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Best Basketball Arm Sleeves [2019 Buyers Guide] TOP 7 List

Best Arm Sleeves For Basketball Players

By Ball Till We Fall, Last Updated March 24, 2022

Category: Basketball Clothing & Accessories, Basketball Products


Why do so many pro basketball players choose to wear shooting sleeves? Do arm compression sleeves really offer any benefits in terms of skill enhancement, power production, recovery and injury prevention that actually transfers to on-court performance? 

In the following article I will answer these questions, plus teach you everything you need to know about arm compression sleeves. 

I will also introduce you to the top 7 basketball shooting sleeves on the market.

Comparing the best shooting sleeves for basketball players

Arm compression sleeves can improve performance... but is it just a placebo effect?

You may think that shooting sleeves are purely worn for aesthetic reasons.  

For many players the desire to increase on-court swag is the primary reason for wearing one.

I must admit, shooting sleeves do look pretty dope on the court.

However, the physiological benefits of wearing a basketball arm sleeve are very real.

Arm sleeves do serve a purpose for basketball players.

Wearing a compression arm sleeve can benefit basketball players in a number of ways including:

  • Preventing injury to the muscles surrounding the elbow joint by keeping the muscles warm.
  • Promoting recovery and assisting in elbow tendinitis rehabilitation by increasing blood-flow.
  • Improving neuro-muscular power in the muscles surrounding the elbow joint.
  • Enhancing proprioception around the elbow joint which may improve ball handling & shooting.
  • Improving stability of both the shooting and non-shooting arm.
  • Covering tattoos and wounds.



Budget Arm Sleeve Top Pick

Bucwild  Compression Arm Sleeve

  • Moisture wicking material
  • Many great designs available


Runner Up Basketball Arm Sleeve

Nike Pro Combat Elite Arm Sleeve

  • Dri-FIT technology helps you stay dry
  • Lightweight sleeve with compressive support

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why do basketball players wear arm sleeves

A recent study revealed that compression gear can promote more powerful contractions within the muscular system.

Although the findings were relatively small, the still demonstrate a real performance benefit.

Wearing a shooting sleeve may enhance the power generating properties of the biceps, triceps and muscles of the forearm.

Therefore, by wearing an arm sleeve you may gain a few feet of range on your jump shot and be a little stronger with your passes.

I have noticed that I "feel" stronger when I wear my shooting sleeve when bench pressing at the gym. Wearing a arm sleeve helps me get out an extra 1-2 reps which is quite a boost.

Research has demonstrated that that compression wear can also promote recovery.

This means that by wearing a shooting sleeve you may be able to recover much faster after intense workouts.

Personally, I love the feeling of wearing a shooting sleeve. 

I believe that shooting sleeves increase proprioception in a similar way that basketball wristbands do.

When I wear a shooting sleeve I just feel as though I have better control over my arm co-ordination.

This transfers over to improved ball handling and shooting ability in basketball training and games.



We will get to the top 7 sleeve list shortly. But first here are 3 things you need to consider before purchasing compression arm sleeve to wear this basketball season.

1. Does the arm sleeves structure allow it to function correctly?

The first thing you must consider before buying a shooting sleeve is if the product functions correctly.

You need to ask yourself "Does this arm sleeve offer enough compression to provide a physiological or skill benefit".

Often the material that the sleeve is made out of will determine the performance benefits. Certain brands stitch the sleeves in a way that will enhance the compression properties applied to the muscles surrounding the elbow joint.

Some sleeve fabrics are breathable and are great for wicking away moisture.

Other arm compression sleeves are made of dense fabrics that tend to retain the heat, and are better for rehab purposes.

You must also consider the amount of mobility and stability that the sleeve provides. More restrictive sleeves provide more stability and are great for injury management. Light weight fabrics allow for a greater range of motion.

Some arm sleeves also come with protective padding that covers the elbow. This is a great addition and perfect for players who like to go hard in the paint.

In our top 7 shooting sleeve roundup you will find a range of quality products. Keep these factors in mind when selecting your sleeve. Every player is different, but your perfect sleeve can be found in the list below.

2. Does the arm sleeve wick moisture correctly and is it easy to clean?

The second thing that you need to consider is if the arm sleeve can wick moisture effectively. The best quality arm sleeves do a great job at keeping you dry on the court.

Another thing to consider is how easily the sleeve is to keep clean. Some fabrics can really start to stink quickly due to a buildup of odours that are produced by bacteria. The better quality sleeves use material that keeps bacteria and germs at bay. 

3. Does the arm sleeve look cool on the court?

Thirdly, it is also important to consider how the arm sleeve looks. Some people want to level up their on court swag and choose a bright sleeve.

