We were recently given the opportunity to test out MudGear’s latest addition to their Obstacle Course Racing lineup. The product is a pair of compression arm sleeves that contain slim padding at the elbow and down the forearm. We will be looking at their comfort, fit, wicking, function, and durability via multiple laps of a local obstacle course race.
MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Comfort and Fit
The MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves fit to size based off their sizing chart on the website. The sleeves are available in three sizes. The sizing chart is included below for reference. My arms were right on the cusp between small and medium. I opted for the small size. They fit snug with little slack. The sleeves were extremely comfortable and weren’t as noticeable as other compression gear. I will address a ‘comfort’ issue in the function and wicking section below.
MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Wicking and Function
One factor that a lot of racers fail to take into account is how the product deals with water and/or mud. This is important as many races have you constantly in and out of liquid. MudGear’s sleeves did not retain a noticeable amount of liquid. The sleeves were exposed to water, mud, & sand, and while damp, the sleeves never gave off a ‘water-logged’ feel. Upon removing the sleeves after a few laps, there was very little sand in the sleeves. I attribute this to the tighter-than-most bands at the top and bottom of the sleeves. The bands kept unwanted foreign objects from getting into the sleeve and avoided sacrificing comfort.
One of the traits noted above is how slim the pads on the sleeves are. My initial concern was the lack of protection it was going to provide. This was not the case. Typically after multiple laps where there are constant crawls, my elbows will be slightly bruised or tender to touch. The MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves prevented this from occurring. I put more weight than I should on my elbows when crawling to free up the pressure off my knees and the sleeves worked flawlessly. I was quite impressed with how much protection they provided with so little padding.
Two points that I would note about the sleeves. The first is obstacle specific to ‘tube crawling.’ Many races have some sort of PVC tube on an incline that you have to slide/jump/scoot/wedge yourself up and then back down on the other side. Some wet compression gear is terrible for trying to get a grip while inside the tube. I was quite surprised that the sleeves were able to support my body weight from sliding back down the tube. I ran my laps earlier in the day before the course was mega-muddy, but even after going through water and mud, the sleeves gripped well. The second concerns how warm the sleeves got after being out of water/mud for an extended period of time. While a lot of compression sleeves don’t wick well and will keep your arms chilly, MudGear’s Sleeves wick extremely well, almost too well. I found that, after being out of liquid for 10-15 minutes, my arms became substantially warmer than with other sleeves. It is worth noting that the race was in Georgia during summer. The temperature that day had a high of 85. This appears to be a trade-off for the durability (see below) of the product.
MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Durability
At the time of this review, I’ve only worn the sleeves for multiple laps of one race. I can not speak for the validity of the product’s long-term durability, but I will tell you that I made it a point to try to get these as pricked. stuck, and mauled as possible during that time. I inspected the stitching upon arrival to check for loose seams or any defects. The product was very well intact. After the race, there were no noticeable rips or holes in the material. They are machine washable and clean up nicely. I inspected the seams again after machine washing and found no defects or loose threads. They also ‘feel’ a lot more durable than most compression sleeves. I believe this may contribute to how warm your arms get while wearing them.
MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Pros and Cons
- Protection. Quite possibly the best protection I’ve seen in an OCR sleeve.
- Wicking. They dry extremely well and retain very little liquid.
- Durability. Again, I can’t speak for the long-term durability of the product, but I tried to break them and couldn’t.
- Warmth. The sleeves got extremely warm, almost uncomfortably so, when not subjected to water on a warm day.
MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Conclusion
I loved these sleeves. MudGear did an exceptional job adding a new product to their already stellar line-up. The product does everything that it claims to do. It protects, wicks, is durable, and has a sleek look. If you wear compression sleeves for obstacle course racing, I’d put these in the no-brainer catalog. Anyone that has worn MudGear’s socks can vouch for the quality of their products. MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves fit properly into their product selection right beside the socks. The only time I’d avoid wearing them is in warm conditions if the course doesn’t have ample water/mud obstacles. Good job MudGear. Way to keep the bar high.
(Note: I wanted to experiment more with the wicking and the warmth I felt while wearing the sleeves. Logically, material drying quickly and being overly warm on a hot summer day in Georgia is common. To test the product out and give an accurate review, I actually got in the shower with the sleeves. I wore them around the house for a short period of time. They still wicked fairly quickly and dried out as expected. Upon stepping outside in the morning when it was around 70, there was a minor increase in warmth, almost not worth noting. I retried this later in the day when it was 85. After wetting them in the shower, I went outside to throw a spear for a few minutes to see how they did. There was a significant increase in how hot my arms got.)
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