As a running nut, I am fascinated with running gear. Running sleeves, at least in my mind, are a recent arrival on the non-elite running scene. I mean, most of us have seen world class marathoners wearing them at cold weather races. My first recollection is seeing Ryan Hall wear them at the NY marathon a couple of years ago. He wore them again at Boston last year. I had never considered myself a worthy enough runner for arm sleeves. I always thought you had to be a kind of elite runner to look right wearing them. But I was curious nonetheless.
So, having seen a Moeben ad in a running mag, and on the recommendation of some twitter tweeps (who recommended them highly), I contacted Moeben and requested a couple of pair of arm sleeves for a product review. None other than the CEO herself, Shannon Farar-Griefer, responded and sent me a few pair for evaluation.
Moeben is a company run by Shannon Farar-Griefer and is named after her two sons, Moe and Ben. She is an ultra runner who developed her product after noticing a skin lesion during an ultra race. The sleeves come in a variety of fabric types (eco friendly bamboo and hemp, or poly/lycra UV protection) and a wide range of prints, from subued black, white or blue to camo, tie-dyed, and even leopard print.
I had to wait a few weeks for the weather to cool in order to see how they assisted cool-to-warm weather runs. See, since I am not a speedy runner, my long runs typically start in the cool of the pre-dawn morning and end well after the sun has come up and has heated the place up. I have always had an issue with either over- or under-dressing. So I was excited to try the sleeves on several occasions when I knew the temps would undergo some fluctuation.
Before I get to the rest of the evaluation, let me tell you the coolest thing about these sleeves: the pockets. Each sleeve has a small pocket on the portion of the sleeve that would rest near your bicep/tricep area. The sleeve is just big enough for an iPod Nano or small cell phone. The iPhone is too big for this pocket, to give you an idea. My Nano fit perfectly in the pocket. And since the sleeves fit nice and snug, there was no danger of their falling down with the Nano inside. For track or tempo workouts I even placed sheets of paper with my paces in the pockets.
I am in love with these sleeves. The ability to pull them down or up as my body heats up or as the temps climb or fall is liberating. I can wear a short sleeve shirt, and wear the sleeves, and not fear overheating during the run. In fact, on an 11 miler in Franklin, Tennessee over the Thanksgiving weekend, they came in real handy. I wore the Bamboo tie-dyed sleeves. The day started out sort of cool but not windy, so I had the sleeves on. As the run progressed, the sun rose and the temps grew milder—I pulled the sleeves down to my wrists and wore them loose around the wrists near the hands in order to cool off a bit. But as I approached the Battle of Franklin Civil War site, which is more open field, the wind picked up and cooled off again, so I pulled them back up and kept my arms warm. Nice and versatile.
If you are considering buying some, you will need to decide whether you want the bamboo or hemp (which feel softer against the skin) or the traditional poly/lycra models. The hardest thing is choosing the print that you want on the sleeves. Believe me, some of the prints get pretty wild.
Visit the Moeben site