Other basketball players could care less about what they look like and prefer to wear a plain sleeve. 

The NBA and other professional basketball leagues police the types of arm sleeves that can be worn on the court. The NBA has a single color policy in regards to their players use of sleeves. 

Let's take a look at the current 7 best arm compression sleeves that basketball players can buy online today.

Find the perfect arm sleeve to wear on the basketball court

 Take you on-court swag to the next level by rocking an arm sleeve... or 2


Arm sleeves are not just a fashion statement. They do serve a purpose that can have significant  performance benefits. Here are 7 great arm sleeves that can help you perform at your best on the basketball court this season:

#1. McDavid 6500 Arm Sleeve With HEx Pad Review

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McDavid is the leading brand in compression gear for basketball players. They also make other helpful protective gear for basketball players such as knee guards and ankle braces.

The Mcdavid 6500 sleeve is made from 80% nylon and 20% spandex. The materials used in this sleeve offer premium compression plus this sleeve also features a cushioned elbow pad

An elbow protector is a great addition that help to keep you injury free on the court. Players like Dwayne Wade popularized the padded arm sleeves in the early 2000's. These days many NBA players prefer to wear padded sleeves. Particularly players who like to take it hard to the hoop and get physical in the paint.

McDavid designs the elbow pad in a hex pattern to allow for complete unrestricted range of motion at the elbow joint.

This a great option for any serious basketball player. Elbow injuries are one of the most common injuries that basketball players sustain. Interestingly, most elbow injuries come from landing on the floor after getting fouled or hitting other players in the teeth. This can lead to an elbow infection that may take weeks to months to heel. 

You can prevent many elbow injuries by wearing this comfortable padded arm sleeve, plus it instills a newfound sense of confidence on the basketball court.

Key Features
  • 9mm Hex Pad Technology positioned at the elbow provides superior protection
  • Does not slip
  • Arm compression maintains muscle warmth and prevents abrasions and scratches
  • Comes in a range of colors
  • Moisture wicking material

#2. McDavid Compression Arm Sleeve Review

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The materials used in this McDavid product offer premium compression without any protective padding such as found in the Mcdavid 6500 sleeve.

This sleeve is very similar to the hex pad version and is made from 80% nylon and 20% spandex.

The sleeve is light weight and does not limit shooting or dribbling. It also retains heat very well, while allowing for effective moisture management.

The design of the sleeve is very plain with a featured McDavid logo on the lower forearm. 

This best-selling arm sleeve comes in a range of colors and sizes. This is one of the best value for money shooting sleeves that money can buy. Be aware that this sleeve is sold individually.

Key Features
  • Provides injury rehabilitation & prevention
  • Enhances on-court performance
  • Compression fabric reduces soreness, cramping and fatigue
  • Hydravent moisture wicking technology

#3. Under Armour Shooting Sleeve Review

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This high quality compression arm sleeve from Under Amour utilized the brands signature HeatGear material.

HeatGear is designed to keep you dry on the court. This material also provides UPF 30+ sun protection which makes it ​a great choice for those of you who like to ball outdoors over summer.

This is a long arm sleeve and will cover all the way from your wrist to the shoulder. You probably have seen many NBA players wearing this kind of compression sleeve.

If you are a heavy sweater and are looking for a quality sleeve then this is the one for you.

Key Features
  • Ultra tight second skin compression
  • Premium moisture wicking material
  • Holds heat which promotes circulation and injury repair

#4. Nike Pro Elite Combat Sleeve Review

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[amazon box="B07FK9JWSR" template="vertical"]

The Nike Pro Combat Elite is a popular choice among elite athletes such as Lebron James.

The Dri-FIT technology helps you stay comfortably dry game after game. The lightweight sleeve has innovative stitching which enhances the compressive properties of the sleeve. 

It also has an eye catching graphic design that stays true to the Nike Elite series. Matching these with your Nike Elite basketball socks will look great on the court.

Unlike many of the other arm compression sleeves on this list, the Nike Pro Combat Elite Sleeve contains 2 sleeves in a pack.

Consider ordering this elbow sleeve a size smaller than normal as they tend to run on the larger side.

Key Features
  • Dri-FIT technology wicks away sweat
  • High compression level
  • Endorsed by many NBA players

#5. BucWild Shooter Compression Sleeve Review

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The team at BucWild have created the best looking arm compression sleeves on the market. They have a few different ranges that you should definitely check out.

These sleeves are a great choice if you want to stand out on the court this season. If you want to get noticed in up-coming basketball trails then this might just be the arm sleeve for you.

