This is our review for the best basketball arm sleeves of 2021 after research and feedback from amateur and professional basketball players.
Our top choice is the McDavid compression arm sleeve due, in part, to the fact that it is flexible while maintaining a supportive comfort. It also provides cooling technology and moisture-wicking that helps keep the player dry.
Other options focus on providing extra compression, elbow support, and enhanced flexibility. Depending on what you need, you may like one of our other top picks!
Keep reading to see which basket arm sleeve will work best for you.
Top 5 Basketball Arm Sleeves
We know there are many purposes for the arm sleeve. The choice is up to you, but we’ve narrowed down the choices to the top five best basketball arm sleeves as decided by those who wear them most.
This arm sleeve is made of 20% spandex and 80% nylon. Both of these materials prove to provide secure compression, as well as storing heat to help keep your arms warmed up and loose. This sleeve is good for any player suffering from tendonitis or other chronic pain, especially in the elbows. It also provides 100% protection from UV rays.
The McDavid compression sleeve comes in five different colors and is an affordable and highly effective sleeve.
- Comes in four sizes - extra small, small, medium, and large
- Comes with Moisture Management Technology to allow the player to stay cool, dry, and sweat-free
- Comes in eight different colors
- Muscles are kept warm to avoid strain
- 50+ UV protection
- 1 sleeve included
- Six-thread flat-lock technology ensures strength and durability
The McDavid compression arm sleeve is for players who are likely to practice or play on an outdoor court. It provides UV protection and moisture-wicking technology to help the player stay cool and dry.
This sleeve offers solid support and durability for the player that is serious about their game and needs the help of an arm sleeve to prevent fatigue. This compression sleeve is sold individually, so if you need a pair, order for both arms.
This basketball arm sleeve is composed of Under Armour’s HeatGear material, designed to help the player maintain cool temperatures during a game or practice. The material also protects the player with UPF 30+ protection from the sun and is sweat-wicking.
This sleeve covers the length of your arm from the armpits to the wrist to supply consistent compression.
This arm sleeve is not meant to keep a player warm during the winter months or in the cold, so if you are looking for a sleeve to keep you warm, this isn’t for you. This sleeve is great if you need compression support that helps keep you cool.
- The sleeve comes in four sizes - small, medium, large, and extra-large
- Feels like a second skin
- Four-stitched technology fabric is a combination of Polyester, Silicon, and Eva
- Available in black and white
- Wick moisture keeps you dry, cool, and odor-free
If you play hard or in an outdoor environment where heat is an issue, this sleeve will help you stay on top of your game with moisture-wick technology to help keep you cool.
The Underarmour men’s shooter sleeve offers cooling support and compression to help avoid strain while maintaining a comfort so advanced that you will forget you are wearing it at all. This arm sleeve performs in the heat to help keep you cool.
Hex Technology is above and beyond the competition. The closed-cell foam pads give athletes advantages in protection, confidence, and durability. Your shots to the net will not be compensated by the fabric of this incredibly flexible arm sleeve.
The material keeps moisture from getting to the skin, so you stay dry. Moisture Management Technology also keeps players cool while they are playing. These arm sleeves are machine washable and can be put in the dryer.
Sleeves are sold separately and can fit either arm. This product is made of flexible and supportive material that is 20% spandex and 80% nylon.
- 9mm Hex Technology in the elbow
- Moisture Management Technology keeps the player dry and cool
- Machine washable
- Arm compression keeps muscles warm and helps prevent abrasions and injuries
The HEX shooter arm sleeve helps prevent strain and fatigue for the player who takes their shots every chance they can.
By keeping the player’s muscles supported and warm, injuries occur less frequently and strains are prevented, even when on the court for hours on end, day in and out. Repetitive motion can strain and fatigue muscles, but the Hex technology helps support the elbow and surrounding muscles, so you can focus on your game.
The sleeve provides support, relief, and comfort without compromising mobility. The support sleeve is made of a breathable and form-fitting fabric that compresses and supports joint stability but avoids restriction.
One of the most difficult injuries to recover from is an elbow injury, especially if it is broken. The padding on the Kunto elbow brace will help prevent game-ending injuries and will protect any current injuries from becoming worse.
The Kunto Fitness Elbow will stay put with True-Fit technology, whether you are slender or more muscular. The weave of the fabric provided optimal fit, supporting your elbow without the sleeves being too constricting.
- Provides a secure fit to support injury elbow
- It comes in five sizes - extra small, small, medium, large, extra-large
- Fabric is 30% spandex and rubber and 70% nylon
- The Elbow area has extra support with the weaving method
- They come in a variety of colors
- Relaxed fit that does not slip off
- 100% money back policy
Perfect for any build and bulk, the Kunto fitness arm sleeve supports the elbow to help heal an existing injury or prevent a new one.
The Kunto support sleeve applies even pressure on the joint of your elbow to provide some respite from recurring maladies, such as tennis elbow, tendonitis, joint inflammation, golf elbow, and other elbow pain. This sleeve will support your elbow while allowing you to maintain optimal performance and full arm range motion.
If you are a player that is prone to elbow injury, strain, or pronation, the Kunto sleeve will help reduce the risks of repetitive elbow joint motion.
The Nike Pro sleeve is made of Dri-FIT technology with sweat wick fabric to keep you dry and cool as you play basketball. The sleeves are snug and provide support to the muscles while allowing you to maintain a comfortable range of motion. You will not have to worry about your arm’s range of motion being compromised with this arm sleeve.
The fabric helps protect from UV rays for those who like to play or practice outside. Material is made to fit smooth against the skin, without seams making you feel itchy or uncomfortable. The seams of a basketball arm sleeve can become bothersome after a time, but the Nike Pro feels like it belongs on your body.
