Moeben Sleeves Review

If you’ve been to any large trail running event during cool weather in the past year and a half, you’ve […]

By on January 12, 2009 | Comments

If you’ve been to any large trail running event during cool weather in the past year and a half, you’ve likely seen someone wearing Moeben Sleeves. Even if you haven’t ventured further outdoors than the mailbox, you’ve probably noticed Moeben’s “naked runner” ads in Trail Runner or Ultrarunning magazines. Between big ad buys, product giveaways, and sponsoring an ultrarunning team, Moeben certainly knows how to get the word out about its product, but does it know how to make a product that’s useful to runners? Two iRF readers tested Moeben’s standard arm sleeves and seemed to think so.

Reviewer’s Preconceptions and Initial Impressions
Keith K. from DC liked what he saw of the Moebens before he even used them:

So far my initial impression is extremely positive. Very well made and seem very warm. Armskins (what cyclists call arm sleeves) have been a standard piece of kit in cycling for many years. I used to use DeFeet armskins (which I eventually lost), but the Moebens seem much nicer.

Julianne W. of Never Stop Running had seen the Moebens around for awhile, but went into testing with some skepticism.

“I have seen Moeben Sleeves for the past 18 months both on runners and in magazines. Who can miss the photo of the man and woman with nothing on but leaves and a pair of sleeves? Frankly, I never understood the point. When it is cold, just wear a long sleeve top. When it is hot, a tank and sunscreen work wonders. Why bother buying just part of a shirt?”

After trying out the Moeben arm sleeves, Keith was impressed with their fit and continued to find them to be well made. “They are excellent in all respects. The fit is perfect – neither too snug nor too tight. They ride very well and do not slip. The Arm Sleeves seem to be very well made and should hold up to a lot of abuse.”

Julianne, also liked the Moebens’ fit:

I have to admit, they are comfortable. I was worried they wouldn’t stay up, they’d feel tight, or they would chafe. None of that was a problem. In fact, I found myself wondering how they fit so well.

Part of why I liked them is my preference for form-fitting tanks over loose long-sleeve tops. The sleeves allowed me to wear my favorite running shirts without getting cold. Never underestimate a product that allows you to wear your favorite running clothes!

Warmth, Wind Protection, and UV Protection
The reviewers had mixed reactions to the warmth of the Moebens, but that was due primarily to intended use, as they both agreed that the Moebens were warm.

Keith noted his “only real concern is that they might be a little too warm.” He went on to say “The fuzzy lining, while really nice, may be too hot for my intended use. I generally wear arm warmers in transition months when it’s, say, 35-50F out. If it’s colder than that, I’ll have a dedicated longsleeve. These things seem pretty toasty, and it will be interesting to see how they do in the spring. Personally, I might prefer a lighter weight version, but the Moeben’s are certainly not bulky.”

Julianne provided the following summary of the protection offered by the Moebens:

Moeben’s marketing claims that they:

  • provide UV protection;
  • keep body heat in and cold out;
  • reduce moisture to the skin from rain, mist or the occasional splash; and
  • protect the skin from wind and do it all with a bit of fashion.

I ran an easy run, a tempo run, and a hill run in the Moebens during chilly January days in Northern California. For testing purposes, I was lucky to hit some rain and wind. My arms stayed warm when running in 45° and 50° weather and the light rain wasn’t a bother at all. As for the claim that they help protect the skin from wind, I can’t say I found anything special about the sleeves. I suppose all coverings protect you from the wind in some way.

Of course there is no way to know if I was protected from the sun, but I have no reason to doubt the claim. As someone who is vigilant with sunscreen on my face but never puts it on my arms, I see this as a solid benefit.

For better or worse, I’ve found that they are not quite as warm and do not offer as much wind protection as Zensah’s arm sleeves. As for the sleeves being too warm, one of my favorite features is that they are easy to adjust to partial coverage, slide down to the wrists for no coverage, and easy to slide off if it will continue to be too warm to warrent wearing the arm warmers.

The pockets found on the upper portion of the Moebens were not universally loved. In fact, one of Julianne’s criticisms of the Moebens were the pockets. She wrote “I couldn’t fit my GU in the sleeve pocket; however, my key stayed there just fine and I am sure an iPod would fit perfectly.” I’m not sure if Julianne’s Gu problem was unique to her pair of Moebens, as I found the pockets could easily fit one Gu and could hold two Gus if I took a little time getting them in.

According to Keith, “The little pockets on the upper sleeve are sort of unique. I tried putting my iPod Nano in there and it did fine. It’s a little awkward getting things in and out of the pocket, so not sure how much I would use this in a race, for example. But it’s a nice extra that I’ve not seen in any other arm warmer. If you don’t care to use them, the pockets are unobtrusive and are soon forgotten.”

I once used the Moebens to hold my iPhone (original version) during a run. At the outset, it was difficult to get the iPhone into the pocket. Once running, I felt like the iPhone was pulling the sleeve down a bit, but to no actual detriment. The only real problem I had with the pockets was when I raised my arm above my head… and the iPhone felt out. Luckily nothing broke, but I don’t plan on taking that chance again.

The reviewers received Zebra-print Moeben arm sleeves. This lead Keith to remark, “Of course, the colors are unique.” Julianne was a bit more fond of the Zebra pattern, “I took to the sleek zebra striped sleeves the minute I pulled them from the package.”

As you can tell from their remarks above, the reviewers generally like the Moeben arm sleeves. In fact, Julianne quickly came around to the Moebens, “After running a few consecutive days decked out in Moebens I must admit a fondness for the product. First, they are super cute, which has nothing to do with running, but made them fun to wear. Second, they did what they were supposed to do.” I’m not sure I’ll agree with the “super cute” bit, but the Moeben arm sleeves certainly do what they are supposed to do – keep you warm with a high degree of adjustability.

Julianne did, however, have one final nit to pick with the Moebens – their price. “At $32-$35, I can’t imagine owning more than a pair or two.” That said, she can’t be too upset at the price, as she plans on buying a second pair!

Are they better at keeping me warm than a long-sleeve running shirt? I can’t really say that they are. Is the UV protected fabric is a plus. Of course. Will I wear i
n the colder weather? You bet. I am already planning on getting another pair. Now, will I wear them in the summer? That remains to be seen. Sunscreen and a tank may be the way I roll.

Thanks Julianne and Keith for your testing of the Moeben arm sleeves.

I’m sure many iRunFar readers have worn Moebens. For those that have:

  • When and how do you use them?
  • What do you like best about them?
  • What do you think could be improved?

As for folks who haven’t used the Moeben’s:

  • Have you used other arm warmers?
  • If not, what’s kept you from trying them?
Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.