These sleeves feature a non-slip silicone strap at both ends, plus are made from quality moisture wicking material. Best yet, they come at a very affordable price.

Key Features
  • Compressive support
  • Breathable comfort
  • Suitable for all sizes shapes and genders
  • Trusted fit & customer support

#6. Forever Fanatics NBA Player Arm Sleeve Review

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[amazon box="B06XVMSDL9" template="vertical"]

The team at ​Forever Fanatics have created an awesome range of arm sleeves featuring your favorite NBA players and teams. 

These sleeves are a lot of fun and are a perfect gift idea for a basketball player.

Key Features
  • Compression sleeves featuring your favorite basketball players and teams
  • High quality sublimated graphics
  • Premium quality compression, superior stitching, flat seam and elastic fabric for a comfy fit

#7. Fake Tattoo Basketball Arm Sleeve Review

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[amazon box="B01G3E1XT8" template="vertical"]

Now this one is just a bit of fun. If you want to mess with your opponents head on the court then these fake tattoo arm sleeves can get the job done. There is a massive range of crazy designs available.

Sure they don't offer the same level as compression as the other sleeves on the list but they sure do provide more laughs on and off the court.

Just imagine your mum's face when she sees you take to the court rocking this bad boy 😉

Key Features
  • Many great styles available


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What Is The Purpose Of A Shooting Sleeve?

On a basic level some players simply like “the feel” of the compression sleeve around their arm while ballin’ out.

Others believe the mild compression that a basketball arm sleeve provides helps keep their shooting arm warm and improves blood circulation.

All of the above are valid reasons to wear a shooting compression sleeve.

Did you know? Sports compression sleeves became popular when Allen Iverson started wearing a white arm sleeve for his elbow bursitis in 2000

Players such as Carmelo Anthony who also suffered from elbow bursitis wear a shooting sleeve to help promote healing in the damaged area.

Many older basketball players like to wear compression gear as it keeps the muscles and joints warm. Take Vince Carter for example. He is now playing in his 22nd season and is wrapped from head to toe in compression wear.

Basketball arm sleeves may also help to improve a basketball players shooting technique and accuracy thanks to improvements in proprioception around the elbow joint on either the shooting or stabilizing arm.

How Do Shooting Sleeves Help Your Jump Shot?

Shooting sleeves can help you become a better shooter by providing greater proprioceptive feedback from the nerves around the elbow of either the shooting arm or stabilizing arm.

Some people find this extra sensory feedback helpful in helping them maintain correct alignment of the shooting arm throughout the shot movement.

By wearing a basketball arm sleeve you will also receive sensory feedback (you will see your position of your arm in space more clearly in your peripheral vision) which tends to give players a sense of improved dribbling skill and confidence.

Science is still testing to see if this is indeed true or simply a placebo effect of wearing the sleeves.

Either way, if it makes you feel better it is better.

Did you know? Lebron James shoots a significantly higher pepercentage of field goals when he wears his shooting sleeve. In fact stats have shown that he is at his best when he wears a headband and a right shooting sleeve.

Why Do Basketball Players Wear Sleeves On Their Non-Shooting Arm

Some pro basketball players choose to wear arm sleeves on their non-shooting arm for support and protection when using an arm bar on defence and bumping around in the post.

A sleeve can also help stabilize the non-shooting arm which may improve accuracy.

Most pros wear an arm sleeve of the padded variety in this instance. These can also be a great option for players who want to minimize contact injury risk and lengthen their careers.

I have also heard of players wearing moisture wicking compression arm sleeves to help keep sweat from dripping onto their hands. Makes sense I suppose.

A player may also wear a basketball sleeve on an arm to protect or prevent an elbow injury such as the ones listed below.

What Current NBA Players Wear A Shooting Sleeve?

Hundreds of NBA players wear an arm sleeve as they see the value that they can offer.

Some of the most notable NBA players currently wearing an arm sleeve include:

  • Russel Westbrook
  • Lebron James
  • Anthony Davis
  • Paul George
  • Kyrie Irving

What Types of Elbow Injuries Can Arm Compression Sleeves Help Heal?

Elbow Bursitis

This is caused by inflammation and irritation of the bursa (the fluid filled sac that reduces friction between bones in the elbow joint).

Elbow bursitis is commonly an overuse injury caused by frequent repetitive movements or significant trauma such as falling and landing directly on the elbow.

Elbow Tendinitis

You may have heard of Tennis Elbow which is another name for elbow tendinitis. However this injury is not exclusive for tennis players.