- Sweat-wicking material
- Made of a flexible combination of 15% Spandex, 5% Silicone, and 80% Polyester
- Flat seams for comfort on your skin
- The sleeve provides UVB and UVA protection
- Design is contoured for free movement
A basketball player that wants a sleeve for UVA protection, support, and comfort, the Nike Pro Combat sleeve is a perfect choice.
Your range of motion is not compromised, so you can take your best shot without feeling constricted. The Nike pro is a great option for someone who may not like the way wearing a sleeve feels but needs the support.
The seams are strong but do not scratch the skin, and the elite sleeve will protect from the elements and strain while helping you to feel like you are wearing nothing at all. Don’t compromise your safety for comfort; with the Nike pro combat elite, you can have both.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for When Purchasing Basketball Arm Sleeves
Often, we base our choices on what’s the cheapest before we buy. However, when it comes to something as important as an arm sleeve, you need to look at what makes a good product. After all, these sleeves can save your joints a fair bit of damage in the long run!
The main purpose of a basketball arm sleeve is performance and functionality. Consider the fabric of the arm sleeve since some are made of more breathable fabrics. Alternatively, the non-breathable fabric keeps the muscles warm and loose, helping to prevent injury.
The way the fabric moves, or the mobility, is also something that needs consideration. If a compression sleeve is too restrictive, it might be difficult to play basketball. If the compression sleeve is too loose, there is no functionality to it.
Most sleeves are made from a blend of materials, usually spandex with something like nylon or even polyester. This allows the fabric to fit well without restricting your movement while playing, lowering your chance of an injury.
However, no matter what material you choose, you’ll want to look for something that’s properly ventilated. The ventilation will allow your skin to breathe, your sweat to dry quickly and will help you stay warm in winter and cool in hotter months.
A good quality basketball arm sleeve will provide compression. The compression helps with blood flow and reduces muscle swelling.
If you have suffered from a sport-related injury, your immune system automatically triggers your blood cells to form clots and surround the injury to allow the white blood cells to begin the process of healing. The reaction of these clots causes inflammation and swelling in and around the injured area.
A compression sleeve improves blood circulation and reduces swelling while it helps to build up ligaments, muscles, tendons, and protects from future injuries. Recovering from an injury without a compression arm sleeve will take longer, and you may lose the chance to regain a pre-injury range of motion.
If you suffer from chronic shooter’s elbow, which is another way to describe the effects of overuse of the tendons, you will want a basketball arm sleeve that provides adequate compression. The sleeves are worn for the benefits of compression and the relief it provides. Such as:
- Stabilizes the arm: The most reputable and effective sleeve brand will use fabrics with advanced technical fabrics that lightly squeeze the arm muscles, providing optimal elasticity. Compression stabilizes arm muscles and helps increase blood flow which helps repair minor injuries after vigorous activity.
- Reduces swelling: The body’s way to protect the injury is swelling, but that can often be counterproductive to the process of healing. Adding a compression sleeve to the injury will help prevent additional swelling and reduce the swelling that has already occurred.
- Pain reduction: Swelling adds additional pressure to the injured area and can cause more damage. Compressing the injury reduces the swelling and helps relieve the pain.
- Blood flow and circulation: This one is a fine balance. Compression helps prevent the lymph fluids from building up. These fluids need to flow to carry the waste from the cells to the tissue. It also provides a pathway for nutrient-rich blood and oxygen to get to the injury site and allow improved healing to the tissues and cells.
Levels of Protection and Safety
A pad on the elbow or forearm of the arm sleeve helps the basketball player prevent injuries when landing on those areas. A basketball player may not need the pads on the arm as often as a football player, but there is still a chance that they could fall to the floor during a play and a good sleeve will help prevent serious injuries.
One purpose of arm sleeves is to take the brunt of a lot of abuse. Players of contact sports often wear sleeves to prevent what is referred to as ‘rug burn’ from contact with the floor of the court. Skin rash is painful, so it is no wonder that basketball players and other sports players wear sleeves to prevent such injuries.
If you have skin burns, especially on joints such as your wrist or elbow, you will risk depleting movement because of potential scabbing or soreness that may occur, which will hinder your game. One of our top choices is perfect for protecting your elbows from this type of injury and more.
Sweat-Wicking and Cleanliness
Sweat is not only uncomfortable, but it can be dangerous if it gathers on the floor, making it slick. A quality arm sleeve will help keep your arm dry as you play, keeping you cool and helping you enjoy the game with a lowered risk of injury.
Because most basketball arm sleeves are made from synthetic fabrics, they will likely be moisture-wicking. This means that the fabric will pull any sweat away from your body, helping to dry and cool you simultaneously, rather than trapping in heat and damp.
Lastly, when you buy an arm sleeve, you want to ensure that it’s the right size for you. Some will only come in a single size while others offer a range. If you get a sleeve that is too big, it won’t do its job. Should you get one that’s too small, it either won’t fit or will be too uncomfortable to use and may cut off your blood flow!
All basketball arm sleeves help provide support against injury and to allow you to play through injury. There are added features of keeping your muscles warm for optimal performance and injury prevention, while some to keep you dry and cool.
Each of the sleeves mentioned above will effectively reduce the risk of injury and help to reduce the time needed to recover from muscle fatigue between games.
They promote the healing of injury, reduction of blood clots, and even help protect you from harmful UV rays. Saying that basketball arm sleeves are lifesavers may be an overstatement, but not completely untrue.
The McDavid Compression Sleeve is our top choice, based on the recommendations of basketball players and the research we have concluded. It is also the most popular sleeve used by professional players in the NBA and will work wonderfully for you as well.