I now live in Texas, Chicago. The city has reduced me to wearing only my lightest sundresses, staying within a few feet of my apartment’s window unit and eating gelato for dinner. Heat is lovely, when I can lounge on a beach chair in the Bahamas, reading novels. During Ironman training? I’m dreaming of rainstorms and beautiful sixty-degree mornings. The piece of gear that made the heat wave bearable: arm coolers. Along with sunscreen, a good bottle, and a visor, they are now a key piece of my summer training gear.
I’ve reviewed arm warmers, which have many variations on the cozy black tube. Arm coolers? There seem to be few variations. But they kept me cool and less sunburned. I also have extra appreciation for all Chicagoans on my running routes who left their sprinklers running over the sidewalks and reactivating my arm coolers by wetting them — which is how this magic tech fabric works.
1. Zoot Sports Icefil Arm Coolers – These arm coolers got me through a 92 degree run at 85% humidity. I like this fabric because it absorbs water almost instantly and it is really easy to stuff ice down the sleeves at have it stay in place. As a reward for looking up the name of the technology in these, “Xylitol,” I found out these work with mouthwash and gum technology. The same thing that gives that icy blast to winterfresh gum cools your arms.
2. DeSoto Sport Cool Wings. What is better than arm coolers? Arm and back coolers! For any of us who spend significant time with our backs
facing the sun in aero position, this sort of coverage matters to our (usually) sunburned shoulders. I trust San Diego-based Emilio DeSoto with all things hot weather. When deciding on gear for the 90-degree runs, my favorite (and, sadly, discontinued) running shorts, are the go-to pair. Three pairs have weathered four summers of triathlon training. I would expect the arm coolers, like all the DeSoto gear I own, to last just as long.
3. Sugoi Arm Coolers. I learned about the magic of arm coolers while
this northerner was running in a Ragnar Relay from Miami to Key West in January. It is tougher than one would think, switching from fleece-lined tights to shorts and singlets — I wasn’t heat-acclimated and my body hadn’t remembered that nifty sweating thing. These made warm course water feel like ice water in the blazing sun. They are also the cheapest pair in this list.
4. Pearl Izumi Sun Sleeve. These are an all-around good pair of arm coolers. Nothing special, but nothing’s wrong with them either. I do like that they are longer than the other pairs, covering more arm — and are especially good for long-armed athletes like me.