Sun Sleeves have become a crucial component in the cyclist's wardrobe. At first glance these appear to be lightweight arm sleeves that give you some sun protection. That is true, but the fabric techologies that have evolved over the last several years, be it a coating, or an integrated or impregnated fiber, have made these "replacements for sun screen" more effective at protecting against UV, and also now provide active cooling of the arms. That is right, your skin temperature can be cooler wearing these sleeves than if the skin was exposed, and these sleeves breathe freely, keeping your arms and hands drier. The answer to how do they do that? is not simple, especially when you factor in that Pearl Izumi Sun Sleeves come in White, and Black. Yes, Black Sun Sleeves that protect you from the harmful rays of the sun, and keep you cool as well. While the technical details are more complex, the easy answer is Pearl employs different technologies in each color. Yes, same product, but the color has dictated the technology used.
In the White color Sun Sleeve, Pearl utilizes Elite Transfer fabric, with larger yarn fiber structure that carries Ice-fil® technology. Essentially Ice-fil® uses Xylitol and air flow to create an in-fabric refridgeration system. Air flow comes in, moves through the fibers and carries warmth and moisture away from the skin, and the Xylitol is activated by the process. This technology has been shown to lower surface temps 3 degrees, while the fabric itself provides UPF 50+ protection. You get active cooling and excellent protection while basically eliminating moisture build-up. Ice-fil® is much more effective in lighter color fabrics, but let's face it, sometimes you don't want to wear white, or just prefer black with your kit.
In the Black Sun Sleeve, Pearl uses Elite Transfer fabric again, but this time the In-R-Cool variation, which is powered by coldblack® technology to keep you cool. coldblack® technology is a treatment that is applied to fibers during the weaving process, so it is not a surface treatment of a finished fabric, but is essentially integrated into the surface of the yarn. This makes it last much longer than a purely topical treatment, and increased delivers protection over the 360 degree surface of each fiber of the final woven fabric. The Elite Transfer fabric then allows air in, and transfer moisture out, and coldblack® technology blocks the suns rays, which adds to the cooling process by allowing heat to release. Surface temperatures can be reduced by as much as 6 degrees when direct sun is coming down on black fabric. Hence, coldblack® technology that delivers 50+ UPF protection, but also active cooling.
Lest you forget Sun Sleeves are a Pearl Izumi offering, details such as the wide, comfortable top gripper and reflective elements round out an exceptional product. Our take on Sun Sleeves is simple. They protect you, and keep you cool and dry. Not every one is comfortable with sunscreen, which has its own challenges. You have an excellent alternative that far exceeds what sunscreen can offer, and judging by the number of riders we see wearing Sun Sleeves, you won't be alone.