Going into the 2016 race season one of the biggest gear related items I wanted to invest in was compression arm sleeves. By using arm sleeves I know that I wouldn’t have to worry about wearing long sleeves under my shirt. It’s hot in the summer and even hotter during these races. I’m trying to wear as few layers as possible to prevent myself from overheating. After I few months of research I found a company called Sleefs. I’m glad I did too because they have been great.
I follow an OCR group on Facebook and someone asked the same question I was asking myself “what do you use for compression arm sleeves?” After numerous posts of different sites, opinions and pictures I stumbled upon someone who suggested Sleefs. I went to their website and found out quickly that their arm sleeves are meant for baseball, softball and football players. Nothing about their product was OCR related. I viewed all their arm sleeves and read different reviews about all the products they offered. Sleefs also offers tights, hats and etc. The reviews across all their product lines were pretty favorable. So I decided to buy my first pair of arm sleeves from them with the hopes they would work out just fine on race day. Sleefs offers a variety of colors and designs. I went with a digital camo design (orange, black and white). The colors matched our team shirts and since I’m a little OCD it worked out nicely.
Sleefs shipped the items quickly and I received them within a few days. As soon as I opened them up and put them on I knew they were going to be great. The quality seemed good and the design matched the website exactly. My only question about them was durability. I couldn’t think of a better way to test these sleeves then at the Spartan Beast (I saw someone wearing Sleefs tights too). They made it through the entire race unscathed. Now I wasn’t too surprised by this. It would have been shocking if they didn’t make it through the race. The best part about these sleeves during this specific race is that it kept my arms warm. I noticed they dried quickly, but when wet they quickly turned the cold water to warm water against my skin. This definitely helped me since the weather wasn’t the warmest.
I just recently used them again at the Savage Race and they held up great. Since there are a lot of water obstacles I appreciated how quickly they dried and kept me warm. For being two races into the year and a total of 21.10 miles and 59 obstacles I’d say it’s safe to say these arm sleeves aren’t cheap and can withstand some pretty tough obstacles. Now let’s look at some other important OCR factors regarding Sleefs.
Pricing: I got a pair of sleeves for $18.99. Compared to other brands out there these will not break the bank. They also offer deals all the time, like daily. Another awesome offer they have is that you can buy a single arm sleeve. So let’s say for example I destroy one, but the other is fine all I have to do is order another single sleeve. It’s that easy and that awesome! Keep an eye out for their Tuesday deal too. Single arm sleeves are $5.00. Most places will only sell in pairs, but Sleefs does it differently.
Protection: I work in an office and I’m constantly in front of co-workers, customers and vendors. After a race I’m always asked what happened to your arm and etc. Well, I can’t reply back “I am a Spartan!” and expect everyone not to be confused or a little worried. These arm sleeves have hidden the majority of the normal cuts, scrapes and burns I’ll get during a race. I’ll admit they won’t prevent them all, but they are a lot less noticeable. My elbows have yet to be cut. As far as protection during barbed wire crawls this is where having arm padding would help. I can still feel every little stone or rock. If you’re looking for padded protection I suggest spending a little more money on a different product. I don’t care about the pain that much, but I don’t want to be all cut up and worrying about infections.
Comfort: Sleefs offers different size arm sleeves and an easy way to measure your arm so you order the right size. Since my arms are chicken arms the S/M size fits perfectly for me. They are a little tight in the upper arm area, but they don’t cut off my circulation. I think if I went a size up they would be too big, but maybe one day I’ll try it. During the race I forget I’m even wearing them. They aren’t bulky and don’t get in the way.
Durability: I’ve pretty much covered this, but these arm sleeves seem very durable. It will be interesting to see how well the elbow holds up after taking more beatings throughout the year. If they don’t hold then I guess all I’ll need is a new sleeve. Pretty simple.
Post Race Cleaning: I’m doing a lot more races this year (4 weeks of back to back) so it’s important that everything I use cleans and dries within a week. I rinse the sleeves using a hose, which gets almost everything out. Since there is white in them those parts are permanently stained, but still look good. I’m sure if I got a darker color (black or blue) they would still look brand new. I wash them in the washer with detergent and they took about an hour to dry afterwards (I didn’t put these in the dryer, just air dry). They are ready for service once again.
I would highly recommend Sleefs for arm sleeves. I’ve been impressed with them thus far and don’t anticipate having any issues with them. They exceeded all my expectations for a company that doesn’t sell anything OCR related. Hm, maybe they are missing a target audience? I recently ordered a second pair to match the shirt I’ll be wearing for the Philly Tough Mudder. Something else I didn’t know until recently…Savage Race uses Sleefs for their headbands. If you have a Savage Race headband then you’re already wearing the brand so why not go all out and buy a pair of sleeves!
The Philly Tough Mudder is just around the corner so in the next mile I’ll cover my pre-race report of the epic race.