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SParms – Road Cycling with Australian Sun Protection Sports Wear

SParms is an odd sounding name, but it’s pretty accurate. The names describes the product, Sun Protection arms… SParms! The garment are certified with UPF 50+ and include a few variations such as just sleeves, shoulder wraps, shirts as well as gloves and over-the-thumb sleeves. The Queensland brand has been mainly focussed on golf meaning it was only a matter of time they turn to cycling (that’s right… the new golf) as Australian bike riders become increasingly sun-aware.

I already use arm-warmers… although we have to make a differentiation between arm warmers and sun protectors. The problem is that ‘arm warmers’ is great name to describe sleeves for your arms which are designed to keep them warm… but ‘sun protectors’ could be a hat or sunnies. Just like ‘Hoover’ or ‘Esky’, the name SParms is a step towards owning the entire market segment of sun protection for the arms… but I would still prefer asking a mate to remember to bring his ‘Arm Warmers’ rather than remember to bring his ‘Sparms’.

sparm test review cy cling

The SParms are for sunny conditions (or rather for UVA and UVB protection) so my assumption is that riders seeking warmth will opt for arm warmers which tend to be lined with fleece… which these are not. My expectation is that I get sun protection, comfort and breathability and not warmth.

sparms sun protection arm uva uvb

Before the review started, my initial concern was regarding the fit. Being more of a ‘rider’ rather than an overall fitness guy it means I have riders arms, some would say ‘spindly’. Being 6’2″ tall, my arms are also generous in length rather than girth. Sleeves are normally troublesome for me are either too loose or too tight. This doesn’t make it easier to get the best fit for anything, including the SParms garments so the brand provided medium and large size sleeves following my comment, “I’m between sizes, I think.”


I already own three sleeves for cycling in medium and large sizes from various brands and only one set fits well enough to wear for extended periods of time. The large-sized pair (sun protection) sleeves falls down slowly over the course of fifteen minutes as they simply don’t adequately grip my arms. A medium-sized pair (arm warmers) is really tight but also quite short and gets irritating after an hour. The other size M sun protection sleeves are just right, Goldilocks!

white sparms

The SParms sleeves are thin, light and stretch quite a bit. The medium size is a good length, good around the wrist, and bearably tight around the bicep. Bumping up to the large was better at the bicep with a little bit of excess fabric at the wrist. The large size is preferable for cycling/wearing them all day as the top of the medium size eventually starts to feel restrictive. For up to two hours of riding, the medium was fine. I recently completed the Sydney to the Gong ride in the medium sleeves and noticed the freedom when I peeled them off after 4 hours. The large would suit better for a longer day. The length wasn’t hugely different between the sizes which I feel would make them a suitable fit for people with beefier, shorter arms. You can also comfortably fold the top or bottom if need be.


The shoulder wrap was appealing because essentially solve the issue of a too tight or too loose fit of sleeves on the arms. With the shoulder wrap, the sleeves connect as the fabric joins behind your back so the sleeves can’t fall down. This garment can also provide some sun protection to your shoulders if you’ve got a light jersey or even a Triathlon style armless top. SParms sent me a Large size should wrap, which fit exactly as the large sleeves. Just bear in mind, once they’re on, they’re on. There’s no whipping these off at the lights if you feel the need. They don’t feel odd once you get used to the little extra swathe of fabric on your back, almost like wearing a shirt under a business shirt.

sparms shoulder wrap cycling
On the top of the BNA cycling jersey (for decency) the black SParms Shoulder Wrap is a one-piece garment

If you’ve got them under a shirt, they just look like sleeves. You might get a sideways glance if you wore them by themselves, as the sun protection would be rather limited to your arms and shoulders and perhaps appear a little odd.

sparms shoulder wrap


The SP Body shirt is probably the only garment that didn’t convince me. It is a long armed, form-fitting t-shirt and for cycling it doesn’t really fit well. Modern cycling jerseys should have sun protection and when a base layer is worn in summer, moisture wicking primary purpose. For arm protection, bike riders would traditionally opt for the sun protection sleeves or simply a long armed jersey.

It is a nicely made garment but even beyond cycling I have to think hard about when or how it is used – perhaps it is a more conventional clothing item compared to the sleeves or should wrap. The material is delicate so for hiking it doesn’t have the robust character and I would be concerned about it snagging on a brand. For some outdoor aerobic sports it such could be fashionably appropriate but even for swimming.


The fabric is light and keeps you cool. The blurbs suggest that they keep actively cool;

All of our products are made from our high tech SPOne fabric that combines a certified UPF50+ rating with the unique cooling properties from our moisture-wicking technology to offer an all-in-one solution to keeping cool and protected under the sun. Simply put, it’s like having a constant breeze over your arms that also keeps the sun away.

The products are all made to be tight fitting, that’s part of the deal. Too loose and they’re not ideal as active wear. They were snug, sure, but not uncomfortably tight;

A lot of research and testing has gone into our fabric to come up with a revolutionary solution to the classic summer conundrum. Our products are intended to be worn fitted on the skin and our 4 way stretch fabric means it will conform to the natural contours of your arms, legs, or body and is comfortable enough to keep on all day. Soft to the touch and gentle on the skin, it is hypoallergenic and antibacterial, suitable for all skin types but as with all things, we recommend washing them before initial use.

The fabric is 90% Meryl Microfiber and 10% Spandex. Did you know that Spandex is an anagram of ‘Expands’? This is the part that deals with the elasticity whereas the Meryl Microfiber is a light and finely woven fabric which is characterised by being soft, breathable, having good moisture wicking characters and even anti-bacterial properties. All in all, well suited to cycling.

sparms sizing


The price is comparable to other garments you can find with a UV protection rating (98% of UVA and UVB rays). There some cheaper sun protective sleeves which compete against the SParms though the differences will typically be in the material (e.g. less breathability).

I also feel that the fit of the garments was good, the stretch was never too tight though was versatile enough to be comfortable. In practice it also means that the shoulder wrap and sleeves could easily take over from my existing cycling sleeves as favourites.

sparms cycling uv fit

Though these are not cycling specific, the garments, in particular the sleeves easily suit cyclists needs with sun protection, comfortable fit, breathability, moisture wicking and lightweight material.

Australians have been conditioned to the dangers of the sun though dressing accordingly in this sun-loving nation it still work-in-progress. SParms are providing well made and suitable protection that make it pretty easy to ‘opt-in’ and save the hassle of sun screen (on your arms at least). For fashion conscious riders, SParms have a few colour versions available including black, white, grey, mint (which is a bit like Bianchi celeste), pink and bold blue and khaki camouflage patterns.

Even though the name did put me off… I am glad I’ve got SParms… what about you?

SParms Sleeves $34.95 – $39.95
SParms Shoulder wrap $44.95 – $49.95
SParms Body shirt $84.95

Further information and purchasing online: sparms.com.au

James Hutchison
James Hutchison
is a road rider, a social rider (is there such a genre as serious social?) and cycle commuter.
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