The Casual Runner

Louva Arm Sleeves

Louva Arm Sleeves: A comfortable way to stay warm on the go.

This is the latest installment in the Casual Runner Team’s look at products that can help you in your own Casual Running journey. For a look at our other product reviews, just click here.  

YOU CAN ALSO CHECK OUT OUR 2015 PRODUCT PALOOZA AND

ENTER TO WIN A FREE PAIR OF COMPRESSION SOCKS OR SLEEVES

FROM NOW UNTIL DECEMBER 21, 2015 – CHECK OUT THE DETAILS HERE.

IMG_20150920_045722581What?

Louva is a fairly new brand that specializes in one type of product: arm sleeves.  Warm, comfortable, low-cost, arm sleeves.

There are adult and kid sizes for long sleeves, and an option for shorties that end a few inches above the wrist.  All versions have a thumb hole, and the long sleeves feature a ribbed upper arm band.  I tested a pair of white full-length sleeves.

Why?

Louva was created when a pair of sisters identified a specific gap in the fitness market: What do you wear when it’s a bit too cold to only wear a tank top or short-sleeve shirt, but you don’t want to layer up with a jacket or a heavy shirt?  Arm sleeves aren’t exactly ground-breaking fitness technology, but they are often an afterthought in other fitness lines.  And when a company does create them, they frequently don’t stay up or they constrict movement or they chafe because they are designed more for fashion than function.  Louva was created to give outdoor fitness enthusiasts functional and comfortable options.

Who?

Louva’s brand targets runners and cyclists.  But, really, anyone doing outdoor activities could use these.  If you expect to be outside for several hours (especially when the temperature will change significantly over the course of the activity), you could benefit from the flexibility that arm sleeves offer.

IMG_20151011_100235994When?

I find arm sleeves to be most useful when the duration of my activity will span a significant temperature change or if I expect to be standing around for a long time before starting my activity.  Race mornings are a good example of a time when arm sleeves are most useful for me:  Hours of standing around in a pre-dawn corral doesn’t generate enough movement to keep me warm, but I heat up quickly once I start running and I usually want to wear as few clothes as possible.

Where?

I broke a cardinal rule to never wear an item in a race that hasn’t been tested during a training run.  I woke up the morning of the Army 10 Miler and it was chilly—mid-40s when we left the house.  But we were going to have about 3 hours from the time we left our house until we started running.

Wile I knew I didn’t want to have anything heavy for the race, it was too cold to just wear my tank top while traveling to the race.  The second and third test runs were at the Marine Corps 10K and a cold morning training run.

How?

Louva arm sleeves are made of a super-soft fabric (98% nylon, 2% spandex) that fit my arms but didn’t feel uncomfortably tight.  The sleeves are one-size-fits-most, which worried me because I have kind of big arms and one-size items usually seem to skew to fit smaller people.  But even after several hours of wear, I was pleased to note that they stayed up without cutting into my arms or causing chafing.  And conversely, they didn’t stretch out and start to slide down, so I’m confident that the knit of the ribbing would stay tight enough to comfortably fit a smaller person, too.

IMG_20151025_093554249Quick Recap?

On my first test run at the Army 10 Miler, by the time my race wave started the temperature had warmed up to a point that I normally wouldn’t wear anything beyond my tank top and skirt.  But I wanted to see how the sleeves felt in running conditions.  I kept them on for about 2 miles before I needed to take them off, but not because they were uncomfortable or were causing chaffing.  Actually, they felt really great, I was just getting too hot (which is typical for me and not a negative comment about the sleeves).  And it was a surprise that I could go 2 miles without wanting to rip them off (which is my normal reaction to clothes when I’m hot…uhhhhhh…TMI?).

After the race I tossed them into the wash with the rest of my clothes.  I used regular laundry detergent and dried them in the dryer with everything else.  They came out almost as good as new: no significant pilling except where something with Velcro caught them and snagged a few threads.  The important things were that they didn’t shrink and they felt as soft as they were out of the package.

IMG_20151011_093942289Like the day of the Army 10 Miler, it was chilly in the morning before the Marine Corps 10K race but it would warm up a little as the day went on.  However, it was raining as we got to the starting line.  I worried that the extra water would cause chafing.  But I shouldn’t have worried, as I had no problems for the miles that I wore the sleeves.

On my third test run, I took them out on a morning that started out in the low 30s and hit 50 before I got back home.  I was doing 11 miles and knew I wouldn’t want anything more than a tank top by the end, but it was way too cold to not dress for the freezing temperature at the start.  After about 3.5 miles I took the sleeves off, but they were perfect for time I wore them.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly?

Spoiler alert: I really, really like these sleeves.

IMG_20151011_055952978

I have several other brands of arm sleeves that I keep for emergencies when I haven’t planned well for the elements.  But I’ve never really liked them.  They usually have a single piece of thin elastic at the top that cuts into my upper arm and restricts circulation.  Or they are too baggy and don’t stay in place.  These arm sleeves have changed my mind.

Louva sleeves are form fitting, but not tight.  They stay in place without cutting into my arms.  Mid-way through my run I folded back the portion that covered my hand and Garmin, and it laid flat and still didn’t squeeze my arm uncomfortably.

Louva sleeves are easy to clean and they retain their shape in the wash.  They are fairly low cost, so it’s not too painful to the pocketbook if you decide to toss them at a race, but they are well-made so you can feel confident using them again and again.  Although the sleeves are thick, they breathe well.

If you are looking for compression sleeves, these aren’t for you.  These are not made for compression; they are designed for warmth. But since I don’t like compression gear, they are perfect for me.

I highly recommend these sleeves.  And if you want to know what to get me for a Christmas or birthday gift: I’ll take one of these in every color.

YOU CAN CHECK OUT OUR 2015 PRODUCT PALOOZA AND ENTER TO WIN A FREE PAIR OF COMPRESSION SOCKS OR SLEEVES FROM NOW UNTIL DECEMBER 21, 2015 – CHECK OUT THE DETAILS HERE.

This is the latest installment in the Casual Runner Team’s look at products that can help you in your own Casual Running journey. For a look at our other product reviews, just click here

The Casual Runner Team wants to hear from you. If you have any questions about anything we cover here on Casual Runner, if you have any questions regarding running gear or training for your own Casual Running needs, or if there is anything that you would like us to cover on Casual Runner, please leave a comment or email us using the links below.  To ensure that you do not miss all of the great content from Casual Runner, please be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and add us to your circle on Google+.  See you out on the running trails!  

Neither Jennifer nor Casual Runner received any compensation for this review.  The product reviewed herein was provided by the manufacturer for purposes of this review and the opinions are solely those of the author.

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