Why Do Runners Wear Arm Sleeves? – Unveiling the Runner’s Secret


I bet you’ve spotted runners like Kipchoge wearing arm sleeves and found yourself pondering, ‘Why do runners wear arm sleeves?’

Well, you’re not alone.

In this article, we’re going to uncover the reasons behind the arm sleeve trend, exploring their benefits and whether they should be a part of your running gear too.


  • Dive into the rationale behind wearing arm sleeves.
  • Examine the proven advantages as per scientific research.
  • Consider their potential influence on performance
  • Discuss any potential associated side effects.

Sounds interesting?

Let the scrolling begin…


Why Do Runners Wear Arm Sleeves?

Arm sleeves are not just a fashion statement. Runners often wear them for a variety of reasons, with the primary one being to enhance their performance and overall comfort during their runs.

They have been on the rise lately, and while there’s still some back-and-forth about their effectiveness, there’s a bit of science that says they’re worth it in certain situations.

So, if you’re wondering where these babies truly shine, it’s all about the recovery game…


Recovery Benefits

When we dive into the nitty-gritty of studies (1, 2), it’s clear that these sleeves are no joke when it comes to post-exercise recovery. They can actually reduce that post-run soreness and even give your muscles a leg up over time.

And you know what? A lot of the perks you score from these arm sleeves are pretty much in line with what you get from those trusty compression socks. So, if you’re thinking about how these sleeves can lend a hand, recovery’s the name of the game, my friend.


To choose the perfect pair of running shoes and elevate your running game, check out our article on selecting the ideal running shoes for you.

Temperature Regulation

One of the key benefits of wearing arm sleeves during running is temperature regulation. It’s all about rocking the right fabric. Whether you’re in the mood to stay warm or chill out, these sleeves got your back.

When your body heats up during a run, arm sleeves come to the rescue. They wick away sweat and give you that snug layer when it’s frosty out, and on a scorching day, they’ve got you covered against the blazing sun and UV radiation.

That’s the secret to keeping things just right and avoiding that ‘too hot to handle’ situation.


Looking to up your long-distance game? Delve into our article featuring 25 essential tips for mastering the art of running long distances.

Muscle Support and Compression

You wouldn’t believe it, but compression arm sleeves pack a punch! A study, hot off the press from the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, spilled the beans.

Turns out, compression garments may reduce muscle oscillation and vibration, which, guess what, means less muscle fatigue and soreness during our workouts.

And here’s the kicker – they turbocharge our circulation, helping us kick those metabolic waste products to the curb, potentially leading to faster recovery. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that action?”


Catch the full scoop on David Goggins’ running shoe selections in our dedicated article.

Reduced Muscle Soreness

The same article shows that 5 all raving about how compression garments, including those trusty arm sleeves, may help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.

Now, that’s music to a runner’s ears, right? Picture it: quicker recovery, more steady training, and fewer aches. But here’s the twist – the controversy’s still hanging around, so we’re keeping an eye on the debate


Curious about the best ways to break in your new running shoes for a comfortable and injury-free experience? Don’t miss our article on ‘How To Break in Running Shoes.

Improved Blood Circulation

Here’s another little secret about these arm sleeves – They provide gentle pressure to your arm and therefore also reduce swelling and enhance blood flow.

This study suggests that compression garments, including arm sleeves, may enhance blood circulation. Better circulation leads to improved oxygen delivery for your hard-working muscles, which may, in turn, boost performance.

Not only that, according to these three studies (1, 2, 3), there is some evidence to suggest compression garments positively influence cardiac output.


For more in-depth guidance on how to lace your running shoes properly, give it a read as well!

Sun Protection

These arm sleeves double as your sun shield and serve as a protective barrier against harmful UV rays so you don’t have to apply too much sunscreen.

A study revealed that wearing protective clothing, including sleeves, beats sunscreen alone at shielding your skin from those pesky sun rays.

And guess what? That’s not all! These babies also keep those summer bugs at bay – it’s like an extra layer of defense.

So, you might wonder, besides all these perks, do arm sleeves bring performance to the table?”


Stay safe and informed during hot and humid runs by checking out our article ‘Running in the Heat and Humidity – 14 Effective Tips You Really Need.

Performance Enhancement

Now, let’s get real about these arm sleeves and performance. If you’re looking for a turbo boost in your athletic game, well, it’s a bit of a bummer.

There’s this study called “Effect of Lower Limb Compression Clothing on 400-m Sprint Performance” that dives into the details.

However, this study shows compression clothing can give you some compression which actually can decrease your perceived muscle exertion and therefore give you the psychological benefit of being able to push a little bit harder.

Again, there’s little to no evidence that these arm sleeves boost your athletic performance, but they can lend a hand in their own unique way.”


Discover effective strategies to prevent those uncomfortable side stitches while running.

