsTrail Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Anyone weary about threading tears.
- Those who need extra cooling.
What this options does well is protect your skin from the sun and give you coverage that you may need for tattoos all the way up to a full sleeves worth of ink. What it lacks is the cooling ability of comparable options on the market. However, if you are at all concerned about covering your tattoos (particularly ones that are colored in), then this is a great option to consider.
Best For UV Protection
A lot of the activities that take place outside on a field, a track, or even on a bike if you’re a cyclist, will be upgraded by this arm sleeve. You can have a bit more confidence knowing that the day after these outdoor training sessions, you’re not going to need to reach for the aloe to tend to some lobster-colored skin.
These cooling arm sleeves come in eight different color options as a pair and offer UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) 50 protection to block out over 98% of UVA & UVB rays. They are made with 92% nylon and 8% spandex with a four-way stretch factor to prevent sliding along the arms.
We appreciate the ease of cleaning this sleeve was manufactured with as you can simply toss it in with the rest of the laundry and don’t have to hang dry it. The other aspect that was noticeable was the ribbing along the wrist. That was a nice added touch to better ensure there wasn’t any slipping or bunching that needed to be readjusted. It’s a subtle benefit, but pays dividends.
Who Should Buy UV Sun Protection Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Those who like sleeves that don’t bunch much at the wrist.
- People who want the ease of a machine washable and dryer safe sleeve
- Anyone who wants some added tattoo coverage.
Who Shouldn’t Buy UV Sun Protection Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Those with longer than average arms.
- Anyone who doesn’t like somewhat see-through sleeves.
- People exercising near equipment that could snag or tear susceptible sleeves.
There was a discrepancy between the darker-colored options versus the lighter-colored options for this sleeve. The lighter options were see through. The other downside to these sleeves was they are unlikely to be sufficient for athletes who have lankier arms. On the whole, this is a great option that scored high enough to get onto our list. We would just recommend keeping the activity to sports or outdoorsy activities instead of in-gym training. Staying away from squat racks will help prevent these getting snagged on anything that could cause tears in the threading.
If you’re someone doing yoga, pilates, or even a powerlifter trying out animal flow, these sleeves are where you should focus consideration. They have nice anti-slip gel points to help with balance during planks and the like, and we appreciated the thread being a bit more resilient to tears.
These cooling arm sleeves come in five different color options in an ergonomic design flexible enough to fit most arms sizes. They are made with 88% polyamide fiber to provide breathability and better moisture wicking.
For the fashion aficionados out there, the design of these sleeves are pretty low profile and won’t call too much attention. That can also be nice if you’re training in a group fitness class or performing forms of meditation.
Who Should Buy aegend UV Protection Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Those who needed need added balance during planks or similar movements.
- Anyone that wants a longer lasting sleeve.
- People who appreciate designs that don’t draw too much attention.
Who Shouldn’t Buy aegend UV Protection Cooling Arm Sleeves
- Those who have thicker upper arms.
- Anyone who gets overly sweaty or is training in hotter temperatures.
The reasons to look at other options is if your have much thinner arms as these do tend to run tight around the upper arm. Be aware that the lighter-colored options for these sleeves are likely to yellow over time as they absorb sweat, even if they are routinely washed. Other than that, these are really great options for anyone involved in training that involves flexibility and stretching.
These arm sleeves for men and women are made with a 3D weaving design to offer better heat and sweat release. Each sleeve is 17 inches long, can stretch to 44 inches, and are offered in ten different colors options.
Who Should Buy SHINYMOD Arm Sleeves UV Protection Cooling Sleeves
- Can extend to be worn over the hand as well (via a thumb hole).
- One-size-fits-all can make for simpler ordering.
- 360 degree seams don’t use threads to offer better comfort.
Who Shouldn’t Buy SHINYMOD Arm Sleeves UV Protection Cooling Sleeves
- May be prone to retaining scuffs and stains.
- Does not incorporate any anti-slip technology.
- The one-size-fits-all design may tend to run tight.
Not every cooling sleeve choice has to only serve a particular function or functions, they can be primarily for appearances. What was a useful way to utilize these sleeves was to help correct arm positioning on bigger lifts like squats and bench presses. Wearing these sleeves and recording yourself during these lifts really highlighted where arm alignment was correct or off.
