Armed with the wonderful running experience testing the Buff USA UV arm sleeves over the past month (tested daily from May 7-June 4, 2017 except for May 8), it’s time to present a review. But first, brief disclaimer: I received a pair of the Buff USA UV arm sleeves (UPF 40+) to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
One of the best features about these sleeves is the protection from the sun (40 SPF+), ideal for sunny/hot conditions. When I received the sleeves, the first test of them was in the Lincoln Half-Marathon. I received the sleeves the day before the race so I did not have time to test them before the race as I would have liked (breaking the *never try anything new you haven’t tried before the race rule). The Buff sleeves did help me during the race in keeping the sun away, keeping my arms dry, and my arms felt stabilized/supported throughout the race. There is a stabilizing effect that you notice wearing these when running.
My experience with compression gear has been pretty positive, mainly I have used compression socks/sleeves for my legs and/or compression shirts on occasion. I had never tried arm sleeves before.
It took a few days to become accustomed to the feel of the arm sleeves, you could feel the compression for the first few days. After that, I didn’t really notice it.
One issue for people with GPS watches: I did have to make sure to pull the sleeve back a little on the left (Garmin) side so the sleeve did not block my Garmin Fenix 3HR from reading my heart rate. There were a few days during the testing period where my Garmin garbled the data (one run was lost entirely) but I have been having issues with the Garmin and so I can’t say that it was from the arm sleeves. When I kept the sleeve pulled up higher on my arm, I did not have any problems.
When you first put on the sleeves, you may have to adjust on one side as there is a tag (with washing instructions) on one sleeve. Just tuck the tag in (or leave it out if you prefer, I liked to tuck it in) so it doesn’t irritate your arm.
There was only one day during the past month since the Half-Marathon that I didn’t test the sleeves. I think I just forgot to wear them the day after my race. Mostly I washed them every day, sometimes every other day. I wouldn’t recommend wearing them 3 days in a row without washing them. I tried that once (running laundry was stacking up) and there was residual sweat that irritated my arm on one side.
My skin is somewhat sensitive so I was curious how I would react to the sleeves and whether I would think they were comfortable or not. But I found the sleeves to be very comfortable except for the one occasion where I didn’t wash them for a few days. I tried leaving the sleeves on after running and I found that did seem to help a little with recovery. Some days I took the sleeves off right away. But after a few hours of wear, you’ll want to remove the sleeves. For a little while, you may see rings on your arms from the sleeves but those disappear pretty quickly. Sometimes you will notice rings in the sleeves when you first put them on. But if you adjust them upward on your arm, the rings pretty much disappear.
The sleeves stay in place well while running, I didn’t have to adjust them very much other than just minor adjustments to keep them clear of my Garmin watch.
The sleeves were very effective at wicking away sweat and keeping moisture away (rain occurred during the test). Also, on cooler days, the sleeves actually kept me warm (however, the sleeves I tested were for warmer weather). I did not have any issues with moisture/sweat saturating my arms during the test period.
Another thing I liked a lot about the sleeves is the supportive strength they provide. As I run with my dog a lot, our dog is constantly pulling at the leash. This is taxing to my arms. Wearing the sleeves, I was able to better control my dog on the leash and keep her near me. It’s a similar benefit to what I notice when I wear compression shirts. But some compression shirts are not long-sleeved so they don’t cover the arms.
Another benefit of wearing the sleeves is it cuts down on how much laundry you have to wash. You can create a long-sleeve shirt instantly by adding the sleeves to your short-sleeve shirt (or singlet/tank top). I found that sometimes I wasn’t wearing an extra layer when I would have otherwise because I was adding the sleeves.
During the test period, I did not get any visible sunburn or bug bites. I can’t say the same about my legs (mosquitoes are beginning to roam here in Nebraska). So one unexpected benefit was the ability to keep bugs from biting my arms. The sleeves seem to be tight enough fit that it keeps insects away.
I was excited to get blue sleeves. Blue is my favorite color, making it easy to compliment many other colors. The sleeves are available in many colors. Choose one you prefer.
Care of the sleeves is pretty simple: just wash regularly, I always washed them with unscented Tide with a laundry zipper bag. Then I dry them flat on a drying rack.
The sleeves were helpful in being used for other things too, like wiping grime and sweat off my Garmin watch so I could see it. Also, if it’s rainy/precipitation, the sleeves can be used as windshield wipers for your Garmin/GPS watch to keep it clear so you can see. I think I used the sleeves a few times to wipe rain/sweat off my iPhone6 also.