Better Visibility

And here’s a cool twist, some of these arm sleeves come decked out with reflective material, making you the shining star at night.

It’s not just about style – it’s about staying safe. You know, it’s a win-win, extra visibility for you and an added layer of personal safety when you’re out there in the dark.

You can some of the best running arm sleeves on Amazon.


Any Potential Side Effects?

Looking at the science, there’s no data pointing fingers at arm sleeves as performance spoilers. So, you can rock them without a worry.

But hey, let’s keep it real – they might not be everyone’s cup of tea. While it’s rare for compression gear to throw a wrench in your workout, going for super tight sleeves can cramp your style, messing with your blood flow and causing discomfort or numbness.

Size and compression level are key, so make sure to choose the right fit for your needs. And, you know how it goes with any running gear, sometimes it’s a bit too much – too hot, too cool, or just gets in the way, but when it comes to performance, these sleeves won’t stand in your way.


Elevate your 5K performance with our insightful infographic on How to Run Your Best 5K.

Are Arm Sleeves a Must-have for Runners?

So, the big question – are arm sleeves a must-have? Well, lately, you’ve seen a bunch of elite runners sporting them in races, and that’s pretty cool, right?

But here’s the real deal for us regular runners: it depends.

If you’ve got a big race on the horizon, and you’re chasing that personal best, then having arm sleeves in your gear bag might be a smart move.

They can help you stay comfortable, whether you need to stay cozy or keep your cool, and they can even make it feel like you’re not working quite as hard.

But, let’s be honest, are they a ‘must-have’? Not really.

If you’re just out for a laid-back jog and you want something easy to slip on for warmth, arm sleeves might just be your best buddy. It’s all about what works best for your run!


Want to achieve a 5K in 30 minutes or less? Don’t miss our informative infographic on ‘How To Run A 5K In 30 Minutes or Less

Arm Sleeve FAQs

What do arm sleeves help with in running?

Arm sleeves help regulate body temperature by providing insulation when it’s cold and wicking away sweat when it’s hot. They may reduce muscle oscillation and fatigue, potentially leading to quicker recovery and less post-exercise soreness. Additionally, arm sleeves can enhance blood circulation and serve as a protective barrier against harmful UV rays, safeguarding the skin from sun damage during outdoor runs.

Do I need arm sleeves for running?

Runners often wear arm sleeves for the benefits of the compression they offer. Research in sports medicine has demonstrated that this compression stabilizes arm muscles, minimizes swelling, and enhances blood flow, aiding in recovery after intense workouts or minor injuries.

Do arm sleeves help you run faster?

Arm sleeves are a popular accessory among runners for various reasons, but there is no substantial scientific evidence to suggest that they can directly help you run faster. While they may offer benefits such as temperature regulation and improved circulation, the effect on actual running speed remains largely anecdotal. Any perceived increase in speed could be attributed to the runner’s subjective comfort and confidence when wearing arm sleeves rather than a proven, measurable performance improvement. Runners should primarily consider arm sleeves for their potential benefits in other areas, such as muscle fatigue reduction and sun protection, rather than expecting them to significantly boost their running speed.


How tight should running arm sleeves be?

Running arm sleeves should be snug but not excessively tight. They should provide gentle compression to support the muscles and enhance circulation without causing discomfort or restricting blood flow. A good rule of thumb is that they should feel like a second skin, offering a secure fit without feeling constricting. It’s important to choose the right size based on your measurements to ensure they provide the intended benefits without being overly tight.

How do I know what size arm sleeve to get?

To ensure an ideal fit for compression arm sleeves, the first step is to accurately measure your relaxed bicep. Locate the center of your relaxed bicep and use a flexible tape measure to determine the circumference. Once you have this measurement, you should aim to select a compression sleeve that is approximately half an inch to one inch smaller in circumference than the measured area. This slight compression differential helps ensure a snug and supportive fit without being excessively tight.

How do I keep my arm sleeves from falling down?

To prevent arm sleeves from slipping down during physical activity, make sure you have the correct size that fits snugly but not too tight. Position them properly on your arm and avoid rolling or folding them. Consider using sleeves with silicone grips at the top to enhance grip and support, and be mindful of sweat or lotion on your arms that could reduce friction. Adjusting them before your activity and using compression sleeves designed for sports can help keep them in place.


Want to know what running shoes Cameron Hanes trusts the most? Give it a read!


Arm sleeves, they’re a hot ticket in the runner’s world. Why? Well, they’ve got your back when it comes to keeping things just right – temperature, muscle support, sun protection, you name it.

Science chimes in too, pointing to perks like less muscle soreness and a circulation boost for an extra oomph in your run.

But, what’s a winner for one runner might not be the same for the next. The trick? Give them a try and see how they fit into your own running story. And there you have it, the lowdown on why runners wear arm sleeves. Hope this piece was a handy guide for you!”

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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