When we experience sore, heavy arms, our first impulse is to go straight to the pharmacy. To treat pain, we use expensive medications that often have side effects which leave you impaired.
However, whether your discomfort stems from sore, pulled, or injured muscles, or you suffer from poor circulation, it’s time to put away the medication.
A reusable and cost-efficient alternative exists—and it is scientifically proven. Compression sleeves use the simplicity of applied pressure to effectively treat many discomforts including tendinitis, bursitis, and poor blood circulation (source).
4 Tips for Buying Compression Arm Sleeves
When searching for the perfect compression arm sleeves, here are a few things you will want to keep in mind:
1. Common Materials Used to Make Compression Arm Sleeves
Like a good pair of compression socks, compression arm sleeves can be made from various materials. Here are some of the common fabrics that companies rely upon and their unique advantages and disadvantages:
- Spandex / Lycra: This fabric gives compression arm sleeves a nice bit of stretch. While not as breathable as other fabrics, a high composition of this material will ensure that the sleeve remains in place while also increasing mobility.
- Synthetic Fibers: Other artificial fabrics, including nylon, polyester, etc., are often used for their durable and moisture-wicking properties. Contrary to popular belief, these fabrics are breathable and are used in athletic performance clothing – such as Nike’s Dri-Fit line and even Lululemon Men’s In Mind (Yoga) Pants.
- Cotton: Highly breathable and comfortable, cotton is an affordable fabric. However, given that cotton is not naturally elastic, it is often combined with other materials, including spandex or polyester. Furthermore, cotton doesn’t wick moisture as effective as synthetic fibers.
- Recycled Materials: Some of the more modern or eco-centric compression sleeve brands will source recycled materials. While still having many durable qualities found in artificial fibers, the reliance on recycled materials is a great way to support forward-thinking companies while keeping excess waste out of landfills and oceans.
2. Size and Number of Sleeves Included
While many men may often purchase a compression sleeve for only one arm, some companies offer their sleeves in pairs. This can significantly reduce the price per sleeve that you will have to pay.
When measuring your sleeve, we recommend following the company size charts as sizes can vary from one brand to another. Typically, most companies will require you to measure the diameter of your bicep and the length between your bicep and wrist.
3. Extra Features You Might Want to Consider
Here are some extra features you may prefer in a compression sleeve:
- Quick Drying: Whether it’s for convenience or you lead an active lifestyle, a quick-drying compression sleeve is a terrific feature to have when you sweat. This will ensure that any general irritation or chaffing won’t occur along your arm.
- UV Protection: Given that most men wear compression sleeves outdoors, added UV protection will prevent sunburns or skin damage during prolonged sun exposure.
- Moisture Wicking Material: Found in performance fabrics like nylon or polyester, moisture-wicking material will pull moisture and sweat away from your skin. This increases comfort while also decreasing the risk of chafing, particularly around the elbow area.
4. Does Brand Matter When Purchasing A Compression Arm Sleeve?
In short, yes. Known brands have a research and development department that increases the performance of their product, but they also will stand by their product should it fail. Therefore, we strongly recommend going with a trusted brand rather than some imitation knock-off – even if it will cost you a few dollars extra.
Best Compression Arm Sleeves For Men
There is a lot to like with the Under Armour compression arm sleeve. For starters, this compression sleeve will apply a gradient pressure throughout your arm in order to increase and distribute blood flow.
Why is this important? Whether you are playing golf, basketball, or any other sport that relies on heavy arm and joint use, the even pressure will help to alleviate any sort of elbow pain and quicken your recovery process.
Available in several color options including black, gray, white, and red, you can find one that matches your clothes and style.
Made from a high composition of polyester (80%) and spandex (20%), you will be able to enjoy all the great moisture-wicking and stretchable properties.
- Great for basketball players
- Trusted brand
- Doesn’t offer any specific sun protection
What You Need To Know
Made from nylon and Lycra blend, these arm compression sleeves are breathable and moveable by design. Proven to boost the flow of oxygen in your blood, these compression sleeves treat many sports-related discomfort and injuries.
The supportive compression allows quick muscle recovery and increased muscle endurance. Available in 3 sizes, the sleeves are created to fit many arm sizes for both men and women.
Perfect for every sports activity, the breathable material allows it to be worn all day in any situation, and is guaranteed to maintain its shape and effectiveness.
Designed with 4-way stretch technology, these compression arm sleeves are the perfect solution to discomforted, swelled, and achy muscles.
They are also the perfect solution to prevent future discomfort such as Lymphedema. The anti-chafe materials allow the sleeves to provide all-day relief without itching or irritation with movement. Also featuring anti-odor material, it will keep your arms dry, sweat-free, and odorless.
Durable by design, it will not lose its compression nor shape, even with multiple uses in the washer. Available in 7 colors (black, navy, white, pink, nude, maroon, and orange) these compression sleeves are guaranteed to fit your size and style, as well as guaranteed to treat muscle and blood circulation-related pain.
Equipped with SPF 50+ UV protection, these compression sleeves are perfect for outdoor activity. Created with nylon and spandex, the material is guaranteed to be breathable and moveable. While minimizing sweat buildup and created with anti-chafe technology, all-day movement will not decrease its comfortability or effectiveness.
Designed to keep your skin cool in the summer and warm in the winter, the sleeves are effective year-round.
Also effective for improving your muscles, these compression sleeves can improve your muscle endurance and lessen post-activity muscle pain. Available in 3 colors (green, black, and white) the sleeves are made to fit virtually any size, and any style.
Carefully designed with copper-infused nylon, this elbow compression sleeve effectively prevents and treats muscle discomfort while remaining completely odorless and moveable.
Proven to be effective in treating bursitis, tendinitis, tennis and golfer’s elbow, arthritis, and osteoporosis, the sleeve allows improved oxygen flow in the blood. The compression centered on the elbow relieves joint pain, and can even prevent future injury.
With SPF 50+ protection, this sleeve is perfect for indoor and outdoor activity. The moisture wick design allows all-day and all-night comfort. Available in 5 sizes and absolutely 100% latex-free, this elbow compression sleeve is guaranteed to fit comfortably and irritation-free.
Perfectly designed with lightweight, stretch, and copper-infused fabric, the compression elbow sleeve will provide all-day comfort and relief. Featuring moisture-wicking technology, the copper-infused fabric works to keep your skin dry and eliminate odor.
Created with polyester and spandex, the flexible and durable material allows the sleeve to stay in place during activity, and maintain optimal compression. It is guaranteed that despite multiple washes, this sleeve will maintain its shape and effectiveness.
Also equipped with UPF 50+, it will protect your skin during outdoor activity. Available in 5 styles (black, cobalt blue, nude, slate grey, and white) these sleeves are all designed with simplicity, allowing them to be worn daily, and underneath virtually any item of clothing. Also available in 5 different sizes, it is a perfect fit for virtually any size and shape.
This full arm-length compression sleeve uses many fabric technologies to create the perfect compression sleeve, guaranteed to be effective in every use. Designed with lightweight stretch fabric, the sleeve provides all-day comfort as well as optimal compression. The polyester and spandex fabric is carefully selected to ensure its flexibility and durability. The fabric is also infused with copper, which helps keep your skin dry and odor-free.
Featuring UPF 50+ protection, the compression sleeve is perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. Proven to increase blood flow, these sleeves can be used to treat multiple painful ailments to the muscle, such as tendonitis osteoporosis.
It is also proven to prevent further injury and quicken muscle recovery. Available in 5 sizes and 3 colors, it is guaranteed to fit virtually any size and style.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.