Another great advantage of the Buff USA sleeves is the reflectivity. The Buff logo is in reflective letters with a reflective circle. Also, there are reflective dots in the upper arm area in a line. The reflectivity is impressive both in sunlight and with a flash camera. The lighter color Buff sleeves would be more visible (mine are dark blue) but even the darker colors have the reflective features I mentioned. On both sleeves. One sleeve has the Buff logo at the wrist, the other one is in the upper arm area.
Another advantage of the Buff sleeves is the flexibility that they allow. When you first put on the sleeves, you may want to flex and relax your arms a bit just to adjust to them. The sleeves are very comfortable for running, walking, and run-walking. It was easy to move my arms for the most part, the flexibility was good. It did take a little adjustment reaching for my water bottle in my OrangeMud vests. The compressive feature gives a tiny bit of resistance when you first raise your arms over your heard. But after doing this a few times, we adjust pretty quickly.
I did feel safer running with the sleeves with the reflectivity. It did make my arms feel stronger and more supported when exercising. It’s nice to be able to wear a little light armor that you can put on quickly (in about 1 minute for both arms, including adusting both). It’s a lot easier and faster to slide these on than compression socks.
The sleeves do not cover the shoulders so remember that if you are running/exercising in these without covering your shoulders, you may need to add some sunscreen to make sure you are fully protected from the sun.
The protection from the sun by the sleeves is very important to me. My brother is a dermatologist who deals with skin cancer a lot. I have two very good friends my age who have struggled with skin cancer. Runner friends are getting skin cancer. It’s really made me more aware of the issue and taking adequate precautions to protect ourselves from the sun. When I reach for sunscreen, I’m usually reaching for SPF 50. The Buff armsleeves offer very near that level of protection. And it is possible to find some shirts that offer SPF protection that you could layer with the sleeves so we have some seamless protection from the sun.
The sleeves do feel seamless but they do have a full-length seam on the outside of the arm. You don’t really notice it unless you look for it. It’s barely noticeable.
I really didn’t have any issues with discomfort with the sleeves. However, if I left them on a few hours after running, I did reach a point where I wanted to remove them. Compression has limits, I probably kept the sleeves on longer than Buff intended.
Buff arm sleeves do layer well, both with shirts, jackets, gloves, and even with long-sleeve shirts. I did wear the Buff sleeves over a long sleeve shirt once shown above but that was just for photo reasons. Ideally, the sleeves would probably work better beneath the long sleeve shirt (unless you need the reflectivity on top). I’ll show you a picture with the gloves to show how seamlessly the sleeves work with gloves.
If your Garmin fails (or acts up as it did a few times), let your Buff arm sleeve speak for you as I did above.
The sleeves did provide a lot of fun and enjoyment with running, walking, run-walking, and enhanced my photography. I felt the desire to flex my arms (especially on Flex Friday) and raise them and spread my wings more often than usual when I wore the sleeves. The more often we flex our muscles the more fit we are. The sleeves did seem to help/boost my endurance and seemed to keep my arms from getting as tired as usual when I ran. The sleeves are very durable in all weather conditions (sunny, windy, rainy, humid, cold, and cool) were all experienced during the test period).
Buff USA UV arm sleeves come in different sizes and for all wingspans. The sleeves seemed to help me with flexing and stretching my arms while running and keeping them flexible and mobile. Mobility on the run with the sleeves is impressive and while retaining flexibility in the arms.
I didn’t encounter any drawbacks or negatives in using the sleeves. During the test period, I was only able to test the sleeves up to about the 13-14 mile distance in a day. I haven’t tested them for any longer runs than that.
The sleeves performed very well. They kept my arms dry and comfortable when running and I sweat a lot so that’s remarkable and impressive to me.
Please feel free to join us for BibChat on Tuesday, June 6 at 8pm Central time on Twitter to learn more about BuffUSA UV arm sleeves and possibly win a pair of them by participating.
How can you learn more about Buff and check out the armsleeves? Please visit: BuffUSA.com Also, many of my fellow BibRavePro buddies who tested the Buff arm sleeves are also reviewing the sleeves on their respective blogs so I encourage you to read those, too.
Want to Buff and toughen up your running wings with strong BuffUSA arm sleeves? You’ll be glad you did. These armsleeves are for all wingspans and they are truly amazing, I am very impressed. Enhance your running armor today!
Thanks for reading and listening. I appreciate you! Also thanks to BibRave and Buff USA for letting me test these, I am grateful.
Wishing a peaceful weekend to all and happy healthy trails, Jeremy