These compression arm sleeves are offered in forty-five different colors and designs. The cooling fabric provides subtle compression and protection from UV (ultraviolet) exposure. Each sleeve is moisture wicking and uses quick dry technology.
It should be said that although these sleeves can serve as eye candy that they are all looks and no action. They are made of temperature regulating fabric that lends itself to training in both warmer and cooler temperatures.
Who Should Buy B-Driven Sports Pro-Fit Compression Arm Sleeves
- Those who want a lot of variety in designs.
- People who need better temperature regulation.
- Anyone who wants added protection against turf burns and bug bites.
Who Shouldn’t Buy B-Driven Sports Pro-Fit Compression Arm Sleeves
- Anyone who gets annoyed by slightly mismatched sleeve lengths.
- Those who have larger arms.
- People who are trying to stick to a tighter budget.
These did hit a higher price tag than a lot of other options so take that into consideration. It costs a tad bit more coin to look extra fly. The other knocks against this sleeve was they tended to be tight around the upper arms and we noticed some slight discrepancies length between pairs. Keep in mind that when forming our rankings we are putting these products under a microscope and might notice things an average consumer might not.
These one-size-fits all sleeves have a tad more heft to them than a lot of competitive options on the market and provide a good amount of elasticity. One factor that differentiates these sleeves is that they come in a bundle with a neck gaiter and a guide for how to use it as a headband, foulard, or balaclava. That kind of versatility is a huge boon for more well rounded athletes who perform CrossFit® training or train for endurance challenges.
These arm sleeves are offered as a four pack (eight individual sleeves) and can include either a matching face mask or neck gaiter. Each sleeve is made of 90% polyester and 10% spandex. They are seamless, odor reducing, and have quick drying properties.
That kind of versatility is a huge boon for more well rounded athletes who perform CrossFit® training or train for endurance challenges. The anti-slip design is a nice touch for anyone who might be training in more difficult weather.
Who Should Buy ARMORAY Arm Sleeves
- Those who need sleeves malleable sizing.
- People who prefer slightly heavier sleeves.
- Folks who can make use of the added neck gaiter.
Who Shouldn’t Buy ARMORAY Arm Sleeves
- Anyone who doesn’t like a snug fit around their wrists.
- Those who need added UV protection.
- Folks who want a longer lasting sleeve.
The value that accompanies these sleeves is not without drawbacks. They did tend to run a bit tight around the wrist (less of a concern if you have thinner or bonier wrists). Additionally, they are unlikely to provide as much protection from UV light as comparable options on the market so if you have tattoos on your arms that you’re looking to protect, you may want to keep searching. All in all, though, this is a nice package bundle that has a lot to offer and we had to rank it in our top picks.
[Related: Best Compression Arm Sleeves On The Market]
How We Decided Our Picks
One of the ways that a cooling arm sleeve can become more of a nuisance than a benefit during athletics is if there is nothing to prevent it from bunching up or sliding on the arm. Even if it is providing the intended cooling effects, an athlete having to constantly adjust it may not be able to perform as well as they otherwise might.
The two most popular types of anti-slip technology cooling arm sleeves are a tighter seam that fits snugly around the biceps or bands at each end of the sleeve that use silica gel in some fashion (usually dotting or covering the whole band). Either can work but will feel different from each other. The silica gels can hold the band in place but has a rubbery feel that can be uncomfortable when a lot of sweat is involved.
For the most part, cooling arm sleeves have a tendency to run small. However, there are some sleeves that are designed with elasticity so they can be promoted as one-size-fits-all. If you are an athlete with larger or more muscular arms, chances are a cooling arm sleeve that has specific sizing will be a better bet. Even though one-size-fits-all might do, if the elasticity of those sleeves are pushed to their limits, they may feel tight even when worn properly.
There are cooling arm sleeves available that have the added utility of covering the hands as well via a hole that the thumb can slip though. These are worth consideration if your performance in a sport or activity could potentially improve from dry hands. For example baseball or football where handling the ball with non-sweaty hands could be beneficial.
Cooling arm sleeves can wick away sweat, protect skin from the sun, and even provide compression. They are a great addition to the fitness gear of any athlete competing outside in warmer weather for extended periods of time.