In fact elbow tendinitis is a common injury in basketball players due to the high volume of passing, dribbling and shooting.

Overuse of the elbow joint places stress on the tendons which connect the muscles to the bone. Overtime the tendon can become inflamed and painful to touch and move.

Basketball arm sleeves can provide a nice level of compression that may promote healing and assist in pain reduction.

Dislocation Of The Elbow

Dislocating the elbow is a very serious injury that often results in significant nerve and muscle damage.

Of course a simple shooting sleeve will not prevent an elbow dislocation, however they can provide nice support, compression and proprioceptive feedback that is valuable in the rehabilitation process.

Did you know? Andrew Bogut began wearing an arm sleeve during his rehabilitation from his horrific elbow dislocation

Elbow Sprain

An elbow sprain occurs when a ligament or muscle around the elbow joint is torn or ruptured.

What Are The Benefits Of Wearing An Arm Sleeve For Basketball?

Improves Blood Flow

Research has shown that compression sleeves can provide the correct amount of compression to increase blood flow and lymph drainage.

The compression provided by basketball shooting sleeves allows oxygenated blood to travel to the muscles and tendons around the elbow joint and therefore promote healing and pain reduction.

Reduces Swelling

The compression provided by shooting sleeves can help reduce swelling of acute injuries. This means that the injured site can begin the healing process in a more effective manner.

Basketball compression arm sleeves can help keep the muscles warm and relaxed throughout the game. Heat in the muscles means that blood flow will be optimized as will flexibility within the muscles and tendons.

Prevents Muscles From Over Tightening

Basketball sleeves help to keep the muscles warm. Warm muscles stay loose. Loose muscles are less prone to tightening and therefor less prone to tears.

Keeps You Cool And Dry

Certain varieties of compression arm sleeves are made with special material that material keeps you dry throughout the game. As I mentioned earlier this may help keep sweat from dripping down the arm onto the hands.

Stabilizes Joint and Muscles

As we mentioned before, the joint stabilizing properties of a compression sleeve is one of the greatest advantages of wearing one.

This extra support will reinforce your muscles and tendons making them less susceptible to overuse injuries.

Covers Tatoos

Gang related tattoos and swear words may not be appropriate in some basketball leagues but a sleeve provides an easy means to rectify any issues.

Boosts Confidence

Sometimes rocking some new apparel can just make you feel good. Just like when you get a new pair of shoes or a haircut you feel a sense of newfound confidence. This can be a great performance enhancer. If you look great, you feel great and best yet, you play great.

Prevents and Protects Cuts

Basketball arm sleeves of the padded variety can help prevent trauma to the elbow joint. If you take your basketball career seriously and want to minimize injury risk in the hope of lengthening your career, investing in a shooting sleeve can be a great option.

This is a major reason why so many pro athletes are wearing sleeves these days. In a way it is a form of insurance for their multi-million dollar bodies,

Promotes Recovery

Basketball sleeves provide compression that improves blood flow which can help carry lactic acid away from the muscles.

This will help you recover faster from basketball training workouts and ensures that you are ready to back up your session’s day in day out.

Looks Cool

The latest advancements in arm sleeve design have propelled the basketball arm sleeve into a fashion statement. With all of the different colors and styles available you can color code to match your team.

These sure do look great but only if you have the game to back it up!

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Who would have thought that the simple game of basketball, first invented by James Naismith back in 1891,  would develop into such a dynamic sport with super swag.

No other sport in the world combines power, athleticism and grace in such an entertaining fashion.

However, due to the dynamic nature of the sport there is quite a high risk of injury for the players involved.

Thankfully, basketball apparel companies have evolved to keep up with the latest advancements in sports and exercise science over the past few decades to help minimize this inherent injury risk.

Hopefully, you have learnt that the benefits of wearing a basketball arm sleeve extend well beyond the realm of aesthetics.

Next time someone asks "what do basketball players wear on their arms?", you will be able to tell them exactly why players wear these fancy sleeves.

As you can see basketball arm sleeves are quite inexpensive and provide numerous benefits.

If you are looking to take your game to the next level, or prehab/rehab an elbow injury, then why not pick up an arm sleeve today.

Sometime shooting sleeves can be hard to find in local sporting stores.

However there are many great quality sleeves available online. >> 
Shop the best sellers on Amazon here

Be sure to check back in to view this page regularly as we frequently update the page with the best basketball arm sleeves on the market.

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About the Author

Our goal is to provide basketball enthusiasts with free access to the content, skills, and gear they need to level up their game, basketball I.Q and on/off-court swag. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the game or if you’ve been ballin' out for decades, we have everything you need to get your basketball fix.

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